The Role of Beliefs in Dharma

“Dharma means your personal role in the evolution of everything—What is your personal role in the evolution of everything?—and that personal role can only be detected by your individual consciousness being very at home with your own least-excited state.”

Thom Knoles

Our beliefs play a fundamental role in how we engage in life. What we learn in our early years becomes our guide as to the actions that we choose to take or not take in our lives.

For the most part these beliefs serve us well. They help us to live in harmony with our surroundings and our community, but are there points where we must set aside our beliefs for the higher good?

Most of us find ourselves from time to time, much like Arjuna on the battlefield with Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, in situations where our “duty” is at odds with our beliefs.

In this episode, Thom lays out a plan of action not too dissimilar from Krishna’s response to Arjuna, a plan that we can all put into practice easily on the battlefield of life.

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Episode Highlights


Virtuous Behavior



Dynamic Nature of Ethical Principles



Awakening Consciousness Through Meditation



Living Dharma: Aligning with Intentionality



Reinterpreting Dharma: Beyond Roles and Professions



Journey of Self-Discovery: From Virtues to Dharma


Jai Guru Deva


The Role of Beliefs in Dharma

[00:45] Virtuous Behavior

We have a very interesting phenomenon in our Western sense of to what extent am I virtuous or not virtuous? What are the virtues? And many of us have received our concept of what the virtues are from our upbringing. This is going to always be our baseline.

We look around and see which behaviors are the most desirable, and which generate the broadest-based most effective outcome, and which ones do not. Which behaviors seem to us to be more in tune with the way the laws of Nature work, and which behaviors simply are contrasting and antagonistic to the laws of Nature? So let’s call those the virtues, virtuous behavior.

And virtuous behavior may also then be added to, or augmented, by conversations with other people where we begin to strengthen our own existing sense, our virtue layers, or we may alter them through, augment or alter, through readings or through attending various kinds of religious backdrops and hearing various speakers hold forth on what it is you should believe in and what you should be thinking.

And so then there starts to become a difference between what I am thinking and what I should be or could be thinking. What I am doing or what I should be or could be doing, so doings, thinking, all of this, to what extent am I being virtuous?

And virtue is also a thing that we’ve learned how to signal. Virtue signaling is a big deal these days, in the 2020s, where there are people who have been seen out walking in the open air during the global pandemic of COVID, but walking in the open air, fully three, four hundred meters away from any other live being, wearing their mask.

Because they want to virtue signal that they are a believer in mask-wearing during the pandemic, even though there’s no scientific basis on which either they’re preventing anybody else from being infected, or they themselves becoming infected by anybody with a distance of three to four hundred meters between them and any other person.

[03:30] Dynamic Nature of Ethical Principles

So we can often see forms of virtue signaling occurring in styles of dress, in little buttons that people wear on their hats or on their clothing, bumper stickers, certain styles of behavior, certain places where you would be seen, certain places where you’d not be seen. And all of this will encompass a, it’ll be like a package of beliefs on display.

Then someone runs into the Vedic concept of dharma. D-H-A-R-M-A. Dharma means your personal role in the evolution of everything. What is your personal role in the evolution of everything? And that personal role can only be detected by your individual consciousness being very at home with your own least-excited state.

That least-excited state of your own individual consciousness being the closest to the unboundedness field, the unmanifest field of all the laws of Nature. The Unified Field of consciousness and your individual consciousness meet at a certain place in your least-excited state.

[04:49] Awakening Consciousness Through Meditation

And when you’ve practiced Vedic Meditation twice each day, for 20 minutes, for a number of years, you start to become very familiar with that place where your individuality and your universality meet, where they have a confluence.

And there, when our awareness is stationed in that place for regular periods of time, that state, that layer of us becomes awakened.

And this awakening of this layer allows us to be positioned, allows our individual awareness to be positioned in a place that is the catchment for all of the intentionality that’s coming out of the Unified Field.

Unified Field is constantly manifesting certain cascades of laws of Nature to bring about the process of evolution and it is constantly updating what it is that is perfect for you to be doing in a given moment.

