Wonder, Wonka, Wizards, and getting to know the Doshas

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’ Awe – inspiring, weird, beautiful..Since it opened for photo submissions in 1974, the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition has offered..images of the hidden..world of nature, cells, minerals, and more in mesmerising detail.’ (1) These photos are magically engrossing, largely because they allow us to see into a world we’re otherwise unable to enter. And in many cases they’re not only works of art, but also help us understand a disease. For example the 2023 award for first place was given to an exquisite microscopic image of a rodent optic nerve head, that’s hoped will ‘ aid in the early detection and reversal ‘ of diabetic retinopathy, which can cause ‘ blurry vision or blindness and affects 1 in 5 people with diabetes. ‘ (1)

And just as Roald Dahl’s imagination invited us too into the world of Willy Wonka and his ‘Chocolate Factory’, and C S Lewis’s into the world of Alice and her ‘Adventures in Wonderland’, the science of Ayurveda also allows us entry into another universe – the world of our human nature. And without the need for either a microscope or any special creative powers, every single one of us can enter this world if we wish to be well and so choose. And the key to entry, is the Doshas.

For in intimate and real – time detail, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are constantly sending us signs and signals from deep within our internal universe, about how happy and comfortable they are. And we can all learn to understand and respond to these signals, as they’re usually pretty straightforward. If we pay close attention, this natural information flow of cause and effect can not only alert us to certain pathologies before they develop into something more troublesome, but can also become a never – ending source of wonder if we let it. Because suddenly there’s an explanation as to why our bodies and minds are responding in a certain way to the choices we’re making. To begin building this relationship, we need to start moving our attention towards the simple minutiae in our daily lives, and start becoming cognisant and aware of the signs the Doshas are sending us. As we do, the added bonus is along with understanding the Doshas better, we’re also automatically pulled away from the external madness of the world around us. This offers us immediate escape, and a very real sense of reprieve and comfort as well.

Ayurveda is based on the understanding that everything we see around us can also be found within. In the wonderful David Attenborough series ‘ Human Planet’, people are filmed building relationships with and adapting to the desert, jungle, grassland, river, mountain and ocean environments around them. And given we all have a ‘ human planet ‘ of sorts inside us as well, our job is no different. We also need to adapt and work in concert with our changing natures. If a microscopic photo shoot were to be held inside our various organs and channels, we’d see a myriad of landscapes transforming inside us in every moment. This is because the signs and signals our bodies and minds send us, are simply a reflection of the effect our daily choices and actions are having on the Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth elements that comprise us. For the Doshas pervade every single aspect of our lives. And the only way to decipher this otherwise invisible internal world, is by learning to decode the signs Vata, Pitta and Kapha send us.

Every time you experience a stream of scattered thoughts whirling around your mind after having spent hours online, Vata is sending you tangible evidence you’ve upset her. Because of your actions, she’s changed your mental landscape from one of clear ocean to jungled web. Hurricane Vata and her increased jittery air has taken over, and she needs soothing. Every time you go running in the heat of the Summer midday sun and you begin to suffer a red skin rash, Pitta is sending you a sign her fiery heat has been exacerbated, and that she’s decided to communicate through your river of blood. If you don’t take steps to cool her down, one day in the future this increasing heat may cause desertification somewhere else in your body. And every time you overfill your belly with too much food, your internal grasslands of gut flora won’t be able to process the intake effectively, meaning you’ll start feeling heavy and lethargic. In this instance Kapha is sending you a message to cut down your food intake, and communicating she needs you to move pronto, otherwise she’ll have you feeling as if the whole world is a mountain you’re simply unequipped to climb. These are just a few examples of the many, many ways the Doshas are trying to communicate to us through their code. For further information on how the actions you’re taking each day may be aggravating Vata, Pitta and Kapha, visit my website.

On the long road to the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, Scarecrow is seeking a clear-thinking brain, Tin Man a feeling heart, and Lion great courage. And if you learn how to create a lifestyle that keeps your inner world in right relationship with Nature around you, Vata, Pitta and Kapha will grant you the same. Start to concentrate on the seemingly inane and innocuous aspects of your daily life, as they’re anything but trivial and it’s finessing the details that really counts. What time you go to bed, what your senses consume, how you eat and exercise, really matter. Pay attention to the signs the Doshas are sending you in response to these choices, and tweak your lifestyle so it helps balance your individual doshic needs – for it’s then you’ll become a true wizard. This will ensure your journey down life’s yellow brick road will be one filled with the constant companionship of wonder – wonder at the why’s and wherefore’s of your changing bodily symptoms, and just plain wonder at the simple and straightforward all -encompassing beauty of nature. Make space in your life for wonder.

KNOW YOUR DOSHAS

References:

(1) Washington Post staff 19 / 10 / 23 ‘ Awe – inspiring, weird, beautiful : Winning 2023 Nikon Small World photos’.