Dharma is a word that is found in both Buddhism and Hinduism.
In Buddhism it is often referred to, and most commonly known as, the teaching or religion of the Buddha.
It is the second of the Triple Gems of Buddhism (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha).
Dharma is typically focused on the principles of karma and the law of reincarnation, but means so much more.
The term comes from the ancient teachings of Hinduism and roughly translates to “natural law.”
Dharma is really that which supports the natural law of the universe.
The Dharma Wheel
The Dharma Wheel is one of the oldest Buddhist symbols.
It can be thought of as the same way the Star of David represents Judaism or how the cross symbolizes the Christian religion.
The Dharma Wheel, or dharmachakra, as it is known in Sanskrit, is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols known in the Buddhist religion.
The Dharma Wheel is represented by a chariot wheel with a fluctuating number of spokes depending on the artist’s depiction.
It is most often gold, but can be any color.
The center, or hub, is often a yingyang symbol, although can also be another wheel or even empty space.
There may also be three shapes swirling together.
Understanding dharma comes to an understanding of the Dharma Wheel.
The wheel has three separate parts including the hub, the rim, and the spokes.
Although there enough meanings proposed by many different experts of what these parts mean, there are some common perceptions of what each stands for.
The Three Parts of the Whole
The main circle or the rim of the wheel is can be thought to mean the understanding of dharma.
This is an understanding of the natural law of the universe, a complete awareness of the Buddha’s teachings.
The rim of the wheel is the meditation that holds the wheel together.
As one of the fundamental principles of Buddhism, meditation is what keeps us connected to the practice.
The hub of the Dharma Wheel is representative of the moral discipline that is an integral part of following the practice.
Within the hub are often three swirls that are often said to be the Three Gems.
The spokes on the Dharma Wheel will be different according to different meanings practiced throughout the religion.
It is rare for the Dharma Wheel to have only four spokes, but when it does it is representation of the Four Noble Truths.
When there are eight spokes present, this is expressive of the Eightfold Path.
Ten spokes on a wheel means all the different directions, and twelve spokes demonstrates The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.
Twentyfour spokes on the Dharma Wheel indicates the previous twelve as well as the reversing of these Twelve Links and the attainment of liberation.
When there are thirtyone spokes on a wheel they are a representation of ancient Buddhist cosmology, known as the 31 Realms of Existence.
The Turning of the Dharma Wheel
There is also what is known as “the turning of the dharma wheel.”
This is an allegory of the Buddha’s teachings of dharma in the world.
It has been said that the Buddha turned the wheel three times.
The first turn was his first sermon after reaching enlightenment.
It was here that Buddha explained the Four Noble Truths.
The second turning was a summary of the perfection of wisdom of the teachings of emptiness, or sunyata.
The final turn of the Dharma Wheel was an introduction to the principle of Buddha nature, or the already enlightened nature of all beings.
A Path to Liberation
Dharma is sometimes thought of or referred to as religion, but has far deeper meaning than such a term.
Those that follow the Dharma are set forth by certain spiritual, ethical, moral, and social rules that are responsible for the wellbeing of the entire human race.
Dharma does not force any belief upon a person that follows it, instead allowing them to choose the right path for themselves and conduct themselves in a manner that is hoped to one day lead to personal liberation.
There’s nothing so much as beautiful and satisfying as being truly happy.
Everyone on earth, no matter where they come from or who they are, wants to be happy.
Rich or poor, black or white, young or old…everyone is genuinely seeking to experience more joy.
“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” ~Dalai Lama “The Art of Happiness”
Happiness is within us all and is really our inherent nature.
This happiness isn’t dependent on outside circumstance that comes and goes as we attain and lose the things that bring us pleasure, but is a state of being.
Real happiness can be found when we reach a certain level of awareness and is something each one of us is absolutely and totally deserving of.
Happiness is a State of Mind
Happiness is not something that is a given.
We must work on finding the state of lasting happiness, as it is something that comes from the deepest essence of our own divine being.
While there is a certain level of happiness that comes from external events and situations, lasting happiness is something that is cultivated from within and is completely dependent on the state of one’s mind.
In order to reach a state of lasting happiness we must discover who we are inside and find that quiet stillness within that resonates with the truth of the entire universe.
Happiness is truly an inside job, and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you will experience the sheer bliss that is your divine nature.
3 Ways to Experience Lasting Happiness
Embrace a Daily Meditation Practice
Going within and embracing the true stillness of your mind is one of the best ways to find lasting happiness.
Happiness already exists inside of you and through a practice of meditation you are able to awaken to the inner joy that is who you are at your deepest levels.
