Ayurveda Day 2: Harmony and Disharmony

Today was a wonderful class. We discussed much regarding ego, judgment, and the source of illness.

We as humans define our existence through dichotomy. As soon as we are born, we label everything. Hot or cold, boy or girl, big or small. It is in this separation that we lose our sense of unity, our sense of our true nature and self.

There is no such thing as “good” or “bad”.

Yes, I said it. You might immediately dredge up examples of horrible things that are surely bad, and wonderful things that are surely good, but it all is fleeting and only a matter of perspective.

There is a zen story that goes as follows:

There was a simple farmer who lived on his farm with his one son and only horse. They were able to essentially survive with what they had.

One day, the farmer’s horse ran away. All the town’s people immediately came to the conclusion that this was bad news. They went to the farmer and said “Your only horse ran away, how will you farm? This is a tragedy!”

The old man simply replied “Is that so?”.

The next week, the horse returned with three other horses. The town’s people rejoiced and excitedly proclaimed to the farmer “What fortune! You are so lucky!”

The old man simply replied “Is that so?”

The following day, while tending to the horses, the son was injured and broke his leg badly. The town’s people all decided this was bad for the farmer. “How will you continue to farm, especially with so many horses? What a tragedy!”

The old man simply replied “Is that so?”

The son’s foot never quite healed and he had lived with a limp. A great war broke out in the country and all the able bodied young men were called to arms. The son was allowed to remain due to his injuries. Many people in the town lost their sons during this war. The town’s people all felt jealous of the old man and scoffed “What dumb luck that you should have your son and ours are dead.”

The old man simply replied, “Is that so?”

I will say it again. There is no good or bad. When we decide something is one way or another, we immediately create disharmony in ourselves. Ego and judgment rule us.

All one must do to determine their health is ask themselves if the way they live their life produces harmony or disharmony.

If you take in that which is harmonious, you will thrive.
If you take in that which is disharmonious, you will suffer.

But this is neither good nor bad. It is all necessary, for there is always something to learn. What is harmonious in one moment for one person may be disharmonious for another. We must be grateful without judgment for it all when it happens, whether it’s our horse running away or 3 horses returning with it.

I would like to end with a quote that was shared with me today, as it is something I believe I need to work on:

“Speak the truth but do so sweetly”
– Swami Shivananda

With gratitude,


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