Ayurveda contains the knowledge of human existence on this planet. It teaches you not only diet and nutrition, yoga and meditation, but also wisdom and flexibility of mind. It teaches you how to understand this human life experience.
Most of the Western Education tends to separate and divide sciences into its own compartments and rarely bring into focus the wholesome representation of understanding our place in Nature.
Ayurveda has done just that. Beyond herbs and diet that help you prevent and cure diseases, Ayurveda aims to help you understand the Mind. To do this, this ancient wisdom of life explains how this world as you know it today came to being.
Sattvavjayas Chikitsa = “Conquering of the Mind”
The Psychology of Ayurveda integrates themes that deal with the human mind and how they incorporate the way we view our reality and ourselves. According to the father of Ayurveda, Charaka, 9 Indian Philosophies explain the creation of the world and therefore the mind..
Every human on this Earth is different in their own way, because of their discriminatory, creative and instinctive mind. Mind is a special gift to humankind. It is very complex in nature and is dependent on the duality of existence.. It is creative as well as destructive, positive as well as negative, active as well as dull, happy as well as sad. Balancing these qualities of the mind knowingly or unknowingly is expressed throughout one’s life. When the mind is deprived by being under the influence of growing stress and strains in life, the Intellect, thinking power, memory, temperament, behavior, social attitude, and other mental faculties are strained and disharmony occurs.. To get rid of these problems it is essential to understand the concept of Satwavajaya Chikitsa.
A key concept for the Psychology of Ayurveda is the understanding of the Gunas. They are qualities of energy that manifest into states of being, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.
“Sattva” is the quality of goodness, truth, clarity, and love. Sattvic energy therefore, brings joy, health and healing, feelings of calmness and peacefulness., Sattva is the dominant energy. of Nature. Nature therefore offers an abundance of Sattvic qualities, through pure foods, herbs and water.
“Rajas” is the quality of passion, action, distraction, and turbulence. Rajastic energy seeks power and stimulation. It is the source of instant pleasure that quickly diminishes into pain and disharmony, Rajas Guna dominates in substances that stimulate and excite. Such as caffeine, certain drugs, quick pleasure activities such as sex, parties etc.
“Tamas” is the quality of heaviness, inertia, and stagnation; it is the lethargy that follows Rajas. Feelings of stagnancy, depression, and loss of inspiration is the dominant energy of Tamas. The source of Tamas is also found in addictive behaviors, frozen, fried, greasy meals, violent entertainment etc.
Considering these energetic qualities of life, which Guna do you want to feed your senses? The Maha Gunas can be understood as the different states of being. Throughout life, we tend to experience a fluctation of all three. However, how do we find the balance depends of the awareness of our states as we interact and communicate with our external world.
Achar Rasayana in Ayurveda, translates to Behavior Rejuvenation, It is the cognitive-behavioral experience of an individual, and how one can aim to stay in a Sattvic state. Achar Rasayana refers to a set of moral, ethical and behavioral mindfulness practices that lead to the Sattvic, natural state of mind.
Are you familiar with Patanjali’s 8 limbs of Yoga Sutras from the traditional Yoga Philosophy? The First 2 Limbs are called Yamas and Niyamas. They are the moral codes of conscious action toward self and others that form the base of Achar Rasayana.
What are the Yamas and Niyamas, and how can you begin to apply them in your daily life?
Yamas refer to moral codes of behavior toward yourself and others, and Niyamas are the observations of the fruits of the yamas. Both refer to the ways one can live the right way. They form the foundation of a more mindful and meaningful life. Following a life path that reaches the highest quality of your existence. Having this foundational awareness you are able to then always stir into balance with yourself and others. There are 5 Yamas, tools of self-awareness and mindful action that include, non violence, truthfulness, non stealing, moderation and generosity. Once you master and fully understand Yamas, you can apply the Niyamas of purity, contentment, austerity, self study, and surrender. This is the basic principle of Behavior Rejuvenation and how Ayurveda for the Mind can serve as the foundational pillar for holistic healing.
Ayurveda and Western Psychology
In the Western world, Psychology is a science born from philosophy, and breaks down the mind in sections of personality, ancestry, trauma, addiction etc. Ayurveda explains that all these sections are interwebbed and have to be looked at wholistically. Famous psychologists throughout time made their mark in the field from information they gathered and understood based on their own personal experience. Sigmund Freud coined a psychological principle of innate connection to the Mother and Father as the guiding force to the awareness of desire and sexuality. When we look at the time and age this man lived you can easily understand his limitations due to societal influences of perception, thus from the frustrations of the states of being, his psychoanalytical theory was born.
