TO CLEANSE OR NOT TO CLEANSE? THAT IS NOT THE QUESTION! Because cleansing my darlings is not even in question. Imagine your car that runs every day up and down, fetching, schlepping, letting off steam, absorbing shocks, dealing with other crazy hot-headed cars, getting gassed up, parked at night in the cold, or all day in the heat, or not outside at all. Only going on a trip once in a while, or resting at a park every now and then. And worst of all NEVER getting a good service with oil changes, filters cleansed, brakes checked, fluids replenished, gunk flushed out, engine resting. Ugh imagine.
And we, just like our beloved vehicles are exposed to external toxins, unresolved emotions, misplaced anger, processed foods, not enough sleep, undigested waste, and psychological stress and the list goes on.
Well our dear old car could go for quite a while, it could keep pushing on gallantly without noticing how sluggish it feels, how tired, how drained, how cranky.
Then suddenly one day…
So no, cleansing is not a question. Ama or toxic sludge is what builds up in our body and mind through poor digestion, and other lifestyle crimes against wisdom, as well as the other external factors I mentioned.
The root of all disease in Ayurveda is undigested, unprocessed and unattended to ama or toxicity. A good cleanse helps to rest, stoke and rejuvenate our digestive fire or agni. This is what ensures the proper processing of food and keeps our metabolic processes working like a well-tuned engine. Our beautiful body temples like our vehicles on the road do need regular cleanses and tune-ups.
The question then really is: WHAT is the right cleanse, WHEN is the best time to cleanse and HOW are we cleansing?
There is a Sanskrit word that means the crimes we commit against ourselves – our crimes against wisdom.
Woah. Let’s say that again…deliberate, willful indulgence in unhealthy practices that leads to unbalanced body functions and disease. That pretty much sums it up. Prajna means correct knowledge, while aparadha means transgression or offense. In Ayurveda this is considered to be the root cause of all disease.
I contemplate this phenomenon often and notice how I am constantly paying for my transgressions in small and not so small ways. I ponder why I do things that I know are not good for me even though I have all the tools and knowledge I need to overcome this. I’m so sure the little angel/devil persona on my shoulder is real. Sitting there as a test and also a reminder that I have a choice. Always (mostly always) have a choice.
GOD OR GAME OF THRONES?
Why on earth would binge-watching a TV show rather than communing with the Divine seem like a good choice? Why would it be tempting staying up way too late rather than getting enough crucial sleep to restore and cleanse the body and brain? Why would we make any of the choices we do that are not in our best interest? Because my dear friends, we are human. Once we are in a pattern of making less-than-ideal choices we become addicted to those choices. Until we can change the groove in our brain and awaken our consciousness we will continue to commit prajnaparadha.
We all know for sure at some time or another we have committed crimes against our deepest wisdom. We continue to steal from our longevity and health hoping we will never have to pay for our actions. We are compelled somehow to be repeat offenders ignoring the consequences these seemingly petty crimes will have. Locked up in a prison of disease, premature aging, and mental suffering is the price we pay. The thing is there is no judge or jury. There is no one coming to take us away. Nature Herself will tap us on the shoulder to remind us and that may look like disease which could take hold in the mind, the body or the spirit.
The body is forgiving, the spirit generous and the mind malleable. That is why we have so many opportunities given to us to reform our habits that are not serving us. Nature’s reminders motivate us to make changes.
Prajnaparadha is caused by loss of discrimination, conviction, and memory so the question is how can we become more discriminating, have more conviction and remember our innate wisdom?