Protect your mind

It breaks my heart the amount of people diagnosed with a mental illness. It's truly astonishing that the maintenance of mind health can take such an inordinate amount of your life span - the feeling that you're "not right". Old memories resurfacing to create obstacles to opportunities, the inability to see the truth or essence of a thing, the rollercoaster HIGH then LOW making it difficult to trust your state and for others to do the same, the potential slide into the big space of elderly years where diseases like dementia are becoming more common - the total disconnect of your mind space to holding onto the earth.

When they sent man beyond our atmosphere, it may have been just an extension of a movement occurring right here on earth, within ourselves.

Come and live anywhere from Melbourne north where you don't know what you will get, weather wise,  from one day to the next, from one year to the next. It is a common feeling amongst most of us that this kind of haphazard weather can feel disruptive to our mind state. It is topical and you know you're from the region when it becomes part of your daily conversation. Up and down in any sense creates a constant unknown and this unknown, in an Ayurvedic sense, leads to fear if you don't have a sense of faith in some other part of your life. And to us, the idea of fear in the mind is most likely the root cause of everything you feel, every pain in the body, every distortion of your mind. We are fed daily, intravenously, with small enough drops of fear via the biggest drug in the world, the daily news, and to make it regional, health and safety legislature....from my experience of living in the US, it seems to have become our 9/11 - an excuse for everything. Add to that the fear of losing money via real estate in the overblown economy and Australia is in an interesting state of affairs. The house built on sand is becoming a high rise.

Anxiety, bipolar, ADHD, dementia, and so on. The mind is a space cavity and the possibilities are endless. So how does Ayurveda see the maintenance of mind via it's practises? How can we create faith outside of religion to build strong personal foundations not reliant on society, politics, or the economy?

You cannot have a mind disorder and think you’re free. It is an oxymoron. The desire to act outside of a rhythm keeps you imprisoned in your own self destructive thoughts.

Vata dosha is comprised of air and ether/space. Air likes to roam free. Observe the gypsy characters in your life, observe those folks whose legs need to twitch when they are seated, observe the arms waving from the enigmatic speaker at a work meeting. Vata incites, propels, moves along. And the more space it has, the wider the arms expand out. Air will look to fill every corner, nook and cranny if you let it. It's eyes will scan the horizon for future space. Routine and borders feel like sour pussies in an otherwise expansive state that only looks for possibilities.

So where is the mind? Is it in the brain or everywhere around us? Is it possible to place the idea of awareness? How do you know you have anxiety? What does it feel like? What about depression? Who told you you have depression? Why do they think so? Did they ask you about any other part of your body system or is the general feeling out there that the mind (which no one can pinpoint exactly) is a separate entity from the body. In that case, that is one hard nut to crack. It's like catching a cloud.

As for philosophies, even Jnana yoga, or the yoga of the intellect that questions it's primordial existence by acknowledging what isn't reality, knows it has a limit - at some point the mind cannot take you beyond the world of qualities because it is a reflective part of it. In other words, the state of meditation cannot be described, we can only observe it's side effects in calm composure, an objective perspective, and the understanding that all you need is here and now. Meditation is one of the most effective practises you can do to control the mind, however sometimes the act of sitting with your thoughts hurts, especially if you don't feel well, have body pain and have such a state of tension that meditation almost seems to make it worse.

Enter Ayurveda. They call it the sister science for this reason - Ayurveda works on settling the mind and body so it can do more etheric practises like meditation. Our body is comprised of a rhythm and when that goes out of whack because of excess working, travelling, too much dryness, too much eating to calm the nerves, too much talking and facebooking, haphazard sleep and eating patterns, the result is the body doesn't know when to kick off hormones or what I call the triggers. It loses it's trigger for appetite, for sleep and ultimately a sensitivity in relationships and therefore we sit and wait for a study to tell us what to do and what to eat- enter the world of politics.

The space element can be seen as the bigger picture or a black hole. I recommend the former. Create boundaries for your physiological functions - wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day. Wake just before sunrise. Eat meals according to appetite and eat at the same time each day. Don't snack. Rest periodically during the day - use park benches and take it easy. Stare out the window after a meal. Sit under a tree. 

She'll be right mate.

There is no doubt that after a life of disorder there are serious chemical imbalances that take place in a persons physiology, but this isn't the end, it's not a life sentence. I do not believe someone is doomed to a lifetime of chemical infusion if there is work to do with daily habits. Western medicine and it's current approach to mind care is like everything else, it's a band aid. It was never meant to be for chronic care. But sadly it has become so.

In my opinion, I see great benefits working together with Ayurveda and Western medicine in a collaborative care model. I see how Ayurveda can help build the immunity and fortitude of a person to be able to deal with past trauma, I can see how it can regulate hormones via it's philosophy of daily habits.  It's so simple and effective but it asks you to evaluate how you're living. This part can be hard because it's this part we're trying to keep up with and compare ourselves to others with. I don't believe eating the "right" food is enough anymore. Eating sugar free snacks on the run or in a nervous state won't translate as stable tissue, the bloating and digestive disorders will still be there. You are what you eat but you're also how you eat. 

In summary, stabilise your routines, slow down, and when you feel strong take up a rejuvenative yoga class and start meditating.

Keep it simple, keep it short and keep it consistent. 

 

 

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Sandra Radja

Established in 2012 The She Oak aims to provide healing through diet and lifestyle counselling as well as educational programs. I believe in teaching others to not only know their inherent constitutions that will best serve them but also how to help themselves should they mis-align with their true nature. Ayurveda treats the individual not the disease.