Meditation Monday #34 – How to Meditate: The Four Aims of Life (Artha)

The second Purushartha is a complicated one in yoga. The reason being that so many people believe that yogis are akin to St. Francis of Assisi….renouncing wealth, giving up all worldly possessions, and communing with nature. However, yoga doesn’t ask us to be martyrs nor saints. Instead, yoga says that we should aim for Artha or prosperity, abundance, and success in our lives.

But why?

Because Artha is not the kind of material prosperity that is excess or even close to the “American way of life”. This would be better defined as having the tools to complete our Dharma.

I once wrote a post about material need (How Many Do You REALLY Need?) and I’ve mentioned other times about things I’d like to have. When it comes down to it, though, I think that I am good at considering what the real tools I need to complete my work truly are. So, after meditating on it a bit….here’s my list:

  • I was given an iPod from a friend and that would be a great tool for providing music to my classes, but I don’t have the speaker to hook to it. This is something that prevents me from doing my work fully. I have been using an old boombox (from my sophomore year of college) that has volume control issues and CDs that skip like crazy. Not ideal.
  • I have a laptop that is now almost 4 years old. Sometimes it disconnects from the internet in the middle of a session. The only way to reconnect it is to restart the computer. In order to do that I have to unplug the external hard drive I bought to store everything on since the computer was slowing down with the massive amount of files on it. Plus, I was worried I’d lose them all in a crash. I work on my computer for curriculum writing, answering emails, entering grades and creating work for my students, as well as writing this blog. This is also not ideal.
  • My current fitness clothing situation is kind of a joke….One pair of yoga capris I have had since my first official yoga training in 2008. My running bras are not ideal for yoga practice and my mat is starting to get holes in it. I also haven’t been able to complete my Level 2 training despite several attempts to schedule that. Soooo not ideal for the point I am at in my career.

Basically, my Artha is not supporting my Dharma at this time. I am making do with what I have and doing the best job I can with those resources.

Our Artha asks:

  • Knowing my Dharma, what do I need to be successful in this role?
  • What skills do I need to serve?
  • What tools will make this happen?
  • What does wealth mean to me besides money?

In considering that last question (and knowing that I am only considering my job as a yoga teacher this time around as my Dharma) I also need to ask:

  • Where do I place value?
  • Do I have enough? Am I afraid of having more?
  • Are my things making me happy or stealing my joy?
  • If my Artha is not being met, how do I feel about myself?

One yogi suggests that,

Artha is one of the basic human dignities-to have enough money to live on, to care for your family.

This also ties into our first chakra….again another discussion for another day. But, I’m curious:

Is your Artha met for your Dharma?


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