Category Archives: inner-peace

Ayurveda on the 5 Senses-Deepak Chopra-Find Your inner Pharmacy

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In this very moment, you are seamlessly connected to the cosmos. The same deep intelligence that streams through the rivers flows through your bloodstream, and the same breath that nourishes your cells animates the life of a rain forest. Although it may seem like you are separate from the world “out there,” in reality your body and the universe are made up of the same molecules, obey the same principles, and are inextricably connected.

More than 5,000 years ago, the Vedic sages of India understood what quantum physicists are just beginning to recognize: we are all part of an infinite field of intelligence that orchestrates all of the activities in the universe. With every breath, we exchange our personal energy with the energy of the universe, and we are constantly taking in impressions via the five sense organs—the ears, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose.

In Ayurveda, sensory impressions are considered crucial to health. Just as the food we eat creates our bodily tissues, our sensory impressions determine the quality of our thoughts and emotions. If we want greater physical and emotional well-being, we can use sounds, feelings, sights, tastes, and smells to balance and heal our selves. At the Chopra Center’s Perfect Health program, patients learn how to awaken their inner pharmacy using the tools of the five senses. Here are a few suggestions that you can use in your own daily routine.

 

Sound Therapy

 

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Every sound has a physiological effect. When you listen to a beautiful piece of music or inspirational words, a cascade of pleasure-producing chemicals course through your body, supporting health and wholeness. In contrast, studies of urban environments show that people subjected to ongoing noise pollution are more likely to suffer from stress and lowered immune function.

Ayurveda recognizes that music is a valuable therapeutic tool for balance and healing. The specific sounds that will benefit you most depend a great deal on your mind-body type, known as your dosha in Ayurveda. If you don’t know your dosha, take the Chopra Center’s complete dosha quiz online to find out. It is also important to simply tune in to your body and discover which sounds are healing and inspiring for you. If you feel refreshed, joyful, and alert, the music is working.

 

Healing Sights

 

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The visual impressions you take in have a surprisingly profound effect on your mind, body, and emotions. Watching violent movies or television shows triggers your body’s stress response, creating jittery cells and suppressing the immune system. In contrast, looking at peaceful or beautiful images creates a cascade of soothing neurochemicals in the body.

Surrounding yourself with images that uplift your spirit is as important for your health as nutritious food. Spending time in nature is healing for your mind, body, and soul. When you view a gorgeous sunset, look into the eyes of your beloved, or see a magnificent painting, you cultivate the power of your inner pharmacy.

Aromatherapy

 

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The most primitive of the senses, smell connects us directly with our memories, emotions, and instincts. When we smell something, we are actually absorbing some of its molecules, making aromatherapy a form of natural medicine. Here are some specific suggestions for balancing fragrances:

Invigorating            Cooling            Calming

Lemon                  Jasmine            Lavender

Orange                  Mint                  Vanilla

Clove                  Lime                  Sandalwood

Cinnamon            Rose                  Neroli

You can also use a process known as neuroassociative conditioning to consciously link a healing response to a given smell. First choose a favorite aroma and inhale it whenever you are feeling relaxed, calm or happy. Your body will begin to associate pleasurable feelings with the smell. Before long, just a hint of the fragrance will invoke your inner healing response.

 

The Sense of Taste

 

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Ayurveda categorizes food into six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Each of the tastes has a unique effect on our mind-body physiology and provides the flavor that makes eating a pleasure. If you include the six tastes in a meal, you will get the nutrients you need and will feel completely satisfied and energized. If one or more of the tastes are missing from a meal, however, you may feel full but unsatisfied and find yourself snacking two hours later. You can find more in-depth information on the six tastes here.

 

 

 

Therapeutic Touch

 

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Touch is fundamental to health and well-being. When your skin is stimulated by loving touch or massage, it releases many healing chemicals that enhance immune function, improve circulation, and promote restful sleep.

You can give yourself the healing benefits of touch every day with an Ayurvedic self-massage or abhyanga. For those who are feeling excessively stressed and ungrounded, use heavy, warm oils such as sesame or almond. If you are feeling irritated or overheated, try cooling oils such as coconut, sunflower or olive. Finally, if you are feeling sluggish or lethargic, massaging yourself vigorously with oils such as safflower, sunflower or mustard will help invigorate you.

  • Being by pouring a tablespoon of warm oil onto your scalp, vigorously working in the oil. Use small circular strokes to massage your entire scalp, as if you were shampooing your hair.
  • Now move to your face and ears, massaging more gently. Put a bit more oil in your palms and massage your neck, front, and back, moving out to your shoulders.
  • Vigorously massage your arms, using a circular motion at the shoulders, and back-and-forth motions on the arms. Then massage your chest, stomach, and lower abdomen using gentle circular motions. Use a straight up-and-down motion over the breastbone. Reach around to your back and spine and massage them as well as you can.
  • Energetically massage your legs, using circular motions at the ankles and knees, and back-and-forth motions on the long parts. With the remaining oil, thoroughly massage your feet, giving your toes extra attention. Massage your body with love and tenderness—your state of mind is as important as your technique in creating a healing experience for yourself.
  • Leaving a thin, almost imperceptible layer of oil on the body is extremely beneficial, toning the skin and warming the muscles throughout the day. It’s therefore recommended that you use very mild soap and lukewarm water to rinse your body after the massage.

