AYURVEDA: A LIFE OF BALANCE. The pervasive forces of protection are always at work. How else can a city like New York—my oasis of comfort for two decades—survive all the abuse, misuse, corruption, and decay rendered upon her? For years, I was washed clean by her pink northern lights at dusk. Her rivers absorbed my pain and the enormous collective pain of all her inhabitants. To live there was to know beyond a doubt that a power greater than the sum of humans exists and protects us, in spite of ourselves. Cosmic intelligence seeps through impenetrable walls; signs and symbols of life speak clearly, if only we would listen.
For many years I lived in Greenwich Village, across from a very small square. Each day as I walked past the park, the pigeons scurried about for scraps of bread fed them by the homeless and elderly. One day as I walked by all the pigeons flew away. That was the day I discovered that I had cancer. The journey that ensued took me through the darkly shadowed valley of my innermost self.
My purpose in writing this personal story is to share my discoveries as a seeker. Cancer has been my greatest teacher. Like a compass, it has guided me toward the path I have since been treading. It has given back to me my “memory,” and the ability to make wholesome choices and to examine my motives. In short, it has taught me how to be alert to the significance of my being here.
I believe that no recovery is by chance. Mine was the result of a deliberate choice to live, to make peace with myself and to dissolve my cancer, which I had created inside of me. Before this resolve set in, I went through a dark period of fear followed by a longer stage of having blind faith in several well-recognized physicians and established medical institutions. Soon after being reassured that my condition was benign, I learned it was not. It had migrated throughout the body and taken firm root in my liver, a malignant mass had also formed next to my kidneys. The pace of my physical failing was simply accelerated by the many rounds of radiation therapy. An array of baffled physicians began offering me various comfortable ways to exit the planet.
While in the warm, false embrace of morphine following my tenth surgical operation, I understood that I would most assuredly die unless I ran from what was then the fifth medical facility. The raw truth had impacted and, for the first time in my life, I felt lost. Years of anger and frustration, along with pain, surfaced. Anger at allowing myself to be thrown against those cold walls with no reprieve; frustration with those scientific chaps who had no regard for the cause of my condition; pain from realizing I had no choice but to audit my life and my agenda for it.
I knew that I would come face to face with my reasons for trying to kill myself at such a young age. Examining every detail of my past with a microscope was crucial to my new agenda—my recovery agenda. My biggest discovery in the process was that the real battles had begun long before my cancer surfaced. During this period of soul searching, 1 had to be extremely honest with myself and have consistency with my disciplines. I recognized that my cancer was born of me and because of me. / was the problem, and yet invariably also the solution.
Solitude was essential to the primal probing of my innermost self. That winter, I isolated myself for three months in a small cabin in the undifferentiated white of the Vermont winter. If I was going to die, I had to set certain things right with myself. As I kept the wood fires burning, I ceaselessly emptied myself of fears, pain, hopes, dreams, and disappointments. Days ran into nights unnoticed because of the tears. I understood how death had become an unconscious solution to my grief, and how all my actions had been channeled to that end. I saw how well I had manipulated my life, and how its successes had been founded on an enormous myth of my own construction.
I was guilty of tampering with the subtle forces of my primal self. I had been brought up in a traditional Hindu home in British Guiana, three generations removed from mother India. By the age of fifteen, I had decided to recarve my life to fit an image of my own choosing. This action was rooted in the false belief that I had the power to live separately from the circumstances of a painful childhood, that I could totally replace the family, the tradition, the lineage, and all the beauty and anguish that were an intrinsic part of my personal heritage. In sum, I had created a second life.
What I had not counted on was the factor of memory: the unerasable record of layer upon layer of both resolved and unresolved past impressions. The truths too painful to deal with; the unrealistic expectations of myself; the childhood agonies I had run from; the loose ends of family ties; the primal anger that stemmed from generations of being uprooted— all these were stored intact. They became the fodder for my recovery.
This division in myself, this second life, was the primary reason for my cancer. According to the Vedic scriptures, there are pursuits in life common to all human beings: dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. Dharma is ones alignment with what is right as defined by the universal laws of nature; artha is the natural pursuit of wealth; kama is the natural pursuit of pleasures; and moksha is absolute freedom or liberation from all actions of artha, kama, and even dharma. The cycle of rebirth can only end through moksha, when direct knowledge of the self is known. Moksha, freedom from human limitation, is considered the last accomplishment of human life. Although the pursuit of wealth and pleasure is admittedly a natural part of life, when the means defy the laws of universal dharma, that pursuit becomes a living hell. Dharma, the universal law of nature, is part of every society, every tradition, every religion, as it is part of every human being. By common sense, we are aware when we rub against the grain of what is right…..
Foreword by Lindsay Wagner
Preface by Barbara Y. E. Pyle
PART ONE: THE PRINCIPLES OF AYURVEDA
- CHAPTER ONE: Cosmic Roots
- CHAPTER TWO: Ayurvedic Anatomy
- CHAPTER THREE: The Body Types
- CHAPTER FOUR: The Psychospiritual Nature of the Body Types
- CHAPTER FIVE: The Nature and Tastes of Each Dosha
PART TWO: THE PRACTICE OF AYURVEDA
- CHAPTER SIX: Eating According to Your Body Type: The Food Charts
- CHAPTER SEVEN: Eating with the Cycles of Nature: Seasonal Menus
- CHAPTER EIGHT: Food Sadhanas
PART THREE: UNIVERSAL RECIPES FOR EACH BODY TYPE
- Introduction to the Recipes
- Traditional Ground Dhals and Grains
- Breakfast Grains
- Universal Vegetable Dishes
- Universal Bean Dishes and Dhals
- Grain and Bean Combinations
- Universal Pasta and Sauces
- Tofu Dishes
- Seitan Dishes
- Sauces and Dressings
- Summer Aspics
- Seaweed Dishes
- Vedic Herbs, Spices, and Accents
- Universal Desserts
- Nurturing Brews and Beverages
Afterword: The Dharmas: Universal Values
Appendix: Ayurvedic Resources and Supplies
Glossary of Uncommon Ingredients
Size: 46 Mb
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