What is self-sabotage?
Nadya Andreeva addresses this subject as; ¨The behavior that we continue to do even though it hurts or damages us¨. Indirectly we might feel bad after it, or we will regret it, but we can not stop doing it. Does it happen to you that sometimes it is hard to understand why is so hard to change your habits? It is very important to evaluate if goals are realistic.
During treatments, many people get better with the support of the herbs, but then they forget and go back to where they started. Any disease is the result of a bad habit. In most of the cases without eliminating the root cause (bad habit) the herbs will ¨cover them up¨ but probably symptoms will appear later on again. The herbs are there to speed up the healing process and assist in restoration. I am not a fan of prescribing just herbs, I never do it if they are not needed. But it is true that in many cases the need comes from the fact that I can see and feel that a certain person will not follow the simple and powerful personal advice; change one food for another, apply oil on the skin, practice specific breathing exercise, meditate, etc.
Are you walking your real path? Are you living aligned with the Ayurvedic wisdom, with your true nature? Do you know what is your constitution and provide the right things that keep your balance?
Why we sabotage ourselves?
1- Many people think that the law of nature, the natural biorhythm doesn’t apply to them. They think they can get away without exercising, clean balanced food, positive and nurturing thinking, etc.
2- We identify ourselves with our thoughts, emotions, and cravings, we think we are powerless against them or without them.
3- Our environment isn’t supportive, is full of unhealthy temptations. Rajasic and tamasic influences.
4- We think someone can fix our health for us, so we can keep doing what we do; this point of view is supported by modern medicine so people do not take responsibility for how they feel or do.
When you want to work on the idea of changing a habit, we need to make sure that the motivation and the inspiration are strong enough. We need to have very clear why we choose to do what we are doing. Explore the idea of transformation or liberation, and the relationship between the sense organs, attention, cravings, prana, mind, and our actions.
What drives us to do what we do on daily basis, the idea of driving towards transformation, and on sabotaging behaviors. Also, the role of Budhi (intellect) in manas (mind) determines the level of success in becoming free in self-sabotage.
Mind and responsibility
Create good habits which support you in the way you want to feel, and create an environment which makes it easier. We are identifying with our thoughts cravings and emotions, and then we react based on them. Ayurveda addresses that thinking is an object for the mind since it can be observed. So the wrong use of the mind can create abnormal mental conditions while the right use of the mind creates mental stability.
Because thinking can be an object, thoughts, emotions, feelings can be observed. So instead of a reaction, we always have a choice of how to behave. Even if there is a trigger or craving, you are not powerless against it.
How does Ayurveda see the mind?
The mind transcends all perceptions, it is known as sattva. Its actions are determined by its contact with Jiva (soul) and the objects that reside in it. Charaka S. Sutra 8.4. So we part from the base that our mind is pure and healthy, but through conditioning and living in a rajasic or tamasic world gets affected. Let’s understand the terminology of the influences of the mind according to Ayurveda.
- Ahamkara – I, Ego
- Manas – Emotional conditioned mind which carries reactions and interprets everything.
- Budhi – (higher and lower aspects) Intellect. Analyses and reflects, making conscious choices, and has the power to self-observe.
- Shita: Unconscious or subconscious
And then, we also have the five senses which we use to perceive the world which influences our mind. They are always active in interacting with the world and affecting manas. The pathogenic factors in the body are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and in the mind rajas and tamas. Since manas (mind) is very sensitive and impressible, is imbalanced easier and faster. Any strong memory, emotions, stress, trauma, change, etc create a conditioning and a reaction. When we try to change the habits we need to consider two things:
- What mental dosha is dominating (Vata, Pitta, Kapha)
- What guna (quality) is dominating in the person and in the environment. (Satva, Rajas, Tamas)
Understanding mental dosha is very important to know what this person needs for motivation and how this person will be inspired to change. Understanding the gunas will guide you in what and how to change.
–VATA: They love the stimulation and discover new things and ideas, going beyond their boundaries. Creativity and colors are very important.
–PITTA: They are happy working towards the personal achievements of clear goals that challenge them, give them recognition, they are quick, sharp and fiery. Calendars and lead-times help them during the process to stay focus short term.
