How are dharma and inner healing intertwined?
A short exploration of dharmic traditions, inner healing and how they work together
Across the 11 years of my spiritual journey, I’ve found that my exploration of dharma has been closely intertwined with my inner healing journey as well. Although new age spirituality is a whole area in and of itself, it has it’s roots in ancient traditions - in particular, Vedic traditions which have gifted the world the systems of Yoga, Ayurveda, Mantras and many other systems in which people have found greater inner peace and solutions for their problems.
The meaning of dharma is understood in multiple ways by different people; yet dharma itself is a Sanskrit word which has a specific meaning. For example, ‘swadharma’ is one’s own dharma. Dharma can be understood as duties, or purpose; yet dharma is something that is specifically defined in Hindu culture. For example, conducting ancestral rituals during the time of Pitru Paksh is one example of Hindu dharma or duties of a Hindu.
Whilst some may focus exclusively on the ritualistic or traditional path of dharma, inner healing work is also closely connected in both understanding our dharma and being able to better perform it. Likewise, exploring dharma in various forms also helps with the inner spiritual journey on deep levels.
We know that the outer world is a reflection of the inner world.
And most of our subconscious mind is unexplored and unconscious. As we go through the inner healing journey, we open ourselves up to understanding the meaning of dharmic traditions and their spiritual meaning in new ways, as well as allow greater alignment to ourselves from within. Because the answers, the alignment comes from inside, which we also term as intuition. This faculty is essential for us to grasp the things we read in books on an experiential level.
So what do we mean by inner healing work?
The healing journey essentially involves taking responsibility for yourself. Physical health, emotional health, mental health and spiritual health are all connected. This is a vast area, but one framework of understanding this is through the chakra system. Vedic systems outline 7 major chakras in the body and 5 koshas or sheaths. As we go through life (both this life and past lifetimes), we accumulate patterns, experiences and traumas which are stored in our energy body until we release or heal them. Healing these patterns or getting to know ourself takes time and effort.
And literally every aspect of our life is connected to the healing journey - be it our physical health, financial abundance, relationships, emotional patterns and of course discovering or performing our soul purpose. It is an on-going journey which takes you back and forth multiple times, through darkness, light and everything in between.
When you actively make efforts towards your inner healing journey, this catalyses your spiritual journey too. And in the context of dharma in particular, as you heal yourself from within this helps you embody more of the concepts and ideas of dharma rather than just reading about them.
One simple example is how in the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna describes the state of ‘Samadhi’ and the characteristics of this. One of those is a state of equanimity, neither affected by gain or loss, pleasure or pain. Not in a detached sense of not caring, but rather internal equilibrium. Now this is something that each person will have a different understanding and exploration of in their own life.
Yet as you continue along the inner healing journey, you will naturally find you are better able to process failure, rejection, things not working out the way you wanted, uncomfortable emotions and so forth. You will also have more clarity of mind as to how you can support your dharma, when you clear away the cobwebs of what modern society has programmed into us.
Flowing into another practical example, let’s take the very practical and real world idea of preserving dharmic traditions which could mean protection of indigenous Gaumata as we know is important in Hindu dharma. As you heal your inner world and limiting beliefs which hold you back from manifesting the life that you want; from drawing in more financial abundance to be able to contribute better to your dharma on a collective level - you can realise FAR more of your own potential. You can have more time to study, learn and expand your knowledge which is also part of dharmic paths. Healing your inner world and healing your life is literally central to this.
Inner healing work shifts your vibration. The ancestral dharmic systems laid out in scriptures are a sophisticated way of doing this too - even the most simple thing like your daily Dincharya or morning routine, offering Arghya to the sun, which brings you into alignment with the cycles of nature and the natural intelligence within your own body. And as you become more spiritually conscious and sensitive, the effects of doing these things is also felt more strongly.
So the two things are closely intertwined.
The reason that inner healing work is so important for any individual, regardless of who they are, is because that is the key that unlocks everything. Otherwise we keep repeating the same patterns; we keep running around in this maze of the external world without taking time to be aware of our own experience and energy.
And indeed this is what changes the world; aside from external activism, knowledge gathering, and responsibilities - inner healing work gets you into that 95% of the subconscious mind which is unexplored.
Making the unconscious, conscious.
There are such a wide array of natural healing modalities now available to us from ancient cultures across the globe and modern systems too. From yogic techniques to shamanic healing modalities, plant medicine, energy healing, somatic healing therapies, inner child work, emotional integration and the list of things and areas goes on and on. The key word here is natural; the pharmaceutical industry has absolutely nothing to do with healing and is in opposition to all of this.
Healing yourself is also synonymous with decolonisation. Because you are freeing yourself from centuries of generational trauma to reclaim your origins and ancient ways of life. Because you are healing your OWN delimitating patterns so they are not passed down to the next generation. So you can birth an entirely new generation of conscious, evolved and connected individuals. This is significant.
In Vedic traditions, therefore we have a Guru - Shishya Paramapara (this is not the same as new age spiritual gurus), which is one of the reasons that these knowledge systems have sustained for thousands of years despite every other ancient civilisation on the planet being wiped out. Preserving the lineages and ancestry is just as essential too for the continuation of dharma. Likewise, ancestral healing is also a major part of the inner healing journey as well; so both the understanding of dharmic traditions and the inner work we do are closely interconnected in shifting karmic patterns as well as preserving civilisation.
There are so many more areas where these two things interconnect; and indeed I don’t think they can be separated. Whilst everyone has their own journey in life, a lot of the healing journey also involves simply finding reverence for the source of life. And to discover this within ourselves.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is explore or change your own self.
But it does pay off, far beyond this lifetime.
PS. I will write a separate article on how Mesoamerican shamanic healing modalities have thrown me head on into ancestral healing and helped me develop a stronger understanding of dharmic traditions.