Winds of Karma

We cringe when we hear the word Karma.  Gloomy thoughts about past terrible deeds and fears about future pain and suffering assault our minds. We hear someone say “Oh, it was her karma”, and instantly we feel sorry for that poor soul, or fearful that one day they will say the same about us.

 

Karma is one of the least understood life components, at least for the average Joe. Endowed with different meanings, the word Karma is normally translated as “action” or “deed” (note here that it is “action” and not “curse” as we tend to understand it) and is usually explained according to the principle of causality (the law of cause and effect). We can also see examples of karma in other traditions such the popular “An eye for an eye” or “You reap what you sow”.

 

However, the ominous nature we attribute to karma is simply a misunderstanding of its original meaning and exquisite operation. Instead of seeing karma as our inevitable fate, deriving from all our bad past decisions and deeds, we can see karma as what it really represents: OPPORTUNITY.

 

Karma is, in fact, an opportunity, a beautiful opportunity which is presented to us every day so we can fully understand the real meaning of life and our personal lessons. We all have stuff to learn here, that’s why we pop up on this planet over and over, and will continue to do so until we have mastered “the human curriculum”. What we call enlightenment is basically the completion of this curriculum; what we call happiness is basically our voluntary commitment to fulfilling this curriculum.

 

That said, it is crucial to understand how it works so we can cultivate more and more of this thing called happiness. Among all the opportunities (karmic situations) we get during our life, there is one which stands out as the major component of our curriculum: it is probably the toughest but also the one that, when worked upon, will drench us with the most satisfaction. This one big assignment begins early in our life tenure, during our childhood, with an initial setup seemingly developed by family, friends, teachers and others around us. Then, the scenario repeats itself over and over and over during our lives, each time making use of different characters and settings but with the same ending. This end result will always bring suffering, making us frustrated and even depressed since we normally don’t understand why this is happening to us. Sounds familiar? Can you already identify that situation that seems to follow you wherever you go?

 

We live at a time when this opportunity is being recreated at a very intense and impossible to avoid pace. It is merciless, there is no place to hide, and it is making us feel stuck, trapped, and helpless. It is obvious that, for whatever reason, we need to face it now so we can integrate its message and jump over to our next assignment. We need to work on it because it is holding us down and is affecting our happiness and our evolution.

 

How can we identify our personal big Karma for this lifetime and work on it? We need to use something that goes beyond the study of the mind and how it works, for Karma belongs to a much higher rank, which is the meaning of life. Karma is about the essence, who we are and what we are doing here, and that is a game way beyond our petty minds (even though we can use the mind to understand part of it).

 

I guess there are different ways of getting to it. I use something called Karmalogy. And I am writing this post today because I have been noticing during my consultations for some months now that most of us could benefit from it. The problem is this big karma oftentimes comes in multiple layers that need to be identified and peeled off one by one until we get to the bottom of it. It does require a good deal of objectivity, patience and experience and, needless to say, it is always easier to see it in others and very difficult to see in ourselves. Once we untangle the plot, then we can start observing how it manifests in our life and take the appropriate measures to master it. Examples of this big karma include suffering from constant abuse (by different people and in different circumstances: physical, verbal, in terms of financial retribution) or constantly associating with the “wrong” people, or lacking support when mostly needed, or never being able to materialize dream projects, or being erroneously judged or blamed for things we haven’t done.

 

I invite you to try Karmalogy. It does work and it will help you land on the path to stopping these deceptively negative cycles and thrive in life. Karmalogy is done in one hour sessions (live or on Skype) until the person feels confident enough to identify the process and act accordingly. For more information and rates, just click on the Ayurveda section on the bar menu and then on Karmalogy and Rates links on the left side menu.

