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Dharma. On Being a Good Person

Dharma. What is it? And why is following ALL 10 OF YOUR DHARMAS… like spiritual gold?

Dharma. During these baffling times of political division and social confusion, what can help? Learning about your dharma, how to be a good person.

What Gives Me the Standing to Help You Understand Dharma?

Dharma is a sacred concept in some Eastern religions. Notably Buddhism and Hinduism.

Maybe you’re wondering. What gives Rose Rosetree the standing to write about dharma? Since I’m not that kind of a spiritual teacher.

Please know that I’m no fan of cultural appropriation. For instance, when people use the word mantra to mean a slogan, I cringe. Because, in the Eastern religions I’ve studied, a mantra is a sacred sound used for meditation.

Likewise, dharma is a word about something sacred. Accordingly, I plan to share ideas in this article in that spirit of great respect. Because I’m all for personal growth, spiritual awakening, and gaining success. We can achieve all of that without stooping to cultural appropriation.

Back at my standing to write about dharma. Maybe you know, I spent 16 years working for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as one of his meditation teachers. Consequently, I learned quite a lot about Hinduism.

Granted, writing this article, I’m no longer a TM Initiator. As my guru’s devotee, I’d never have expected what happened. How, for good reason, I later quit teaching Transcendental Meditation. Or doing it, personally. Neither do I any longer recommend most meditation techniques. (Long story there, summarized in this article.)

Instead…

Instead I wound up founding the field of Energy Spirituality:

And so, now that we’re introduced….

What Is Dharma? 10 Ways to Understand Your Personal Dharma

Many authorities translate this word as “duty.” However, to me, that sucks out all the interesting parts. Instead, dharma means all this:

  1. Doing right action, according to your sacred beliefs.
  2. Finding smart choices that bring you spiritual joy.
  3. Making choices that help you to feel very alive.  (To use a technical term from Energy Spirituality, there’s Soul Thrill.)
  4. Living in a manner that is harmonious. (At least, in contexts where harmony is compatible with integrity.)
  5. Treating others well, doing your reasonable best. (But also not acting like a dutiful chump. Such as letting others take advantage of you.)
  6. Telling the truth, even when that’s tough.
  7. Honorable actions.
  8. Living according to today’s new rules for being a good person… Rules for the Age of Awakening. Rather than following obsolete rules that applied previously, in the Age of Faith. (For a practical education in both sets of rules, get this book.)
  9. In short, being a good person.
  10. And also acting like a good person.

Practical point: Following your dharma doesn’t necessarily cause you to always feel like a good person. Or make you universally popular.

Are You Following Your Personal Dharma? 3 Quick Questions.

Granted, you could work yourself into a tizzy, trying to do a perfect job at dharma. Why? Since, technically, you’ve got all 10 previously mentioned versions of dharma. Which concern you, emphasizing life within, internal dharma.

In addition, you’ve also got 10 important external forms of dharma that I’ll clarify later in this article. But, always, let’s keep our conversation simple as possible. Emphasizing our humanity!

In that vein, let’s call this spiritual ideal by a human-type name, an internal ideal: Being a good person.

How can you tell if you’re a good person? Here’s a quick test.

Over the past 24 hours:

  1. Did you talk to somebody else with kindness? Or patience? Maybe you did a little small talk. Yet spiritually counted as big talk. Since it came from the desire in your heart to uplift somebody else.
  2. Did you actively listen to somebody else? Rather than what? For instance, ignore that person with a resounding inner “Doh!.” Judging that person. Secretly withdrawin from the conversation. (By contrast, with authentic listening, what happens? You smile. You nod. Connecting, even briefly, you might even say something friendly.)
  3. Suppose that certain things have happened to you. Consequently you’ve felt annoyed. Or, even worse, somebody betrayed you. When bad things happen to good people, we can turn bitter/vindictive/hateful… So here’s your third question. When (not if, sigh!) When that sort of thing has happened to you, did you aim to get past it? So that you could start liking life again. Maybe even remember someone or something to love! Good people gripe when we have to. Afterward, though, did you do your level best to move on?

