This blog series about mindfulness is more about my personal experience about mindfulness and how I have tried to implement it in my life.
Right now, my daughter is playing some game on my mobile phone and I am typing these pages of this blog. And my mind is almost burning since I hate her to play with mobile or TV or any other gadget for a long time. I try my best to create games or other healthier diversions for her so that she watches less and less of the mobile or TV. But still, in spite of everything I do, there are times when I am angry over something and I spent a lot of time getting over it while my daughter plays mobile or watches TV. Later, I have a huge feeling of guilt that I am a bad mother. Earlier, as a new mom, I was so much into being present for my daughter that I starved myself of even my basic needs. And still, there is constant anguish over even small lapses that I make as a mother.
I am not trying to teach mindfulness as I am beginner myself. Past 18 years of meditation were all washed away with my daughter and with the stress that I faced as I gave up my job to be a stay at home mom. The most terrible thing happens when you try to be the perfect mom!
After birth of my daughter, I suffered from post partum depression. Normally, it is never diagnosed in India. I know it now after 6 years that I was under depression for some time.
Only meditation and mindfulness has pulled me away from deep depression and other health problems. Still, I get angry very fast and take a long time to regain my mental balance. But now, I know that there will be peace again in my mind and my life. This is the only thing that I have learned till now. Hope that you benefit much more from this series. And I know that with more people like you the world will be a better place for my daughter.
Here is a list of my first few articles on how I have tried to implement mindfulness in my own life. I will try to add more soon.
The word satva is used in many senses in Sanskrit. Satva means the mind, it also means virtue/rightousness or morale. Satva is one of the 3 guna (satva, raja and tama) that runs the world as the 3 dosha run the bodies of living organisms.
The 3 guna are basically 3 types of mental orientations. They are a set of assumptions that help us to understand ourselves. Gunas give us emotional and intellectual context for thinking and logic. Gunas are like modes in a video game, where you can choose to play the good guy, the bad guy or the side artist. These gunas form the learning program for all of us.
Satva : the good, signifies light
Raja : full of desires
Tama : signifies darkness
Now, why would a person choose tama or raja guna? Have you seen people who would kill for money? for them, a monk would be no more than a fool who should be punished for his idiocy. Besides, there are also people who would die for a cause even when there is no need to die! But they do die because they are trapped by sattva guna. They have an acute emotional need to show that they stand for good. Thus all gunas are said to be blindfolds, only their colors might be different. Tama might be black in color, raja red, and satva might be white, but still, blindfolds are blindfolds!
Thus the mind is limited by all the 3 guna , even the satva guna. Yes! ond these guna, we can realize the full potential of our mind.
Satvavjaya chikitsa is more about gaining control over the mind. According to Bhagavata Geeta, when mind desires something and fuses its existence with something, event or quality, it develops an imaginary world around it. This imaginary world traps the mind and prevents it from seeing reality. The desire is called “kama”. This can be called the first stage for any mental disorder. Kama is a driving force. It is a force that extinguishes the
lamp of discretion and reason.
Sometimes, we know that something is wrong but still we devise reasons and logic to justify it. Kama creates illusions and false assumptions to justify itself. It hides in the subconscious; behind an umbrella of illusion. A person is driven by a desire sometimes does not even know the real cause of his actions. He comes under the influence of “moha” or self-deception.
This is the sunset for wisdom and advent of the night of destiny, where the mind is completely engaged in a dream-world.
An insecure person becomes naturally greedy. Greed creates a
lust for more. More accumulation of wealth, power, or even information helps to
fortify and secure the dream world of the person. Deep down we all know that
the truth is indestructible. Thus we want to make sure that our dream world is
the lasting one. Instead of trying to discover the real world, we try to thrust
over the dream world over the real one. Greed or “Lobh” is a tool that helps to
achieve his end.
Most interesting is the greed for knowledge, good deeds or acceptance. People make big sacrifices, devote their lives in service, or unconsciously choose a miserable life, just to prove a point or to become valued.
In the next stage, the individual tries to protect his imaginary world by creating false assumptions, asking and expecting other people to endorse his world-view. He feels threatened when anyone questions his beliefs. This is the dawn of anger. The person is out to protect his dream world. He might be ready to kill or die for it. ” krodha” or anger is the second level of mental disturbance.
Thus all the mental disorders seem to emerge from the influence of desires. When a person fuses with his desires, prejudices, anger or misery, he becomes an automaton, a robot!
Satvavjaya Chikitsa is mainly about freeing people from their own mental traps and helping them to accept the truth as it is. And this can happen when you tame the mind – the most powerful resource we have.
Satvavjay: Time for Revival
Unfortunately, most of the ancient texts are lost.
But, I observed that essential Satvavjay chikitsa was never completely lost. It was always present deeply ingrained in all ancient cultures, in the form of religious practices. And we can find bits of Satvavjay chikitsa in every culture and civilization.
