I know there is a lot keeping you up at night. You’re tired and worried. You want to snap out of it but feel overwhelmed and to top it off, your mind is conditioned to always go to negativity, worry and anxiety at the first sign of stress. You are so deeply affected by the outside world, that you neglect your inner world that is your light and your spirit.
Just like proper digestion of food is necessary and core to your overall immunity and physical and mental health so is proper digestion of information (external stimuli) and the thoughts and emotions that arise from them. Agni (digestive fire) is not just located in our GI tract and governed by Vata, Pitta and Kapha but is also a element in every one of our cells, fluids and tissues. Our liver has agni. Our kidneys, eyes and so on…Agni of the mind is responsible for our intellect, understanding and comprehension.
OUR SENSES & MIND COEXIST.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, the quality of the mind is subtle it resides not in the brain but in the heart. Vata dosha controls its movements (communication, thoughts, responses, etc…) using breath (prana) to carry these thoughts throughout the entire body. That means what we perceive and think and emote affect us on a cellular level going deep into our tissues and channels. As for your sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin), their responses are located in the brain and once stimulated they receive, perceive and communicate their findings with the mind. The mind is connected to only one sense organ at a time but being that it is subtle and mobile (Vata) it can quickly move from one sense organ to another to receive vital information.
What you perceive from your senses is what is communicated to your mind but if your mind is overextended due to a constant barrage of undigested thoughts and feelings, your perception lacks depth (intellect) or a complete knowledge of the experience. It is slow, dull weighed down with Ama, the toxic sticky sludge created from undigested food and thoughts. This ama adheres to channels throughout the body, blocking free flow of sensory input to the mind and like leaky gut, these thoughts leak undigested in the most subtle and minute spaces throughout the body to cause disease.
There are three energies or doshas of the mind; Saatva, Rajas and Tamas. Saatva represents quiet, stillness and peace. Rajas is active, turbulent and agitated while Tamas represents darkness and inactivity. Just as we should make sure to always focus on maintaining a grounded and balanced Vata dosha so not to propagate further imbalance (disease) in the body, we should also strive to lean more toward a Saatvic state of mind to not develop a dominant Tamas & Rajas state of mind. We will discuss these energies in more detail later in the Manas Vyaddhi series.
HOW IS YOUR MIND (MAL) NOURISHED & THE FORMATION OF MENTAL DISEASE
Your mind is (mal) nourished by the food you eat, which nourishes the cellular mind, cellular consciousness and your overall awareness. Food nourishes the qualities of your mind as well so if you are already in a Tamasic state of mind and eat Tamasic foods (processed / lifeless foods….) the mind will become dull and depressed. Nourishment also comes from the quality of your perceptions from your sense organs and is carried to your mind by your breath (prana), which will transport perceptions to the mind and transform them to knowledge. Emotions are also food for the mind as they are a reaction so sadness will (mal)nourish differently than happiness. So, like a daily diet of processed junk food, if your senses are dull due to stimuli being blocked from ama filled channels and your emotions are based in worry and sadness this is what is ultimately (mal) nourishing your mind and contributes to delays in neuro-communication and overall perception leaving your mind(heart) dull, sluggish and vulnerable to disease.
Ayurveda accepts the importance of the mind in maintaining overall health and opines that a healthy, strong, and controlled mind has the ability to cure physical diseases but on the flip side, mental disease gives rise to physical disease because when either disease is intensified, they may very well begin coexisting and feeding the other’s imbalance, ultimately strengthening the foundation of the disease itself.