How do we achieve true health? In a world of imbalance, is it possible to bring oneself into a state of balance? And if so, how do we accomplish this task in an often difficult world?
This past week has been challenging in many ways. At times, I have felt a visceral reaction to world developments. I have cried. I have felt like the whole world is spinning out of control. So much uncertainty on the world stage! What a crazy time we are living in. How can ancient wisdom help us through this hard time?
One of the characteristics of the healing system of Ayurveda is fluidity – each person is unique, as is their circumstance. Thus, the Ayurvedic practitioner is trained to think in a fluid manner, addressing each person individually and tailoring a healing plan specific to them. It insists that the ‘patient’ take action to implement the lifestyle that will best support their healing and wellness. The counselor suggests action steps based on the person’s unique situation and constitution.
Ayurveda complements modern medicine because while heeding your Doctor’s advice, you can simultaneously take your health into your own hands through lifestyle modifications that have a real impact on your overall state of well-being. The two systems can work together well. True health seekers may not be satisfied with modern medicine alone – wishing to delve deeper and achieve optimum wellness motivates them.
While the road to wellness is fluid and unique to each person, there is a destination that is not fluid. It is the solid ground from which all of creation arises. I say solid ground because it is an unchanging force, but it is beyond the material world, and thus not made of anything material.
The concepts I have learned this week have been unexpected – I had no idea how vast the wisdom contained within this science would be. Ayurveda gives us a model as to the very fabric of the universe. If you are religious there is no conflict here as the information fits nicely into a religious view-point. If you are not religious, but more scientific, it still fits. It as if the early sages who wrote the Ayurvedic texts had a real pulse on the workings of the cosmos, and their structure.
I am learning the details of the layers of creation – how the elements come together to form our environment, our minds, and our bodies.
The material realm is full of uncertainty and change by its very nature. Just when we think we know what will happen next, everything suddenly shifts. The more attachment we hold to outcomes and predictions, the more we suffer on the wild ride of being alive.
However, if we take time to identify with the ‘ground of creation’ we can find relief from this suffering. Ayurveda calls this ‘ground of creation’ the Purusha; some may call it God; some the energy beyond all energy. It is totally beyond matter and is not comprised of any material elements. It is ‘pure spirit; beyond cause and effect; pure consciousness; the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; truth; reality; bliss’.
Ayurveda teaches that the Purusha is the sole seer or state of seeing, and the only true conscious entity. As we evolve and cease to identify ourselves with the forms and functions of the external world, we realize that this force resides within each of us, as our higher self. This is not to say that we are higher or better than this ultimate force; rather, we are one with it.
Mental health is nurtured and secured when we take time outside of our busy schedules and endless news feeds to be still. To tune into the ultimate consciousness. This is the practice of meditation. Pure consciousness becomes the solid ground in a world of shiftiness. Here lies the field of eternal bliss. This is the ultimate cure to any ailment.
All of the material realm is in a state of slight to great imbalance from this perfect state. True health is possible when we realize it requires a life-long dedication to self-reflection to determine where our imbalances may lie and to action to correct them.
The higher-self that is one with this ultimate force is distinct from the ego, and from the identification with the body. The mind itself is of the material realm, the higher-self is not the mind. It is beyond mind.
And so, as we all are on this wild ride of the material realm together, we also each have a piece of the ground of creation within us. This eternal piece of ourselves is connected to the same piece within each and every person.
Although some may find it a silly cliche, the more I study this ancient science the more I am convinced: we are all one.