The 5 Stages Of Dharma Discovery + How To Know Where You Are
The reason we balance the mind and body is so we can regain touch with the soul. True wellness is not just perfect digestion or clear skin but knowing the truth of who you are and shifting your life into alignment with that. The purpose of health is so you don't have to worry about health anymore and instead can bring your energy toward focusing on your dharma.
Your dreams are not an accident. The very reason you have them is that within them lies your dharma. You will never have an idea you don't have the ability to bring to life. That idea chose you as its ideal messenger because you are the perfect person to make it happen. However, that doesn't mean it's going to happen instantly or easily.
The obstacles you must overcome to bring that vision into reality are the training you need to embody your dharma and share it with the world.
You were born with unique gifts that you're meant to share with others. These gifts may not be fully nurtured, but they are there, waiting for you to tap into them. Perhaps you are aware of these gifts, but fear is stopping you from sharing them. Or perhaps your ego won't allow you to remember what they are (as your ego is just the bodyguard of your soul). It's not so much about finding your dharma as much as it's remembering your dharma.
Though my journey began with Ayurveda, the story I ended up sharing again and again was the story behind the story—how I created this reality. What I've realized is Ayurveda doesn't just inform us about our health but on a deeper level about who we are. It teaches us to harmonize the mind and body so we can be guided by the subtleties of our souls.
Through my podcast, I have interviewed hundreds of people on their dharmic journey and found a common thread. Here it is:
Stage 1: Self-awareness
You realize there has to be more to this life than what you've been living. You know that you have a purpose but have no idea what it is. Frankly, you don't even know where to start. It feels like you've been placed in this life with no choice and simply can't go on living this way. You know you need a radical change. Through pain or numbness, you are called to take action and transform your life. This is where the seed of dharma is planted.
Stage 2: Self-improvement
You make it a mission to improve yourself. You may begin practicing yoga asanas, following inspirational people on Instagram, reading self-help books, listening to motivational speakers, using a meditation app. You've begun changing habits that are no longer serving you. This stage is focused on the physical and mental level more than the soul level. This is where the seed of dharma is watered.
Stage 3: Awakening
Your interest shifts from improving yourself to knowing yourself. You begin to realize that you are not your body or your mind but rather a soul living in a body with a mind. You are hungry to learn about every spiritual topic such as yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, ecstatic dance, shamanism, and more.
You may do some solo travel to spiritual destinations like Bali, India, or Peru, or have the desire to. Your entire worldview shifts as you become aware of the limiting beliefs passed down intergenerationally and begin to do the healing work.
Your family and friends may not recognize you anymore and label you as crazy. This may be a difficult phase where you face loneliness, but know that you are making these important shifts to come in alignment with your truth. You begin to realize that there is a whole world of possibilities you haven't been aware of before. This is when the seed of dharma sprouts.
Stage 4: Higher consciousness
You are out of the spiritual closet and no longer feel the need to hide your beliefs to be taken seriously. You have found the practices that resonate with you and begin sharing them, perhaps on social media or with your family, friends, and colleagues. You know that you have a dharma, but you aren't exactly sure what it is and are still in the dabbling stages. It becomes increasingly obvious to you that your current job is not in full alignment with who you are.
You continue your spiritual growth through shadow work, ancestral healing, plant medicine, and/or past-life regression. You no longer operate from victim consciousness and have realized life is happening for you rather than to you.
You have emerged as an entirely new you, and people begin asking you how you did it. This is when the dharma sprout begins to grow.
Stage 5: Stepping into your dharma
Through embodying who you are, you realize the deeper purpose of why you are here. You remember your sacred mission on this planet. Suddenly your worldview transitions from me to we. Your spiritual practice becomes something so much greater than you; it becomes the foundation from which you heal humanity.
You are fueled by the cosmos and tapped into the universal life force streaming through you. You transform any part of your life that is not in utmost alignment because you see how it is holding you back from your mission. You realize that you are here to be of service and through following your highest joy, you serve the world. You see that you are only a channel for this cosmic wisdom coming through your vessel. This is the space in which you truly embody your dharma and the truth of who you are.
Sahara Rose is an author currently living in Los Angeles, California. She authored two books on ayurveda Eat Feel Fresh: A Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook and Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda, both with foreword by Dr. Deepak Chopra. She has been featured in Vogue, Forbes, Yoga Journal, Huffington Post, and NBC News. She was also the featured nutrition speaker at Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! event at Harvard Medical School.