The mind Body Connection
(Written for Spirit Magazine, NZ)
Prema Ayurveda involves a particular approach to the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda, which translated means the "Science of life". The name gives a clue to its essence -- it's a science of Life, not illness not a science of what can go wrong. Generic Ayurveda emerges from villages in most traditional village cultures.
In the Middle East it's called Unani in China it's called Taoist medicine and in India -- the original home of this science is called by many names and comes in many variants.
The variant which is known to the west we're calling institutional Ayurveda because it is taught in universities and colleges. We've learned a lot from the many sources of information within that variant. But our passion lies in Prema Ayurveda, for its emphasis (by its very name) on the role of principle-based relationship as the centrepin of sustainable wellbeing.
Prema Ayurveda (Prema means the love that comes through relationship) is mainly propagated by word of mouth from various spiritual retreat centres within India, where it is used as a tool for personal growth and character-building that is part of any real system of spiritual growth.
Some important principles:
All living beings have to deal with experience. With experience then you either transform it or collide with it. Transformation is like "digesting" the experience -- every facet of the experience is transmuted into healthy mental or physical "tissue" with no fallout. If you collide with experience then there's wreckage and consequences. Collision happens, without fail, if you are not "true to yourself" at the point of decision.
The outcome of collision is unwellness and unhappiness
The outcome of transformation is ultimate joy for all players
The mind-body connection
Whatever happens at a mental level also has a manifestation at a physical level. For instance, if you don't transform your experiences which are your mental/intellectual food, then it is highly likely that you will have some sort of difficulty in digesting your food. Prema Ayurveda involves an in-depth understanding of the mapping, both ways, between mind and body. This mapping is complex when viewed from a western biochemical viewpoint but it is really simple when seen from a viewpoint based on Ayurvedic principles.
Diagnosis means "knowledge at a distance". It's important because for most people, to assess their own position on any channel -- mental or physical or emotional is hard but it's often easier to see where another's position is, providing you have a good set of diagnostic tools which involve adequate self and crosschecking features. The diagnostic toolset available through Prema Ayurveda is fully integrated with a clear understanding of the purpose and place of each approach. Diagnostics are self-checking and it becomes very obvious where a diagnosis is being swayed by emotional involvement etc.
Prema Ayurveda involves a strong and easy to understand modelling of all aspects of the human being -- physical, mental emotional and spiritual. This is a strong and clear model tied back to the basic spiritual principles of life itself.
This model provides the "why" or causative aspects of events and manifestations and therefore can help easily reveal the changes in choices and other actions which will lead to a different result.
The model is unique in the way it is perceived as meaningful by either people who are highly educated or with no education at all. It doesn't really require a sophisticated intellect. Because it is based on a wellness model and spiritual principles then it remains simple.
Here is an article that was written some time ago which offers a snapshot of how Prema Ayurveda works
"......Bales of sugar cane being unloaded;
The price falls lower and lower
It's almost free.
The only work is the pounding of the cane
No One leaves here with a sour mouth
Climb the minaret and invite everybody to wine
Even nine-year-old vinegar gets a sweet tinge
Ordinary stones are suddenly marbled with ruby....."
We've missed something. The Maulana's account struggles and fails to tell of a sweet madness which is the privilege of those who have reached far within.
What is his secret? What is it about his words that despite all these years and reaching across cultures, reach inside us to touch on things which have become distant to us but can't be forgotten?
Passion is thought to be something of an inner gift that some people have and some don't. When it is not there then,
"Inside us, there is continuous autumn. Our leaves fall and are blown out over the water. A crow sits in the blackened limbs and talks about what is gone..."
Rumi was a student under his spiritual guide Shams ii Tabrez, moving forward in a system that has permeated throughout the East and the Middle East, and is generally known as Unani, or Ayurveda. Both these words mean, in different ways, 'Science of Life'.
It is taught in academic institutions with an emphasis on its simple and wonderful herbal medicines and dietary wisdom.
It also has a stronghold in spiritual ashrams where it is used in its higher subtle form, adding powerful yet simple diagnostic tools and innovative solutions to most of the little intrigues and challenges of living.
This subtle form of Ayurveda has been around in NZ for some years now and is making a difference.
So what's it all about? Let's keep it simple...
Life and Experience
With life, there's you, and there is experience. The 'you' sounds like 'one' but it isn't really. There's a whole crew inside that body of yours, at various levels. What about this morning? Was there a little discussion between the person inside you that talks about what you 'should' do and the one that 'needs' a couple of moments more in bed?
The real you is pretty special but sometimes it gets messed up with some of the other inmates of your body. The trouble is that the experience keeps coming. It won't go away! And sometimes in the interaction between you and experience a few bumps happen. But sometimes too, you are able to take a challenging experience and transform it into good things.
Keeping it simple as promised, means that sometimes you digest an experience and move on enriched by it, and sometimes you don't; you end up bowled over in some way, you pick yourself up and stagger on.
If you digest the experience, embracing and transforming anything that seemed negative about it into good things - tears into smiles, failure into success - then creation or whoever it is who's pushing the buttons, backs off. Instead, she hands out joy and success - what you might call good fortune.
When you don't manage it too well, when in this collision between consciousness and mind/matter, the mind and/or matter wins, then this is called trauma or undigested experience.
A tree usually has quite good digestion.....
It is able to take in some fairly obnoxious elements and churn out some plums or nectarines or flowers. It's magic.
Something that technology can't do and is a long way off from doing.
When experience isn't digested properly then, through the mind/body connection, your physical digestion isn't too wonderful either. The connection between the quality of your digestion of experience and the digestion of your food is set in concrete. There are no exceptions.
The effect of undigested food is like a partially burning fire - there are a lot of by-products. These by-products lodge in whatever parts of the body are weak and become the seat of disease at some stage.
The main factor in undigested experience is all this scrapping that goes on between the head and the heart.
Especially in the West, the head overrules.
The biggest factor in your well-being is your emotional state.
"Emotions can turn nectar into poison and poison into nectar."
The emotions themselves originate from the quarrel between head and heart.
Your heart (heart here means the centre of your consciousness, not the boom-boom thing) only wants peace and good things, but its own survival and the survival of the being (that's you) depends on the spirit taking a (reluctant) stand.
So really, your body is just congealed thoughts, with each part corresponding to a different area of thought.
So if you happen to have a pimple of some sort on your right shoulder, then that definitely relates to some particular type of funny thinking that has been going on.
Starting to get interesting, doesn’t it!
Prema Ayurveda understands that well-being has its roots in the heart and so while we use medicines, we understand only too well that no food medicine or change of circumstances can heal a broken heart.
We are all brokenhearted to some extent. Coming across the practicalities of this understanding is a wonderful and amazing thing.
Vitamin C – Take an example
Take vitamin C for instance, everyone worries about it because vitamin C facilitates the 'glue' that holds all your bits and pieces together (= collagen). Now we don't want our bits and pieces falling off so we take vitamin C in a big way.
Right, take a look at the cuticles on your fingernails. That's the skin that goes between the base of the fingernail and the nail itself.
If your vitamin C levels are good then that skin will be strongly bonded on to the fingernail (this is your introduction to Ayurvedic diagnosis - easy isn't it!).
But if some of the cuticles are torn then it means that either you are not getting enough vitamin C or you are getting plenty but not absorbing it.
Here's the interesting bit. Vitamin C forms the 'glue' which holds the body together. At a metaphysical level, 'trust' is the glue that holds relationships together.
What it really means
What all that means is that vitamin C shortage is due to mistrust in some areas of life. If we knew exactly which finger and where the cuticles tend to break then we can tell you in which area of life that the mistrust is in, and help you do something about it so that it goes away and never comes back.
It also means that a chemical solution to vitamin C or any other shortage can only ever really be a short term one.
Using medicine well
Creation/Mother Nature or whoever pushes the buttons up there will never let a medicine stand in the way of your spiritual growth for too long!
You just have to get stronger medicine and even that doesn't work forever.
In the end, you have to deal with life. There just isn't any alternative in the long run.
This doesn't mean no medicines, but one of the advantages of human intelligence is that we can anticipate and steer our lives so that we don't have to get into fire-fighting so much.
And again it means that there is also a direct metaphysical meaning for a shortage of anything on a nutrient level - there is something at a mental or emotional level that you have missed or side-stepped.
What’s out there?
There's you and there is what is around you.
And you feel separateness from what's out there.
But the features on that landscape are just some magic of the mind; they are expressions of your own being.
Everyone sees a slightly different picture, coloured by experience and choice. The people around you - those who you like and those you don't - are all aspects of your own personality and remain as they are until your personality changes.
Then either they change too or move out of the picture.
One of the things which stop your life from moving forward as it might is that you either wait for the channel to change or with emotional or physical force you try to change it. But whatever is on your screen is just what you said yes to.
Sorting it out is a matter of just saying yes to the things that lie in your critical path and saying no to all the rest.
A saying from the Vedas that we refer to often is that,
"You are only as strong as your 'no'."
We have to have clear yes's and clear no's.
Anybody at any level can move forward by understanding some simple equations.
It's got to be simple because under pressure you forget things, especially truths.
There is more of course, but sorting these things out are major factors.
When you choose, and that means all the time, then make sure that the choice is made with all members of the crew inside you in enthusiastic agreement. If they are not, then this is called mis-integrity and tends to result in a wrecked immune system.
So don't say yes when you really mean no.
Your immune system in the big picture means that you can live in a challenging world and also love the people who are still in the making.
If your immune system is weak then you have to distance yourself from life.
The tree, because of its integrity, is able to transform manure into oranges or flowers.
If you have integrity and love in your life then you will be able to transform the metaphysical 'manure' of the conditioned mind and troubled environment into the flowers and fruit of personal influence, joy and enthusiasm.
And this means no allergy problems.
You must make sure that your 'yes' really means that you are enthusiastic. After all, the meaning of the word 'enthusiastic' is to be filled with God.
Your energy is on 'loan' to you from creation and it is important for your well-being that it is well invested in those pursuits which add character to your personality and joy to your life and that of others.
When your energy is spent in pursuits that are diversionary to your path, then allergy in its wider sense comes about.
This means that certain foods and certain experiences become hard to digest and assimilate.
How well you are able to understand and live these two principles control the well-being of the all-important heart centre.
When these principles are not manifesting in life then allergy and immune system disease soon follow.
So you thought that Ayurveda was about herbs and diet and yoga etc?
Well, in Prema Ayurveda there is that too, but those things have a habit of being a bit like vapour unless there is some deeper satisfaction from life.
The medicines used in this branch of Ayurveda are quite simple and work from the point of view of creating a clean environment within the body rather than attacking microbes.
Given a body that is toxin-free, most microbes would rather live somewhere else.
There is so much more to tell you.
These are mere fragments, some reflections in the broken mirror of written words.
But even so, they are bound to strike chords and stir thoughts of long ago.
Take care, you just might catch the infection. Some did and they are finding it hard to shake off.
Don't say we didn't warn you!
Mike and Stephie MacDonald
Blenheim, New Zealand
Mike’s initial interest in Prema Ayurveda came about from an intrigue with the simplicity and effectiveness of the Ayurvedic approach as it was happening in the Ashram of spiritual master Kirpal Singh in Delhi India. The main focus of this ashram was spiritual progress, yet it seemed as though Ayurveda had extraordinary effectiveness in dealing with wellness issues that were proving difficult to treat using traditional western methods.
In India, the propagation of Prema Ayurveda is by word of mouth and the various towers of knowledge are with different people. Certain standards are demanded of students before the training begins.
Mike developed his understanding of Prema Ayurveda, alongside a central focus on self-development over the years since first contact in 1974 and in the late ’80s and ’90s started taking Prema Ayurveda to the people.
This initiative met with a remarkable response and since that time a significant number of people have benefited from the clarity and self-empowerment which comes from a system of understanding which is substantially free from dogma and ritual.
Stephie MacDonald became interested in Prema Ayurveda around 1996 and never got over it. She has studied and practised since and currently is a strong advocate and active worker with Mike, promoting and caring for those people wanting to explore this approach.
Mike and Stephie now consult with people from all walks of life and in all states of wellness and social standing. Their clientele includes the highly successful as well as those who have experienced the misfortune of poor health or disharmony.
Mike and Stephie were married in April 2003 and are now looking forward to working together in bringing some important concepts to the lives of many people