Do you have a complaint against your occupation? Do you think you are a misfit, that you have been placed in a field of action where you cannot express yourself, where you find a clashing and crossing of ideas and interests? If so, you are wasting your time.
Herein arises the need for a deeper understanding of the importance of choosing wisely one’s field of activity. Many people find that their work is not congenial, that they have made a fundamental mistake in choosing it. They have not taken into consideration their swadharma – which means one’s individual law of development. According to the Vedantic theory of swadharma, there are several matters to consider in determining one’s field of action.
First, there is heredity. Secondly there is environment. Thirdly, there are instincts, emotions and impulses, all of which you must analyze in order to determine which way your mind flows, and in order to see what it is that arouses your natural enthusiasm.
Fourthly, there are your educational and cultural accomplishments: these too help to determine your swadharma.
If you are compelled to work at something contrary to your own swadharma, you will find it extremely difficult to bring your activity to that degree of material and spiritual productivity that you otherwise could attain. The important thing to remember is not to enter any field of activity for the purpose of acquiring easy money, prestige, reputation, or social standing. That a person should follow any occupation or profession merely because it is profitable to himself, ignoring all other considerations, is both dangerous and degenerating.
The primary object in choosing one’s vocation should be to find a field in which one is able, because of aptitudes due to heredity, environment, previous attainments, natural tendencies and education, to express oneself most perfectly. How many people take these things into consideration when they choose their field of activity? Very few. If everybody’s swadharma is to get as much money as possible, there will be more and more conflict and unhappiness in life. A friend of mine expressed this modern tendency very well. He said, “Making a living is too often just making a living. It has no deeper significance.”
We can, however, spiritualize ‘making a living’. We can harmonize our work with our spiritual idealism and thereby raise ourselves and our work to the height of perfection.