Through meditation we begin to find an expanded sense of awareness and are able to detach from who we think we are.
This detachment is vital if we are ever to experience lasting bliss.
If you are not happy, you are not living as who you really are and are too caught up in your memories and ego-based reality.
Meditation can help you release the conditioned beliefs you have about yourself and your life and bring you to a path of acceptance of your own inner nature.
When we begin to go deeper into our meditation, the veils of illusion we have been hiding behind gradually become lifted.
It is here where we are able to see things for what they truly are as we come from a place of centered contentment.
This center guides us to our inherent nature, one that is filled with joy found in the complex simplicity of who we really are.
Let Go of What No Longer Serves You
If we are ever to find lasting happiness it is absolutely imperative that we let go of the things that no longer serve us.
We are all guilty of holding onto things that do not serve the greater good in our lives.
This is something in our nature and how many of us have been conditioned to think.
Something begins to happen however when we start to let go.
We find that these things we held onto for so long were getting in the way of experiencing joy as we make our way through life’s journey.
It’s pretty hard to be happy when you’re still holding onto those relationships that cause you pain.
Fear, anger, resentment, and jealousy are also things we tend to hold onto for no other reason than they become part of who we think we are.
These emotions are the very illusions that keep us from experiencing happiness that lasts.
When we intentionally begin to let go of them we begin to experience a deeper state of contentment that is no longer clouded by our negative emotions.
To create lasting happiness we must find forgiveness within ourselves towards the people and situations that have caused us pain.
When we do not make room for forgiveness in our lives, there is a certain toxicity that builds up in our energy field that keeps us from experiencing contentment with the world around us.
Forgiving others, no matter what they have done in the past, is one of the keys that will unlock the door to lasting peace and happiness.
It may be easier to do this if you remember that whatever situation or person you can’t forgive has already happened and holding onto feelings of anger, resentment, and hate will only keep you fixated in these lower vibratory states of being.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to create lasting happiness is find forgiveness for yourself.
We have all done things that we are not proud of, but it’s critical to remember that when we forgive ourselves we truly set ourselves free.
If you resent things you did there is no way you’re ever going to be happy.
Let it go.
Your future self will thank you for it.
Cultivating a life that is rich in happiness and abundance in all areas is really not that hard.
The thing is, many of us get caught up (sometimes really caught up) in life’s dramas and forget to give thanks for the little things.
Not that we are really conscious of this…life can be hard, it’s all part of it, but learning to live with gratitude can make it a whole lot easier.
Living in a state of gratitude automatically raises our vibration to one of the highest frequencies we can feel.
Gratitude and love are really, really close on the energy scale and embracing each can profoundly alter your life.
If you’re ready to embrace life instead of just exist through it, living with more gratitude each day could be just the thing that takes you away from the mundane and into the magnificent.
3 Ways to Live with More Gratitude Every Single Day
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Keeping track of everything you are grateful for in a journal is one of the easiest ways to feel more of this powerful emotion that is sure to change your life.
You really only need a few moments each day to write down what you’re thankful for.
Make it a habit to write in your gratitude journal at least once a day, maybe in the evening where you can reflect on all the wonderful things that filled your day for which you are thankful.
Recall the moments, the people, and the events that somehow altered your life in a positive way and you will begin to notice a dramatic shift in your life.
It can be something as simple as the smile from the stranger on the subway on your way to work.
Once you begin this practice, you’ll notice just how many little things there are in each day to be thankful for.
Wake Up Grateful
Every new day offers an opportunity to change your life.
Even if you can’t always see it, deep down you know it’s true.
Waking up with gratitude for what the new day represents is one of the best ways to invite more gratitude and meaning into your life.
Just for a moment, think about the way you wake up every day.
If you’re like most people, your first conscious thoughts are probably about what you have to get done that day, what could go wrong, how you don’t want to go to work, or whatever.
The point is most of us are waking up each day not focused on simply being grateful for another day.
Give thanks for the bed you slept in, for the roof over your head, for the chance to change your life.
Just wake up and be thankful for the new day and the opportunity to make life shine.
Get in the habit of this and you’re life will quickly change, with every day feeling like a gift, rather than a burden that must be bared.
Give Thanks For What You Have
Most people go through life focusing their energy on what they don’t have.
This is actually one of the most counterproductive things you could do if you wish to live a life of abundance and happiness.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, try to start giving thanks for what you do have.
Don’t have a car?
Give thanks you can walk.
Aren’t happy with your current job?
Be thankful you have one and that your bills are paid.
Don’t have enough money?
