Updated: Jun 17, 2020
A simple and pragmatic definition of Dharma is to think of it as "an aspect of truth or reality." A spiritual teacher, guide or guru simply makes you aware, step by step, of aspects of truth or reality, of which you were previously unaware. This is also called a Dharma Teaching or a Spiritual Teaching.
The teacher does this for the purpose of liberating your human mind from limited perception. Limited perception engenders misunderstandings which are misperceptions of life interactions. Misperceptions causes confusion, fear, insecurity, anxiety and above all, self inflicted pain through painful thoughts and painful emotional reactions, which lead to pain-causing behavior.
The teacher delivers the Dharma to the student through direct transmission of spiritual knowledge and wisdom in any way the teacher sees fit for the purpose. As the student remains willingly receptive to the Dharma, a real internal experience unfolds causing inner transformation and the expansion of perception and the release of previously held limiting beliefs and repressed emotions which sometimes gush out intensely and dramatically but not always. Sometimes repressed emotions are felt and expressed consciously in the absence of drama or exaggeration. This of course is an oversimplification of the process but it can also happen in a quite simplistic and spontaneous way.
For most devoted spiritual seekers, change and transformation, the expansion of perception and the liberation from suffering is both a completely rewarding experience filled with moments of mind-blowing realizations, ecstatic feelings and joyous connections while at other times it involves descending to the inner depths of darkness and desolation having to face self-created inner conflict and accepting painful truths.
Let's talk further of "aspects of truth or reality," so that we can elucidate some basic concepts.
Truth and reality is the same thing. Whatever you live as your subjective experience in any given moment, becomes your reality and therefore becomes your truth. This is your subjective (personal) reality-truth. Most humans are living locked up within their own subjective reality-truth as an unavoidable side-effect of permanently living as an individual self (ego) within a framework of limited perception in which everything appears to happen in separation from everyone and everything else as isolated events.
Your subjective truth-reality is very fragile. Everything that happens in life has an effect on it. Internal and external events and forces are permanently pushing and pulling against and on it. This pushing and pulling keeps human beings constantly on survival mode (fight or flight defensive mode). All internal and external events are part of a constant flow and convection of action-reaction potentials in nature; human nature as part of nature.
Your subjective truth-reality is always being challenged by internal and external events out of your control. Such events include all internal mental activity, emotional activity, energetic activity and physical (Physiological/biological) activity in the form of reactions to your own inner environment when in a reaction (reaction against your reaction) as well as reactions to all external events that happen as part of life.
Living locked up within subjective and painful truth-reality keeps the human species behaving within the automatic reactive fight or flight response or defensive survival response; other names for it are animal survival, animal instinct, animal behavior, ego based (egocentric) behavior, drama and so many others.
A spiritual teacher has the goal of liberating you from your own animal nature which constantly determines your subjective painful and limited truth-reality keeping you in permanent suffering. One way of talking about such guidance is that the teacher guides you to develop mastery over animal nature by elevating it and transforming it into incarnate soul nature and incarnate divine nature in which suffering subsides and there is ease of living.
In the process of guiding a student, the teacher keeps introducing ¨aspects of truth or reality,¨ and the students keeps accepting some of those aspects while rejecting others according to individual ability, receptivity, availability, perseverance and commitment to the Dharma and self development.
As mentioned before, humans keep themselves locked up in subjective truth-reality manifesting a life full of struggle and sacrifice in which the individual must compete for resources and status within a group (animal behavior). The Dharma liberates the human being from this self-created hell on earth and guides you to acknowledge the presence of not just subjective reality but also objective reality and ultimate divine reality.
Objective reality is observing that everything simply happens as it happens without opinion or judgement. The cultivation of consciousness requires that you constantly observe objective reality to train yourself to initially restrain animal painful reactions thereby taming your inner animal. Subsequently, your conscious observation of objective reality trains your animal nature to behave more consciously and responsibly promoting wellness for the self and for other human beings as well.
Your subjective reality must also be observed as part of objective reality in order to transcend it, that means you begin to live an improved subjective reality which fuses slowly as part of both subjective and objective truth-reality. Your subjective and objective truth-reality becomes one in the same. You acquire a more neutral point of view of everything that happens. You are less moved to the extremes by what happens around you. In short you become more objective about everything, including your own subjective painful experiences and reactions.
Earlier, I said that truth and reality is the same thing. Since Dharma is simply ¨aspects of truth or reality,¨ this means that Dharma is everything that happens that leads you to expand your perception and liberate yourself from pain and suffering. Dharma is evolution in action. The action of constant evolution is Dharma. Dharma simply happens whether in the form of a spiritual teaching from a spiritual guru or through simple soft or intense observation of objective reality. Evolution simply happens and is always happening, whether you notice it or not, whether you observe it or not. Evolution is a constant part of objective reality.
In fact, Dharma is everything that happens in your subjective reality and also in objective reality that can be pointed out to you so that you become conscious of it for the purpose of experiencing your higher nature while living in human form. Living conscious of your higher nature means that animal or lower nature submits to higher nature. Therefore less and less pain and suffering and more and more peace and joy.
Seek the Dharma with all your being. Stop believing in drama. Free yourself. Find your power.
BASIC LEVEL DARMA