The spiritual teachers from The Yoga Institute, Smt. Hansaji Yogendra and Dr. Jayedeva Yogendra visited a yoga center in Los Angeles, someone from the center told them; ” Never use the word duty, people in the western world take it as an 8-5 job responsibility. They feel stressed by their jobs.” Living a self-directed life depends mostly on our education, the culture we live in and how we make sense of our natural abilities.
Many life activities are imposed on us since childhood. Because of this, we develop a strong sense of living under pressure and stress. Parents, society inflict a strong sense that life is stress and pressure and you have to deal with it that way. Many children grow up with this misconception when it comes to the idea of duty.
Some children follow with the imposed activities, while others find the courage to tell their parents and fight for doing what they love to do. They fight to live a self-directed life, not an assigned life.
When a culture or family encourages situational approval in return for obeying, fitting in, doing tasks that are always assigned instead of choosing their own, produces children ( even generations) that feel there must be something wrong with their abilities and interest. This feeling of “wrongness” will push them into creating a ” false identity” that will earn them a living, inclusion, and approval, then duty will become a perpetual struggle.
Still, our culture changes faster than we think, some parents consciously choose to empower their children and help them see how unique and valuable they are. When children receive parents support they grow with a sense of self-direction and see that they have a role in life. They discover and practice their natural abilities, and later in life, it becomes very easy for them to follow with life duties. They are valued and valuable as they are, that serving as a core self-esteem for the rest of their life.
In “Bhagavad Gita” an ancient work that has the answer for every doubt or confusion we face, writes; “Fire’s duty is to burn. It always will burn and thus do its whole duty, while man alone has the power to retard his journey by refusing to perform his properly appointed and evident Dharma.” We all have different natural abilities and talents. It is said that duty to a man it is like water to a fish, whereas it means that all of us have the inherent properties to do our duty in life.
How to reach to live a self-directed life it is the main goal in yoga. Duty persistently followed is the highest yoga. In Bhagavat-Gita Krishna tells Arjuna: “Perform thy duty … and laying aside all confusions for any benefit to thyself from the action, make the event equal to thee, whether it be success or failure. He who understands the whole universe should not cause to relapse from his duty.”
HealthYoga Therapist, Teacher, and Student,