In a given moment, it may be perfect for you to be disciplinary, and a few moments later it might be perfect for you to demonstrate compassion in a completely different way to that of being disciplinary.

And so then, making an intellectual decision that this is my dharma, my individual role in the evolution of everything based on things I’ve learned, things I learned at church, things I learned from readings, things I learned from my parents, things I learned from the outside world, things I’ve learned by thinking about things, thinking about thinking, thinking about dharma.

All of this is relatively superficial compared with stationing our awareness at that place of catchment, where the unmanifest Unified Field is in the process of manifesting its intent.

[07:01] Living Dharma: Aligning with Intentionality

When our awareness is established there, we can pick up the intentionality of the Totality field itself, and we can participate in that intentionality, bringing into action all of our individual capabilities, talents, and personal phenomenology.

Only then, when this is happening live and constantly in flow, are we actually living dharma. Dharma cannot be lived based on, “This is what I believe I should stand for,” because those beliefs, those concepts are always subject to change.

One good example is when we look at the Ten Commandments, as ostensibly given by God in the form of the self-effulgent, heatless, smokeless, burning bush with which Moses was in communication, that says thou shall not kill.

Whereas previously, in earlier chapters also written by Moses, we read that God adored Saul because he killed the Philistines, and that’s the old name for Palestinians, in their thousands, whereas David, he adored even more because he killed the Philistines in their hundreds of thousands.

And yet, in the next chapter, we see God saying to Moses, high on the pecking order of commandments, don’t kill, thou shalt not kill.

And so then, if we base our life on, I’m going to be virtuous by killing lots of Philistines and please God in this way, or I’m going to be very virtuous by not killing anybody ever, anytime, one’s individual mind, individual intellect that is stuck in the present moment of what’s happening, what’s appropriate at a given moment, what is it that’s actually natural to be doing at a given moment, becomes an obstacle to our capacity to actually read the intentionality of the Unified Field itself.

[09:31] Reinterpreting Dharma: Beyond Roles and Professions

And being able to read that intentionality of the Unified Field itself sounds difficult, but in fact, it’s ridiculously simple. It involves allowing our awareness constantly to reside both in the actions that we are performing and simultaneously have a backdrop in that least-excited place that we visit every day when we meditate.

Having that deep inner awareness be our instructional method that gives us the cues toward action or the cues toward not acting because omission of action is just as important as the timing of action.

When do you act? When do you omit to act? Do something between nothing and everything, or somewhere in between nothing and everything, at a given moment in time.

Timing is crucial and pivotal in having spontaneous right action that brings about the process of evolution, and this is what understanding dharma is all about. So often, dharma is confused with what role I play and what role my occupation or profession plays.

So, for example, Jesus of Nazareth was reported to have been raised by a carpenter, and in those days a son did exactly what his father did, and so, we make the assumption that he must also have been a carpenter.

[11:14] Journey of Self-Discovery: From Virtues to Dharma

And so then, what if Jesus had decided just to do carpentry and never followed the inner calling to bring out the wisdom of the Unified Field that he could feel bubbling up inside of himself as he moved around society and responded to the need of the time?

Well, we would have had one more carpenter in the world, in a world of which was probably already quite filled with carpenters, but we wouldn’t have had the great Rishi, the seer, Jesus of Nazareth, whose teachings have impacted the entire world, including the world of atheists and non-Christians.

And so then, what is it that’s properly dharma? Is it something that you have been raised to believe in, or are you acting from that deep place of your inner fine level of feeling, the place from which the Divine speaks to you?

That’s your burning bush. Your self-effulgent, heatless, smokeless, glowing consciousness state is in that least-excited state. This is the place where you commune with that Totality consciousness.

And so it’s important for us, when we’re analyzing the meaning of the word dharma, that we have this commitment in place, a commitment to continuing to practice the technique that continuously familiarizes us with the home of all the laws of Nature, the least-excited consciousness state.

Jai Guru Deva.

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