Today, there is more need of Satvavjay chikitsa than before. I very sincerely believe that all wisdom dwells in the cosmos and we can receive it if we align ourselves with the supreme energy (brahma). So, let us meditate on this science and revive it with the power of a million hearts put together!
In this blog series, let’s explore together different dimensions of Satvavjay and how we can effectively implement it in our lives.
Interestingly, Satvavjay chikitsa includes a number of treatment methods. I don’t know about details because very less is mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic text available today. Most of the Ayurvedic text in BAMS focuses on yuktivyapashraya or body based treatment through medicines etc. However, there are small excerpts mentioning the importance and role of Satvavjay.
So, in 2018 I opted for a PG Diploma in Modern Psychotherapy to understand and find some links to this ancient healing wisdom. And it was a great decision because my course started with Freud and ended with mindfulness meditation.
Since then, I have practiced mindfulness in almost all my patients and have always seen a great result. My Ayurveda practice in the past few years have completely convinced that there can be no physical diseases without something wrong with the mind.
However, mindfulness is only one of many types of treatments. Here is a list of the treatment types that I found in Charak samhita and other classical texts. I will elaborate on all of these in future blogs, according to my understanding-
Kala (Arts Therapy – Music, Painting etc.)
Atma Vigyana (Mindfulness)
Mano nigraha (Stability of mind through meditation)
All the essentials of manonigraha are amply covered in the great spiritual texts of Ashtang yoga.
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Yesterday, it was no food-no water fasting for Somavati Amavasya. And by God’t grace, my RO water purifier broke down. My husband called the company for repairs. Meanwhile, we started boiling water for the daily drinking and cooking use.
At night, after breaking the fast, I drank the boiled water and it tasted so mild and sweet, much better than the normal RO water. The main difference was that water had some taste. RO purification method is an artificial method of water purification and as usual, it has some side effects.
Health Problems with RO Purified Water
RO water is devoid of almost everything. It contains no bad bacteria, but the RO system also removes the good bacteria present in the water.
Besides, RO system makes water completely de-mineralized. It removes essential trace metals like Mg, Ca etc from the water. Drinking such water for a long time can bring deficiency of many important trace minerals in the body.
Lack of these important minerals in the body can lead to muscle cramps, head ache, and tiredness. Not only this, it may lead to cardiac disorders, kidney problems, hormonal imbalance, degenerative disorders, low bone mineral density, low birth weight and many more.
Besides, metal ions present in the water like MG, or Ca make it alkaline water. This alkaline water is more hydrating to the body and prevents acidic internal environment. However, RO system eliminates this natural advantage of water.
So, what should we do? buy some other technology for water purification. However, I believe is that simple boiled water is the best for our consumption. According to Ayurveda, boiled water is laghu or easy to digest, probably because body has to spend less time to kill the microbes present in it. But at the same time it also retains all its important minerals.
Also, I have been adding pieces of alum and khus to my drinking water and it makes a lot of difference to the taste, fragrance and overall health effects of the water.
Besides, let’s put a mantra machine near the water :), it might bring incredible results, better than any high end technology.
I suggest that you also look at the water purification system that you are using at home and swap it with plain boiled water, esp if you are suffering from any of the disorders mentioned above.
It has been more than six month now since I started strict fruitarianism (no grain diet, with occasional intake of cooked vegetables). And I can feel a huge difference on how Ayurvedic medicines affect my body.
Many people have a complaint regarding Ayurvedic medicines that they take a long time to produce effects or their effect is almost nil. And I know that the complaint is true.
However, with a switch to complete fruit (and cooked vegetables) based diet , I see a huge change to the level of response to all Ayurvedic medicines.
My Experiences with Ayurvedic medicines
I conduct a lot of dietary and medicinal experiments on myself. However, the body always takes some time to incorporate the new regime. And sometimes, esp in the case of extensive fasting, the result was constipation.
Triphala is a great general Ayurvedic health supplement, however I use it only for the purpose of constipation relief occasionally.
Earlier, I used to consume Triphala for minor constipation issues. However, it would require me to take 2-3 tsp of Triphala to see any real impact. I believe that my body faced a strong drying effect of vata dosha, due to changing food and lifestyle habits. However, everything would return to normal in 2-3 days. But the change definitely led to constipation and some other digestive issues.
This was the condition when I was eating grains in a 3 meals/day schedule. About a year back, I changed to eating grains with 1 meal/day. There were some improvements in my overall immunity.
Note: Due to corona lock-down, I have been eating a lot of potatoes and sabudana (storable tapioca balls) because they are more accessible now.
After starting the fruit diet, if I take a 1 tsp of Triphala, I face loose motion for 2 days, so actually have to reduce the dosage from 2-3 tsp to 1/2 tsp or even less.
The point is that my body has become more receptive to the medicine, the rate and quality of absorption is much higher now than before.