Carl G Jung however, understood what today is the most prevalent topic among scholars, and that is, the ancestral influneces play a large role in developing your personality, yet are in the subconscious space of awareness, that he named “Shadow Self”
Carl G Jung developed psychological principles of understanding personality through four archetypes, that are barely understood today let alone in the time he lived.
What made Carl G Jung such an important observer of humanity?
Alan Watts, a Zen Philosopher and Scholar, in regards to Carl G Jung points out to a fundamental principle that explains all his work, and that is the recognition of the polarity of life
“He was the sort of man who could feel anxious and afraid and guilty without being ashamed of feeling this way. In other words, he understood that an integrated person is not a person who has simply eliminated the sense of guilt or the sense of anxiety from his life — who is fearless and wooden and kind of sage of stone. He is a person who feels all these things, but has no recriminations against himself for feeling them. And this is to my mind a profound kind of humor.Alan Watts
Carl G Jung’s work on the 4 archetypes and shadow-work is the basic pillar of understanding trauma today, and the essence of duality.
The 4 Archetypes
“Jung believed that the unconscious is not merely the hiding place of demons but the province of angels and ministers of grace, which he called the ‘archetypes’, . . . symbols of all the inner forces that work toward unity, health, fullness of life, and purposeful conscious development.”Lewis Mumford, The New Yorker
Carl G Jung, understood beyond his time and societal perception, that one exists within a personal and collective unconscious state. He then theorized the understanding that the personal unconscious is the gathering place of all the forgotten and repressed contents of one’s life including the private side of one’s psychic life. While the collective unconscious represents the universal modes of behavior in human that later become known as the “archetypes”. CG. Jung explains the four main archetypes as the basis for the integration of collective and personal unconscious.
From the greek word meaning for “mask”. This archetype represents how one presents themselves in the world, which can be separate with how one is being perceived, or perceives themselves in the unconscious space.
Forms out of attempts to adapt to cultural norms and expectations. Composed out of repressed ideals, weaknesses, desires, and all that is unacceptable by society, The Shadow is the unconscious mind, that carries out our innate basic life instincts.
It is the Feminine image in the male psyche and Masculine image in the female psyche. This understanding of duality here represents the “true self” as the primary source of connection with our collective unconscious. Physiological changes and social influences contributes to the sex roles and gender identities.
Through a process of individuation, by integrating various aspects of personality forms the self. It is the unification of unconsciousness and consciousness of an individual. The disharmony of of the unconscious and conscious self is what leads to psychological disturbances.
CG Jung explains The Self Archetype as two centers of personality. One is driven by the “Ego” which is the center of consciousness, and the other is the combo of ego and unconscious mind.
How Ayurveda and Western Psychology merge?
CG Jung through the Archetypes, paved way to modern day psychology to merge with ancient Indian philosophies, in understanding the ancestral connection, and depth of the unconscious space that exists within.
The Aim of Ayurveda is to maintain balance, in 4 dimensions of Life. The Physical ( Persona Archetype), Mental ( The Shadow archetype), Social (Anima/Animus) and Spiritual( The Self) dimension,
Each dimension correlates to the pattern of ancestry found in CG Jung theory of Personality Archetypes, thus integrating this psychology and establishing balance first within the mind of personal and collective unconscious, and then within the material sphere of Life, through lifestyle, diet, and exercise introduces you to a wholistic approach to Wellbeing.
Ayurveda for the Mind is a wholistic outlook of the mental and emotional wellbeing of an individual. It brings forth an understanding of the birth of Western Psychology, the principles of trauma as viewed today, including archetypes, duality, and ancestral behavioral patterns. Even genetic expression plays a role of integrating the core aspects of mind-body and soul.
In Conclusion, all paths lead to the truth eventually. but in all paths, multiple modalities are used to assess and aid in the healing, expansion and growth of the individual. Ayurveda for the Mind is essential in creating space for you to meet yourself fully.
Ayurveda for the Mind is weaved within the Ayurvedic Path, that is organic and custom designed based on the individual’s needs. It takes a particular space of awareness for one to dive into a path of wholistic lifestyle and diet. This Awareness is gained through Ayurveda for the Mind.
I use an integrated approach of Western Psychology and Sattvavjyaya Chickitsa, with various practical modalities to help you reach a state of harmony and daily balance in your life.
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