What is Dharma?

 | home

Dharma Wheel at the Jokhang Monastery in Tibet

Dharma is an ancient Sanskrit word with numerous layers of meaning. It commonly refers to the universal force that guides our life and carries us safely through the threats and challenges along the way. The closest equivalent to dharma in the West is the concept of grace, the protection and guidance of a loving God. Living in dharma means acting in concert with one’s divine purpose in life.

Following our dharma in the deepest sense means that we’re not merely obeying the laws or regulations set down by society. Dharma isn’t about the external world but about aligning with the pure spiritual force within. When our intentions, thoughts, words and actions support our life’s purpose, we’re in dharma. And then we bring fulfillment to ourselves and everyone else affected by our actions.

In his bestselling book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, philosopher Deepak Chopra describes three aspects of the law of dharma. The first is that we’re all here to discover our higher self, to realize that our essential nature is spiritual. Inside each person is a divine being that yearns to come into full expression.

The second part of the law of dharma states that everyone has a unique talent, something they do better than anyone else on the planet We’re here in this life to find out what our own special gift is. One clue that we’ve discovered our dharma is that we lose track of time and experience timeless awareness whenever we’re doing that particular thing. We enter a state of bliss.

Using our unique talent to serve humanity is the third aspect of the law of dharma. When we use our creative expression to meet the needs of other people, we experience true joy and ecstasy. We detach from the fear and struggle of the ego and surrender to the wisdom of our higher self. Living in dharma allows us to enjoy the boundless love of our spiritual essence.