First Pillar; Ayurveda, The Science of Wellness and Healing
My Personal Journey leading up to and into the new year mirrors the four pillars of the Temple of Life. These are – Ayurveda, Yoga, Tantra and Sacred Mantra. Through these divine portals we experience ultimate truth as an embodied reality.
For the whole month of December, my Beloved Amitabha and I were going through an Ayurvedic Panchakarma Retreat in Bali. This took place in the Amrta Siddhi Ayurveda Center run by Dr. Sujata, who studied Ayurvedic Medicine in South India.
Her program is really in-depth. Some Ayurvedic retreat centres in the world cater to touristic desires and therefore dilute the Panchakarma process. However, Dr. Sujata offers authentic Ayurveda which can at times be quite challenging. But the results are simply amazing! We emerged from our retreat vibrant and shining with health.
The Medicine Buddha
During my retreat, the Medicine Buddha appeared in my dreams as a luminous presence radiating deepest compassion and wisdom. He gave me a download and transmission about medicine and wellness. His teaching entered through the top of my head and then flowed like golden nectar all down my spine till it became part of me. On waking, I felt his presence inside me and this presence remains with me day and night. I am in a state of wonder and loving acceptance. When such a miracle happens in life, it is God’s grace.
The Medicine Buddha explained to me that each being is unique, therefore, there is no one medicine which is good for all. What works for healing one person may be poison to another and vice versa. He revealed to me that the ancients had developed a science for understanding, diagnosis and treatment for each individual constitution and this science is known by the name ‘Ayurveda.’
He showed me that this science is based on four main pillars:
- The 5 Elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether)
- The unique constitution of each person
- The naturally occurring processes of Accumulation, Absorption and Elimination
- The harmonisation of Yin and Yang energies
In Ayurveda, the constitution of each person is made up of a unique combination of three different Doshas; Vata (air and wind), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (earth and water). Maintaining a dynamic balance of the elements within one’s system is a priority for an Ayurveda lifestyle.
Ayurveda works on diagnosis and treatment according to these principles.
The 8 Branches of Medicine in Ayurveda
I find it absolutely fascinating that such a refined science of healing was developed thousands of years ago and its wisdom and power of healing is as relevant in today’s world as it was in the past. One example is that the art of surgery and even plastic surgery was discovered and refined by Ayurvedic physicians in ancient times. In Ayurveda, there are 8 branches of healing, each one offering tremendous insight and methodology with myriad healing treatments and processes.
While going through the Panchakarma process Dr. Sujata gave regular teachings about Ayurveda which were absolutely fascinating. In one of her presentations she spoke about the 8 branches of Ayurveda:
Ayurvedic Healing works on body, mind, emotions and soul, aligning these and bringing about a dynamic state of harmonious alignment within.
The 5 Elements Mirrored In Hands and Feet
According to Ayurveda, both our hands and our feet carry the qualities of the 5 elements and these elements find their conduit of expression through fingers and toes.
Therefore, when we touch someone, this touch can become a blessing of the five elements. When we weave cloth, make pottery or create anything with our hands, we are allowing the 5 elements to be incarnated in the form we are creating. When we eat with our hands, we simultaneously bless the food with the energy of the 5 elements.
Five Elements Blessing While Eating
This is the deeper reason behind the Indian methodology of eating with hands. While many cultures remove themselves from a sensorial involvement with food through touch, in India, even today, the preferred method of eating is with the hands.
I was enchanted by this style of eating when I arrived in India. First, there is a ritual of hand washing before the meal with a hot damp towel. The food placed before the guests contains a wide array of different dishes, each with their own unique colour and scent. It is a sensuous experience to be in deep communion with the food one is eating by delicately drawing it into the hand then bringing this hand to the mouth and experiencing a burst of pleasing spices on the tongue.
The body recognises that this food is indeed medicine and each burst of aroma and taste brings profound gratification. After the meal, one is offered a silver bowl with warm lemon-scented water to wash the hands.