–KAPHA: They live for the well-being of others, with strong community and family orientated. They are steady, methodical, towards security, and stability. Changes can be done quickly,
In dual types, you need to recognize which one is the dominant one, so you can adjust the speed and the way to them in order to help them achieve what they need and that they are comfortable during the whole process
–Sattva: Creativity, flexibility, compassion, kindness, openness, caring and loving attitude. Optimal state.
-Rajas: Dispending, energetic, confused, undirected, ambitious, motivated and goal orientated. Needed for achievements.
-Tamas: Delusion, dullness, manipulating, unsure, depressed, deceiving, lost of interest or motivation.
Environment and the person should fall under Sattva for a healthy state and avoid to sabotage ourselves towards positive actions and choices. If a person is tamasic, he/she needs heat to move into rajas and from there can go into sattva progressively.
They affect our mind, keeping it busy and active. They are the way from our center to the outside world. In Ayurveda Raga (passions or desires) are one of the main obstacles to help and grow. In the Yoga Sutras, we can find the statement that raga causes pain and misery. The opposite will be non-attachment.
Having a strong addiction/desire, our happiness become dependent on getting or achieving something, that is the opposite of freedom. That attachment ends it controlling you.
How to feel joy without being attached?
Developing sense acuity and preventing over-stimulation (through strong tastes, strong emotions, loud music, social media). Enjoy more of the simple things, without feeling that our happiness depends on this desires or attachments. This doesn’t mean that you should not enjoy 4-course organic meals full of flavor, but above all, that you are ok with a simple neutral balancing one.
Manas (mind) is very impressionable and it is emotional and conditioned, based on emotions and feelings, pleasure or pain, it creates conditioning and habits. It will keep behaving the same way when the trigger is there and perceived through the 5 senses, only through buddhi (intellect) we can make a choice not to act (react) in a conditioning.
What activates Manas (mind)?
Obviously, the stress, non-clear repeating patterns, being tired, not eating enough, etc. influence your mind. Your mind tries to save sources and choose for the same patterns. Our family situation and the overstimulation of social media also brings prana (vital force) down and your senses out. As a result, it becomes harder to make a conscious choice. Being too much in your head and being busy with contradicting theories, also brings confusion, makes it hard to stick to one thing.
What activates Buddhi?
Buddhi (intellect) allows you to consider the interest of your future self. It helps to be fully aware and as result to take actions that are aligned with your goals. It is activated in a calm environment, through meditation, mantras, disconnecting from over-stimulation, self-reflection, learning to observe detachment, and being mindfulness.
How to train your mind?
It really helps to work on the non-stressful environment, moving through your day having values and meaningful goals. Very important thing is to eat and drink mindfully, which can become a beautiful practice. Having positive affirmations, find the elements in your food. The repetition of a mantra brings consciousness up, assisting us in living a life aligned to the biorhythm. Waking up with the sunrise, interacting with the cycles of nature, feeling new moon and full energies and using them along. The attention and intention help to cultivate sattva and activate buddhi. First establish your state of being, then act. Connect with your duty, establishing equanimity, moving gracefully along the day. Having a regular morning practice with positive intentions will help you to live in sattva.
Prana is our vital force and is connected to whether we are able to change for what is good for us. It gives us the good power of attention and focus. Ojas could be translated as our vitality and inner strength. Likewise is directly connected with Tejas, our inner fire, willpower. It helps us to stay in control of our life (in a good sense) and hold together all the parts of our being.
In order to cultivate prana and ojas, we need to bring our attention inwards, through meditation and pranayama to stay focus towards our goals. To grow ojas we need to make sure we have; good Agni, through deep sleep, fresh and proper breathing, cleansing and resting at night, proper nutrition, and certain herbs like Brahmi, Jatamansi, and Tulsi.
The correct way to use our mind:
- Observing thoughts, emotions, feelings, and viewing them as objects
- Surrounding your self with a sattvic environment and people
- Avoid triggers, over-stimulation, having quiet time and space
I hope this post opens a door for self-reflection since you have the tools to be in charge of your life.
Wishing you all the best in your journey!