When we bombard ourselves with data, more structure inevitably results…it has to, it’s a fundamental survival mechanism to want to find places to store all that “stuff” you keep amassing. The western world is testament to this; even the planetary core is (scientifically proven to be) more structured in the west than in the east. In our outside world, this looks like an explosion of hoardings, signs, flyers, logos, graphitti, “news”, the ever growing list of ingredients on our food packaging, an addiction to Google and, of course, everything else to do with the information technology explosion. Of course, these phenomena now exist worldwide…but they grew out of the west, the planet’s left-brain hemisphere.
Gone off-par, too much to deal with looks like unshiftable weight and water retention, like depression and lethargy. Back on the topic of Ayurveda, these read like the least favourable traits of kapha dominance…and hardly surprising since kapha is all about the earth and its water supplies. A kapha in dosha excess can feel like they carry the weight of the world on their backs.
Vata types shun hard data. A passing idea is great…but we don’t like to get tied down. We prefer to be on the wing, impulsive…yet we need some structure in order to survive and function as physical beings.
In between these two doshas sits the great catalyst – pitta – urging us to construct, to expand, to transform, to conquer new territories, to forge ahead, reach for new goals, to want more more more. These can be worthy traits…just what we need to rebalance our other doshas and launch them into action, in fact…but not all instruments of pitta are created equal. Some manmade manifestations of pitta have a distinctly artificial qulity to them these days; like they jumped overboard and are now crewing their own ship, a different agenda. For ease, I want to use the term “adverse pitta”.
In this day and age we have a very obvious outward manifestation of pitta and it is the information technology explosion along with all the manmade mechanisms that make it possible to log on to it. Sometimes vata inspired (when manifest as the urge to realise our wildest imaginings and to communicate expansively and freely) and at other times more kapha in its incentives (as when it is propelled by a desire to hone and control the planet according to our own designs, making earth-bound gods of ourselves), the core essence of this technology is pitta and, like all things, it has its good and less-so moments when it comes to the effect on our wellbeing. I’m not opposed to technology, in fact I’m a passionate enthusiast and would hate to live without it but, as someone who knows what it feels like to have their health impacted by EMFs in the environment, I also have these more circumspect views to share.
For the lethargic, depressed, world weary kapha-type (which is the extreme case yet, I suspect, this loose description might be said to describe a great many “ordinary” people of the twenty-first century) the internet might, initially, present as the very antidote that they crave. Something instinctive is telling them they need to introduce more vigour and spice into their lives and, really, it is their diet and lifestyle that needs attention. However, the bright and shiny internet comes along and they grab it with both hands…and so they seemingly reinvigorate their lives with social media and watching reruns, reading gossip, online shopping and playing games. The likelihood is that, when they bombard themselves with this quick fix, they actually become more kapha, putting on weight, retaining body fluid and waking up feeling exhausted, lethargic and “down”.
For vata, the internet offers a worldy solution to their natural desire to “ask and it is given” and they immediately want it all, at their fingertips. Ask a question and a dozen or more answers come running; they can connect with anyone irregardless of geography and they can follow-up almost all of their flights of imagination. To them, this feels like life has finally caught up with all their expectations; no more lagging behind at last. Finally, life on earth is almost worth living and they are quickly drawn into the use of technology in almost every aspect of their lives, especially in the most creative ways where it seems to express its highest potential.
The catch, as ever, is that technology comes with a pitta sting in its tail and, for the vata, pitta often presents the most difficulty. Sometimes, yes, it helps to fire up and activate their natural excitement and enthusiasm, to put a rocket-launcher underneath a project so that it actually gets to happen. At others, it can piggy back off the very nervous system that is their modus operandi. Now hard-wired into their very biology, its excesses can switch on suddenly like the wrong voltage through a domestic ciruitboard, frying all of the switches and leaving them a burnt out shell. Nerve pain, brain fog, migraine and widespread inflammation are the unhappy results for many vatas.
