Year : 2020 | Volume
: 13 | Issue : 3 | Page : 175--176
Healing in times of crisis
Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
T M Srinivasan
Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bengaluru, Karnataka
|How to cite this article:|
Srinivasan T M. Healing in times of crisis.Int J Yoga 2020;13:175-176
|How to cite this URL:|
Srinivasan T M. Healing in times of crisis. Int J Yoga [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 28 ];13:175-176
Available from: http://www.ijoy.org.in/text.asp?2020/13/3/175/294972
Healing and wholeness have the same underlying etymology; when the body-mind-Spirit is in complete balance, then wholeness is achieved. Healing is not an activity undertaken after one gets sick; it is a continuous state of being that promotes equanimity of body and mind. In many traditions, there are concepts related to holistic living. The ancient sayings in many cultures affirm: As above, so below. Thus humans are contained within and governed by the universal laws that govern all beings, including even natural objects such as rivers and mountains. Since we have evolved from the same universe that we see around us, the elements that constitute humans are the same as the ones seen around us. However, life contains more than the elements that are obvious to us.
Yoga and Ayurveda, the Science of Life, defines life in an elaborate way. Life is defined as made up of four components. They are the body (consisting of five primordial elements), the organs, mind and Consciousness. Body (Sarira), says Ayurveda, is that which decays. There are ten organs, five that are useful in acquiring knowledge about the environment and five of activity. They are, respectively, ear, nose, eyes, skin (for touch) and tongue, and hands, feet, speech organs, the organs of excretion and of procreation. The third component, as per Ayurveda that makes up life is mind. The fourth component is Consciousness. Consciousness could also be understood as Soul, Spirit, God, or any other metaphor thereof. Thus the four together provide support, enlivens the individual, helps in evolution and has continuity.
The above four qualities provide a philosophic groundwork for the entire progress of humans. The first three namely, the body, sense organs and the mind are insentient. It is only Consciousness that is sentient; it is the one that supports life, that enlivens, that is involved in the evolution and has “continuity.” At this point, suffice it to note that life as defined constitutes of the four above-mentioned components of which the sentient is Consciousness only.
Wholeness and health are related to all the four elements that make up life– namely, body, sense organs, mind and Consciousness. If we club body and sense organs together, then we have three components, namely, body-mind-Consciousness (or Spirit, Reality), that should function optimally for health. The role of a therapist is not just to look at the body; not simply to address the distress of the mind; but it is to bring into balance the triad so that a positive progression towards our goal is possible. And what is that goal? Spiritual leaders have mentioned the goal is to realize or to experience oneness of all life, including even the inanimate world around us. It is not just a feeling and knowing we are all one in a superficial, intellectual way. It is one of the total and transcendental identification of all that we see, hear, touch, and feel and taste. In fact, we need to go beyond sensory experience to become one with nature. Senses and the mind limit and focus our attention and experience. When one is able to go beyond the instruments used in experiencing the world, one comes in contact with nature.
Further, faith in a higher power provides health-promoting factors that cannot be overlooked. Many researchers have provided religious and spiritual factors in maintaining health and in promoting healing. The epidemiologic concepts of agent, host, and environment should be taken into account in the prevention or mitigation of the effects of a quickly spreading disease. A spiritual base gives salutogenic (health promoting) ability to the people so that impact of the disease is reduced. This aspect should be actively promoted since the positive outcome has been recorded in many studies that include faith as a factor in understanding outcome measures in a pandemic.
Thus, the role of the therapist is to lead the person to inquire into the nature of Reality, this Consciousness without making a commitment to the type of Reality that the person could be looking for. In other words, the role of the therapist is more complex and suggestive than that of a clergy (of any religion). Once the body-mind has been put in order, so to say, once the person realizes that body-mind is an instrument required for a purpose, then the search for Reality could be initiated. An informed start of this search alone will constitute a beginning toward total healing. The ultimate role of the body-mind is to decay and die. This is the final and relative reality. But beyond this relative reality is an Ultimate Reality, one that needs to be defined and if possible, experienced. Hopefully, this aspect will evolve as we progress in our search.
Thus, healing and Consciousness are intimately inter-related. In times of crisis, such as the present spread of the pandemic, it is necessary to recapitulate and take some corrective actions to sustain our relation to our own family, society, and nature at large. If we are assailed by doubts and uncertainties, we could reverse the trend through pratipaksha bhavana, as Yoga Sutra suggests. This is the method of contrary thinking to the one which sets us into depressive mood. It is very important to be aware of the fact that an untamed mind is the harbinger of psychosomatic problems. A shift in one's perception is required to go from feeling helplessness to one of enthusiasm to life and interact with people around us. It is the gift of positive thinking; it is said “… the greatest potential benefit of positive psychology is that it teaches us the power of shifting one's perspective.”
Yoga practices, including asanas, pranayama, and meditation, could bring us– if practiced with all members of the family– to close proximity to others in the household. This interaction, which is normally not available in the bustle of rushing to the office could provide much needed exercise and also calm thoughts arising out of uncertainties.
Many holistic practices are available to follow at home; it is prudent to follow ones that have been time tested and safe. The practice chosen should also be addressing the panca kosas (five sheaths) that make up a person; namely, body, prana, mind, knowledge, and Self. Any practice followed should have a positive impact on all these sheaths for complete balance. Yoga research– both at this University and elsewhere– have shown Yoga's many protective roles of body and mind, especially in these troubling times.
|1||Vaidyanathan B. Philosophies of Ayurveda for All. Chennai, India: Vaithyanathan Publications; 2002.|
|2||Levin J. Spiritual determinants of health and healing: An epidemiologic perspective on salutogenic mechanisms. Altern Ther Health Med 2003;9:48-57.|
|3||Saraswati S. Four Chapters on freedom, Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Munger, Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust; 1989. p. 189.|
|4||Available from: http://PositivePsychology.com. [Last downloaded on 2020 Aug 02].|