What Do You Feel? Ayurveda and Becoming the Poet of Yourself

 

 

“What does anxiety feel like?”

I’ll ask the question in groups beginning to study Ayurveda. The first round of answers rolls out:

Worried. Concerned. Apprehensive. Uneasy. Fearful. Agitated. Nervous.

They’re all great words. But, I’ll suggest, as psychological synonyms, they might not get us any closer to what anxiety really feels like.

What does “worried” feel like, after all? How does it feel similar to or different from “anxiety”? Continue reading “What Do You Feel? Ayurveda and Becoming the Poet of Yourself”

“Vedic” Astrology: A Strange and Lovely Art from Time Gone By, Rife with Tender Bullshit Today

“Astrology developed into a strange discipline: a mixture of careful observation, mathematics and record-keeping, but rife with fuzzy thinking and pious fraud. Nevertheless: it survived and flourished. Why? Because it seems to lend a cosmic significance to the routine of our daily lives. It pretends to satisfy our longing to feel personally connected to the universe.” – Carl Sagan

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he late Carl Sagan is spot-on here, but he left a few tasty ingredients out of the astrology stew. He left out poetry. Narrative acumen. The psychological intuition that comes out of watching people as carefully as one must watch the planets to predict their movements. He left out the burning desire to give consolation and express empathy through the correlation of cosmic and character patterns. And: the yearning for this consolation to come quickly, when research and science take so much effort. Sagan omitted the inscrutable moments of intimacy that can occur between two people as they consider the aspirations and anxieties of life, through a horoscope, darkly. His omissions are to be expected: he never practiced astrology. But I did. Continue reading ““Vedic” Astrology: A Strange and Lovely Art from Time Gone By, Rife with Tender Bullshit Today”

mantra

Initiation of mantra comes through hearing alone. Hearing comes through space element. The elders say that the lowliest villager passing through space by the temple door who happens to hear a mantra is initiated by its rhythm and from then on is beholden to its meaning.

(When the elders become the eldest they sit at the temple door and listen to the songs of children and are themselves initiated anew.) Continue reading “mantra”

syrinx and systole, first three fragments

The songbird sings from his syrinx, at the bottom of his trachea, where the two bronchi become one. It is a hollow space framed by reverberant cartilage and smooth muscle tympanum. There are no chords to split and differentiate the breath. The tongue does not direct the sound, nor are there teeth for sibilance, nor labia for nuance. Continue reading “syrinx and systole, first three fragments”

an ayurvedic view of cancer

In the face of the most difficult etiology, cancer, Ayurveda offers four overlapping modes of reflection and support: the descriptive, the preventative, the purificatory, and the supportive/palliative. Overlaps occur because the descriptive in itself has preventative power, while palliation, in turn, will always involve the purification of root causes, even when the momentum of the disease is overwhelming. “Palliation” does not necessarily refer to a final-illness context in Ayurveda: it also generally means “improvement of imbalancing factors”, or, as presented below, it can be thought of as intelligent dietary support during the radical interventions of chemotherapy and radiation. In true final-illness circumstances, all of these modes transcend their physiological focus, to become tools for a celebrative and reconciliatory inquiry into life. The doctor doesn’t give up, but she does change the medicine – from the specific to the expansive.

This brief presentation will provide a basic introduction to these four modes. Continue reading “an ayurvedic view of cancer”