Link : http://www.chopra.com/articles/healing-through-the-5-senses

My Body, My love

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Loneliness is an illusion—we are never truly alone.

I say this as someone who used to feel lonely most of the time.

Even with my spouse, even with my best friends, in my heart I felt separate, as if behind an invisible wall. At first, I chalked this up to poor socialization. Beset by frequent moves, childhood trauma and family unhappiness, I had grown up isolated. I hadn’t learned how to relate to others, so I could not connect with them.

Years later, I learned about attachment theory and realized the problem ran deeper. My mother suffered from low moods (she died in a psychiatric hospital when I was six years old). I have good reason to believe she was feeling poorly after my birth, a condition now called postpartum depression. She probably found it hard to resonate with me, her infant son, so my feeling of being walled off seemed traceable to gazing at my mother’s face, who was pained and distant rather than joyful and attuned.

Understanding that my feelings of isolation grew out of my earliest experiences, did not lessen them.

There seemed little to do but muddle through life as best I could, alone behind my wall.

Luckily, I was wrong.

There has turned out to be a way I can feel profoundly connected with another being, not just on occasion, but all the time.

Who is that being?

My own body.

How I came to appreciate my body as an intimate partner is a long story

Key factors include my training as a surgeon and familiarity with the body’s biology. Then came a series of medical crises, that both ended my clinical career and forced me to pay attention to my health. When a yoga institute enlisted me to teach anatomy and physiology to its trainees, I found that these sciences could be used to deepen my self-understanding. In meditations and yoga poses, I explored how human awareness relates to the organism who supports it.

This led to the key insight: the body isn’t a mechanical conveyance, as I’d assumed on the basis of medical training, it isn’t a blood-filled robot.

The body is a lively, responsive animal.

Like a beloved dog or cat, the body is capable of wordless love. In other words, my body and mind are in a relationship. My mind, who felt so lonely, is not alone—at every moment it is embraced by the warm animal who surrounds it. By upholding my consciousness in myriad ways (breathing air, circulating blood, digesting food), this sensitive, vulnerable body is holding me with love.

Consider: If another person did as much for us as our own bodies, we’d have no doubt about that person’s affection.

One of the main points of yoga is to help us recognize the unity of body and mind.

How can the body love the mind if the two are one?

There are many answers to these questions—here, I’ll offer an analogy:

Two people in a marriage are separate, yet in their loving partnership, they are one.

Perhaps the goal of yoga practice isn’t to erase all distinctions between the mind and physical body, but to build a sweeter relationship between them.

To get a sense of how this relationship can be developed, here’s a simple but useful meditation.

It is best done after relaxation practices or a period of mindful breathing.

Bring to mind an adored partner, child or pet. Visualize the beloved in your arms. Feel the warmth that blossoms in the center of your chest. Now imagine holding your body with that same tender regard, feeling the same sweet glow of affection. As your mind honors the organism who gives it life, recall how the body supports the mind with its own encompassing embrace.

Your body works on your behalf every minute of every day.

Feel how your consciousness arises within this living, vibrant animal we call a human body. Appreciate how your body surrounds you with boundless concern for your wellbeing. Even in times of illness, it does its best to keep your life on track. You are your body’s beloved.

Practices, like this one, gradually melted my sense of isolation.

As my mind grew to understand its intimate partnership with my body, it no longer felt walled off. Instead, I felt nurtured and realized I was never alone.

At every moment, human awareness is wrapped in a sort of biological hug.

How wondrous! How healing!

The 5 Budha Families

imagesThe Buddha families as presented by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche are a description of five qualities of energy.

They describe qualities we all have. They are not meant to solidify one’s ego through identifying them the way some people identify with their astrological signs. They are instead a fluid working basis for recognizing our current sanity or neurosis.

Practitioners of the buddhadharma are not expected to be uniformly cool or warm, smart or spacious. Especially since these families come from the vajrayana tradition, they permit a great openness for us to work on ourselves in order to bring out our intrinsic wisdom. The main demand is to be honest and to be willing to see how we are manifesting—sanely or neurotically.

Each Buddha family has an emotion associated with it, which can be transmuted into wisdom, as well as a color, element, landscape, direction, season, and even a time of day. Since we change both physically and mentally, our styles, modes of being, likes and dislikes change over the years. Thus the predominant Buddha family of a person may change, influenced often by age or circumstances. This is because we all embody and have access to all the five Buddha energies.

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The central Buddha family is Buddha, which has the quality of space and accommodation. If a friend asks you, “Would you like to see ‘Avatar’ or ‘Oceans’?” you might say, “Oh, either one,” if you were in a Buddha frame of mind. It’s not that you don’t care. It’s that you have no sharp edges, no strong likes and dislikes. Your mode of being is even and does not tend to react to excitement, yet you are open if not enterprising.