To Milk or not to Milk: The Dairy Question

So much has been and continuous to be written about this topic that the best is to cut the chase and go straight to the point: The milk issue has become a matter of extremisms. On one side, the supporters who see in milk a wholesome food that has been part of our diet for milennia, and, on the opposite side, the detractors, who consider consuming milk some sort of aberration with pernicious side effects for our health.
So, let’s take a look at a summary of the main arguments on both sides:
1-
SUPPORTERS:
– Highly nutritious
– Important source of calcium, choline, potassium, vitamins A and B, and protein
– Nourishes all tissues and is a mild laxative
– Balances emotions
– Promotes Ojas, the essence of life energy which is directly connected to the immune system
– Good quality milk, mixed with the appropriate spices, can be an excellent remedy for sore throats and pharyngitis
(turmeric), insomnia (nutmeg), bronchial congestion (pippali), lymphatic congestion (peppercorn), sexual weakness (ashwaganda), or indigestion (ginger)
2-
DETRACTORS:
– Humans are the only mammals who consume other mammal’s milk or their own as adults
– Dairy protein seems to increase IGF-1 which has been implicated in several cancers
– D-Galactose, a component in milk, has been found to be pro-inflammatory
– Milk has been linked to acne, high cholesterol, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and atherosclerosis
– The dairy industry has made cow’s conditions inhumane
– Large part of the population is lactose intolerant
– Milk is one of the world’s most common food allergens

Ayurveda categorizes milk as sweet in taste, with a cooling energy and a sweet post-digestive effect. This makes milk a great food for air types (Vata) for its nutritional value and calming and grounding properties, and for fire types (Pitta) for its cooling and sweet properties. It is not advisable for earth-water types (Kapha) as milk is the archetypal kapha food and therefore creates imbalance in Kapha individuals.

However, there are a number of factors that need to be met in order for milk to be beneficial to our system:

1- Because of its heaviness and cold energy, milk should never be drank cold. In order to digest it properly, it needs to be gently boiled along with warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, black pepper, or cardamom. Otherwise,milk will cause digestive problems and accumulation of toxins and mucus in the body.
2- When pasteurized, homogenized or under any other treatment (lactose-free, fat-free), milk becomes much more difficult to digest and creates stagnation in the body. Milk should be organic and raw as it used to be before the dairy revolution.
3- Milk should never be mixed with fruits, yogurt, nuts, fish, meat, spicy or salty food, or bitter vegetables as it produces toxins due to poor digestibility. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends us not to drink milk with meals but to use it as a snack (mixed with spices) or mixed with sweet grains to make rice or tapioca pudding, oatmeal, or pancakes.
4- Certain ethnic groups and individuals cannot digest milk properly, which may result in complications for their health (Latin America and Far East Asia are two examples) and therefore should avoid it altogether.

Detractors do have a point when mentioning the horrendous conditions cows have to live in these days and which should not be tolerated. And I think this has a lot to do with intolerance, allergies, and links to various diseases that may be intimately related to the way we process milk and our poor education on how to prepare and combine it with other foods. It is these factors that have made milk an easy to demonize food when it has been a great supporter in human development throughout history.

So, should we drink milk or not? Unfortunately, the milk we are made to consume nowadays does not resemble the model proposed by Ayurveda. So, despite all that has been said and unless you can find wholesome, raw,
organic milk, it is better to avoid it or reduce its consumption drastically. Other types of dairy such as fresh goat cheese, fresh curd, and lassi (not yogurt) can still be taken in moderation if they are coming from an organic source.

Finally, it is important to point out that alternative milks (soy, almond, rice, hemp, etc) may contain a number of
suspicious ingredients (carrageenan, guar gum, xanthan gum, etc) normally used as thickeners that create digestive discomfort in some individuals and are currently being investigated as potential precursors of some cancers. So, is
there any solution whatsoever to making a creamy oatmeal or wetting your morning granola? One answer is to make your own alternative milk, either the traditional way or by purchasing a simple milk maker. Not only will you notice the unique flavor but you will have to drink it fast as they normally go off after only three days in the fridge…the beauties of freshness.

5 Ayurvedic tips to take care of your digestive fire and avoid toxins

1- Never eat before your previous meal has been digested, that is, before you feel hungry again
2- Avoid mixing dairy and nuts, yeasted breads or animal protein, cheese and beans, or two proteins in the same meal
3- Only take sips of water during meals. Avoid juices and too much liquid 
4- Do not eat sweets after a meal, except for a small treat 
5- Don’t eat hot and spicy food after cold food

5 things you mom probably didn’t teach you about your food

1- Never cook or heat honey, it becomes toxic. You may add it to your tea when it is slightly warm
2- Never drink cold milk. Warm it to room temperature and add spices such as cardamom and cinnamon
3- Never mix fruits with any other food item. Melons and bananas should be eaten by themselves
4- Do not eat salads or drink cold beverages if you suffer from constipation
5- Do not eat raw foods, heavy foods, or dairy at night