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The Science of Meditation (part 3)

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Edited by Marco Ferrini

The Science of Health or Ayurveda (the Sanskrit term “ayur” means life, force, health) studies in a detailed manner the Nature of Human Being and his relationship with a full range of energies.

Ayurveda extends the interaction overview of body, psyche and consciousness from an intra-individual level into an inter-individual one. Hence, behavior and single actions are considered not only as a result of one’s own apparatus, but as an interaction with other bodies, psyches and consciousness.

This point is very important, making us able to reconduct to this phenomenon many of present conflicts, both on an individual and collective level.

As a matter of fact, conflicts that cannot be solved inwardly are extrojected onto people around us, no matter if close or distant. The connection between different elements of the Created cannot be reduced exclusively to relationships, but permeates the entire Universe: just think about Bell’s Theorem, that enunciates the correlation between two particles entering into contact, sharing same experience, synchronizing and endure in resonant state also when separated or one of them is modified; this variation is instantly extended to the other particle in no time.

There is nothing in the Universe that is separate from everything else. Everything is connected and as we can identify micro-networks and neural circuits, it is possible to identify much larger macro-networks beyond any one single individual. In the Veda, in the Gita, in the Upanishad, in the Yogasutra and other scripts of the Indo-Vedic Tradition, it is possible to find these principles clearly described with an incredible specificity of language and in general the vision of man as a creature composed of different subtle bodies or layers, going from the more gross to the more subtle and that are not limited just to the material and psychic elements.

From the above scheme it is possible to notice that the material body is just the most external layer of the human being; this grossly visible layer is called “annamaya kosha”. Annamaya means food energy, since the physical body is nourished by food. At more subtle level it is possible to identify the energy called prana, that each human being has and that is individualized and specific for every living being: this level is defined “pranayama kosha”. The physical body does not have an own energy, it would not even stand without the vital energy that provides force for it, that makes it able to move and makes it so precious: all this is possible thanks to the energetic layer composed of “prana”.

For example, Acupuncture practice is based on this energetic support. Actually, if the energy provided to the body is not fluidly distributed some energy blocks may occur.

At a deeper and more subtle level after “pranayama kosha”, there is the mental layer, “manomaya kosha”, hence the energy layer depends upon the mind. Pranayama kosha is directly dependent upon mind, upon our mental state, thus it is not possible to develop ecologic energies to sustain our body without having first reeducated our mind. This message is given by the Rishi, the Spiritual Masters belonging to the Indo-Vedic Tradition, and it is a fundamental teaching to be immediately considered, as Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita: the mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy, it could be the way of healing or cause of death, disease, paralysis.

The mind has priority in health research, even before the physical body, since the body depends on it. In this scenario we can write out Juvenal’s statement: “mens sana in corpore sano”. In general, body and mind are so interdependent and interactive that any failure would be transmitted immediately each other, therefore they have to be treated simultaneously. For this reason Patanjali indicates as basic step in the path of Spiritual Self- Realization, codified in the Yoga Sutras, some ethics fundamentals (yama and niyama) for the harmonization of the psycho-physical health. The support of the mental layer is the intellective layer “vijnanamaya kosha”.

On a level of psychic dimension the intellect is constituted by deep convictions, which represent conscious or unconscious conditioning for people who base their lives on them. These deep convictions, stored by the intellect, sustain the mental structure. “Ananda” means inexhaustible happiness, bliss. It cannot be compared to the pleasure of the senses, that does not even represent the shade of such happiness. Euphoria, excitement, orgasm, they all have a beginning and an ending, therefore sages consider them illusory result of the human life.

When the creature is completely satisfied in himself, he does not have any other aspiration. The one who experiences “ananda” feels a sense of community with all creatures, he wishes to be a friend to everyone and actually he becomes benevolent to all living beings. In fact, conflicts are signs of dissatisfaction and suffering. Ananda is essential to stay in healthy, a popular Neapolitan proverb says: “To a cheerful heart, God will provide”. Hence, the intellective layer is sustained by a layer of bliss or constitutive happiness, “anandamaya kosha”, essential for the physical well-being.

Actually, interior gratification assures harmonization and balance of all physical, energetic and psychic structures, whilst a depressed mood or negative emotions, as explained by Prof. Genovesi previously, affect badly the immune system and suppress it throug hormonal desynchronization.

Ananda pertains to atman: the real source of energy has a spiritual nature, it is neither physical nor psychic energy, but a spiritual enery; besides ananda, atman is characterized by eternity, sat, and consciousness, cit. We are spiritual entities, we are atman and it is impossible for us to lose features like sat, cit, ananada, whatever happens, since they are intrinsic and inseparable from what we objectively and intimately are, although they may be more or less clouded by ignorance, neglected or atrophied. Through an introspective path, one undergoes a reservoir of unconscious experiences, almost unknown, but he or she has to interact daily with.

These unconscious experiences can be individual or in common with other creatures and represent an integrant part of the universe as a whole. This last case was coined as “Collective Unconscious” by Carl Gustav Jung.


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