Saturday, September 1, 2012

This article doesn't focus on astrology per se, but it focuses on a holistic approach to life that could include astrology and other metaphysical practices.

While researching my music consciousness book, I revisited a website on balancing Ayurvedic doshas with music. For those of you not familiar with doshas, there are 3 doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, with roots in the ancient Vedic practices of India, going back 3,000 to 5,000 years. Each dosha represents different qualities and all the doshas work together. For instance, Vata represents air and space, Pitta represents fire and water, and Kapha represents water and earth. Each doshas carries with it certain attributes both physical and mental in a person. And each person has one or two dominant doshas, for me it's Vata-Pitta. When a doshas goes out of balance, dis-ease results.
Here is a quote from the website for Healing Sounds for Ayurveda.

"Sushruta (Ayurvedic doctor and author, about 1000 B.C.) describes a state of perfect health as follows: "He whose doshas (constitution) are in balance, whose appetite is good, whose dhatus (tissue layers) are functioning normally, whose malas (forms of elimination) are in balance, and whose Self, mind, and senses remain full of bliss, is called a healthy person." ("Samadoshah samagnish ca samadhatumalakriyah prasannatmendriyamanah svastha ity abhidhiyate." - Sushruta Sutrasthanam 15.41)."

What strikes me about this quote, is the almost impossible mission of achieving balance in all areas of our lives, but to experience well-being, that becomes our mission. Also with Saturn in the last degrees of Libra, which already lasted 2 1/2 years, have also demanded that we find balance in our lives and in the structure of our lives. When I talk about structure I'm referring to financial structure since Saturn rules finances, business, money and institutions, but I'm also referring to our bodily structures, our family structures, and the methods we use in building community.

There is a saying and I can't remember where it comes from, but probably from Eastern philosophy, that to have balance in a nation, we must have balance within a community, and to have balance in a community we need to have balance in our homes; in order to have balance in our homes, we need to feel balanced within ourselves, and so on. This is exactly the lesson Saturn in Libra has brought to our attention. So now let's take a look at the balanced way, or even the conscious way of living our lives.
Produce should make up three quarters of your diet. Photo by Patricia Herlevi

Diet and Nutrition:

Ask yourself the following questions: Do you eat mostly organic vegetables and fruit in your diet? Do you have an awareness of where your food comes from? Do you eat food that was raised or produced with cruelty and disregard for balance or health? A healthy diet garners most of its nutrition and micronutrients from vegetables and fruit. This does not imply that you should automatically switch to a plant-based diet, though this isn't an unhealthy choice if you suffer from inflammatory diseases. If you choose to eat animal products, cut back to smaller portions once or twice a week only and definitely partake in meatless Monday.

Food equals energy which equals frequency/vibration. I even have a cookbook by Paul Pitchford that focuses on vibrational cooking, "Healing with Whole Foods". I highly recommend this cookbook even if it mainly focuses on the macrobiotic diet. In Ayurvedic medicine and in traditional Chinese medicine, among other ancient medical practices, food possesses certain qualities such as warm, hot, cold, cooling, and I'm not talking about cooking food to make it hot. A raw onion or raw garlic are considered hot or warming, hot peppers, well, that speaks for itself. Cooling foods include cucumber, most fruit, and lettuce. Food is also either acidic or alkaline. If you eat too many acidic foods (most Americans do), your body suffers from inflammation which leads to dis-ease. Again, we are talking about achieving balance through diet. People have died from acidosis (an overabundance of acid in the body).

I mentioned doshas earlier, and I'll mention them again under the music section of this article. Each dosha has balancing foods connected to it. Since Pitta, for instance runs on the hot side (these people overheat), Pitta doshas need to stay away from hot peppers, hot spices, onions, garlic and any type of food that overheat the body. Vatas on the other hand, which run on the cool side, could use some warming foods, but not the extreme heated foods. Kapha, because of its damp qualities, needs to stay away from damp, cooling foods, and does well on a vegan diet with hotter spices.

The problem with doshas is that they crave the foods that throw them off-balance. For instance, Kapha people love ice cream, but then they are most likely to suffer skin problems, weight problems and too much dampness in their bodies from eating this cool, fatty food. Kaphas need to stay clear of sweet foods period, not easy for this easy-going dosha who deals with emotions by stuffing themselves with food, instead of standing up for themselves.
Get your diet in balance.

Choose a form of exercise you enjoy.
Photo by Patricia Herlevi

Physical exercise & the physical body

Some people exercise too much, especially if an eating or obsessive-compulsive disorder is involved. However, most people these days don't get enough exercise. They jump in their car to go a few blocks, instead of riding a bike, taking the bus, or here's a wild idea, walking. I find it strange that people will drive to a gym to work out, and never walk or ride a bike anywhere. Or they'll drive to a sporting facilities to jog around a track! This would show that some humans have the brain the size of hamsters or that they have yet to tap into higher consciousness.

I'm someone who despises structured exercise. I thought of joining yoga classes, then feel inhibited. Fortunately, once I get into a routine, I can do yoga at home in complete privacy. I don't enjoy sweating in public--I feel nauseated just thinking about that. However, I walk 2 to 4 miles a day either to and through a park, or running errands. I carry a backpack full of groceries while walking up steep hills at least 2 times a week. And when I get into a routine I practice yoga. Sometimes I put on drum music and dance.

Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy, and don't allow guilt to decide your physical exercise routine. You can even do like I do and work with looser structure so that you fool your stubborn mind. Singing, believe it or not, when done from the whole body is a form of exercise. I read in Don Campbell's book "Healing at the Speed of Sound" that singing not only strengthens your abdomen muscles, especially singing in a choir, but also releases good feeling chemicals in the brain.

Christina Stevens in her upcoming book, "Music Medicine" mentions the health and physical benefits of drumming and joining drum circles. You can even dance at drum circles, and just let yourself go wild. Playing musical instruments also counts as exercise as does doing work in the garden or the household. People of the old times did not go to the gym to exercise since their daily work gave them all the physical stimulation they needed to stay physically fit. The modern Parisian woman is not likely to head to a gym either for a workout, but she will walk to the outdoor markets to buy her groceries, does walk up stairs instead of taking the elevator, and these days, she's riding a bike through Paris.
Wikipedia image

Sonic Environment (Sound effects our well-being profoundly)

Most of us grew up learning about nutrition, diet, and exercise as means of staying healthy, but few of us learned about how sounds affect our overall health and physical, emotional and mental development. Sadly, few experts knew about the power of sound on us when I was growing up, outside of the research of Dr. Alfred Tomitis, a French ear, nose, and throat doctor who first discovered the Mozart Effect in working with disabled and hearing impaired patients.
While this is a lengthy topic that I can't get into here, I urge you to check out books by Jonathan Goldman, Marjorie DeMuynck, Don Campbell, and Joshua Leeds. This will lead you to further resources, if you choose to delve into this fascinating topic.

Basically, the story behind sound is that a fetus' ears develop at 4 months. While this fetus does not hear sound in the womb in the same way that we hear it outside of the womb, it's brain registers all that it hears. Not only that, sound either nourishes the brain through complicated means, or it causes dis-ease or imbalance in the brain. Many diseases and conditions, researchers have found have a direct connection to the ear-brain connection. This includes dyslexia, autism, scoliosis, and various brain disorders. Hearing impairment at any period in a person's life can also lead to health problems, especially if a person is unable to hear certain spectrums and therefore, their brains are no longer nourished by sound.

This is why it is crucial to protect our ears and hearing health. Take those buds out of the ears and stop listening to loud music. If you work in a loud environment, wear the proper hearing protection. Your ears affect your brain; it's all connected. Your ears are also connected to your kidneys in Chinese medicine, and your kidneys are all about balance so are your ears, by the way.

A healthy sonic environment does not contain any sounds or noises over 80 decibels, in the ideal world. Once you listen to sounds over 80 decibels you risk hearing loss. You also need to consider that music is vibrational and in more ways than we know. For instance, words and emotions carry vibration. Hateful words are damaging to the mind-body-spirit. Destructive sounds and music can lead to mental health problems, and emotional imbalance. While most people have heard about eating a balanced diet, they lack an awareness of also engaging in a healthy sound diet.
Listen to others with interest.
Photo by Patricia Herlevi

Relationships and Communication

Okay, so someone has a balanced food and music diet, they exercise regularly, but have a difficult time in the realm of communication and relationships. This is an area where self-help and therapy play large roles. Most of us were not taught how to listen well to others. We talk instead of listen, we interrupt others, we criticize, we manipulate and control others then we call this love.

However, just because our parents and elders did not teach us how to communicate effectively, which involves more listening than talking, does not mean we can't learn these skills as adults. Take a non-violent communication workshop, meditate, take a workshop on listening skills or mediation. But mostly, work on your spiritual self because once you have balance there, you have more interest in truly engaging with another human or non-human.

Communication is not about pouring all your ideas into another person, as if they're an empty vessel just waiting for you to show up. Communication, as they say, is a two-way street that involves give and take. Bossy know-it-all people are a real bore. They already know about everything you say to them, and they obviously feel insecure about the things they don't know, or they wouldn't be out to prove to the world that they are geniuses and therefore smarter than everybody else.

It's true that we all know more than we think we ever could. Anyone who meditates or has a rich spiritual life, channels information, without knowing they're channeling. Information is everywhere, and you can just grab it out of the air. Inspiration comes from the word "breath" and so we literally breathe in knowledge. Wisdom doesn't belong to any particular person, but to the collective consciousness. We all know all there is to know, if only we could tap into it. Sometimes we need teacher or guides to help us tap into this collective wisdom, but sometimes these teachers block the way because they don't want you to know as much as they know.

I'm not writing this article from my own thoughts, but from the thoughts that flow through me. I first felt inspired to write an article on balance. Next, I sat at my computer and started typing. I had no idea what I would type before sitting down, but I had a general outline. Many writers report the same as they play this role of messenger. I feel humbled by the experience because all I'm doing is tapping into the collective consciousness. You already know this information on some level.

Meditate.

Spiritual balance

I have one word of advice for people striving for spiritual balance. Meditate. You can choose whatever form of meditation you want, but meditate every day for at least 10 minutes at a time. Make sure that you're not just sitting in a quiet room regurgitating your thoughts, like Liz Gilbert in her book and the movie "Eat, Pray, Love". Clear your mind and you will find balance.

Now, put it all together. If you want balance in your life, then you must bring balance in every area of your life, otherwise you live an unbalanced life. Keep a journal with columns for "diet," "exercise," "work," "play," "communication," "relationships," and "spiritual life" and don't leave out a healthy sound environment. Now balance the scales.

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