Digesting Our Experiences
Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. One of the characteristics of modern life is that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate. However, the wise resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life. In the last 150 years, our relationship with time has radically changed. That said, our ability to metabolize our daily experiences have also changed greatly. In a way, the body metabolizes the emotional content and feeling of every experience. With increased demands of daily living and limited time for oneself, it may be begging the question – are we metabolizing and digesting our emotions of everyday life adequately?
The science of Ayurveda commonly talks about “Ojas” as being the end-product of perfect digestion. However, digestion in terms of Ayurveda has a profound meaning. This implies properly digesting all that nourishes us; including everyday experiences of life [i.e. thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc.]. Nearly all Ayurvedic treatment is designed to increase the abundance of superior quality of ojas and to avoid reducing ojas – as ojas is considered central to restoring health and preventing illness. Similarly, ojas is thought to be the most important element which designs and shapes the influence our experiences create upon the mind.
The Mind Is Everything
The ancient teachings of Ayurveda talks in-depth about the profound relationship of the mind’s influence upon the body. These very teachings are thought to reflect the long-lived traditions and principles for upholding a healthy body and sound mind.
Factors Which Increase Ojas :
- wholesome food and healthy digestion
- love and compassion
- being positive and having self-control
- respect towards others and oneself
- cleanliness and simplicity
- selfless service [i.e. charity]
Ancient teachings of many cultures have always discussed the dynamic relationship between thoughts and feelings and its effects upon the body. Let the ancient inner laughter which resides deep within you guide you into a state of perfect health and happiness.
Positive emotions like love. laughter and appreciation release beneficial neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin which helps to create a healthy immune system.
Negative emotions like fear, hate, and anger release stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine and epineprhine which can [over time] lead to mental depression and even result in the suppression of our immune system.
Tips For Slowing Down
Rasayana is an Ayurvedic concept which has several meanings. The most basic implication is to increase longevity while improving the quality of life. There are many forms of rasayana in Ayurveda – one being “behavioral rasayana” which recognizes the effect of mind upon health.
- Do less. It’s often a struggle to slow down knowing there are a million other things to do. However, make the conscious effort to do less while focusing on what’s really important while letting go of all the rest. Letting go often creates the space to fully digest the present moment and helps to bring clarity to see the next necessity as it arises.
- Be present. Not only does one need to slow down but what is of more importance is the sense of awareness that naturally arises as one lets go of all other distractions. Therefore, by letting do – there is a spontaneous arising of awareness to the present environment within and around you.
- Appreciate Nature. Modern living often keeps us confined in our homes and offices or traveling about in cars and trains – rarely do we get the opportunity to be outside in nature. Therefore, make the opportunity and find time to go outside and truly observe the beauty of nature. Take a breath of fresh air, enjoy the serenity of the clear water amongst the background of greenery. You owe it to yourself.
- Eat Slowly. Instead of rushing to eat – take time to appreciate the taste and flavors of your food. Again, according to Ayurveda, food is medicine and optimal digestion produces nourishment to both the body and mind. Therefore, let food be the delight of your senses. Eat calmly, peacefully and in moderation.
- Find pleasure in the simple things. While slowing down, becoming more present, and appreciating nature you will notice that it’s the simple things which give the greatest sense of joy. With your newfound heightened sense of awareness, even the flower or a single blade of grass amongst the vast field will give immense joy.