The act of squeezing the lemon slice into the water and feeling the softness of the hands after being thus cleansed, then drying them on a soft white napkin, these eating rituals or even the memory of these rituals brings a surge of joy to my whole body and psyche.
Food as Medicine
“According to the Vedic seers, food is the only medium that carries Ojas, Prana and Tejas (the three primordial states of the universe) into our vital tissues. As such, food is the primary vehicle by which the universe transmits memory, energy and vibration to all species. Food is said to be the mother-essence of healing—it is Rasa, the taste of life.”
(From The Path of Practice by Bri. Maya Tiwari)
What is Included in a Panchakarma?
In an Ayurvedic Panchakarma, the recipient goes through various stages of cleansing and balancing:
Drinking of ghee: This is the medium to draw into itself, all toxic waste from brain and body. This process is helped by specialised massage using medicinal oil.
Purging of physical and mental toxins: This process may involve vomiting and or shitting / including medicated enemas.
Balancing psyche: This is achieved through shirodhara, the rhythmic pouring of warm medicated oil on the forehead, which releases stored karma in a very pleasing way. Another balancing treatment involves the pouring of warm medicated liquid all over the body for approximately 40 minutes. This releases anxiety and brings about a profound state of inner peace, similar to floating in the womb. It also improves the skin and circulation.
Eye healing: This is a surprising and powerful treatment whereby the eyes are filled with ghee and the recipient slowly allows his or her eyes to drink the ghee. After a treatment of ½ hour, the receiver remains in darkness to support the healing process. The treatment may continue every day for between 3 – 7 days. During the process deep trauma and memories are purged from the inner brain and not only vision improves but clairvoyance and clairaudience are activated.
Rejuvenation therapies: These include not only regular massage but also the application of warm herbal bundles all over the body and other specialised treatments such as facials.
This whole process of Panchakarma is complemented by delicious and nourishing food prepared especially to balance each person’s doshas and bring the whole body into right balance according to their body type.
Second Pillar; A Love Affair with Yoga
Our Panchakarma process included daily yoga with experienced teachers. My love affair with yoga got a new boost of energy as I experienced the profoundly beneficial effects. Beginning with the New Year, Amitabha and I decided to have yoga classes 5 days a week with our friend, Sadhana.
Oh my God, what a revelation!! Sadhana is a true lineage holder, offering more than just yoga poses—she gives a powerful transmission of the depth and breadth of yoga, infused with sacredness and meditation. I experience a quality of levitation while doing yoga with her. I feel every cell of my body filled with something that feels like effervescent champagne bubbles! Sadhana calls this ‘prana.’
I asked her about this phenomenon and she said because we work deeply on ‘apana’ grounding and being in tune with the body, this in turn activates ‘prana’ (the subtle breath of life) all over the body leading to a feeling of levitation. She said sometimes she has to work for years with people in order for them to access this state but because of my Tantra practice and meditation practice this quality (which is the true essence of yoga) is happening.
A Precise Methodology
Sadhana is super precise with minute details which gives an effortless feeling while engaged in Yoga. She gives individual guidance, meaning not everyone has the same body and she makes adjustments for that. I feel so blessed to be working with her as I sense a profound transmission of thousands of years of wisdom coming through her. During our classes, she recites Sanskrit mantras which are exactly tuned to our breath and positions we are taking. Mysteriously, when she does that, I am suffused by inner ecstasy and this flow of ecstasy continues throughout the day.
Transmission of the Lineage
Sadhana was born and raised in India and has apprenticed with some of the world’s best Yoga gurus there, staying in an ashram or residing close to her guru for years as she continued to deepen her depth and breadth of experience. She told me it is really unbelievable to her that people do a one month yoga training and then think they have become a yoga teacher. She said this is not the traditional approach as yoga is something that has to be imbibed slowly, body, mind and soul. It is not just a series of techniques. It is a transmission of embodied wisdom, from guru to disciple that has continued for thousands of years.