ANSWERS to these 3 Dharma Questions

Did you answer YES to even one of these questions?

If you do your reasonable best to live like a kind, loving, person… That suggests you’re living according to your internal, or personal, dharma.

Did you notice? All three questions were about following through. Rather than living inside your own head.

Could following your dharma be possible if you live alone? Suppose that you have nobody to talk to except your cats. Alternatively you might even live alone without even a goldfish to talk to. Might I suggest, couldn’t you still do one of these every day?

  • Greet a neighbor.
  • Smile at some random person walking down the street.
  • Call a friend.
  • Maybe go somewhere where many people are shopping or walking. And smile at a few strangers.

In case you’re wondering… According to research I’ve done, through pulling out energetic holograms, guess what? Texting doesn’t count. Emails don’t count. Make human contact in energetic real time, please!

Got Questions, by Now, BTW?

Hey, you might have questions about energetic holograms or energetic real time? Or anything about dharma!!!

Ask them, please. Don’t just think them. Education is the purpose of our COMMENT boxes below. Education plus communication. And supporting each other as all of us follow our personal paths.

Actually, you’re welcome to COMMENT to share anything whatsoever. Maybe you’ve got a story to tell, for instance, of a time you did some little something. And now you just realized! Actually, that seemingly insignificant nod to a stranger? That’s evidence of how you are a good person.

Good people aren’t just good inside their own personal bubbles. Speaking of which…

How About People with Tribal Loyalties. Are They Good People?

Such a complex question! Especially at this dramatic time in American history.

For starters, I don’t think that Tribal Loyalties are exactly the problem. Rather, a problem develops when people forget they have more than tribal loyalty. Also known — from now on, since I’m coining a phrase here — external dharma. That contrasts with the 10 kinds of internal dharma discussed earlier in this article.

More about Your 10 Forms of EXTERNAL Dharma

Have you ever considered this extra set of “good person” possibilities? You can make good choices — and follow your dharma — related to every one of the following social categories:

  1. Your gender and gender identity.
  2. Age.
  3. Your family of blood. And/or your family of choice. (Family of choice means the people in your life by choice. Folks who can become as important to you as blood kin. Like father, mother, brother, sister, children. This spiritual daybook includes many chapters on family of blood and family of choice.)
  4. Religious affiliation. Including, for some of us, affiliation with what I call disorganized religion.
  5. Ethnic and cultural background.
  6. Belonging to your neighborhood, your local community.
  7. Political life at every level where you can vote.
  8. Your connection to folks with similar socioeconomic status.
  9. Finally, connecting to people who share your political and social beliefs.
  10. Wait, you’ve got one more kind of external dharma worth noting: Your commitment to the truth. (Why’s that’s external drama? Because real news, and other forms of truth, are based on facts. Knowledge and experience that have happened in objective reality. External reality, not the personal kind.)

Yes, Blog-Buddies, I Just Gave You a SECOND List of 10 forms of Dharma.

Our first list emphasized your personal qualities. While our second list brings up the range of your social obligations. (Each one, potentially, involving a kind of Tribal Loyalty.)

Imagine if you could do both. (Because you can.) Even if two complementary ways of understanding your dharma seems complicated at first.

Since you’ve read this deep into a pretty long article, you can handle complexity. Thank you, btw.

Seems to me, handling complexity is the dharma of intelligent people. Others have no such obligation. Since they don’t really have the requisite capacity. Fortunately, simpler thinking can also include caring about the truth.

Blog-Buddies, I wonder if in that second list, Item #7 jumped out at you. Or did a different one leap out, for you?

Seems to me, at this time in history, society can’t afford people ignoring Item #7. And, of course, it matters that one of your dharmas requires informed participation. In this case, paying attention to the facts of political life. And then voting your conscience. (Every election, please. No exceptions.)

10 External Dharmas! What Can that Mean for Tribal Loyalty?

Could the truth be this simple? When people choose only one or two forms of social dharma, they go tribal. Like this kind of problem might have happened to you as a teenager. Imagine: Back in high school you wanted to date Pat. But then your parents forbade it.

