There is one crime I have to admit to committing with alarming frequency.
It even has a one word name in Sanskrit Ayurvedic texts: prajnaparadha. It means crimes against wisdom; willful indulgence in unhealthy practices by ignoring inner knowledge.
Here is the gist: Sometimes we create our own illnesses by violating the common sense.
Prajnaparadha is willfully ignoring one’s inner knowing—going against your intuition and common sense—and is at the root source of all health problems. Ignore the voice of the inner wisdom and you will eat the wrong foods (ice cream in winter anyone?), eat too much (you are full but keep going), stay up too late, watch too much television, have the wrong friends, absorb negativity all day long and other things that are damaging to health and peace of mind even as you may think you are enjoying them.
We have to stop violating essential common sense. If I am irritable and jittery and have trouble sleeping but keep drinking cappuccinos until three in the afternoon, I am committing prajnaparadha. So is the person who eats few fruits, vegetables or whole grains, knowing they should, and wonders why they suffer constipation (from lack of fiber) and frequent colds (from lack of antioxidants).
Here are 8 things to do to avoid crimes against wisdom, plus a daily test to see just how criminal you are.
It is crucial to understand that all of these apply to us physically, mentally and emotionally.
1. Be energetically responsible:
Having less energy than you need to meet the demands of your day is the very definition of stress, and it is up to us to recharge and replenish. Good sleep and contemplative practices are the gold standard approach. Nourish yourself and cultivate resources that build ojas (the basis of your strength, stamina and immunity).
2. Avoid negativity.
It is a major crime against wisdom not to protect yourself! We are exposed to and assaulted by negative messages, negative energy, too much noise, too much pollution every day. I have found the way to attack is to be like wonder woman with your shield held out to deflect the barrage! Do not let yourself get numbed and stunned by negativity. Develop awareness, then discern what is helping you and serving, and what is not and jettison what is not.
3. Do not suppress bodily functions:
Never suppress that burp, wind, sneeze yawn, bowel movement or pee. When you ignore these essential needs you are sending yourself a message that the natural urges are wrong. Eventually you learn to hold everything in and this is not a good thing. Ever. (Do, however, be polite about how and where you let it all go!)
4. Get the right treatment in a timely way.
When you feel not right something is not right. Be responsive to the early warning signs and you can avert disaster. I recently ignored a sore hamstring and voila! I stretched it to tearing doing as something as simple as walking up 100 steps. Had I stopped and nourished earlier, this might have been avoided. Ouch! I keep learning! Treat an ailment before it becomes a disease, then be sure that you are getting a sensible and correct treatment. There are alot of snake-oil salesmen out there along with some amazingly gifted healers.
5. Respect elders.
Seems to me we have lost all respect for the foundations. Something old is not valid just because it is old, but folks with a lot of life experience have much to tell and teach and we need to be listening! The culture of youth is long on opinions and and short on mentors and elders with the wealth of knowledge and info I crave. My grandmother had a long view that my daughter simply does not yet have.
6. Get the right friends and colleagues.
Who are you hanging out with? They say that you are the average of the five people you are closest to. We as humans tend to run in groups so ask yourself who is my group? What do they say about me? Ask: groups of what and whom?
7. Pick and keep those good habits.
So you learned to meditate and you feel calmer and clearer? Developed a daily yoga practice? Great! Now don’t abandon what is you spent time cultivating. Maintain those healing healthful practices and they will serve to nourish the inner wisdom muscle. Another tip: pick and stick. There are many ways to practice nourishing self-care arts so pick one or several that feel right and suit your daily schedules, and stick!
8. Entertain positive thoughts.
Positive thoughts are not necessarily the opposite of negative ones. We should not deny our negative sides because sometimes those cautionary voices are valid. But do look to establish positivity (say yes) to help you establish more love, compassion and wisdom that will permeate your being and your life. Go for it! Dare yourself to find ways to infuse your whole world from food to books to friends that develop these things like little muscles. Flex that love muscle, pump up that compassion and nourish that everlasting inner wisdom.
Author: Lisa Hedley
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: eirhead at Flickr