Last week, I showed you a picture of how deep-seated anger blew up my digestive system, causing gastritis. It might be something. A weird surprise, I suppose!
People have asked me if it is possible that I had some form of stomach inflammation for a long time. The answer is yes – it is very possible. However, from what I understand from both Western and Ayurvedic doctors, the intensity of pain I’ve felt in the last month means “whatever happened to me last month” exacerbated things. I think this must be my rendevouz with anger because the pain was almost immediate- like I got knocked down by Mike Tyson and woke up in a ring of fire. Docs believe it caused the deep red tones in the endoscopic scan of my stomach but since we don’t have an earlier scan no one can be certain.
What I find interesting is that once the Ayurvedic doctors learned of my stomach inflammation, they immediately put me on a long-term liver and gallbladder cleaning regimen because of what they know about the emotional aspects of organs. They also put me on soothing foods that helped balance the acidity in my stomach and give my stomach time to repair its lining. The Western doctors put me on antacids to try to prevent my stomach acid from rising and also suggested some soothing foods. I’ve read that this can work in the short-term, but there are a lot of people who THEN get low stomach acid which causes chronic malabsorption later on. A doctor should check your stomach acid levels before assuming acidity is too high unless the signs are very apparent. Not one Western doctor I went to said much about my liver and gallbladder. Perhaps they are more focused on the immediate problem at hand vs trying to tackle a few things at once? I don’t know. Next week I’ll write more about what I’m eating and drinking. Remember I blend both Ayurveda and Western medicine so what I write about are my own observations not medical advice.
Journey to My Inner World
This week I’m going to focus on what has helped me the most: stillness.
Since I can now see the direct connection between emotions and my body (before it was just a subtle concept), I figured that the best healing would come from emotional work. For 3 years, I’ve been breathing for 5 minutes and meditating for 5 minutes after my morning shower. I’ve seen a profound shift in my perspective. I learned climbing a career ladder did not matter to me as much as having my work promote human wellbeing in some form. I learned that it is ok for friends to come and go as they please and that your only response if they come back should be, “Welcome.” People go through their own stuff and sometimes they can’t communicate it well. I internalized all my romantic relationships and saw where I was either too aloof or too attached and felt thankful for those guys in my life.
However, with the excruciating pain I was feeling, I realized I needed to do deeper work. I thought why don’t I just meditate for longer? I tried 45 minute Vipassana meditations for a week. They were awesome. Even though I was in so much pain, I still felt like my body was expanding in some way, not contracting.
Yet, I still had this feeling that I wanted to merge the practice of steady movement, breathing, and meditation. Because I wasn’t moving my body as much as even a month prior, it was my desire to create an integrated healing. When I went to yoga teachers, something seemed to be lacking –either they were too used to using yoga as an exercise only or they were too into their “style” of yoga to offer enough integration.
I was fortunate to be a teenager when my near 100 year old great grandmother was living. One of the things she used to always laugh at was “styles of yoga” because the sun salutation is so ancient, for example, that it transcends style. Further, if you ever read the seminal text on yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there is not one posture listed. For generations in India, asanas or postures were only taught when you got the “inner” game of yoga, which is why it was based in the family or sometimes school. Tight abs and tight butt yoga can work but you’re eating a sprinkle on a cupcake vs. getting the whole, delicious cupcake.
Is the willingness to flip a switch, all one needs in life? Photocredit compfight via Adarsh
After hearing about my ups and downs, my friend Anshul connected me with the teachings of an Indian yogic master, Sadhguru. I watched him on youtube for a week straight. Then, I was compelled to take his online inner engineering course on going inward to heal. After this, I learned his 21 minute integrated yoga- breath- meditation sequence (Shambhavi) that I’ve been doing in the morning and at night, for nearly 40 days now. He offers free yoga and meditation too.
I’m not recommending anything to you just telling you what I did. From Sadhguru, I learned that even in my pain I was promoting hate & anger – a hatred towards my pain! My entire mind was focused on pain, not an ounce of joy. I also learned I could flip the switch anytime I choose to accept pain but to allow joy in the process. Working through pain helped lift my buried anger. To someone in extreme pain, this probably sounds like hogwash. It did to me, but I figured I should try because life is pretty much an experiment, anyways.
Gradually through -yoga-breath-and meditation- I have been able to see my pain but not be so immersed in it.
While proper food, drink, and rest are important, working through my inner game has helped me the most. There are times I forget that there is any pain in my body. This only used to happen when I was asleep but now it happens while I’m awake and for even longer stretches of time. What’s next? I have no idea.
For you, dear reader?
I do hope that you can tap into some joy today 🙂