Wrong race. Wrong religion. Or wrong accent. (Since lists of tribal loyalties can go on and on.)

In this example, parents got fixed on one kind of dharma. Just one loyalty, supposedly mattering more than all the others.

Sometimes folks revert to Tribal Identity by compartmentalizing. Such as happened to my high school friend Wendy. She wanted to date Michael. But noooooooo. Because he was black. (Still is, haha! We’re in touch via Facebook. I like him and admire what he’s done with his life. And btw in his seventies, he’s still really handsome.)

  • Back at Wendy’s parents, they’d sent their daughter to the United Nations International School. Why? So their daughter would learn not to mix?
  • Besides that, religion was a big deal in Wendy’s family. The parental unit? Heavy duty Episcopalians. Devoted to following Jesus’s teachings. Supposedly. Ooops.

See what I mean about compartmentalized thinking? And Tribal Loyalty! For Wendy’s parents, race trumped all. Not wicked, just human.

For many Americans, and their Republican representatives in Congress, which dharma wins? Tribal loyalty that omits Item 10, among others.

Not In Conclusion, But Pausing

Blog-Buddies, we’ve got a follow-up article coming. Hey, here’s your link. Meanwhile, let’s talk.

COMMENT away and you’ll enrich our bloggy conversation. For instance, what do you think of those two different lists, 10 dharmas apiece? At this time in your life, which kind of dharma matters most to you?

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Join the Discussion

  1. 1
    Kylie says:

    This is the right blog post at the right time for me. I’ve been thinking about dharma a lot recently. For me I think the first important part of dharma for me is having a job where I can be of direct service to other people, using my social and creative talents.

    This is about my sacred beliefs. There are many other ways people can be of service, ways that make more money and come with more status. But at this time: what gives my life meaning is public service.

  2. 2
    Kylie says:

    Another part of dharma: supporting the people I care about, my family and friends and people in the RES community.

  3. 3
    Kylie says:

    And something that I am working on now: “making choices that help you to feel very alive.”

    Something I have discovered is that it makes a huge difference making even small choices in that direction every day.

  4. 4
    Kylie says:

    For example, adding one creative activity to the day. Switching up my daily choices.

    For example, it is not written in stone that I must read every evening, it’s just a very long standing habit. But I’ve realized that it really does NOT make me feel alive, not the way I have been doing it. Now I’m experimenting with changing up the type of reading or doing other activities during that time.

  5. 5
    Kylie says:

    And finally, dharma includes not lying to myself.

    Something that helps me with that: reading my own aura on a regular basis.

  6. 6
    Kylie says:

    About treating others well: one of the biggest joys of my job is smiling at people.

    Especially the little people, because children literally seem to come alive when they encounter a real smile.

  7. 7
    Claudia says:

    Sometimes the articles at this blog are exceptionally power packed. This is one.

    As a spiritual person for my whole adult life, I am very moved by your honest exploration of dharma. I’ve never seen such a practical article before on dharma. Today’s post is a big deal to me, Rose. Thank you.

  8. 8
    Kylie says:

    Dharma has always seemed important to me, but at this time in history when so many people are in spiritual addiction or shutdown, it is more important than ever.

    The stakes have never been higher. Staying myself and doing my human best, is important for me and it’s important for a lot of other people too.

  9. 9
    Kylie says:

    And my final (final!) thought about dharma is that I think about my life review, when I am standing in front of God and other divine beings.

    I want to be proud, not sorry.

  10. 10
    Kylie says:

    Something that especially struck me in your blog post: ” handling complexity is the dharma of intelligent people.”

    I want to live up to the dharma of what is possible for me.

  11. 11

    KYLIE and CLAUDIA, thanks for appreciating what I was trying to communicate in this article.

    I’m hoping that others will share their Aha!s here as well.

  12. 12

    When you’ all take the time to comment, it cycles back to strengthening — and sometimes even shaping — the blog posts that I create for you.

