Eclipses & the MindOct 16, 2023
There was a solar eclipse yesterday. While that might seem interesting in astrological terms, I think it is also very interesting from a psycho-social perspective too. Solar eclipses are shown to bring people together as shared in the article "The Social Effects of an Awesome Solar Eclipse" by Sean P Goldy, Nickolas M Jones, and Paul K Piff on pubmed.com:
"Astronomical events such as solar eclipses have played a transformative role in human social collectives as sources of collective wonder, inspiration, and reconciliation. Do celestial phenomena systematically shape individuals and their groups? Relative to individuals residing outside the eclipse's path, individuals inside it exhibited more awe and expressed less self-focused and more prosocial, affiliative, humble, and collective language (Study 1). Further, individuals who exhibited elevated awe surrounding the eclipse used more prosocial, affiliative, humble, and collective language relative to their preeclipse levels and relative to users who exhibited less awe (Study 2). These findings indicate that astronomical events may play a vital collective function by arousing awe and social tendencies that orient individuals toward their collectives."
From an Ayurvedic perspective, we all have doshic mental tendencies. As our world feels more and more divided, I am buoyed by the quote above. Could an event like an eclipse serve to connect and bring out the best in each of us?
I want to honor that we all struggle (at least from time to time, especially in our volatile and uncertain world) with mental health. I find it really helpful to understand mental imbalances and tendencies through the lens of the Ayurvedic doshas. Once identified as elemental, the rebalancing through seasonal food and lifestyle practices comes into focus. It takes work and accountability, but certainly alleviates a lot of unnecessary suffering.
Here is a simple overview of mental imbalance tendencies by dosha (from David Frawley’s book, Ayurvedic Healing):
Vata (Air) Type:
The mind, like Vata dosha, is composed of air and ether. Vata’s excess of air causes instability in the mind. It involves increased rajas: a disturbed, agitated, excessively thinking nature, which causes lack of control and internal hypersensitivity. Too much exposure to the mass media, loud music, taking of drugs and stimulants, excessive exercise, overwork, and excessive sexual activity make Vata hyperactive, creating a predisposition for mental disturbance. Misguided meditation and excessive practice of Pranayama can also aggravate Vata. High Vata, as excess ether, makes us ungrounded, spaced out and unrealistic in our expectations and beliefs. It weakens our connection with the physical body, disrupting the harmony with the physical world. We live too much in our thoughts, which take the place of reality and disperse our life-force. Fear, anxiety, unrest and rapid shifts of mood occur.
Pitta (Fire) Type:
Pitta psychological disorders are also due to too much Rajas, but usually directed outwardly, against other people. There is aggression, ambition and anger, an unyielding and sometimes ruthless pushing to achieve our aims. Typical Pitta is the overly critical type who cannot see any other view of things than his own. We blame other people for everything, see enemies everywhere, are always on guard and ready for a fight. We are even at war with ourselves and our past. This causes anger and hostility.
Kapha (Water) Type:
Kapha psychological unrest involves excessive Tamas. There is too much sleeping, sleeping during the day, day dreaming, attachment to the past, and general dullness and lethargy. The mind may be incapable of abstract, objective or impersonal thinking. There is a lack of drive and motivation along with passivity and dependency. We want to remain a child and to be taken care of. We become preoccupied with what others think about us. We lack a proper self-image and passively reflect our immediate environment. We have many attachments and cannot let go of the past.
The health of the mind is vital to our overall wellbeing!
This is often overlooked in our modern medical practices. The healing powers of Ayurveda are truly amazing for the mind, as well as the body. Often when the mind gets into better balance, issues in the body follow suit in rebalancing and healing too.
If the journey to a more balanced YOU (especially as you age) is calling to you, I encourage you to check out my year-long program called the Vitality Circle. A year of personalized one-on-one and community support await you to regain optimal wellbeing in body, mind, and spirit.
Schedule a Clarity Call with me today.
With love and (eclipse) light,
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