Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Science Of Gratitude

                                 The Science of Gratitude and It's Attitude

Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Most scientists begin a study due to their interest in something. They focus their attention on it and attempt to test it, and prove or disprove it as truth. As typical of most scientists, Patanjali, the author of the first written, trusted and revered text on Yoga, outlines these same clear steps to study and practice the science of yoga, and together with Ayurvedic scientists and philosophers, use valued resources, clear observation, internal and external technology, to formulate, check, re-check, and adjust, steadily, over the course of time, as they study, learn and report their findings, that demonstrate the relationship we have with ourselves, the universe and reality (PYS 1-12).

"Ayur" means life and "veda" means to know beyond ordinary perception, and life is defined as the intelligent integration of body, senses, mind and soul, or more commonly known as the science of life. (CH). Yoga means relationship or integration, and both sister sciences map out the science to know the truth about existence or self realization.

The word “gratitude” has a number of different meanings, depending on the context. However, a practical clinical definition is as follows—gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself; it is a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010965/

The majority of empirical studies indicate that there is an association between gratitude and a sense of overall well being. What we are grateful for then, can also be relative to our self understanding, and self concept and our ability to sit in the seat of self realization. 

Recently scientists have begun to chart a course of research aimed at understanding gratitude and the circumstances in which it flourishes or diminishes. They’re finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

·         Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
·         Higher levels of positive emotions
·         More joy, optimism, and happiness
·         Acting with more generosity and compassion
·         Feeling less lonely and isolated
·     Faster recover after illness
·      Higher levels of alertness, vitality, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and     energy
·     Spend more time exercising
·     Sleep better
·     Feeling of Happiness


Together, Yoga and Ayurveda is a science of life that's highest purpose is one of self realization. Just as Yoga and Ayurveda have demonstrated the same side health benefits as gratitude, the quality of gratitude depends upon self realization. There is a feedback loop. Gratitude, like happiness, is an attitude, a state of mind for most people, being grateful or happy due to something outside of themselves. Something or someone needs to be present or not present that we are grateful for, rather than the experience of gratitude or happiness as our natural state of being through living in our self realized nature. When we are self realized, gratitude and happiness become our natural state of being, and we are in a constant state of gratitude, happiness, awe and wonder, not due to anything, except being in touch with our true nature, knowing ourselves without the noise of the mind, our thoughts and self concepts. 

At the completion of a 3 month ChayaVeda Ayurveda and Yoga Immersion, one of my students stated to me “you are a healer, and you are also a scientist”. Wow, I thought, I never thought of myself in that way and my college chemistry professor who looked as if he stuck his finger in an electrical outlet came to mind, but also it was as if she was able to reach inside of my 55 years of spiritual journey, or rather I was able to demonstrate and convey the science of Yoga and Ayurveda, enough so that her light was kindled passionately as well. I also realized that I had done exactly what Patanjali outlined, as what my teachers did for me, and taught me to do for others. So to the Webster definition of scientist above, I add, that a scientist is also a healer, someone who is a lamp lighter, and through their own self realized self can create the circumstances that allow another to also realize themselves. This dawns a gratitude that is beyond attitude, and beyond ordinary perception.

Ayurveda and Yoga demonstrate its medical model of Personalized Medicine and how to use it appropriately, with Ayurvedically Based Yoga Therapy, outlined in the science of Yoga of Patanjali and Ayurveda according to Charak and other trusted sources.

By demonstrating how interest in a topic, leads to focus and study, testing, and comparing theories to expand knowledge and experience, resulting with a deeper level of satisfaction from the experience rather than the information alone. Using valued resources to formulate, check and subsequently adjust reasoning, teachers can proceed deeper into the presentation and teaching, and as we observe the students’ engagement, as they re-engineer their patterns,there is an inspirational moment when they become aware, and have their direct experience, that embodied inner transformation that true knowledge and experience brings them to a state of awe, reverence, and gratitude.

Truly felt gratitude reflects back, another feedback loop, for what my students receive is reflected back to me through their growth and demonstration of what they experienced, integrated and observed within themselves. When we as teachers listen and respond, we develop trust and a beautiful exchange of being seen and heard is powerful for the students growth. We are accustomed to the term “well read” to denote wisdom, in the eastern lessons were traditionally transmitted orally, where the term “well listened” demonstrates wisdom. In our listening we allow sharing things close to our hearts and minds to elevate ourselves and others. Together we deepen our gratitude, for the science of Yoga and Ayurveda, and their results.

Through this exchange, we reach a level of satisfaction that inspires gratitude, the enlivenment of our energy and spirit. Lifting and opening us, gratitude played the role of a catalyst, generating love and pure wisdom to flow spontaneously and together, from the heart of the teacher to the heart of the student and back, we went beyond doing Yoga and Ayurveda into the state of being it.

Thereby, with gratitude we can keep our hearts and minds open to be an integrated and educated person, which is the foundation for an integrated and wise community, society and world.

Thanksgiving reminds us that a gratitude practice is a catalyst to shift challenges in times of conflict and despair to opportunities for growth, connection, and love. 

A Thanksgiving ritual of reflection on gratitude can be more specifically practiced and cultivated, by choosing and sharing 3 things we are grateful for. The science of gratitude demonstrates its role in cultivating skillful action, good physical and emotional health, and effectually navigating a world that is made of polarity, using it for the highest good of all beings, and perhaps through this simple practice we can also begin the journey to self realization and live in our natural state.

A practice that leads us to being self realized, is a catalyst to shift from practicing gratitude to being in a state of gratitude at all times. 

Make this Thanksgiving be a blueprint for each and every day, to take a moment to pause and reflect on more than the science and practice of gratitude, and move into the state of gratitude and its grace. 


Friday, November 11, 2016