The guiding principle of ayurveda and other traditional healing systems is the interconnection of all things. Each of us is an inseparable part of an infinite field of intelligence, and in this very moment, with every breath, we are exchanging millions of atoms with the universe. From this holistic perspective, health isn’t merely the absence of disease or symptoms; it is a higher state of consciousness that allows well-being, creativity, and joy to flow into our experience.
We are healthy when we’re able to fully digest everything we take in, extracting what is nourishing and eliminating whatever doesn’t serve us. This includes our food, our relationships, our jobs, and all our life experiences. Illness, in contrast, develops when there is a disruption ― a blockage in the flow of energy and information in our bodymind. Symptoms and sickness are the body’s signal that we need to restore balance, eliminate whatever is causing the blockages, and reestablish the healthy flow of intelligence.
The intention of the ancient ayurvedic physicians was to help people find freedom from the burdens of ill health so that they could fulfill their deepest spiritual potential. They discovered that one of most powerful ways we can influence our health is through our choices and interpretations . . . the food we choose, the relationships we engage in, the sensory input we expose ourselves to, and the daily patterns and rhythms of our life.
The Mind-Body Connection As Deepak observes, we are the only creatures on the planet who can change our biology through our thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Our cells are constantly observing our thoughts and being changed by them. Each day at the Chopra Center, we see guests who reinforce our view that choices and experiences influence our tendency to be healthy or become ill. A man in a toxic work environment has incapacitating headaches that don’t respond to multiple medications. A woman decides she will no longer accept her boyfriend’s demeaning behavior, and her debilitating panic attacks “mysteriously” subside.
Of course, this is not to say that all illnesses are “caused” by our thoughts. The relationship between the mind and body is complex, and sometimes things happen at a physical level for which we don’t have a plausible explanation. We have to acknowledge that we may have an inherent tendency for health or imbalance, and in some cases, genetic inheritance is the major factor underlying an illness. At the same time, we have amazing potential to heal and transform ourselves through our thoughts, perceptions, and choices. The body is a magnificent network of intelligence, capable of far more than current medical science can explain.
Timeless Healing Principles By listening to our body and honoring its needs, we nurture our innate healing ability and move closer to experiencing the state of perfect health envisioned by the Vedic masters more than 5,000 years ago. The principles they discovered for restoring and maintaining mind-body balance are as relevant today as they were then:
Take time each day to quiet your mind and meditate.
Each day eat a healthy diet that includes the six ayurvedic tastes and a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Engage in daily exercise that enhances flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.
As you nurture your bodymind and practice the tools of spiritual awakening, you will open your heart to ever expanding levels of fulfillment. Even when you are surrounded by chaos, face a health challenge, or find yourself on a financial “detour,” you will discover that you can transcend outworn assumptions and create a life filled with wellbeing, happiness, and love.