There are many ways to reach nirvana or enlightenment. Some Buddhists believe that it is possible for some people to, given the right causes and conditions, become enlightened instantly. Even those who believe this is possible say it is very rare. More often, the path to enlightenment stretches over the course of many lifetimes. Practicing the Dharma (the path) helps to speed the process along, and it increases happiness in this lifetime. Some of the practices are meditation, analytical meditation, accumulating merit by reciting mantras, helping others and by other means, cultivating right views and generating compassion for all sentient beings. There are other practices and they all are aimed at training the mind to be able to understand in an authentic way that this life and the reality we perceive in everyday life is not the true nature of reality. Once we perceive the true nature of reality and cultivate compassion to the degree that we have loving kindness for all sentient beings equally, we will be in nirvana.