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Empowerment, Spiritual Growth, and Optimal Health

Ayurvedic health care at its best facilitates a transformation of consciousness leading toward harmonious actions, optimal health, and peace of mind.

There is no real healing without a transformation of consciousness. We create our current life situations. This is true of our entire experience of life: financial, career, material, emotional, relationships, and our health. Realizing that we are the creators of our experience offers us a tremendous opportunity to create the experience that we want to have. After all, only if we have the power to create our experience can we have the power to change it. If our experience now is one of sickness, by taking control over the experience we can re-create a state of health.

The power to create one's experience is what is often called " personal power." It is cultivated by taking responsibility. Real power begins with responsibility. Only by taking responsibility does anyone gain the ability to respond. When we shunt responsibility on to others or onto factors outside of ourselves, we become disempowered. We become the victims of factors that are out of our control.

Vedanta, the great teaching that underlies most Vedic systems of spirituality, teaches that the world we live in is a reflection of what is going on inside of us. It is nothing more and nothing less. "Neti Neti," - not this, not that -, is an important mantra. It is the negation of the outside world and its experience. It focuses truth toward the inside. At our core lies the power to create.

Yes, we are all "Creators." We do it every day and most of the time we keep re-creating the challenges we experience again and again. We do this subconsciously, ignorant of how to work with the power of creation. Stuck in a circular path of re-creation, we figure that the cause of our illnesses and unhappiness must lie outside of ourselves. The cause must be the pathogens, the government, the boss, the employees, the kids, the parents, the corporations, etc., etc. WAKE UP! The cause is inside. That is the only cause that makes a difference.

Most people shy away from taking responsibility. After all, who wants to be responsible for illness and suffering? This is because most of humanity is very JUDGMENTAL. When judgment is added to responsibility it becomes BLAME. No one wants to be blamed for anything. We are quick to accept responsibility for the good in the world and just as quickly shield ourselves from the blame for what goes wrong.

There is no reason to ever accept blame. Take away the judgment and there is only cause and effect. This is the law of KARMA, and karma is nonjudgmental. It is a reflection of past actions. If you do not like the effect, put new causes into action. Create new effects! Vedantic thinking is very empowering!

So the question of the day is, "What are you going to do differently NOW?" I will suggest that, deep down; each person already knows what he or she needs to do differently. Most people, deep inside, recognize the disharmonious actions that they are performing and know that they need to change them. If a person takes some quiet time for self-reflection and inquiry, the changes that need to be made become clear. Doing them is the challenge.

This is where Clinical Ayurvedic Specialists can come in. Our job is to support positive change and growth toward optimal health and peace of mind. Sometimes, our job is as simple as reminding patients to look within and identify their disharmonious actions. Other times, we peek in their lives and help them to identify those actions. Once the actions that need to be changed are identified our role is simple: hold the patient accountable. We must be a constant reflection of what they already know. Do not be afraid to remind your patients that they have the power to change. Do not be afraid to remind them that they control the outcome of their care. Do not be afraid to give them the power to control their lives. When they take true responsibility for their circumstances and move toward greater harmony, they are harnessing the power of the divine, and this fills up every cell of their body. Healing is a matter for fact. Where there is harmony, there is health. Where there is disharmony, there is disease.

To be effective in helping people accept responsibility for their level of health and peace of mind two things are necessary. First, take responsibility for your own. That's right; begin today and stop blaming others. Second, practice non-judgment. It's not easy, so practice on yourself first before practicing on others. Watch what happens. Watch how your own life begins to change as you stop blaming yourself and start taking full responsibility. You will begin to feel something special you may have never felt before. That special something is "unconditional self love." When you have enough of it, you will naturally begin sharing it. You won't have a choice, your cup will overflow. In your consultations, unconditional love and compassion will create a sacred space for healing to occur. When you purify yourself of judgment, your patients will feel more comfortable opening up and becoming vulnerable with you.

Begin by watching your words. Let go of right and wrong, good and bad, praise and blame, because you can't have one without the other. Change the words as you hear them come out of your mouth. Later, watch your thoughts. Pay attention. Change them too as they arise. Smile within when you catch yourself. That smile is an act of self-compassion.

With practice, we can all become more non-judgmental, compassionate, unconditionally loving people. Through our practices, we can inspire others to become more so as well. With clarity, and some effort, we can take full responsibility for our lives, become divinely empowered individuals, and build lives of greater health and peace of mind. If that is not enlightenment on earth, I don't know what is.


About the Author

Halpern Dr. Marc Halpern is the founder and President of the California College of Ayurveda. An internationally respected expert in the fields of Ayurveda and Yoga, Dr. Halpern received the award for Best Ayurvedic Physician from the Indian Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. A. Ramdas. He is a co-founder of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. He is on the advisory board of Light on Ayurveda Journal in the United States and the Journal of Research and Education in Indian Medicine in Varansi, India. Dr. Halpern has published articles in popular journals and magazines of Ayurveda and Yoga including Yoga Journal. He is also a contributing writer in several popular books on Ayurveda and has written two textbooks. Dr. Halpern is a regular speaker at Ayurvedic and Yoga conferences and teaches regularly at the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers where he received his Yoga Teacher certification. Read more...