    For instance, all morning I’ve been working on the Part 2 of this two-part series. KYLIE, one of your comments has just been quoted there. Definitely enriching that blog post.

  13. 13
    Brittany says:

    I’ve always had the problem of thinking I’m not a good person.

    Through RES sessions this has drastically improved, and this blog post is extremely helpful.

  14. 14
    Brittany says:

    Although my life before RES was full of a lot of drama and awful experiences, I still was able to follow my internal and external dharma, as listed above (minus a few, here and there).

    Realizing this really brightened my day. Thank you, Rose.

  15. 15
    Brittany says:

    My internal dharma matters most to me now.

    When I follow my internal dharma, the external dharma seems to fall into place more easily.

  16. 16

    Such helpful comments for many, no doubt!

    Once again, thank you BRITTANY for sharing your experience here.

  17. 17
    Ethan says:

    I agree with Claudia this is such a practical article thank you Rose for sharing this.

    Wow– Kylie– amazing comments:) I especially like #9.

  18. 18

    ETHAN, thanks. I love comments like these, because they’re like stirring the pot of a delicious stew.

    What’s swirling around already at the blog grows tastier.

  19. 19
    Jnana says:

    That’s a grand word, it is, dharma.

    And this has been the grandest of all the explanations of it I’ve read.

  20. 20

    JNANA, I’m so touched. Coming from you especially, what you’ve written is such an honor.

    Thank you.

  21. 21
    Steve says:

    Fascinating. I find this article fascinating.

    Compared to Jnana, I gather, I’m at the opposite end of knowing about dharma. What you’ve written makes so much sense, though.

  22. 22
    Steve says:

    Guess my biggest a-ha from all this is about the Evangelical Christians who keep on supporting Trump. What occurs to me?

    For them, maybe they see their entire dharma, or whatever is their most sacred version of being a good person, as religion.

  23. 23
    Steve says:

    As somebody who loves God too, although totally different from being an Evangelical anything, I can see how a person would believe God comes first.

    I’m thinking especially about that shocking article you wrote about Christians who believe that Trump is the Messiah, the Second Coming of Christ.

  24. 24
    Steve says:

    If any of you readers missed that powerful article, it is here.

    https://www.rose-rosetree.com/blog/2019/01/07/trump-second-coming-christ-auric-overlay/

  25. 25
    Steve says:

    Rose, your article came out in January of this year. You prepared me for some news in April, when a once-prominent American politician, Michele Bachman, proclaimed about Trump, “He is highly biblical, and I would say to your listeners, we will in all likelihood never see a more godly, biblical president again in our lifetime,”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2019/04/17/michele-bachmann-trump-most-godly-biblical-president/3495256002/

  26. 26
    Steve says:

    I can see how, with God as religion in the mix, people could forget completely about God as dharma.

    And now I’m going to nominate Bachman for your Enlightenment Life List. That link I just gave you has an excellent photo of her. I really wonder if she’s got the kind of consciousness lifestyle that gives her what you, Rose, call “the standing” to proclaim who is a the most “godly” president.

  27. 27

    STEVE, your comments are much appreciated.

    And speaking of fascinating, isn’t “godly” an odd word all around? Because God is Divine. While humans are human.

  28. 28

    Personally, I think that anybody attempting to impersonate a Divine Being, while human, is a fool. Or worse.

    Same goes for anybody attempting to compliment — or exalt — a human being by calling that person “godly.”

  29. 29

    Funnily enough, here’s a link to an opinion piece that I just read in today’s Washington Post, “Who but a demon could impeach God’s chosen one?”

  30. 30
    Bob says:

    I’ve been looking for an article that thoroughly explains dharma for the last five years.

    Thank you for going into such details and posting this. This has brought a lot of clarification for me.

  31. 31

    Thanks so much, BOB. I’m touched by what you’ve written here.

    You know, this is one of those articles I wish that many of you Blog-Buddies would share with others.

    An article about dharma that isn’t tied to religious traditions, yet is respectful — that’s what I’ve been aiming for. Please share it on social media if you can.

