To reenforce my learnings from it—and of course to prove to you all that I actually did read it—here's a synopsis in 5 bullets or less (after all, this is a blog post, not a book report):
- The Four Desires is a book by Rod Stryker, who is a teacher of my yoga teacher, Ben. He is the founder of ParaYoga, the style of yoga that I primarily practice.
- By reading through and completing the exercises and meditations that Rod leads you through, the book helps you to uncover your dharma (in short: your purpose). *Does it sound crazy to you that you can figure this out from a book? Don't be so skeptical*
- The exercises have you do things like write your personal Dharma Code (the individual expression of your soul's purpose) and draft a Sankalpa (a chosen resolution/goal to be achieved in the short term), both of which have since become the sort of, "north stars" of my life.
- Then, he gives you tools to achieve your Sankalpa (like my personal favorite, yoga nidra), and methods to overcome your self-defeating ideas and behavior (which of course, we all have).
- And bullet #5? I could keep going, but I think the first four should give you the gist of it.
"The term dharma is often thought to be synonymous with profession. People often tell me, "I don't know what my dharma is," but what they really mean is that they haven't yet found the career or line of work that they believe will make them the happiest. Dharma does include what you do for a living, but it addresses more than that: it is about discovering your soul's innate and unique mission or purpose."
"The Creation Equation states that when the intensity of desire, or shakti, plus the intensity of the energy you direct toward achieving it, or vayu, is greater than the intensity of resistance, or karma, it equals attainment of your desire, or prapti".
"What yoga does is to help you remove what stands in the way of your being the bright light and powerful force that you really are."
"One of the underlying teachings of the Bhagavad Gita is that the purpose of yoga is to make the unconscious conscious. It may occur to you to ask why anyone would want to do this, especially if you are under the impression that the unconscious is little more than an endless supply of repressed memories and self-defeating beliefs. The answer is that the yoga tradition teaches that this is only part of the story, that the unconscious includes everything you are not aware of, not just the negative material but some things that are wholly positive."
"For intuition to grow as a force in your life, you have to learn to honor it. One form of neglect is not taking the time to hear it; the other is ignoring what it is telling you to do. This means that for your inner voice to become an increasingly powerful presence, you have to act on its vision."
"Throughout the course of your life, your psyche, holding the causes or seeds of your past, leads you through myriad events, which will lead you to a predetermined fate. It does this by responding to your deepest, most powerful desires and putting you in exactly the right circumstances in which those desires, regardless of whether they are in alignment with your conscious desire, can be materialized."
"Let the wisdom and love in your heart show you what and who you really are, then let it guide you. Present your heart with a vision of what you know it longs for and it will help you fulfill the aspirations that have been in it all along."
You guys still there? Sorry, that did turn into a bit of a book report. To sum it up: Two 12MOL Thumbs Up.
And now I will spend the remainder of my night reading Lost, which I picked up at Barnes & Noble yesterday for a mere $27, eek...