Dharma, choice and wellness

Dharma, choice and wellness

The ancient Sanskrit texts state…

There are 3 types of suffering that come with time...

Fear about the future.

Lamentation about the past.

Confusion in the present.

The power of inward-looking perception conquers all 3 & lifts one into a higher state of being – a powerful state of inner freedom. It gives a person the ability to shape his or her world.

I LOVE this... It gives us control amidst the chaos.

I also LOVE that this is the 'secret knowledge of kings'. That those in power were expected to have done the work on themselves before they were seen to be fit to rule & make the right decisions for others... So far removed from most of the rulers we see today...

This is so relevant for us today, for as the kings and queens of old ruled their kingdoms, so do we rule ours. We have the choice to rule well or to rule badly. We have the choice to be happy and well and to bring happiness and wellness to others… and luckily for us, the ancient wisdom of kings and queens is preserved in the Dharma code – the art of making enlightened choices. A set of principles to live by to achieve an enlightened existence.

We are constantly making choices – they just tend to be shit ones. If we can master the art of making good choices, we master BEING. This is about learning to act skilfully. This process guides the direction of our life, it creates our world…

Our world is what we perceive it to be.

We talk of people with a sunny disposition, glass half empty, glass half full. The world you see is what you think it is. Your world, your experience of it; is your construction.


We exist at the heart of our perceptual universe – our universe exists because we observe it. The only World we know is the one we perceive. Therefore, if we alter what we perceive, we alter the World we know. What is interesting about this is we buy into a particular version of reality and the more we stick with that version, the more we convince ourselves that it is true… We adopt habits and behaviours that reinforce our view of the world and we don’t stop to question it. If we stop and look within as opposed to looking out, we can actually change our world. We can make our world a better place to exist in. Those people who understand this, understand that they can choose. This inner freedom is both powerful and liberating.

1.     Perception is creative

“We don’t see things as they are. No, we see them as we are.” Carl Jung

2.     What we feed, grows

We assume the qualities that we absorb our hearts and mind in… Our state of being is reflected in our World. So, if you are anxious, you see things to be feared – And the anxiety grows.

To bring about change, the first thing to do is change your thinking. It is about interpretation. It is also why the same lessons come and come until we have learnt them… The change takes place within.

3.     Change perception, changes your World

Everything we experience is what we think it is. We can choose where to place our thoughts. If we bring conscious consideration to what we are thinking, we can think differently and we can change our experience. The easiest time to control what we are thinking is at inception, when we are dealing with fledgling thoughts. If we create a habit around this… Look at your thoughts when they arise, you can change them to something that is more helpful.

Moreover, if you don’t do this. If you don’t control how, you think and perceive your World – someone else will!!! Modern life means being bombarded, media,advertising, fear to make you buy shit, fear of missing out, fear of getting old, fear of what you look like, fear of not being good enough, fear that your relationship isn’t as good as someone else’s – all constructed by those who want to make money out of you. Who fill our Worlds with fear, greed, envy, unease, boredom etc. We find ourselves caught in unhelpful habits and behaviours that lead us to suffering – and mostly we have no idea that we can regain ownership. 


This is about design principles, it is about opening our eyes and living intentionally. Recognising our thoughts and perceptions and taking back control. If the design is good – so too will be the quality of your existence.

1.       Avoid losing yourself in the endless search for worldly wealth – in this game, you never have enough. You are always reaching for more, there is always someone else who has a bigger and a better thing. You are always reaching for the next iPhone, shoes, car, house etc. Self-esteem is tied up in it all. If you value yourself and others on what they have, your sense of worth can never be safe for there is always more to achieve. You are never enough… The stress that is tied up in this is massive.

2.     Don’t take your story so seriously – We are each a story-teller. Telling the story of our life. This story has a reconstructed past, a perceived present and an anticipated future – it is, in short, a life myth. If we can see that our stories are just that, stories, we can free ourselves. All the time we cling on to the narrative, we create limitations and suffering. If we can learn to be a conscious author, we can direct the way our story unfolds and therefore transform our World.

3.     Success that is not your own – Search your heart and do what makes it sing. Other people have ideas about what success looks like and if you follow someone else’s version, the chances are it won’t be right for you. There will not be satisfaction and happiness if you chase someone else’s version of success. Be true to yourself and keep searching until you have found what it is that fills you with joy.

4.    Do it now, don’t wait for life to begin – This is the idea that many people have, that happiness lies in the future. It will be ok when… That it is something we are working towards. But by reaching for the horizon, all you findis more horizon. The future will never be any better than our construction of our present.

5.     Living in opposition to time – This is my one. It feels like there is not enough time. Rushing around in our modern World. Our attitude towards time forms our perceptual world. And time is life. Instead of working against time, if we change our perception to it and learn to be in the moment, the whole thing turns on its head…

6.    Integrity – Do the right thing even when no one is watching. Everything we do reflects back at us. There are consequences for everything we do. Again,this is about the construction of our perceptual World. It is a nicer place tobe if we strive to be nicer.


So this is about seeing and changing our design habits. Most of us think we are free – we do have unprecedented outer freedom and yet this modern World of ours has trapped most of us in a very small life. We are focused so much on having, that we have lost what it is to be. We are imprisoned in our World; we adopt strange and unhelpful behaviours and patterns to cope with what we think we can’t change. Self-destructive behaviours are everywhere.

And the answer? The way forward… To reshape our world at the beginning. At the level of thought. To escape this chaos. To consciously direct our attention, our thoughts, our identity, our relationship with time. To change things at the origin.

And we have guidelines to do this – an ancient code, devised by the Rishis in India. The Dharma code…

A massive thank you to Simon Hass, whose brilliant book, The Book of Dharma – making enlightened choices, has made a significant difference to my World.

jo stephens