“The yoga tradition is very, very interested in the idea of an inner possibility harbored within every human soul. Yogis insist that every single human being has a unique vocation. They call this dharma. Dharma is a potent Sanskrit word that is packed tight with meaning, like one of those little sponge animals that expands to six times its original size when you add water. Dharma means, variously, ‘path,’ ‘teaching,’ or ‘law.’ For our purposes in this book it will mean primarily, ‘vocation,’ or ‘sacred duty.’ It means, most of all—and in all cases—truth. Yogis believe that our greatest responsibility in life is to this inner possibility—this dharma—and they believe that every human being’s duty is to utterly, fully, and completely embody his own idiosyncratic dharma…
Come with me, then, and with my fellow students of fulfillment as we tell the story of Krishna and Arjuna, and as we tell stories of great lives that vividly reflect the principles of living as they are laid out in the Bhagavad Gita. Bring your fears and neuroses and doubts; do not leave that excellent fodder behind. Bring your desperation and your most ardent wishes for a full life. Gather ’round the fire with the rest of us ordinary human beings, as we investigate the not-so-far-fetched possibility of becoming fully alive.”
~ Stephen Cope from The Great Work of Your Life
Stephen Cope is the director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living—the largest yoga research institute in the Western world. As the Senior Scholar in Residence at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, he has been integrating Eastern contemplative traditions and Western philosophy and psychology for years.
In this great book, Stephen brings the Bhagavad Gita to life and helps us apply this ancient wisdom to our modern lives as he shares the key aspects of discovering and living our dharma.
The Bhagavad Gita (see Notes) is set on an ancient battlefield and features the great warrior Arjuna receiving wisdom from his divine mentor (and charioteer), Krishna. Arjuna is paralyzed with doubt. Krishna instructs him on how to live his dharma and honor his sacred duty.
Of course, the wisdom offered applies to ALL of us and Stephen shows us precisely how while sharing the dharmic journeys of extraordinary people including Jane Goodall, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and Gandhi.
It’s a beautiful, super inspiring book. If you’re looking to discover the great work of YOUR life, I think you’ll really enjoy it—especially if you’re a practitioner of yoga! (Get the book here.)
I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas so let’s jump straight in!
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