listening to the heart

According to Ayurveda, the primordial cause of disease is forgetting our true nature. Once this is forgotten, we live out of harmony with our purest intentions and begin to create disease in our bodies and minds. We may use our state of health as the gauge for the alignment of our mind’s desires with our soul’s purpose.

A woman’s state of health is revealed in many ways through her physical body, mental and emotional state and her spiritual life. It is advantageous to look to the heart for clues to imbalance, and keys to renewal of health. We may begin with the physical heart, the metaphoric heart of the emotional body or the etheric heart that is the seat of the soul. When we address the heart at all three of these levels, we begin to right the imbalances created by a lifetime of living out of harmony with the aims of our spiritual center.  

When considering the physical heart, it is important to maintain strength in this muscle; nutrition, invigoration, and the warmth of the body depend on it. The muscles of the body are maintained by proper diet and exercise. The diet that will best serve the heart is a sattvic diet, a diet that is based on food that has the highest life force energy. Minimally processed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetable and nut oils, and dairy may all be included in a sattvic diet.

Conscious dining will assist the body in utilizing the nutrients that have been ingested. This means paying attention during your meal for the signs and signals the body gives you as to the foods’ quality, and whether the quantity is right for you. 

Proper exercise is dependent on each person’s abilities and needs. Walking is an exercise that is appropriate for all people, and walking for a short time after meals stimulates the metabolism and improves the functioning of all the muscles in the body. Beginning with diet and exercise is an excellent way to assure the health of the physical heart.

The emotional heart reflects the ease or stress of the relationships between ourselves and our world. The scars of our life’s lessons reside here. Based on our constitution, we may have a greater tendency to carry fear, anger or sadness as the end result of these hard lessons. The more we invest in these emotions, the deeper the scars become, the harder it is to fully heal, and the more likely we are to continue to address new situations with challenging emotions. 

The first step toward healing these scars is to recognize them. The Ayurvedic approach does not value the story of the scar; the healing of the wound and the recognition of the self as whole and complete are more valuable. A regular meditation practice is essential in repairing the emotional heart. Meditation allows the mind to become quiet enough that observation of the self is possible. Breath provides the connection between the mental and physical bodies, and pranayama is a valuable tool in allowing the stored emotions to be released.  

Yoga and Ayurveda both regard the heart as the seat of the soul. When we are living in alignment with our dharma, our soul’s purpose, we operate with an enthusiasm that shines in our eyes and radiates through our work. We are called to be conscious in our life’s decisions and to align these decisions with the highest calling of our consciousness.

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad it states: “You are what your deep, driving desire is.  As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.” When our deepest desire is to live in connection with consciousness, then our actions support us to this goal. To repair the spiritual heart, it is essential to commit to fulfilling your highest purpose, whatever that may be. When we live a life that is less than this, our spiritual heart is weakened.

The heart is the center, the source of our physical, emotional and spiritual strength.  By becoming aware of the effect of our choices on our heart, we take steps towards health. By making choices that support our health on all levels, we take steps towards enlightenment.

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