Recently I spoke of cleansing one’s body in order to get it functioning optimally. This idea also relates to all of life according to Ayurveda, including the mind. When our mind is cleared of clutter, truth is more apparent. This is why meditation is so effective. Similarly, when our body is cleared of waste and toxins, it’s tissues and organs are healthier and operate more effectively.
Through the process of cleansing, we have the opportunity to cleanse the mind. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, the mind is shaped by our five senses - what we see, hear, taste, smell and feel. Our senses determine the quality of our thoughts. It follows that as we cleanse the correlating organs (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, and skin), our mind becomes lighter and clearer. The cleansing of the senses is a tenet of Ayurveda, the world's oldest form of currently practiced medicine.
When we cleanse, we are stripping the body down and making it lighter. Accumulation is our tendency in this society, so in order to create balance we must eliminate the excess. This theory is known as the principle of opposites. If we’re feeling heavy or sluggish, we should lighten our load. If we’re feeling ungrounded or light-headed, then we should look towards heavier, more grounding foods, like grains and cooked vegetables, and practices such as meditation and walks in nature. Herein lies the beauty of Ayurveda, in that it’s logical and comes naturally to us. When it’s cold outside we don’t have to think about what to wear, we naturally gravitate towards clothing to keep us warm - the principle of opposites.
I also mentioned recently that there is a myriad of cleanses on the market. Choosing which cleanse is appropriate depends on one’s current health condition, and one’s goal. If an individual has never cleansed before, and has a history of processed foods, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, or anything else that can lead to unhealthy conditions, it is likely that an extreme cleanse or fasting too quickly can lead to an overload of toxins on the liver. In this case, to start by eliminating processed foods and switching to fruits, vegetables, and grains would be a great way to prepare your liver for a cleanse and reduce a probable acidic condition. The same can be said for drinks. As the elimination of processed food happens, so should the elimination of liquids that are not water or juice. Those who have a vegetarian diet or have cleansed in the past can consider more extreme programs, always being mindful of their acid/alkaline levels before fasting.
Key points to remember when taking on what can be a potentially life-changing and habit-changing experience is to take it slow, be positive, and seek guidance if there are any doubts or questions. We reboot our computers, change the oil in our vehicles, and flush the pipes in our homes when they’re clogged, why not give our bodies the same well-deserved attention. Your body will thank you and so will your mind.
Please see our ad in this issue of the Artful Mind.
Be well and heal thyself!
Ayurvedic Practitioner, Herbalist, Bodyworker