March 3, 2006
Dharma is destiny in a way. Destiny implies a destination. Dharma embodies a path, focusing on the journey instead of the end result or goal of a particular person. Destiny is a Hebrew God and keeper of the tablets of fate (see Meni). Dharma is not a deity. It is more of concept. It translates to “protection” or “that which holds.” Dharma is the path of righteousness. By being on the path to righteousness we protect ourselves from the ignorance and suffering that plagues humankind. Dharma is directly related to the idea of Karma, although they aren’t the exact same thing.
Karma can be positive or negative. It can punish or reward according to one’s actions. Dharma is the positive aspect of Karma, focusing on awareness as a way to eliminate the negative Karma, which result in suffering. The essence of Dharma lies in possessing a certain ability, power and spiritual strength. Rather than believing in a predetermined path-be it good or bad—Dharma supports the idea that we create our own destinies. We can choose to live in ignorance of our actions and motivations and suffer, or we can become aware and enlightened and avoid needless suffering and misery.
While there are many mysteries surround the island on the TV show Lost, the writers give us a clue with The Dharma Initiative. Each of the characters has karma to resolve. They have a chance to find their righteous path and put a stop to their suffering.
I didn’t need to crash on a not-so-deserted island to practice Dharma. I just had to decide that I was ready to embrace the happiness I deserved. It was time to stop punishing myself. It took a full ten years beyond that to completely embody Dharma though. Ten years to learn the ten rules: Patience, Forgiveness, Piety, Honesty, Sanctity, Control of the Senses, Knowledge or Learning, Truthfulness and the Absence of Anger. This path isn’t easy. Too many people take the path of least resistance, but an easy life is often an unhappy one. Instant gratification of the senses still leaves an ache, or a spiritual hunger.
In order to follow the right path and live your Dharma, you must let go and forget the Sehnsucht life. Only then can you find your authentic self and your place in this world—your destiny.