Ayurveda Day 14: Duality

There are two reasons why I decided to study to become an Ayurvedic Practitioner:
– I want to help other people to heal
– I want to learn how to heal myself

We all live with a certain level of suffering. No one, no matter how happy they seem, is beyond suffering. Happiness itself is a fleeting feeling. It is just the flip side of a coin; the other side being unhappiness. If you can feel one then you will most certainly feel the other. All of nature is dichotomous in this way: Hot and cold, big and small, up and down, confident and shy, introverted and extroverted…the list goes on and on endlessly. We as humans define our existence through these dualities. But it is in the dualities that we feed our ego and ultimately suffer. Ayurveda strives to help us learn what our tendencies lean towards within these dualities. It also can tell us when these tendencies are leaning too far one way or the other. It can then prescribe treatment to help balance these tendencies. In Ayurveda we call this:

– knowing the nature of the patient
– knowing the nature of the disease
– knowing the nature of the medicine

Those dualities we tend towards in our lives have been defined by Ayurveda in ten relationships:
– Cold/Hot
– Moist/Dry
– Heavy/Light
– Gross/Subtle
– Dense/Dispersing
– Static/Mobile
– Dull/Sharp
– Soft/Hard
– Smooth/Rough
– Cloudy/Clear

All the first terms of each relationship will build or increase the quantity of tissue in our bodies.
All the second sides of each relationship will decrease the quantity of tissue in our bodies.

There is much more to all this and it goes deeper and deeper, but this is essentially the fundamentals of assessing the nature of a patient (you and me!). It really is that simple!

Have you ever struggled to put your finger on something for most of yourself, and then someone comes along and just says quite plainly something that completely bridges all the information in your mind into the truth? For example, maybe your whole life you have been drumming on your desk and tapping your feet and then someone came along and put a drumstick in your hand and everything clicked and you realized “I do this because I am a drummer! Duh! I should get some lessons.”

This is what Ayurveda can do when a practitioner assesses your nature. You may think many things about yourself:

“I’m too fat and always will be”
“I’ll never quit smoking”
“I can’t stand being cold”
“I love to always be on the move!”
“My skin is always so dry”

There are countless things we just come to accept about ourselves as we get older. We assume there’s no way to treat these tendencies or the ways we’ve tried to treat them don’t work. This is how I’ve felt my whole life about my body and my mind.

Years ago a friend of mine though I was absolutely insane for preferring hot weather to cold. He was adamant, and extremely critical of my preference. Because he loved being cool and hated too much heat, it seemed impossible for him to believe that someone else could feel differently. There must be something wrong with me. This is how we tend to treat people unfortunately. Suffering is the cause of forgetting kindness.

But what if I told you there’s nothing wrong with you? That you were born a certain way, with certain tendencies. That as time goes on, we tend to get out of balance and have too little or too much of these tendencies, and that is what causes our suffering. Further still, what if I told you that there are ways to treat these sufferings?

As I continue to learn more about Ayurveda I am being more and more confident that it can truly help people, because I am seeing it help myself. I am feeling the effects it has on me. The knowledge I am gaining is providing clear truth to the way I am and others are, and it is removing judgment from those observations. Now when I am suffering or they are, I have a tried and tested way to actually help myself and them:

Ayurveda.

When we give into our tendencies, we react and everything seems permanent, dramatic.
When we use our intellect to make an informed choice, everything becomes temporary, easy.

With gratitude,

S

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