When we feel joyous, we feel connected. Being engulfed in joy is like swimming in a crystal clear ocean on a sunny day – we are supported, uplifted, weightless. Remember a moment when you were truly joyful; it may be a simple memory, like dancing to good music, or having a meaningful conversation with a friend; or it may be a big life moment, like kissing your husband for the first time, holding your little baby, or attaining a hard to reach goal.
Sometimes joy seems elusive, slippery and hard to grasp. Day to day life can lose its luster, and joy feels distant, attached to a memory or a future plan. Joy and health are interrelated; the more joyous we feel, the less stressed, inflamed, depressed and heavy. Daily joy leads to better health. How can we bring more joy into our lives, attaining it regularly?
I have found many nuggets that have helped me move into a state of joy more often, in the ancient science of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a body of knowledge that can be applied in our lives in conjunction with our current medical plan, religion, or system of belief. If one chooses to apply aspects of Ayurveda, one does not need to forsake modern medicine. It is not an invitation to throw all your medicines or doctor’s advice out the window. Rather, it is an extremely useful treasure trove of wisdom that can complement your current beliefs, while deepening your health.
Ayurveda was born in India thousands of years ago. It is the ‘Science of Life’ derived by sages who devoted their lives to discovering this way of viewing the natural world and our relationship to it. It is timeless wisdom, as the basic human needs, such as nutrition and rest, are the same as they were five thousand years ago.
Maya Tiwari, a contemporary author and practitioner of Ayurveda, was able to heal herself from cancer utilizing a combination of western medicine and Ayurveda. She writes, “Our vital tissues are created from the same five elements that created the seasons and their rhythms; we share a symbiotic nature with the earth, created as we are from the same cosmic blueprint of memory, energy and rhythm.”
And so, we as human beings have been created from the same elements that we see all around us in the natural world. 75% of our body is water. Our enzymes are like fire, metabolizing matter into usable ash. Our lungs draw in air, and the motion of air circulates throughout us. Much of our body is simply empty space; in each atom is a bit of matter, and a lot of space. Our flesh and bones are like the rocky earth of the body. The five elements in nature are earth, water, fire, air and space; according to Ayurveda, we are made of these same elements, and they comprise our bodies in unique combinations.
How does all of this relate to joy? In future posts, I will refer back to this concept as I offer practices and foods that contribute to well-being and the capacity to live joyfully.
For now, if we allow the concept of the five elements to sink in, we realize that we are totally connected to the environment around us. When we live life from this connected place, the world begins to open up in a new and exciting way. The change of the seasons is a wonder to witness, especially when we understand that our bodies also morph and change seasonally. As we harness the natural rhythms, we access greater health and joy.
Like the energetic pull of the moon affecting the ocean tides, the rhythms of nature affect the elements within our own bodies. As we learn to live in balance, we attain a state of wholeness. When we are whole, we see the world clearly and joy is right at our fingertips.
Although there is much suffering in this world, there is also much beauty. When our vantage point shifts into one of true health, we not only see this beauty, we add to it.