Cultivating a Peaceful Mind & Happy Heart with Ayurveda
Ayurveda prescribes different behaviours that we can meditate on and work with to nourish our minds and hearts. These are called behavioural rasayanas. In Ayurvedic medicine a rasayana is a special substance, or herbal preparation, that acts as a tonic. These tonics are greatly appreciated for their positive effect on our overall well-being, in particular because they nourish the connection between our physical body and our mind and consciousness.
As Ayurveda encompasses all nature, it teaches that all things can be used to improve our health: our food, lifestyle, emotions and mental self-care are considered as important as any medicine we may receive.
Ayurveda offers these behavioural rasayanas as actions and attitudes we can work on to bring peace to our minds, emotions, and our hearts. They are often prescribed whenever there is anxiety, depression or cardiovascular disease.
Aim towards simple living with space for contemplation, meditation and spiritual development. Ayurveda teaches that spiritual development is the goal for all human life. Simplifying our lives gives us space for reading, thought and prayer on whatever spiritual path we choose to explore. Make time for walks in nature, good conversations with friends, simple loving exchanges like sharing and hearing each other’s thoughts, giving and receiving gifts and foods cooked with love.
Manage anger. Anger is a natural part of life that is often expressed when our needs aren’t met. Practice listening to your heart and mind to know your needs. Take care of yourself to meet them as best you can. Anger should be expressed, suppressing it causes harm. Express it in a way that doesn’t harm others and then let it go. Holding anger causes stress and pain.
Practice non-violence and compassion for all living beings. Ayurveda and yoga teach ahimsa - the practice of causing no harm. When we harm others, we harm ourselves. A plant and grain based diet is recommended as a diet that respects all other life while nourishing our own.
Keep a healthy routine. Morning bathing, cleaning the tongue, sipping warm water. Oil massage. Daily gentle exercise like: walking, yoga, tai chi, breathing practices. Going to bed in a calm state of mind before 10pm whenever possible.
Keep regular rest, work and mealtimes wherever possible.
Practice peaceful speech and allow time for silence. To be always speaking is exhausting. Allow time for quiet to think, reflect and rest.
Keep the company of uplifting and inspiring people. By association in person, or in writing, their wisdom affects us and we gain a broad perspective of priority and purpose. We cannot make all these changes at once, but we can focus on one change at a time and keep these behavioural rasayanas somewhere where we can review them often and meditate on making gentle changes that support us in cultivating a peaceful mind and happy heart.