Ahara : A wider definition Part 1

I am sure most of us have heard the old adage ‘you are what you eat’. While that is true in many respects, it is a somewhat limited view that views us as only as the physical body. Only when one starts doing yoga, the other dimensions of this statement start getting revealed. Yoga views a human being as having several layers and not as just the limited physical self. Keeping that in mind, food for the physical self is not the only nutrition that we need to be concerned with.

While purity and quality of food are important in ensuring progress on this path, there are other nuances which get overlooked. I have personally experienced the importance of protecting against the minor things which can end up creating disturbances in the mind. It is a fact that old samskaras or habits do get overwritten by good new samskaras over time with sadhana. However, it may be wise to not just wait for this change to happen on its own through sadhana and actually consciously strive for it.

We live in the age of digital media and cheap communication. My generation has gone through the advent of the computer and the internet and has experienced first hand the transition from VCR to OTT. The impact of this change on the human consciousness should not be underestimated. When junk food becomes cheap and prevalent among developed countries, the impact of it was observed . The developed nations are now struggling with obesity and lifestyle diseases. Similarly the far reaching impact of cheap digital media and entertainment may not be obvious at first. It would suffice to say that it is far more sinister than bad food habits.

Imagine the mind to be like a blank screen. The eyes communicate images to this screen through the visual apparatus as we go about our daily life. For millennia, humans have had relatively simple visual experiences on a daily basis. The brain has evolved through that process to be able to handle a certain amount of input stimulus. Now through the advent of cheap online content a human being can choose to be constantly bombarded by new visual stimulus. This along with the mind’s nature of wanting instant gratification can make for a dangerous combination. I have observed it happening with me once I started becoming more aware. I kept checking my cellphone throughout the day without even getting calls or notifications. I used to unlock the phone, go through apps absentmindedly and lock it again.

Only when I started becoming more aware, I realized what a dangerous habit this had become. Everything in yoga is designed to make us liberated and free and here I was creating more chains around myself.

To be continued…

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