I want to write about something a little different. Normally I talk of Ayurveda in a general sense. I give examples, stories, facts, analogies, etc. to help people better understand the gift of Ayurveda. But today, we are not going to do that. We are going to talk about me. Specifically, I want to talk about my worst tendencies (or faults, if you prefer), and why I act the way I do. So pull up a chair, this should be good!
But why me? What makes my situation so important to write about?
Today I learned I have one of (if not the worst) personality tendencies: In Ayurvedic terms, we would call it a Pitta nature with a Vata imbalance.
In layman’s terms, it basically means this:
I ramble. I have a million thoughts buzzing around in my mind. I don’t create proper outlets to express everything, so when it does come out, and you are around, it needs to be expressed in my way or no way at all. It will be increasingly important to me that you, as the listener, don’t just get the cliffnotes. I need you to understand the long rambling story behind it all, for if you do not know it all, how could you possibly understand me! And if you derail that train, I will get frustrated and angry with you, or sad and silent. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, trust me, I am aware how annoying or frustrating it can be for you. You probably feel like you are being interrupted constantly, or like I should just slow down and think before I speak more, or that I should just shut up and let someone else have a turn. That is another part of my imbalance. That I am extremely critical of myself, and of others. I am aware of my faults. I am not just distracted and need to be reminded to stop being distracted. I know. It is just really difficult to change.
Essentially I have a mind that has so much space to allow experience to enter it (Vata type). There is so much going on upstairs, but when I do decide to focus on something, that focus is sharp (Pitta type). Unfortunately, it has to navigate through all of those other infinite ideas first to get there. I have to examine every possible scenario before I choose the “correct” one. I have a hard time just letting go and being. Because I know every possible scenario, it’s easy to make excuses and get distracted. Although most who know me are aware I have been in car accidents and suffer physical pain, my true suffering comes from my mind. I spend way too much time in my thoughts. My internal dialogue is not harmonious to my health. Yesterday we talked about Winnie the Pooh. I am like Tigger (Vata) combined with Rabbit (Pitta). Imagine the most crazy off the wall hilarious yet equally frustrating and methodical and critical person possible. This is me.
Haha, but seriously, I am not really that sorry. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be Rabbit at all!
Basically, when it comes to the mind, I am dominated by Vata tendencies, which equate to movement. But my inner transformative nature, the Pitta, strives to make sense of it all and find purpose, focus. It seeks to create something meaningful out of that infinite cacophony. It’s like a constant expanding and contracting and can be exhausting. If it’s exhausting to listen to me, imagine how exhausting it must be to be in my head, where most of the stuff I don’t even share is stored. I only share a small fraction of what I think. Seriously, a tiny sliver only. It is not something I can just “change” easily.
We are delving deeper and deeper into Ayurveda in this class. I have talked about the three doshas, and simplified things as best as I can so the average person can understand them. But truly, it is beautifully complex why I act the way I do and also hauntingly simple the solution.
Currently, this is how I act:
Overstimulate my senses through distractions and a busy life.
Have irregular routines for eating and sleeping.
Create fantastical scenarios of the future based on my problems of the past.
Talk way too much, think way too much.
Refuse to let go of my dramas.
In Ayurveda, solutions are obviously simple when we can correctly identify the imbalances. Now that we all know how I act, the way to treat it is to use the opposite approach:
Take in that through my senses which will calm the mind.
Create some regular routines to achieve more balance in my life.
Bring awareness to the present moment.
Spend more time in silence and meditation.
Let go of my dramas.
These 5 tendencies I have are no accident. I was able to assess them because of Ayurveda. In the Vata Dosha, there are 5 subdoshas, or different ways that things can be moved in the body and mind.
These are called Vayus. That is what my 5 tendencies are a reflection of. The cycle is as follows:
Prana Vayu – Draws energy into the body through the brain.
Samana Vayu – Responsible for absorbing the energy.
Vyana Vayu – Responsible for circulating the energy throughout the body.
Udana Vayu – Utilizes the energy for the body, puts it to work.
Apana Vayu – Removes anything we do not need from the body (waste).
This works in both body and mind. When out of balance, you may be like me. Overthinking, bad habits, wandering mind, excessive thinking and talking, refusal to let go. In the body, it can manifest in many ways. For example, if you have an imbalance in any of these 5 Vayus, you could have symptoms such as anxiety, gas and bloating, coldness, problems with memory, and constipation, respectively.
In Ayurveda we can treat symptoms. Relief from symptoms is great. But until we can understand the cause of the imbalance, we can’t really stop the cycle of suffering that goes on in our bodies.
These Vayus are just one subset of one of the three doshas. It just so happens I tend to have the most trouble with this one. In reality, this is the dosha that is most likely to go out of balance.
On this remembrance day in Canada, I would like to express that I am grateful for my freedom of existence and everyone that has allowed me to have it. I am eternally grateful to my friends and family and infinitely patient girlfriend for putting up with the most aggravating combination possible. I am also grateful to Ayurveda, for giving me the knowledge I need to find balance and not waste this existence wrapped up in suffering.
I hope my experience has shed some light on your experiences as well.