Using Ayurveda to Understand & Overcome My Own Depression (& Reductionist Dualities in General)

Updated: Jan 20, 2019




I am preparing materials for an upcoming workshop today and thinking about all the judgement inherent to how humans relate to ourselves and the natural world.

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We speak of good and bad weather just like good and bad behavior. I get asked all the time if certain foods are good or bad. I habitually judge my own mood and actions as good or bad.

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The beauty of Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology is that these systems of understanding encourage us to go beyond the good/bad duality and to instead describe the qualities of the experience as accurately as possible.

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An easy example: rain is often considered "bad" weather, but we all know rain is very necessary for a healthy ecosystem and that it can enliven multiple human sensory organs (ears, eyes, skin, tongue, nose) with gentle beauty or terrible intensity.

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It has the qualities of being wet and cool and heavy, too much of which gets to be a downer, but those same qualities can give life-saving relief in the context of a hot, dry season.

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Internal states seem to operate according to a similar principle. I may prefer to experience safety, contentment & admiration, for example, but that doesn't make these feelings inherently "good."

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Their opposites — risk, longing & challenge (more or less) — are just as important and potentially beneficial, depending on the time & place and my relative level of ambition to evolve.

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The answer is, as always, it depends. All qualities in all substances have the potential to serve as both medicine and poison, depending on the unique, circumstantial details of the interaction.


Murky.

I need this reminder today as I navigate the treacherous territory of self-loathing. Instead of judging my actions (or lack thereof) as good or bad, I am attempting to track the inputs (food, media, the company of others) that have given rise to the outputs of less-than-preferable quality that are present in this moment.

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This reminder doesn't necessarily remove the discomfort, but at least it provides an access point for enhanced personal accountability and subsequent agency to apply self-willed effort to shift toward a more preferable state of being.

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The very qualities I observe as predominant in my experience provide perfect guidance as to how I can go about making intelligent adjustments.

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If I feel clumsy, stagnant & congested, then I can cultivate practices that actively invite grace, movement & clarity. Of course, classical Yoga, Ayurveda and all the Vedic Sciences offer an overabundant variety of clever suggestions for these very symptoms.

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Journalling, for example, is an excellent remedy for psycho-emotional congestion and confusion. I feel better already. Thanks for listening (reading).

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David T McConaghay

Ayurvedic Doctor

Vedic Astrologer

D. Div. Candidate

Denver, Colorado, USA

ayurvedadave@gmail.com

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