In the past when I’ve spoken on Dharma, I generally translated it as Purpose. For example, in the traditional 4 Levels of Purpose (Universal, community, life period, and personal).
However, on a deeper level, Dharma is that which sustains. It is in sustaining that our purpose can unfold. Dharma maintains a balance between creative and destructive forces, thus upholding creation. For example, when we act positively, we experience positive results (karma) but this throws off the balance. Dharma responds with feelings of satisfaction, restoring balance. This is the essence of evolution. (Bucky Fuller talked of Action, Reaction, and Resultant, a triangle)
Everything is happening in an eternal now. But this is more a reflection of how God perceives, all at once. We as humans are a reflection of a single point of awareness, of awareness becoming aware of itself at a single point. From a point, we see one point at a time. (Bucky Fuller called this Special Case) We experience a sequence of individual points incrementally as a sequence of experiences, like a movie. The effect of this we call time. Thus, we experience the unfolding of our being in a systematic way, sequentially in steps.
For this process to be able to happen, time and space must continue. This introduces a fascinating aspect of totality: memory.
When Self recognizes itself fully, it leaves an impression within its eternal structure. This is known as Smriti or memory. When intelligence takes a direction or intention arises, it does so on the foundation of this memory. This has the effect of sustaining or Dharma. Dharma functions on the level of eternal Being. We could say it is the hand of God in our lives. Put another way, Prakriti (Nature) takes the next step on the basis of the last. Each step comes built on the memory of the last step and the memory of prior unfoldment.
Let’s look at it another way. Creation or expression arises from an impulse or intention. Physics talks of virtual fluctuations in the unified field. But you’ll note here there is an impulse, then it falls back within itself. The vast majority of impulses do just that, like a passing thought. But some continue.
What’s the difference? Memory. Some impulses are remembered and some are recalled from memory. This sustains that impulse.
Without this sustaining or Vedic principle of Vishnu (Rama, Krishna, etc.), all expression would cease again and there would be no playground or forum for experiences to unfold, for a process or evolution.
Thus Dharma is that which sustains and that which allows the unfoldment of who we are. Memory is the mechanism of Dharma. Of course, this is not memory in the sense of what you had for breakfast. That is a pale reflection of the eternal memory within consciousness itself. Smriti memory is beyond all expression. In fact it is the source of Veda (knowledge). Without this memory, eternal knowledge would be lost. Instead, it is only forgotten and remembered again.
There is quite a bit more that could be said. This process is the foundation of perception and brain functioning. It is memory that sustains you forward, lifetime to lifetime. It is the memory that brings creation back after dissolution and sustains it for its duration. Without it, it would be like God had Alzheimer’s: no knowledge, no enlightenment.
We could say evolution is a process of remembering. Remembering what is everlasting.