I recently presented at an Ayurveda Summit and had the good fortune of sharing the stage with the great Dr. John Douillard. In his lecture, he posited that humans are hardwired to act in the world from a place of approval-seeking. It’s in our DNA.
Approval-seeking begins at birth when we instinctively behave in ways that tease out a “love and protection” response from our parents. This pattern–the quest for validation–gains momentum and continues to metastasize as we enter the school yard, relationships, and different stages of life. Eventually, we become such virtuosi in turning on the “approval-seeking self” that we can scarcely distinguish between our false and true selves.
I don’t consider myself an approval seeker. I came out of the closet in my early 20s and moved to Paris on a whim when I was nearly 50. Marc follows his truth.
But Dr. Douillard’s lecture piqued my curiosity and prompted me to make the following resolution: before I did, said, or posted anything, I was going to pause and first ask myself the following questions:
- Is what I am about to do or say TRULY authentic to my desires, or am I running it through an Approval Filter?
- Am I trying to manipulate a situation, even subtly, to get what I want (Love?)–a return on investment, of sorts?
I was stunned to realize that on subtler, quieter, levels, I wasn’t always as in synch with my purest intentions as I had thought. Having come to this surprising realization, I turned next to my Ayurveda training for guidance.
AYU means LIFE.
VEDA means SCIENCE or KNOWLEDGE.
Thus, Ayurveda is the Science of Life.
In order to stand in optimal health, Ayurveda proposes that we feed our physiology through Rasayana–NOURISHMENT–in the form of things like wholesome food, herbs, and oil massages.
But Veda has an alternate meaning. It also means TRUTH.
Thus Ayurveda’s alternate meaning is the Truth of Your Life.
Living your truth is as much a rasayana as ghee. Truth nourishes the body, mind, and soul. In other words, you can take all the herbs and supplements you want, receive daily abhyanga massages, and eat prana-ful food. But if you are not living your truth–the life you were meant to live–you will never stand in optimal health.
Have you ever been in situations where you were consciously projecting a false self? I have. It’s exhausting. It eats into your vitality. So, how do you live in a place of more truthful self?
If you’re not feeling well, don’t tell yourself you need to do an aggressive yoga practice. If there are too many things on your plate, don’t tell yourself you can do more. If you didn’t get the answer you were looking for, don’t trick yourself into thinking it doesn’t matter.
Our minds have become cluttered with so much programming that we scarcely feel the intuitive currents of life, intuitive currents that set the spirit free to explore new frontiers of freedom and love in our daily lives.
Are you coming from a place of BEING love or NEEDING love?
Take time to reflect on your deepest desire and intention before you Do or Speak or Post. Determine if you are being true to your heart. Because uncluttering those intuitive currents, according to Ayurveda, is where true health begins.
P.S. If you’d like to experiment with bringing this concept into your asana practice, this 3-minute Yoga Glo preview (aptly entitled, “The Truth of Life”) will get you started.