Be thankful for that last $10 in your wallet and you will soon see it multiplied tenfold.
Giving thanks for what we do have allows us more room in our lives to let other things flow easily to us.
What we think about really is what we create our reality to be, and when we’re focused on what we don’t want, we’re just going to keep getting more of the same.
Be grateful for what you have and the reverence you have for life will be one of gentle joy and admiration.
Life tends to get pretty overwhelming at times to say the least.
The world definitely isn’t getting any less crazy, and sometimes it feels hard to stay calm amidst all the chaos that surrounds us on a daily basis.
While we can’t really shut ourselves off from reality, there are ways to stay grounded in this often crazy world.
4 Ways you Can Stay Grounded in a Crazy World
We’ve all heard how good meditation is for us, and it is surely good at helping to keep us grounded.
When we practice meditation regularly, it becomes almost difficult to let the crazy things out of our control have an adverse effect on us.
Finding the time to dedicate to regular meditation doesn’t even have to get in the way out of your regular schedule, and even if you’re crazy busy, taking five minutes out of your day to meditate will definitely help keep you grounded no matter what is going on around you.
Try getting up ten minutes earlier each day and spend it meditating.
If you’re new to meditation and not sure exactly what to do, there are thousands of guided meditations you can find online that will help you get you started.
When you get in touch with a regular practice, you will find the things that once seemed so crazy just aren’t as so anymore.
Yoga, ever beneficial for mind, body, and soul, is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself grounded in the crazy world that surrounds you.
Yoga helps us balance our energy and puts us in touch with our personal power and an unshakable mind.
In a world that sometimes makes us feel a little uneasy, yoga offers an escape, that when practiced regularly can help us transcend a sometimes senseless reality.
Finding the time to practice even only a few times a week will help you harness the energy, strength, balance, poise, and confidence you need to help get you through whatever life brings your way.
Focus on Your Breath
When was the last time you took a minute to focus on your breath?
You could even try it right now, and you’ll notice that it brings a bit of a different energy to the way you feel.
Focusing on the breath helps to calm the mind and brings harmony to the entire system.
When we’re hit with crazy chaotic situations focusing on our breath is one of the most beneficial things we can do to bring us back to a calm, centered state.
You don’t even have to wait until the next time you’re hit with something tumultuous to try it.
Learning to focus on the breath throughout the day, every day, will help prepare you for those times it really does seem to get a little too out of control to handle.
Find Some Time for Yourself
If you’re like most people, your life is surrounded by a bunch of different people each and every day.
Not many of us have the luxury of working from home, where we don’t have to be subjected to the (sometimes negative) energy of other people.
It is so important to find time for yourself if you are even going to think about staying grounded amidst the many people you may encounter each day.
If we’re constantly surrounded by others and always on the go, it makes it a little difficult to remain grounded and feel centered.
Spending time alone is actually very beneficial to your state of mind.
When we’re alone, we can reconnect with who we really are when not subjected to the pressures of the outside world.
Finding a hobby you’re interested in, or simply curling up with a good book offer excellent ways to escape the crazy of the outside world.
Time with yourself will clear up some of the chaos and help keep your mind clear the next time you’re hit with chaos.
You don’t even have to look too hard to see that modern life is set around the attainment of things that are supposed to make us happy.
The thing is, all these “things” that are supposed to bring us peace are nothing more than an illusion set forth by a larger “establishment” that has managed to control the way we feel by invading our minds with images and ideas of how things “should” be.
We are conditioned to think certain ways, patterned to take on conformist views and tie our idea of happiness to someone else’s puppet show.
We have been fed these illusions our entire lives, unfortunately with many of us still mesmerized by these lies.
The Illusion of Happiness
We have been led to believe that happiness comes in what we attain in this lifetime.
We have been fed the illusion that money creates happiness, because with money we can buy the “things” that buys the status, which buys the happiness.
The thing is though, all these fancy cars and clothes and big houses aren’t what really make for lasting happiness.
That’s just what they want you to believe so you buy into their system and put money in their pockets.
Real happiness is something found within not through the material goods that we’re made to believe define who we are.
Happiness is found through an abundance of health, positive relationships, love for ourselves and the world around us. The more people that believe happiness is found through the material, the more people slip away from the true nature of reality.
The Illusion of Authority
This is a big one. The powers that be have gotten everyone under the illusion of law, authority, and government so that we are blinded to believe the authority we hear even if it vastly differs from the truth.
Following the law and listening to authority is what we’ve all been programmed to do, and we all do it, some just more blindly than others.
