Yoga Journal

Ready, Aim, Fire

Ancient sages understood that the true path to bliss is the journey inward. That way, established in who you are, you can take aim at your duties and desires from an embodied space of pure intentions. Connected to this place, you are secure, purposeful, and joyful. From the significant stuff, like starting a new relationship, to seemingly frivolous acts like ordering another pair of sneakers, you are conscious of, and clear on, what you add to your proverbial (and literal) cart—and why.

However, because of trauma, injury, or day-to-day stress, it’s all too easy to detach from this center. In Ayurveda, the 5,000-year-old sister science of yoga, the word for feeling separate—from one’s self, from others, from the universe’s unlimited source of love—is called prajnaparadha, or “mistake of the intellect,” which is also deemed a root cause of disease. We often lose touch with our inner worlds, where we find true contentment, says John Douillard, Ayurvedic expert and founder of LifeSpa, a Boulder-based wellness clinic and online shop. We trade in our bliss for superficial pursuits instead.

As a result, we compensate by lacing the body and mind with ego—so physique, wit, or career end up defining us; material consumption (two-day shipping) and instant gratification (Instagram story views) are the only activities that spark a pulse of feeling at all.

“The pendulum in our lifetime has swung in the direction of reward chemistry and being satisfied in a temporary way by some type of sensory stimulation,” says Douillard. “Of course, what goes up must come down. Overstimulation leads to a crash, which results in a deep state of exhaustion and discontent. Then your brain chemistry craves that reward high all over again, since it’s become so addicted and accustomed to the feeling of stimulation.” And so the cycle goes.

Unfortunately, this downward spiral is all too common. According to the World Health, the “illusion” of reality.

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