But the neurosis of the Buddha family is dullness, a kind of bubble-gum or molasses mind. Buddha neurosis ignores the vividness of life because it does not want to see. Think of someone in a Lazy-Boy chair in front of a blaring TV who cannot find the remote and who doesn’t want to bother to get up to change the channel. Although the stupor is thick, if there is a flicker of wakefulness, it can transform the sloth into the Wisdom of All-Encompassing Space. That flicker of wakefulness can encourage him to be tired of nesting in indifference and inertia, and can provoke him to get out of the Lazy-Boy, turn off the TV, and clean up the living room, creating space.

This is the wisdom, which makes it possible for the other Buddha families to function. It is like wakeful oxygen, the air of life. The Buddha energy is usually portrayed as blue, like the sky or cool space. Its symbol is the eight-spoked wheel of dharma.

The Vajra family is known for precision and intellectual exactness. It is associated with the East and the lightening sky of dawn. Its symbol is the diamond-like or adamantine thunderbolt called a vajra. If it were a Vajra person who asked the Buddha friend which film he would prefer, the attitude of “either one” would be puzzling and require investigation. At times a Vajra person may seem cold or sharply cutting like an icicle, because there is a tendency to analyze or at least question, “How can you have no preference?”

The Vajra personality works with white-hot anger. Vajra neurosis tends to have a short fuse, super ready to criticize or at least to analyze what is wrong with an idea or situation. But if a Vajra person can just feel and stay with the emotion of anger, rather than either self-righteously expressing rage and getting off on it—or suppressing it tightly inside—the clarity of anger turns naturally into Mirror-like Wisdom and he can begin to express intelligently and without blame his concerns and insights.

Usually when we’re angry we want to get it off our chest, or, out of fear, suppress it. In both cases we are trying to get rid of the anger rather than acknowledging and staying with it. But by registering the emotion, we can touch the clarity within the emotion and find a skillful way to express ourselves, without polluting and emoting all over the place, and without bottling it up for another day.

The Ratna personality tends to be proud and loves to collect and draw in richness. Ratna literally means jewel or precious gem. A Ratna lady’s home may be like a comfortable fortress full of various rich collections. Perhaps she has a great library or collection of paintings. In the kitchen where she loves to cook, she has every imaginable utensil, herb, and spice. Her garden may be a rich jumble of vegetables and colorful flowers, surrounded by vine-covered walls and planters overflowing with velvet petunias. She probably has a multitude of scarves, or silk ties if a man, and enjoys wearing a great deal of gold jewelry or “bling”. Such a person is gregarious and enjoys being surrounded by companions.

The sanity of Ratna expresses itself in the Wisdom of Equanimity. There is balance, and earthy stability. She is aware of self-existing richness in herself and her world and doesn’t have to always go “over the top”, replaying certain opera arias or dressing in brocade!

Recognizing the tendency to be prideful is the beginning of loosening up into the Wisdom of Equanimity. As the tendency to defend herself and to maintain ego’s way of doing things elaborately relaxes, she feels inspired instead to be generous and hospitable to everyone in her world.

Ratna is connected with the South, to the fertility and abundance of autumn. It is like sunshine mid-morning on a luscious, ripe and juicy peach!

The Padma family is provocative and magnetizing. Padma literally means lotus. This family is connected with fire and the burning red of the setting sun in the West, and with springtime, the time when winter softens into tender growth and brightens with the brilliant color of wild flowers. Many artists are of the Padma family. Padma people tend to be attractive and warm, with an instinct toward union.

But Padma neurosis is prone to fascination and seduction, followed by disinterest because the desire is to attract more than to have. This neurotic form of passion can be transformed with self-discipline into Discriminating Awareness, which knows what to attract, what to reject, in the first place. Then respect and communication can occur along with the warmth of genuine compassion, instead of the cycle of entrapment-rejection.

The final Buddha family is that of Karma, symbolized by a sword. This is the most efficient and active family. Karma literally means action or activity. It is like the energy of a good wind, which blows away any leaves still clinging from winter’s stasis, or like a summer breeze in the Northern Highlands of Cape Breton, whipping through the tall, sword-like grasses, for it is summer when all living things are most active and growing. The color of the Karma family is green but the mood is that of dusk, post-sunset, like an early summer night teeming with the activity of everything from insects to partying humans!

Karma people like things to work, to be functional, and timely. They are pragmatic, with a tendency toward competition. The neurosis of Karma is speed, restlessness, and jealousy. Karma neurosis feels that if something isn’t functional all the time or doesn’t fit a predetermined scheme, it should be destroyed!

But again, recognizing this tendency toward speed, competition, and jealousy is the first step in having the neurosis loosen its hold. As one slows down, action becomes appropriate. Then one can be less self-conscious, competitive, and jealous. And one can learn to delegate. This is the beginning of All-Accomplishing Action.

These families represent five different approaches and styles, which are equally valid. A practitioner may relate predominantly to any one of them, or partially with several of them.

There is no fixed type-casting. Each family has the potential to be a different expression of sanity. In that way our various styles do not need to be considered as hang-ups but as the display of a variety of valuable energies.

~ Linda V. Lewis

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