The present of India

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.” (The Sea by John Banville)
The process of Pancha Karma the medicine of India is a revealing journey.
The treatments take time and each individual needs different treatments in different order to others. The food you are given plays as much a part as the medicines and treatments. I have been blessed in my choice of ayurvedic physicians and the place and time of my healing. Here I sit in the fourth week of my stay in Hariharapura and every day I’ve eaten a plant based diet. Breakfast today was water pancakes and a mild accompanying samba made from sweet potatoes. The water pancakes are made from finely ground rice, mixed with water and made into a fine crisp pancake, followed by a fine  sweet chai, I ask you, how good is that?
I have bought myself a rather colourful cotton nightie, it has scary big sunflowers on it and covers me from neck to ankle. I wear this passion killer to my treatments in the early dawn. I ‘ m also kitted out in a kinda cross between a nappy and a thong that covers my lower rude bits.
A large table awaits me and I throw off the flower robe and lie down. Within minutes very warm medicated sesame seed oil is poured over me in a thin almost continuous stream, toes to neck over and over again, I can feel my body letting go, my mind stops and my nervous system registers relax, relax, relax. Then I am basted on my back. I can tell you now it’s a splendid way to begin the day.
This is called Shiro Pizhichil. When I first arrived here  four weeks ago I was given a massage and Shiro Pizhichil for 3 days until I was relaxed enough to start cleansing my body and that is a whole other story.
The actual ins and  outs of the treatment are individuated and I hope each and every one of you reading this gets a chance to experience them. The thing that intrigues me about the over all experience is how much of the past is teased out of my body. We are born and at the moment of our first breath our spirit, soul and body are fused meshed together into a being of senses, mind and intellect. Our life  experiences and conditioning tease together into our awareness, our beliefs, our traumas, yet these experiences are not the essence, the entity experiencing is the true self.
In the Bhavgad  Gita 3:39-40 it says just as a fire is hidden by smoke, or a mirror by dust or a foetus by the womb the living entity is covered by the desires. The seat of these desires are the the senses, the mind and  the intellect. These desires hide the living entity, the true self, if you like, causing bewilderment and confusion.
The different stages of our lives create different desires, our cultural experiences create desires and expectations. It is difficult to discern, through our misperceptions, projections, imaginings, yearnings and illusory beliefs just what is real. Our progress through the world is clouded by the past, our unexamined beliefs, chemical state, age.
Discerning any truth is as much an individual journey as the Ayurvedic treatments and your response or reaction to them. 
If you are young then it is very difficult to tease apart the cause and effect of an event. You are caught up in hormonal surges, physical fluctuations, and habitual responses. With time, experience and deliberate choices you can move towards inner equilibrium and acting on those choices you cannot not move past the smoke and mirrors towards a different concept of yourself, each journey takes as long as it takes.
Here at the ashram, ( old injuries are examined, old, perhaps, outmoded behaviours exposed and a deep sense of physical ease, relaxation and mental freedom means it is easier to come to the final barriers to self awareness.
For me it is embracing an emptiness that years ago might have been terrifying. Now I can sit with myself and slowly pass through barriers of self judgement and emotion that formerly might have agitated me. It’s not that I’m in any way enlightened it’s just that I’m less likely to see things that are not there, illusions if you like, that can cause my snaky nature to bite. 
My past histories, my past stories have been sifted through and refined until maybe there is some modicum of truth in my experience of now. The beating heart of my past is synchronised with the real heart of me.  Sitting out arms

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