Dhamma is the second jewel, the second of the three refuges in Buddhist practice. Taking refuge begins with asking the question, “where do I find safety?” When we take refuge in Dhamma, it means we seek and find safety in the truth of the way things actually are, warts and all.
Meditation is a way of opening to Dhamma, opening the mind to truth. Taking refuge in Dhamma is to be in a state of alert attention, not trying to concentrate on this and get rid of that; not caught in the habits of indulgence of the pleasant and suppression of the unpleasant.
It’s not a matter of reading the truth or waiting for somebody else to realize the truth for us or to tell us what the truth is. We study in this mind/heart/body internal and external reality, and their relationship. We realize the truth of the constantly changing, insubstantial, subtle, diaphanous and tenuous nature of all phenomena; the truth of dissatisfaction, its cause, its end and the Path to its end; and the inexorable law that all actions have consequences. This opens the way to the safety of living wisely.
Opening ourselves here and now, we experience peacefulness, because we’re not looking for any particular something to attach to, but opening to the way it is rather than the way we might romantically conceive things to be. This opens to spaciousness and ease. We’re not frantically running around in avoidance or denial; we’re stopping. Stopping, we open to and take refuge in Dhamma. Deep and long outbreath.