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  • Levi Ben-Shmuel

Ayurveda, Consciousness, and Your Health



It seems obvious that we are separate from the rest of the world. The boundary between where we end and it begins is clear. As I sit on a chair writing this post, it is evident that I am not the chair or anything else in the room or beyond it.


It turns out the mode of perception I just described is only part of the story. Ayurveda, the over 5,000-year-old total health system developed in India, has a different view of ourselves and our relationship to the natural world. Ayurveda believes that in addition to our normal perceptions, there is an underlying aspect of who we are that is based purely on consciousness and not on the physical world. When we shift our awareness, we open ourselves to perceiving ourselves and nature as part of the same seamless energetic whole. The implications of making this shift are life changing.


Science is beginning to understand the world as the ancient sages of India did. Our senses tell us it is material, solid, and nonchanging. But viewed through the eyes of a quantum physicist, the essential material of the universe is not made up of stuff. Everything in it is made up of subatomic particles moving at incredible speed through infinite, empty space. Fundamentally, everything in creation is a constant exchange of energy and information.


What is the benefit of shifting your perception to embrace this insight? It will open you up to new possibilities for health, happiness, and growth. If you knew in your bones that the underlying reality of life is this dance of moving energy, you would understand that you are not limited by your thoughts, feelings, history, physical condition, or anything else. When your consciousness expands, the possibilities to create a healthier, happier, and more peaceful existence become as real as anything you perceive with your 5 senses. It is thrilling to know we are not limited to play out predetermined scripts or to reach dead ends with no way out of them.


Our 5 sense organs, our ears, eyes, nose, tongue, and skin, are the gateways which allow us to communicate with the outer environment. We have the ability to change our experience of ourselves and the world based on the level of awareness we bring to what we are taking in.

We have 2 cats who recently have gotten into the habit of getting up between 5 and 5:30 in the morning (we had trained them to sleep in!). Most mornings, I am the one who gets up with them. If this would have happened a few years ago, I would have perceived this as disruptive to my life. I would have been upset at them, been in a bad mood, and would have been very focused on how could I get more sleep.


Instead, I have chosen to expand my awareness, accept what is rather than fight it, and have used my senses to take advantage of getting up early to make it one of the best times of the day.


I try to get to sleep earlier than I used to so I don’t feel sleep deprived getting up so early. I embrace being with the cats whom I love and enjoy petting them and feeding them. I go outside in our backyard and walk barefoot on the grass, drinking in the sensation of the cool morning dew on my feet. I smell the fragrant roses in our garden. I listen to the silence of my sleeping neighborhood and feel peace. I look up at the sky and marvel at the stars, the moon, and the breaking dawn. Many mornings, I take in the reality that we are on a beautiful planet flying through space at 67,000 miles per hour. This puts my life in perspective and energizes me to let go of my worries and focus on what I can contribute.


One of the super powers of being more conscious is in the light of awareness, you have the power to choose what you want to do. In the above example, I have chosen to use getting up early not by choice as an energizing way to start my day. Consciousness opens up possibilities that you did not see before.


We have tremendous power to determine the quality of our lives based on how we perceive and interact with the environment. The more we expand our consciousness, the chances increase to create magnificent lives that are vibrantly healthy, peaceful, and filled with beautiful possibilities.


You might be wondering what Ayurveda has to say about effective ways to expand your awareness. In my next post, I will explore Ayurveda’s top recommendation to get there: meditation.

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