It’s so easy in today’s fast paced world to want the easy fix. We look to the quickest ways possible to do things because we have this belief that we should spend every waking moment doing things as fast as we can so we can do even more things.
We let the most basic and fundamental aspects of our health suffer to make time to do things that pay for us to fix the very problems we are creating by working so much!
It’s why we feel like we don’t have time to eat and drive through McDonald’s. It’s why we don’t just take a few breaths and slow down before heading out the door to work. It’s why we don’t go to bed early enough and use coffee every single morning to wake up. The expectation has become for everyone to work like crazy and sacrifice their bodies to do it. There are so many quick “fixes” to any problems that could arise from this excessive work that we just assume we can toughen up and it will be okay. In the long run however, it will not be okay. It will be very un-okay actually.
We as a society want the symptom masked, the pain relieved. We want it done now, this minute, this second. We are constantly told through media and culture that there’s an easier and quicker way to cure the many faults we didn’t even know we had.
How often do we stop to ask what we can do in our lives, not just to mask or treat a symptom, but to actually address the cause of the disease in the first place?
What can we change in our lifestyle to help our body find it’s natural balance?
If we continually look for a magic button to fix all our problems, we are borrowing time. We are sacrificing time from our future for time this minute. And what’s even being accomplished in that minute? Are we moving towards better health and peace in that moment? Or are we just working, working, working? It’s not rocket or even new science: A steady and healthy diet combined with proper exercise and rest are fundamental to our health.
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, these two factors (eating and sleeping) belong to the three pillars of health. Too much or too little or improper management of these factors leads us to disease.
We have not been taught as a society to address the cause of our imbalances. We know that our imbalances manifest as symptoms. But we do not trace the symptom back to its source.
Maybe you’re one to push yourself hard everyday, not getting enough sleep. You have chronic headaches. Rather than focus on proper rest, you pop a couple of pills and continue on indefinitely. It masks the pain but never stops the cause of the disease. You just accept it as a chronic condition or the way it is and change nothing.
This is no way to live!
It’s not easy taking responsibility for our lives. It’s so easy to get stuck in our ways. It’s so easy to lean into our tendencies, supporting the habits that have gotten us to where we are, even if those habits are destructive. Often the treatments we take to mask or treat our symptoms don’t even work all that effectively and we lose faith in our ability to be healthier. We accept it is our fate to just be in whatever pain we are in. We all do this and it deeply saddens me. Mostly because it is all so unnecessary.
I have said again and again that Ayurveda is a science of personal responsibility. Many people only go to a doctor when a symptom manifests. Of course this is normal; symptoms are the body’s way of communicating to us that there is something wrong. But we as people need to adjust our mindset. It’s not enough to walk into a clinic and expect a solution. Sometimes, the solution may be really simple and treatment can be prescribed. But even in the simplest treatments, there is always an underlying cause as to why that symptom manifested in the first place. Ayurveda helps us to get to the root of the problem. The root of that problem lies in our own lifestyle.
I don’t say this to point blame. In fact, I say it because it is liberating. You are in control of your own health! What an amazing revelation to know that you can heal, and that the ability to do so is already within you (even if you don’t know how yet)! But you have to be willing to change. This is unavoidable. We can’t keep doing things the same way and expect different results. So lets change the way we approach our own personal healthcare needs:
The next time you get disease, and go to someone who you think can help you to heal, you will walk in to inevitably ask them:
“What can you do to treat this symptom?”
But then, go deeper. Ask:
“What can I do in my life differently to be healthier?”
Regardless of whether or not you visit an Ayurvedic Practitioner to heal, you will still be following Ayurveda if you can ask that one simple question. Be brave, take that personal responsibility! You can do it! Your life will be so much better for it. Healing cannot truly occur without the participation of the patient.
Tomorrow we will talk about undoubtedly one of the most critical pieces to manage for optimal health: