Veda means knowledge or wisdom in Sanskrit and the Vedic texts contain all the information you need to master your mind and emotions, remove ignorance, dispel fear, and eliminate selfishness. Ancient self help books!
Aside from the learning medical terminology, understanding diseases and treatments, and the tenets of proper Ayurvedic lifestyle, studying Ayurveda at Vedika Global means learning to master the mind. Because the mind controls the body, emotions and thoughts, that when left unchecked, become “mind invaders.”
Last week, my teacher Shunya Pratichi Mathur read a passage from the Brahma Sutras, then humorously and quite eloquently talked about how it relates to our lives and our minds. Ultimately, these six steps lead us to liberation and our true purpose in life. But it’s a tough road with plenty of “mind invaders” to battle along the way.
1) Viveka: discrimination. This doesn’t mean discriminating against a person or the coffee that someone drinks, but in what we think. Every day, we’re bombarded with news, information, gossip, and we have the choice not to mindlessly react. We have a choose in what we consume. We can choose not to gossip about someone, choose to turn off the TV, not to eat a donut (though a donut once in awhile is warranted). Ultimately, if it is Truth and peace you seek, viveka is your path.
2) Shama: detachment. We have constant urges to speak, do, act. Through viveka, we discriminate and detach from our emotions. Many people say they don’t want to be detached from the emotions and senses: you want to smell, taste, and feel. But do you want your senses to mindlessly control you? Your tongue believes you should have ice cream every night. But through viveka, you discriminate and choose the best and healthiest option for your body in that moment. This leads to overall health.
3) Dama: if you control the mind, you control the body. You become the master of your body and the senses, which bridge the gap between mind and body.
4) Uparati: there is a constant duality in life. You see it everywhere. Your boyfriend is sweet, but he’s also a jerk; the sun comes out and the moon goes away; it’s hot in summer, cold in winter. While duality will always exist, you always want one of the two. We can’t escape duality so the only thing you can do is stop complaining and stop being caught up in what you cannot fix. Through this acceptance, you come back to natural equanimity.
5) Titeksha: this is endurance. You have to endure physical and mental discomfort as a student, often traveling to see a teacher or sitting in an uncomfortable chair in order to gain some knowledge and wisdom. But why complain and react and create more bad karma? You’ve probably heard people say that “suffering is optional” and I’m sure the root of that is from a Vedic text somewhere.
6) Samadhi: this is a poised and calm state of mind, one-pointed focus. This is what Buddhists would call enlightened. It’s said to be a state of constant joy because you know the Truth and are no longer hindered by your thoughts, the limitations of your body, and you understand the true meaning of life.
Through these steps, we become the masters of our own minds and conquer mind invaders once and for all. Game over.
*Image courtesy of Zellaby.
- Guru is a Sanskrit word that means remover of darkness. Buddhists and Hindus hold festivals and elaborate ceremonies on a holiday called Guru Purnima, which happened this week, in fact. This significant holiday is an opportunity for students to honor teachers and express gratitude for those who have taught important…