Ayurveda – Becoming your own expert

A few weeks ago I suddenly felt that I wanted to know more about Ayurveda. I only had a vague idea that it was an ancient Eastern healing tradition. I wanted to find out what it was really about, hoping that it might be helpful in this quest for deliberate living. I borrowed some books from the library, and the very first one was an easy to read and inspiring overview. It was a Swedish book, “Skapa din hälsa med Ayurveda” (meaning: Create your health with Ayurveda) by Maivor Stigengreen (it has been translated into German – “Ayurveda – Die eigene Gesundheit stärken”).

Maybe you already know all about Ayurveda (chances are you do, after all, it’s nothing new). In case you don’t, just a few words:

“Ayu” means “life” and “Veda” means “knowledge” – so, Ayurveda = Knowledge of Life.

The Charaka Samhita (one of the oldest, most well-known texts on Ayurveda, dating back to ca. 1000 –  600 BC) defines this Knowledge/Science of Life as follows:

“The science which describes advantageous and disadvantageous, as well as happy and unhappy states of life, along with what is good and bad for life, its measurement and life itself is called Ayurveda.”

In Sanskrit:

“Hita hitam sukham dukhamayustasya hita hitam
manam ca tacca yatroktamayurvedar ca ucayate”

Sounds like a useful science to me. What intrigued me about Ayurveda was that it is about becoming your own expert. Sure, you need to learn and you need guidance, especially in the beginning. But from what I’ve gathered so far Ayurveda acknowledges the individual, and is not about having a single set of guidelines for everyone. So it makes sense that no one can be more competent on concerning your life and your happiness than you yourself.

Back to the issue of change: according to Maivor Stigengreen, Ayurveda describes all change as a process consisting of four steps:

  1. Leaving the old behind,
  2. Thus creating a gap,
  3. Allowing for change to happen within this gap,
  4. Bringing about the new.

I have clearly been in a gap for a while now – but until I read this, and understood that there is nothing wrong with this state, I wasn’t very good at accepting this. For as long as I can think, I have been afraid that if I/ things don’t change right away, I/they never will. It had never occurred to me, that a transitional state is necessary for change to be happen. Then again, when I look back at my life so far, I have often been worried that things that I wanted to change might not – but they did. Despite of me and my worries.

How about you? Does this sound familiar? Do you recognize this four-step process in your life? How do you feel about that gap?

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