Third Pillar; Tantra, For A Harmonious World
Continuing my journey into this New Year, it is my joy to teach Tantra, whether that be in groups or online. One of my favourite offerings is the Tantra Soul Mate series of groups for couples. I have been teaching this 7 level series of groups since 1998. I call it the ‘journey of a lifetime.’ During the 3 ½ years it takes to complete all seven levels, couples explore an entire rainbow of transformation together.
It is awesome to experience couples ‘rising in love’ as they journey into various series of Tantric Love Appointments. After level 1, there is a series of 21 love appointments to do as homework. If the couple manages to complete the whole series then they will be welcomed into the level 2, otherwise not. In this way, we ensure that each couple engaged in the process continues to evolve in love and meditation and as a group, we levitate our consciousness to undreamed of dimensions of inner ecstasy.
I sincerely hope that couples everywhere will come to know the fullest potential offered through relationship, for blending sexuality, love and spirituality. Walking the path of Tantra as a couple is the fastest path to enlightenment, and yet it is like walking on a razor’s edge. The emotional storms which arise in relationship can be difficult to navigate. And yet, with the methodology of Tantra, we can learn to weather our storms and learn valuable lessons in the process.
As more and more couples come to know the joy of Tantra, our world can at last find peace and harmony. The phenomenon of the couple is the base of family, tribe and society as a whole. When male and female melt into a harmony of opposites, we can then achieve harmony in society. Without the harmony of male and female energies, our society remains split, fragmented and at war. One of the best things we can do for the betterment of this world is to learn and practice Tantra, discovering both inner and outer union of masculine and feminine principles.
The Fourth Pillar; Sacred Mantra Singing Offers Body / Mind/ Spirit Integration
The 4th pillar of the Temple of Life contains sacred sound and mantra as an integration of body, mind and spirit. I find myself immersed in this unexpectedly because of an apparent coincidence.My social media manager suggested that I offer a Live Streaming Satsang.
(Usually I offer my weekly Satsangs as pre-recorded offerings, You can Sign Up Here if this interests you.)
As she loves to attend Bhakti Kirtan with her musician friends, she asked me if I would be open to combining Bhakti Kirtan with my live Satsang and, of course, I said ‘Yes’. She introduced me to a wonderful singer named Jeremy who is the lead in a Bhakti Kirtan band. I began attending his events and this brought me much joy. From there it was easy and natural to begin offering live Satsang together with Mantra Singing. This format is loved by all who attend. And we have the added benefit of people being able to attend from wherever they are in the world, through Live streaming – you can Watch Here
Traditionally, mantra is practiced as an integral part of Tantra. The sacred sounds of the mantras tap into universal wisdom and help us align to our true essence and power of manifestation. In a certain sense, mantras activate positive affirmation and through the power of sound this begins circulating inside body and mind to the deepest levels of being.
Mantras have been created by Enlightened beings to help us live in tune with source. Through a certain number of repetitions of the mantra we are benefitted beyond measure. The usual number of repetitions for saying mantras is 108 times.
When we do Bhakti Kirtan in a group, we have the added benefit of singing mantras and devotional songs supported by music and the group energy. This is one reason why such an event brings a sense of wellbeing on all levels.
To understand the depth of mantra transmission, it is helpful to understand the meaning. For example: ‘Sat Chit Anand’ is a mantra which means Truth, Consciousness, Bliss. This offers a template for living these qualities. Anything which is out of tune with these qualities can be brought into alignment by repeating this mantra. This is certainly powerful magic!
If you are wondering which is the right mantra for you, you can look on Google and find lists of mantras and just tune to what is resonating for you at this time. It may be that you will repeat one mantra each day 108 times for 21 days, or for 3 months until it has merged deeply within.
To complement this practice, you may be drawn to attending Bhakti Kirtan or being part of an online group that practices devotional mantra singing.
Aligning with these 4 pillars of the temple of life, Ayurveda, Yoga, Tantra and Mantra, we find our way into our inner sanctum where divinity resides. The bliss of this is available to all human beings.
Love & Blessings,