  32. 32
    Erika says:

    A very refreshing article! I am so glad to have found you. What about sending love energetically to people ?

    Does that not count, or must we be physically present? Yes I love how you say we are human, with human frailties.

  33. 33

    Welcome to my blog, ERIKA. And you’ve already asked such a great question.

    At the risk of writing something controversial here…. 😉

  34. 34

    As human beings, we send love humanly to other people.

    As in this article about watering plants and also showing kindness to neighbors and strangers. Human smiles. Human greetings. Physical water. Not woo-woo energy.

  35. 35

    Look, I know the idea is very appealing. Both sending the love “energetically” when you’re in person. And also the idea of sending it remotely.

    Back in the Age of Faith, that may have worked sometimes. But not now. Because, whether most people know it yet or not, by now, we’re in the Age of Awakening.

  36. 36

    Could be, a lot of the appeal of all that energy sending is the very human desire to just do something. To help somebody, somehow. Connecting. Sharing. Or even doing something spiritual.

    Unfortunately, that’s a lot like five-year-olds playing that they’re healers. No disrespect intended. Many of us were told versions of Christianity that emphasized having the heart of a child.

  37. 37

    In the Age of Awakening, what matters isn’t the perfection of our childlike hearts. It’s skills.

    You see, we can learn effective skills to help ourselves energetically. Yes, helping effectively.

  38. 38
  39. 39

    And I can also train you to effectively help other people.

    But I’ll warn you. (Or inspire you, ERIKA. Your choice.) There’s more to learning Energy HEALING skills, when studying Energy Spirituaity, than taking a Saturday workshop that (supposedly) credentials you to heal yourselves, and others, and then do remote healing for everybody in the known universe. Which might now come under the category of “Nice try.”

  40. 40

    You know, I’ve got a lot more to share on this and related topics. Here’s a head’s up: An entire weekend workshop that might help you a lot is planned for June 13-14, 2020.

    Details will be coming up around December 9 for all five of the brand-new Energy Spirituality workshops I’ll give in the coming year

  41. 41
    Emily Turner says:

    Thank you for this post Rose.

    And so excited for that future workshop!

  42. 42

    EMILY, I wondered if anybody would notice that Comment #41. And there you are, in record time!

    Well, that’s you, EMILY. Leadership on wheels. (Only in human form, not technically designed as a car.)

  43. 43
    Living on Earth says:

    Thank you for this post Rose!

    I’ve heard the concept before but haven’t been particularly interested in it. Maybe because of the heavy religious connections of it.

  44. 44
    Living on Earth says:

    Going through your list, I’m proud of myself for unknowingly finding my way to following my dharma.

    Its so refreshing to read about such deep topics in “human” terms. Which anyone can easily relate to.

  45. 45
    Living on Earth says:

    I particularly agree with this part: “Practical point: Following your dharma doesn’t necessarily cause you to always feel like a good person. Or make you universally popular.”

    The right things are not necessarily the easiest to do. But hey that’s why we’re here!

  46. 46

    LIVING ON EARTH, thanks so much. As an Enlightenment Coach, I believe it’s important to translate spiritual wisdom into human terms, freed from (to me, optional) religious contexts.

    And you, among other Blog-Buddies who’ve commented here — you totally get that. Hooray!

  47. 47
    Erika says:

    Your ideas are so very different from what I have been learning, and I am open to them completely. I’m very excited to peruse your blog and have added two of your books to my cart.

    Yes I am drawn to the idea of being able to ‘do’ something, especially as a practical hermit. I’ve never felt comfortable with TM or Mr. Roth and am very curious to read your articles on meditation. I appreciate you taking the time !

  48. 48

    Thanks, ERIKA. If one of those books you buy is “Bigger than All the Night Sky” (my memoir that aims to accelerate the reader‘s spiritual awakening) you can read about how I started TM and came to be a teacher.

    This (first?) memoir ends with coming home from being made an initiator by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And it includes how very uncomfortable I felt during my TM initiation.

