Feb 24 (Day 22):
WORDS OF WISDOM:
“Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.” — Dalai Lama
I am having Vata issues right now…Big ones. Dr. Sankar explained that Vata (the air and space dosha) manages both the pitta and kapha doshas (fire and earth) in the human body. The vata acts almost like a car, transporting the other two doshas around (the same way you need air for the movement of fire or earth in the world.)
Sometimes when you have an excess of pitta, it’s only after you have treated that issue do you realize that the the vata was the problem all along, pushing the pitta to an unhealthy level. The way he illustrated this concept to me made things much clearer to me.
He used the analogy of a clogged pipe under your house. You see the water and say, “Oh, I have a problem with water in my house.” In order to fix it, the first step is to turn off the tap. Then you remove all the water. Finally, you look into the pipe. Only then can you see that the source of the problem was not water, but a blockage that completely closed off the pipe. Once you remove that blockage, the water will flow normally. Until you treated the flood, you couldn’t see the underlying issue that was causing it. Well, we’ve treated the “flood” in my body; now we’re going to clear the blockage.
This afternoon, I tried a new treatment called ‘Ksheeradhara” which, roughly translated, means, “pouring of medicated milk.” This is a lot like the treatment where they slowly pour oil on my head for an hour, but instead of oil, we went with the milk this afternoon, to cool off my mind. I like it much better than the warm oil.
The emotional rollercoaster just keeps rolling along…
We now have only four working days left until I leave for Mumbai. As a result the doctor has been ramping up all my medicines, trying to “push” as much medication into my system as Ayurveda will allow before I go home…It is making for a rough last week. This morning, everything hurt and I was crying for no reason. When he asked “Why are you crying?” I replied, “I don’t know. I’m just having a bad day. Can’t people just have a bad day?” His reply was “No.” Dr. Sankar then began to explain an integral part of Indian culture.
“Having a bad day is contagious,” he said. “It affects everyone you come in contact with, poisoning not only yourself but everyone else around you. Fear and anger have never helped anyone. That is why you must discipline your mind to let the negativity go…so you don’t damage others around you. Being truthful and contemplative are regenerating for the human body. Being negative…pollutes it.”
He went on to explain another key difference between Indian culture and my own. “In European countries, when someone is depressed or sad, you tend to ‘let them be.’ You leave them alone to work things out on their own. Indians aren’t like that. We believe that when a friend is sad or in pain, it is our duty to pull them out of it…to coax them, tease them, take them out into the world to have some fun until they feel better. We never let them stay alone. We pull them along with us until they are out of the darkness…Our way is better.”
This made me think of how much physical affection you see on a daily basis here in India…Grown men standing hip to hip with their arms around each other — grown women hugging each other as they walk down the sidewalk.
It reminded me of all the times I have seen groups of school children in Mumbai walking down the street, physically pulling along one of their friends who looks sad. I’ve seen these kids teasing each other into a good mood, hugging one another, trying to make the quiet ones smile or laugh. Everyone here seems like family in the best possible sense of the word. I realized that I’ve been seeing this practice in action for months, and I didn’t even know what was happening right before my eyes.
There is a deep sweetness to the people here, a compassion and innocence. I think we’ve lost that in the United States.
I could use a little more Indian in me…I think we all could.