Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Dharma: The Evolving Pattern of the Spirit

The writers of the ancient Vedas used the term dharma to describe the law that governs and sustains the universe. In Buddhism dharma means the truth as embodied in the teachings of the Buddha. We take dharma in a broad sense referring to the inner working of the universe, at all scales. To live in accord with the dharma means to live responsibly and to pursue the path of spiritual practice. The governing and sustaining principle of the universe has two aspects: changeless and dynamic. The changeless, eternal aspect of dharma creates the framework of the cosmos, including time, space, and the fundamental laws of physics. The dynamic aspect of dharma concerns the fulfillment of the purpose of the universe through an evolving pattern of spirit, through the spiritualization of the universe. In both senses dharma is the manifestation of God’s Will

The evolution of life works through interacting layers of patterns: the patterns of species, the patterns of individuals, and the pattern of the environment. The inner evolution of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe also operates through interacting layers of patterns: patterns of energies and patterns of will encompassing scales varying from our own individual life all the way up to the great life cycle of the universe. These patterns operate on the whole range of time scales from the moment, to the day, to our lifetime, to the life of the Earth, to the life of the Sun, to the lifetime of the universe. The greater the scale the deeper the energies involved. While the patterns do manifest in time and space, their substance resides in a timeless domain. To the extent that we open ourselves to the timeless, we can have access to the patterns of dharma.

The working of these great patterns of this universal ecosystem concerns us directly and intimately. Conscience, our inner perception of truth, reveals the evolving patterns and attunes us to how our own actions can best align with the larger patterns of spiritualization. Our personal destiny centers on fulfilling our individual role in serving the dharma. The wonder and the inspiration come in realizing how our own small life connects with the vastness of the heavens. We have a role, an essential role, in the great chain of dharma, in the transformation of energies and the coalescence of will. Through our inner work, through our spiritual practice, and through our creative actions we do transform energies and refine our will. The deeper our practice, the higher the qualities we produce. These refined qualities serve evolution on all scales, from personal, to the human race as a whole, to the Earth’s biosphere, and beyond. We are needed. Our inner work is needed. This is our dharma, the great dharma, which we may choose to serve and thereby fulfill the promise of our lives.

 


     

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