  49. 49
    Ethan says:

    Hi Rose, as per your comment 43 I recently caught up with one of the most senior people of that group who I used to be quite close to-

    On top of her not looking like herself anymore she was telling me about her three concurrent relationships.

  50. 50
    Ethan says:

    It was sad to me because on she told me that on her recent birthday not one of these men spent anytime with her-but she said it was perfect.

  51. 51
    Ethan says:

    She somewhat solicited me for any leads for her life coaching business and promoted an upcoming spiritual retreat in Hawaii that she thought I might like.

  52. 52
    Ethan says:

    To a causal observer she may seem like she is living her best life (cliche term used these days) but I think there is more going on.

  53. 53

    Golly, ETHAN! How about how it seems to you as an observer of objective reality?

    Right there, on the surface of life, you’ve told us the following things about “Gladys,” your former companion on a spiritual path. (Assuming that I’ve read your comments correctly. And if I’m out of line, comment about that as well. I can take it.)

  54. 54

    #1. As a senior member of this spiritual group, she’s supposed to be in Enlightenment. (As you noted in earlier comments here at this thread today.)

    #2. She’s having sex with three different men.

  55. 55

    #3. And not one of those three relationships is close enough for even one of her f***-buddies to acknowledge her birthday. Yet she calls that “perfect.”

  56. 56

    #4. You don’t report any questions from her about YOUR life. Were there any?

    Did she even make semi-personal inquiries like, “How’s your cat doing”?

  57. 57

    #5. Next, Gladys began to solicit you for her coaching business.

    (Erg, is she maybe going to coach clients in how to have a fulfilling, lasting, mutual, love relationship with just one person at a time?)

  58. 58

    #6. And then she tried selling you on a spiritual retreat with this group.

    (IMHO, you’re already providing some pretty telling evidence that her spiritual group has failed her.)

  59. 59

    #7. Most concerning of all, she no longer looked like herself.

  60. 60

    For heaven’s sake, ETHAN. No longer looked like herself?

    If you click on this link, you’ll find a ton of photographs of me. (Please, let’s not even get started on the various hairstyles 😉 ) And, of course, this Google search turns up many faces belonging to people who aren’t me at all.

  61. 61

    But if you choose different pictures that show my goofy face, don’t they all look like me?!

    And you’ve grown so much since we’ve been doing Energy Spirituality sessions. Don’t all your photographs still look like YOU?

  62. 62

    Whatever dharma/good person standards you’ve got, humanly speaking, how great are Gladys’s results from this spiritual path she’s been on?

    No, I’m not asking you to “be judgy.” Just to take a stand as a human being and, as such, show a little discernment!!!!!

  63. 63
    Ethan says:

    Rose I agree with what you say-objectively there was a lot to be concerned about and she did not ask me questions about myself, more was waxing poetic on life.

    She was using the language I remember was commonly used on the retreats.

  64. 64
    Ethan says:

    I am grateful that my path took me into a new direction.

    And yes your pictures do look like you, and I still look like me 🙂

  65. 65

    ETHAN, good photo recognition there.

    And let’s give credit where it’s due. Rather than the passive spirit-talk about “my path took me…. ” Consider the difference, in terms of your personal growth, if you admit the truth to yourself and write plainly, “I chose a different path for my personal growth and spiritual evolution.”

  66. 66

    Isn’t that true, ETHAN?

    Or is it more that you found yourself on a moving walkway that carried you off in a different direction? (I didn’t think Earth School worked that way, for spiritual evolution. But, hey, I’m still learning.)

  67. 67
    Ethan says:

    Definitely no moving walkway carried me off (that imagine makes me laugh).

    I much prefer your plainly written explanation-I did choose a different path!

  68. 68

    ETHAN, empowerment isn’t inconsequential. Big implications there!

    You see, for gaining Traditional Enlightenment, it’s all about Age of Faith-style obedience and surrender. But for Age of Awakening Enlightenment, seems to me, empowerment is the ticket. You’re getting that. Hooray!

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