Ayurveda: Mind-Body Medicine

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Ayurvedic doctors don’t need to call themselves psychologists. Psychology is part of their usual practice that considers both physical and mental disease. According to Ayurveda, physical diseases occur mainly owing to external factors such as wrong diet or exposure to pathogens. Mental diseases arise mainly from internal factors, like wrong use of the senses and the accumulation of negative emotions.

Some diseases, like acute infections, have almost entirely physical causes and can be treated purely on a physical level. However, most diseases have psychological causes and all lasting diseases have psychological effects. Physical disease disturbs the emotions and weakens the senses, which may give rise to psychological disturbances. Psychological imbalances have physical consequences. They lead to dietary indiscretions, strain the heart and nerves, and weaken the physical body.

In the modern developed world, our problems are mainly psychological. We have adequate food, clothing and shelter, which prevents us from getting many physical diseases. Yet, though most of us have no major physical problems, we still suffer from psychological unrest. This unrest may manifest as feelings of loneliness, not being loved or appreciated, anger, stress, or anxiety. It can lead to the weakening of our physical energy and prevent us from doing what we really need to do.

Our very way of life breeds unhappiness. We have an active and turbulent culture in which there is little peace of contentment. We have disturbed the organic roots of life, which are good food, water and air, and a happy family life. We live in an artificial world dominated by urban landscape and mass media, in which there is little to nourish the soul. We ever desire new things and are seldom content with what we have. We run from one stimulation to another, rarely observing the process of our lives that is really leading nowhere. Our lives are patterns of accumulation, in which we are never still or at rest. Our medicine is more of a quick fix to keep us going in our wrong lifestyles and seldom addresses the behavioral root of our problems.

Ayurveda, on the other hand, teaches harmony with Nature, simplicity and contentment as keys to well-being. It shows us how to live in a state of balance in which fulfillment is a matter of being, not becoming. It connects us with the wellsprings of creativity and happiness within our own consciousness, so that we can permanently overcome our psychological problems. Ayurveda provides a real solution to our health problems, which is to return to a oneness with the universe and the Divine within. This requires changing how we live, think, and perceive.

Information Source: Ayurveda and the Mind by Dr. David Frawley

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