Dhamma Willing

By | 6/8/2023

Dhamma willing as a notion is naturally a play on the more well-known and frequently used phrases like “God willing” or “Inshallah.” These and countless other similar legislates imply that instead of tossing and turning in times of great difficulty or dilemma, it’s optimal to surrender to some higher power that we trust or respect as a general maximum to living a stress-free life. Manish Chopra

While I truthfully haven’t given a great deal of specific thought to what I now feel about a certain concept of God as I may have held in the past, I do have a relatively clear conception of the essential universal principles I now espouse and believe underpin the plane of existence that I exist within. And for all practical purposes, this is as much an understanding I need to ensure in order to progress my life with peace and equanimity.

Some of these tenets include a realization that as soon as I allow any mental defilements to arise in my mind—be that greed, fear, anger, envy, or lust—I immediately suffer a dose of anxiety. Contrarily, when I remain at ease with my circumstances, or better yet, generate love and goodwill for those around me, I am gifted with a prompt payment of inner peace and happiness.

And these two principles can only really be appreciated through a direct knowledge and experience of impermanence (or non-constancy) in all phenomena. In simple terms, any situation – whether seemingly good or bad—is always in the process of changing, which thus helps us appreciate that it is pointless to lament unfavorable circumstances and equally futile to expect that a favorable context will last. In other words, change truly is the only constant in all aspects of life—however big or small—and nothing is really in place forever—whether a person, place, or feeling.

Another key construct that has affirmed itself is that the source of mental defilements, which in turn cause misery, is directly dependent on how much I entangle myself with likes (wants), dislikes (avoidances), and self-orientation (egotism).

And the readily available countermeasure to maintain a peaceful orientation is an active cultivation of equanimity at all times. This, in turn, can be done simply through a conscious and constant choice to observe vs react to external stimuli which directly manifest as mental formations and physical sensations within the framework of my mind and body and can be neutralized through meditation. 

What has also become very clear is that when I live my life conforming to these universal principles of nature (or Dhamma), I find that my actions and circumstances start to improve spontaneously or at the very least my ability to deal with situations is considerably improved even when there is adversity. Correspondingly, when I act in defiance of these simple and timeless truths, I am bereft of the ability to deal with challenges, never mind the outcomes themselves resulting from my actions remain lastingly unfavorable.

I have also concluded through close examination that there is no gimmick or irrationality or inexplicability associated with the linkage between my mental, physical, and verbal actions with outcomes that arise from them. Aside of course, from aspects of life that I don’t directly control, like the proverbial hand I may have been dealt that explains that we can only control our direct efforts and must contend with a starting point that we don’t control (or at best, can only indirectly influence). Just like we don’t question the existence of gravity in the universe and see it manifest in all physical phenomenon, so it is with Dhamma manifesting in all aspects of our existence with certain mathematical precision.

There are times when I can easily draw the direct connection between my actions and the resultant outcomes after accounting for extraneous factors that I don’t control, be it actions of other individuals, or macro-events that can impact humanity at large. Importantly, however, when at times I am unable to see the connection with my limited abilities, I live in the confident comfort that because I have acted or generated a noble volition in accordance with Dhamma, the derivative outcomes will always be good, whatever they maybe (and even if it is not immediately apparent). Or, if they are not, there must be a deeper karmic reason that I am unable to comprehend at the time of acting.

To be sure, this isn’t some blind-faith approach akin to complete and unquestioning surrender to some Super Being. In fact, it is the logical conclusion of an inherently inquisitive and scientifically trained mind that only believes what it has been able to bear out through actual rational and direct personal experience. And having thus studied countless situations—from the past and in the present—with varying level of actions on my part and drawing relevant correlates, have concluded that Dhamma acts with as much certainty as does gravity.

My leadership coach summed it up very practically when I shared this emergence with him during a session by thus concluding in plain English, “Things always work out in the mind. And if they haven’t worked out, it must not yet be the end!” This idea brilliantly expressed this morsel of insight. Thus, I fearlessly and confidently keep progressing on the path in the knowledge that things always work out in the end if I keep doing my part—Dhamma willing!

2 Comments

Bonnie Topper-Bricker
Date: 6/28/2023

Thank you for your essay. It summarizes everything I have learned as a Vipassana meditator. I am a hospice nurse and very often tell my patients and their families, "It all works out in the end; if it hasn't worked out it is not the end." Consistently, everyone laughs and relaxes. It works wonders.

Joegain
Date: 7/25/2023

"Dhamma acts with as much certainty as does gravity." How true! Brilliant article, please keep writing and practicing.

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