The Superficial Life and playing the Hand from where you stand

by Sandra Radja

Get comfortable people.  I may spend the next few weeks espousing the wisdom of Dr Robert E Svoboda because there were SO MANY GEMS.  It was an intimate affair in Sydney, Australia.  Oh man, the Aussies!  - they don’t yet know what Ayurvedic royalty we have that grace our shores and so it was maybe around 70 folks there. 

The energy was wonderful and I’m still riding the shakti.  Hari Om.   

We are moving towards greater superficiality because our lives are getting faster and faster. If you want to move fast, you can’t do it on the surface of the earth; you need to do it above the earth. So when dealing with a client, you need to deal with it in a superficial way because the causative factors that brought it into being were superficial factors.
— Dr Robert Svoboda - Sydney Conference 2014

This is an interesting statement since, in Ayurveda, we tailor the treatments to the individual.  That means your practitioner has artistic license to design a protocol as they see fit for your current situation as it stands.  But, what if that practitioner operates personally on a deep level.  Are they able to step back from themselves and see that the client can only do so much?

Play the hand from where you stand
— Poker saying

I have learnt to adopt this as a mantra, reminding myself that we are all at various stages of development, and healing in Ayurveda can utilize a wide variety of sense therapies so you have a choice of how to create protocol.  Someone recently told me that the two most useful therapies are sight and sound because we have been trained to overuse those senses due to excess television watching.  Probably why lectures/healing sessions via video is becoming more popular.

People sense there is something below the surface they want to be part of, but by virtue of their life being very fast and life being very superficial, at any moment, at least initially, they may not be able to go underneath the surface. They may need to find meaning in themselves in their present situation before they go deeper
— Dr Robert Svoboda - Sydney Conference 2014

Back in 2003, on my Indian sojourn, I went to a Himalayan mountain town and practiced pranayama with the Sivananda troupe 8 hours/day straight for 2 weeks.  I put myself in lotus position and smacked my bottom on the ground many times to jump start my kundalini.  I don’t know why.  I figured something would happen at the end of it all even though no one teaching it had the kind of temperament that was enviable.  Peer pressure I guess?  Just mad?  Who knows.

And I suffered.  I suffered greatly from not only sciatic pain in my backside (couldn't sit down) but I lost my sense of direction – in life, in my goals, in my bowel movements (as in they stopped not went sideways).  I didn't understand the natural elements in my physiology and I didn't understand that certain spiritual activities, even if considered by old scriptures as the “way”, were not appropriate for where I was at.  My superficial resistance fucked up the prana.

I’m good now, in case you’re wondering.  It took a good look at my activities through Ayurveda to bring my cowgirl Vata wild ways back to earth.  As Dr Svoboda mentioned, you can cure Pitta and Kapha, but you can only manage Vata.  And it’s a lifelong journey of checking in truthfully.  Being back on solid ground isn't so bad.  It’s great down here.  There is much to be said for the wisdom of food and plants in general. 

And here was the beginning of a visual exercise we did on the weekend that you can try before meditation and pranayama. 

Relax your breath.  Now concentrate your prana/focus on your perineum/muladhara chakra.  Visualize the energy flowing down slowly to the centre of the earth.  Keep the breath relaxed as you do so.  Sit there awhile.  Keep that point steady and imagine the energy now moving up to the sun.  Half of you is connected to the earth and half of you is connected to the sun.  Sit there awhile.

Honestly, when we did this one morning, as well as some other simple pranayama work, the nervous high I got from my coffee that morning dissipated.  I got more out of that than my 2 weeks in the Himalayas. 

My earth element has come a long way baby!