What authority really comes down to is control. Step too far out of what they want you do or be and you’re trapped.
Unfortunately, it is the authority of those in control who have placed this illusion on us all.
They brainwash us to believe they are keeping us safe, when in reality all they’re keeping us from is stepping closer to the truth.
They know that if we see the illusion of authority for what it truly is, that they would no longer have any control.
Therefore, they keep us trapped, oppressed in systems that are not for the people, but for the chosen people.
All law and authority is an illusion within itself. Something made up that is based on nothing but oppression and social injustice.
The Illusion of Time
Time is another of the grand illusions that keeps us closely tied to the system.
We have been programmed to follow these clocks and this calendar, keeping us nicely tied in with the rest of the illusions they have set up for us.
If we just follow nicely along with their concept of time, we will forget that the present moment is all we truly ever have. We won’t even realize that life is just one big extension of the present moment.
This fits nicely in with their plan. They have us worried about the past, thinking we should be upset because of what happened there.
They have us worried about the future and all energy concentrated away from what really matters the most. Now.
The Illusion of Freedom
If you think you’re really free, it’s time to think again. We are not free.
Freedom means having a choice, something that yes we have, but the choices we do have are limited.
From the food you eat to the products you buy, we are limited in our choices of what we can do, say, be, or have.
There are imaginary borders that make up the entire world, a place that should be ours to roam free, yet this freedom is very limited.
Everything we are offered in our “freedom” is a choice given to us by the same people that are running this system through corrupt legalities and invasive untruths.
These illusions are offered to you as a guide. We can either wake up to these truths or we can continue to turn a blind eye and be forever suppressed.
This is exactly what they’re trying to do. Wake up. Lift the veils of illusion that keep you tied to the system and find true meaning within the confines of your own limitless mind.
We are constantly engaged in mental dialogue with ourselves.
Even on those brief moments when you catch your thoughts, they quickly move to the next ones, keeping us constantly busy with a bunch of thoughts that truly don’t even matter.
Escaping the confines of our own mind can be difficult, but it is certainly not impossible.
All those thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions don’t have to continue to interfere with what can be a peaceful mind that is grounded in awareness.
You can stop the incessant mental chatter and gain calm over the chaotic.
What is Mental Chatter?
Mental chatter is what we’re constantly engaged in with our own thoughts. One thought appears, slips away, immediately replaced by another thought, and so on.
The Buddhists refer to this as “monkey mind” one with thoughts that are always swinging from branch to branch without any rest in the present moment.
The past is a big player in our personal mental chatter.
We obsess over things that happened in the past, thinking about how we could have made them different, why they had to turn out the way they did and often beat ourselves up for mistakes we think we made.
Thinking about the future is no different and is at as much fault as our thoughts of the past for keeping us constantly conversing with ourselves.
We worry about the future, wonder how things are going to turn out, turn our mind to a fantasy land and then wonder why we’re so discontented with what we have.
Mental chatter is what keeps us from living in the now and experiencing life from the beauty and magic of this one present moment.
How to Stop Your Mental Chatter
Stopping your mental chatter is all about learning how to take control of the thoughts in your mind.
You are the only one that has control of your thoughts, so it is up to you to control them. The next time your mind just won’t seem to stop, try some of the following and help turn your thoughts back to the present moment.
Focus on Your Breath
Mind racing? Try taking ten deep breaths the next time you can’t seem to get control of your thoughts.
It will help bring you back to the present moment and clear whatever thoughts are invading your space.
Begin to do this throughout the day every day, and you will see just how far a little focus on your breath will go.
Think of it like a mini-meditation throughout the day, and you’ll find power in a calmer mind that is filled with way less than it used to be.
Develop a Daily Meditation Practice
You don’t have to get all crazy, monk style to enjoy the benefits of meditation. All you have to do is sit with your breath (and thoughts) for at least five minutes each day.
If you’re new to meditation, you’ll find those thoughts you’re trying to escape definitely seem to be taking their sweet time, but with time you’ll find they start to fade.
Meditation literally changes the chemistry of our brain and allows for a more centered state of existence. There’s a reason why meditation has become so popular. It works.
Learn to Detach from Circumstances out of Your Control
This one’s tough, but is huge when you want to stop the mental chatter that keeps you prisoner to past and future.
Do not let what people do or say disturb the thoughts you can ultimately control. So what if someone said something about you that wasn’t true?
That’s all about them, not you. Let go of the emotions attached to things that happen and accept them for what they are.
Acceptance is key in living with a peaceful mind. Be where you are with what you have right now and love every single moment of it, because ultimately now is all you have.