More, more, more. This is the mantra of our day. In my former life, I used to work in advertising and we didn’t refer to people as, well, people, we called them consumers. Something that takes something in. The description is apt, albeit a bit insulting. We are taking in something all the time, whether it’s food, news, email, sounds, lights, demands-modern life has turned on the fire hose.
All of this needs to be processed in some way. If not, the undigested food and experiences cause stagnation in the gross or subtle body and get stuck, leading to mental or physical illness. Nature is all about flow, as in the movement of consciousness through the cycle of creation, maintenance, destruction. Yet with this bombardment, our minds and bodies naturally cannot digest it all. If you ever played that computer game Tetris, where the puzzle pieces are falling and you have to place them in the right place, there was always that point when the pieces fell too fast and the whole thing got overwhelmed. This is where we are. So, what do we do about it? How do we process it all?
We could be eating the highest quality food and enjoying the most lovely day in nature, but if we are unable to digest them, they don’t become assimilated or leave our system. They become toxic. In the West, we focus on the qualities of the food itself and don’t really consider the consumption of experiences as equal in terms of their impact on our health. For example, an Ayurvedic practitioner might suggest you eat white rice instead of brown even though brown technically is more nutritious. If you can’t digest it properly, it doesn’t matter. And you could be in Hawaii on the most beautiful, rainbow-filled day. But if you are filled with stress inside, the rainbows won’t bring you joy, the stress is all you will be able to experience.
All this “abundance” is creating an inner scarcity. Our bodies and minds, littered with stress and stagnation, cannot connect to our bigger Selves in order to feel clear and naturally at ease. There is too much noise, too much clutter. Moving doesn’t feel good, sitting still with oneself in silence doesn’t feel good. Our reaction to this, because it feels like scarcity is to go back to “more.” I need this treatment, this pill, this new job, this car, this pair of shoes, this thing to feel better. We are constantly looking outside the self.
The true abundance however is inside. The only way the outside will ever feel abundant is if you are first finding the abundance within. The outside world is simply a reflection of our inner experience. This is why meditation is so important. It snaps us out of the conditioning that our fulfillment will come by satisfying some outside desire.
Meditation also releases the stress stored in our bodies, bit by bit. This creates the flow that lets anything we consume, whether food or experience, get processed smoothly. For example, there are Yogis that can drink poison that could kill an ox, yet they remain unaffected. It gives us the energy to adapt, even with the Tetris pieces won’t stop falling.
Kristen Vandivier is an instructor of Vedic Meditation and the founder of The Vedic Method and Meditation Without Borders. She is regarded for her ability to make profound teachings relevant to everyday life and her mission of promoting meditation for social change. After completing an intensive curriculum of training under renowned Master Maharishi Vyasananda Thom Knoles, including a three-month immersion program in the Himalayas, Kristen returned to found her practice. She lives in Mill Valley with her husband and three small children.
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Originally published at https://www.thevedicmethod.com on February 12, 2021.