By Dr Mathew.
HOLISTIC HYGIENE AND SPIRITUAL FITNESS
In the previous article, we discussed the concept of viewing hygiene in a deeper and more holistic manner. This time we will bring to perspective the concept of the spirit or soul or inner energy and the way it is important in the case of illness and healing as a vital factor behind both.
Spirituality is mostly misunderstood as something religious or sometimes as a superstitious concept. But I would see it as an important quality which would differentiate living beings from the most advance artificial intelligence and may be as the ability to engage in a greater cause by giving it more importance than the self.
Ayurveda, being an ancient and holistic method of healing, focuses not just on the symptom but on the imbalance which causes the symptom. This imbalance here is not one just pertaining to the physical body and its functions, but is of the entity called “chikitsa purusha” or literary: “The one who is getting treated”. The one who is getting treated according to Ayurveda is a combination of four factors. Body (realm of action), Sense Organs (realm of objects), Mind (the realm of thoughts and emotions) and Spirit (the pure consciousness), the body and spirit is at both ends of the axis. Many years before conventional medicine accepted and studied psychosomatic issues, Ayurveda had a clear understanding of these four factors, its qualities and its role in the formation of various disease conditions and healing it.
The body is that entity which is driven by our senses and sensual objects, which is subject to pain and pleasure, that which is perishable. While the spiritual aspect is understood as the opposite, it is that aspect which is driven by pure awareness and avoiding distraction from the sensual objects, which has no experience of both pain or pleasure, where there is pure consciousness. Some of us may have had some glimpses of pure consciousness while quietly praying or meditating which made us feel that these are momentary experiences. Ayurveda believes the opposite way that; Chikitsa Purusha is a spiritual being having a momentary human experience. The mind is the factor which is in between this physical and spiritual plane, but always pulled towards the physical pain and pleasure aspect due to the material affinity of the senses. Now you can see that the concept of spiritual fitness, is not about making the spirit stronger but about getting the mind closer to the ever-present energy within yourself.
It is not about increasing the spiritual energy but more about being more aware about it and feeling the immense potential of this energy within us. Below I’ll mention a few tips to achieve spiritual fitness
1) Practice detachment – Let go of some material affinity may be (coffee or sugar or cakes) that you crave for and observe its effect on yourself. The idea is to reach a stage where you may still be able to decide whether to have it or not from a situation where you are addicted to have it.
2) Practice to be content – learn to be content with something one step short of it reaching your level of expectation. Cook a new recipe and decide to be satisfied with the outcome irrespective of its taste before you even start making it.
3) Be aware of practicing Mental Hygiene – See my previous article for details.
4) Go on a pilgrimage – It doesn’t have to be to a religious place, just go on a walk in the park or hiking; sacrificing your precious regular weekend roast or television program or eating out routine. Or else spend that time with someone in the family or a friend whom you haven’t spoken with for a long time.
5) Harness the power of silence. Praying or meditation in silence is now understood as something that help brain initiate repair and regeneration, reduce production of stress hormones and improve focus.
6) Regain control over your physical body and breathing. Achieving spiritual strength without having control on your body balance, flexibility, stamina and stability is impossible.
Remembering what H M Tomlinson said – “We see things not as they are, but as we are”