Mind-Body Health

Ayurveda for Millennials: Career vs. Education

Young woman working at home
Young woman working at home

This is the third installment of our series, Ayurveda for Millennials.

The word “Veda” in Sanskrit can be translated into “study” or “knowledge.” When you think about career and education, it is treated as a means to an end. It’s about earning a living. The end goal is clear. To make enough money so that you can sustain the comfortable lifestyle that you’re accustomed to. This makes education the backbone of economic enhancement.

It is easy to get caught up in the race. Sacrificing your physical and emotional health to get that promotion, competing for the coveted corner office, or doing your best to keep your job during these uncertain economic times.

In an increasingly uncertain era of life, as a millennial, you are caught between the eternal struggle of wanting to stay in school and pursue higher education versus getting out there in the “real world” and begin your career. Unfortunately, the journey from school to gaining "enough” education to get a well-paid job and, in turn, establishing a career that is both mentally and financially rewarding is not linear, especially for the millennial generation. There are tremendous ups and downs, coupled with a fear of the unknown has left the younger generation reeling.

Many modern-day millennials want to work toward a meaningful purpose. You want to be engaged in a job that you are passionate about. In the Vedas, this purpose is called dharma, which is doing what you were meant to do. Life becomes quite simple once you figure out your life’s purpose, what you excel at, and zero in on what helps you make a living.

Making money to sustain and thrive is absolutely a part of the equation! This is also known as the Hedgehog Concept. What you choose to do with your life in terms of a career lies at the intersection of these three factors.

Applying the Concept of Dharma in Modern Times

Identifying the purpose of your life can be a scary and complicated process. The foundation of knowing your dharma lies in knowing yourself. That’s why knowledge of the self must precede education.

In the modern race for higher education for the sake of a degree, you may end up pursuing subjects that you are not passionate about and then end up in a job that does not excite you.

Every generation has experienced its own share of economic struggles. Millennials are going through unprecedented times with the rise of the work-from-home economy during a post-pandemic world.

Ayurveda looks beyond career, education, and information that you can amass from books. It focuses on the overall development of the individual. A holistic awareness of the world and awareness about oneself. Awareness or self-consciousness is the amalgamation of three aspects:

  • Rishi: The knower
  • Devata: The knowing
  • Chandas: The known

What makes you want to wake up every Monday morning? What is your Monday motivation? If you dig deeper within yourself, you can find the answer. Once you can find the answer to that question, then you become aware of yourself—you become the knower (Rishi). Your dharma becomes the knowing (Devata) and self becomes the known (Chandas). When the knower, the knowing, and the known come together in consciousness, it is called Samhita, that is the Unified Field. It is in this unified field that all the possibilities or outcomes can arise. Being able to quiet the mind and allow yourself to be present within this so-called unified field will lead to a greater sense of knowledge and powerful ideas will stem forth.

Knowing yourself completely is one of the toughest types of knowledge that you can hope to gain. A proven way to unlock self-awareness is through regular meditation and journaling. Experienced meditators or transcendental meditators can experience pure wakefulness or consciousness.

The Concept of Guru

Seeking knowledge for the sake of knowledge was an important tenet of the Vedas in the ancient times. The leader who leads her/his students towards enlightenment or a deeper understanding of the world was called the Guru. The all-knowing. Without a teacher to guide you on the path, you’d probably get lost! It is just like hiking. If you are going with someone who has explored the trail before you, the path toward the peak is going to be easier instead of trying to go it alone.

In modern times, you might consider your teachers, professors, peers, colleagues, or someone who has worked in the same industry before you as a guru or mentor. Someone to inspire you to gain more knowledge. To move from bookish information to an in-depth understanding of the way the world and the industry functions. A good mentor can be instrumental in helping you identify your life’s purpose.

As a millennial, you can go a long way in leading a more fulfilling and rewarding life if you just flip the equation and look at careers and education not as adversaries or mutually exclusive concepts but as all-encompassing methods of expanding your knowledge. Pursuing higher education while working toward a fulfilling career is possible! You don’t have to give up one to succeed in the other. When you understand that knowledge is not linear but rather a collection of experiences that continue to evolve with time and attention, you are able to cultivate balance in your personal and professional growth.

Ready to take your well-being into your own hands? Download the Chopra App for personalized self-care guidance you can access anywhere.