Earlier, I would have frequent cough and cold problems during seasonal changes. These problems drastically improved as I made the ” cold water bath” (The Wim Hoff Method) switch. Almost 80% of my seasonal cold problems were solved through this method.
I would say that almost 75-80% of my uninfected sinus deposits were flushes away through Ekadashi dry fasting
However, due to some more experiments, I faced sudden sinus pain due to vitiated vata dosha this monsoon. I always use Anu Taila for any kind of pain in the head region or mucus related problems.
Normally, I would need to put 7-8 drops of Anu Taila thrice a day for any relief in cold and cough. However, thanks to the combined effect of Wim Hoff method and fruit based diet, the acute sinusitis pain was relieved with just 7 drops used once.
Later this week, mucus flow during intermittent fasting of Ashtami and Ekadashi revealed food particles stuck in my sinuses. These decaying food particles caused the sinus pain! So, this was not because of some chronic issue. However, I experienced remarkable efficacy of Anu Taila this time.
These are the two main instances of using Ayurvedic medicine along with the fruit diet, in the past 6 months. And both of them showed tremendous detox benefits of fruit diet.
I will keep updating my experiences regarding the impact of fruit diet. In my case, I do not suffer from any severe disorder, however, I sincerely believe that people suffering from any severe chronic disorder like diabetes, hypertension, hormonal imbalance, inflammatory autoimmune disorders can greatly benefit from this fruit detox and experience the true benefits of Ayurvedic medicines.
Hope this information reaches everyone in need of help!
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I have been practicing sleep fasting/night vigil or Ratri Jagaran for past 1 year and I have seen some amazing results with it. This post is specially about my experience with night vigil on Ashtami night of 12th Jul.
As a child I always suffered from stuffy nose, so much that i won’t be able to go to sleep without Otrivin in my nose, sometimes many times during the night. Over the years, I might have developed mucus deposits in my sinuses. Fortunately, there was never any infection so I never has pain as in the case of sinusitis.
However, I got to know about these deposits when I started Ekadashi fasting and night vigil a year back, because during every Ekadashi fast, I would feel the excessive mucus flow from my head towards my throat. So, during these fasts, all the kapha got melted and flowed down to be excreted
During this week, I faced some minor health issues due to frequently changing weather and diet pattern. I started no grain meal a few months back, and it had great results on my sleep and energy levels. This week I started “one meal a day” plan. And varsha ritu (monsoon) is a bad season to try anything new.
Since I started one-meal/day plan, I would always have this psychological need to eat, even when I was not hungry. So, in every meal, I would normally stuff myself till my stomach pained. At the same time, I would skip hunger in other parts of the day to train my body. But that was a mistake! I over-stretched my stamina.
I had ear pain, tooth pain, and for the first time I suffered from sinusitis pain in my right maxillary sinus. And I believe many people might have faced ear pain, tooth pain etc. in this season.
And it was surprising as I thought that after so much of dry fasting, there should be no more pathogenic deposits in my body. However, we forget that our body is a dynamic system and one input does not lasts forever. So, you need to be on constant health vigil.
Basically, my right maxillary sinus caught infection and the pain in ear and tooth was the referred pain from the hyper excited nerves in the infected sinus. There was no problem in the tooth or ear! I attribute this to abnormal food that I consumed this month.
The mucus is constantly formed and drained through the sinuses. The problem happens when there is an infection that creates excess mucus, blocking the normal drainage pathway and causing pain.
So, now I know that even after so much of mucus flow throughout a year of Ekadashi fasting, my sinuses are still not clear. At least not the right maxillary sinus.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Sinusitis Pain
After suffering the sinus and ear pain for half a day, I remembered what I keep telling other people – use Anu Taila. I used 15 drops of Anu Taila only for the right side of nose twice in the day. Along with Anu Taila, I practiced full night vigil on 12th Jul night.
Ayurvedic Basis for Night Vigil
According to Ayurveda, sleep increases kapha dosha. And all mucus related problems originate with excess kapha in the body. When we do night vigil, we are naturally reducing the amount of kapha in the body. I have personally seen the excellent results of night vigil in all kinds of kapha related disorders like common cold, seasonal flu, sinusitis, and all kinds of respiratory disorders.
And next morning! the sinus pain, the tooth ache and the ear pain everything vanished completely.
Currently, I am not using Anu Taila as I want to experiment with the effects of fasting, cold water bath, night vigil and diet on sinusitis. But for anyone suffering from acute sinusitis pain, referred tooth ache, chronic head ache or ear pain, I would sincerely suggest use of Anu Taila, coupled with night vigil.
However, it is important that you should not force your body to stay awake. Start the night vigil and sleep whenever you feel sleepy. In my case, I started night vigil 6 months back. Initially, I would go to sleep around 2 am. However, now I can stay fully awake for 24-28 hours, without any tiredness or weakness.
I sincerely wish that everyone suffering from sinusitis benefits from this information.