You may think from all this that the fiery pitta types ride along easily on the crest of the technological wave but, sharing the same driving impulse as they do, this makes for a “one plus one” situation that potentially tips pitta types over their healthy balance into a pit of fire. When a pitta-type overuses technology, it can look like addiction, anger, extreme competitiveness, abuse and even a complete forgetfulness that there is anything else to life, including other human beings. Pittas can become single minded in the extreme, opting to live inside of that virtual world, forgetting to ever ground (kapha) or to ever fly free of its shackles (vatta). If they are pitta with some kapha, they might succumb to the sedentary life, locked away in a room with a glowing screen. If they are pitta vata, they are probably inflaming themselves to a very high degree, with dire effects to their health and relationships. In other words, they become locked up in a prison of their own making; or they burn themselves out. I used to be married to such a person so you could say that I’ve seen it happen at least once (really, many times).
Back to that fundamental impulse to create structure that I first mentioned above; kapha is the expert at dreaming up the potential for new structure, being the most grounded dosha of them all, only it needs pitta’s help to get its projects off the ground (pitta being about all construction, transformation…). The kind of structure that kapha starts to dream up, when it first comes across technology, tends to be “hard” structure, huge intricate things, glowing palaces of intention, at least in their mind’s eye. They draw up the methods and systems that they inherently crave in order to make sense of all that data they are trying to store and with which life seems to bombard them every day. They are life’s computer programmers and librarians…just as mother earth is one giant storage system for the collective memory bank. With new technology at their finger tips, these new structures are more coherent than they have known before and so they welcome them in…they are like gleaming sugar palaces compared to the clay bricks they are used to working with and they are dazzled by the contrast. Externally, this makes them quick to welcome technology into every corner of their lives. Internally, it can create the cellular precursors to cancer; the ultimate expansion manoeuver gone awry since cancer starts out as well-meaning as any other cell division process, only its intentions have got lost somewhere along the path. Dare I say, perhaps every cancer began as the well-meaning intention to store a surfeit of data in a new and innovative way…an intention that backfired somewhere along the line.
The fundamental urge of us all is to balance our doshas and so the increase in pitta is, appropriately, welcomed by kapha…but what if this is far less than ideal when the pitta-factor comes from a manmade source rather than healthy diet or well-balanced lifestyle? Once the pitta-kapha ratio is head to head, achieved through artificial means (too much technology and also, often, another form of adverse pitta – processed sugar), I suspect health is seriously compromised and cancer becomes a very real risk. I should add, all three dosha-types are known to be prone to cancer but I suspect that there is a certain cancer-triggering mechanism at play when “adverse pitta” in the form of EMF toxity and/or processed sugars get on board and kapha constitutions seem to be particularly attracted to the source of these triggers (technology and sugary foods). White sugar is actually agravating to all three doshas and is known to produce disease-causing agents in the body and mind, simultaneously weakening the entire immune system. I suspect a surfeit of EMFs in the enviornment has the same effect…so put the two together and all three doshas will suffer for it; but perhaps kapha more so than any since it will draw these fake building blocks deep into its cells, thinking they are “just what it is looking for”.
The vata-types also reach for more pitta in order to rebalance their doshas…but when that pitta source is “too much technology” (or processed sugar), the effects can be equally dire but somewhat different to those affecting a kapha-type. In fact, though sweet foods are generally recommended for vata-types, I suspect that they would do far better to reach for the recommended salty or sour tastes at times when technology is bombarding them from all quarters, rather than sweet foods, especially if that sugar comes from a manmade rather than a natural source. Anyone who is prone to migraines or who is susceptible to EMF sensitivity will probably know what I am talking about here; when you consume sugar at those times, the nerve pain goes right off the charts, doesn’t it? Processed sugar provokes extreme sensitivity of the nervous system and, we have to assume, makes us even more sensitive to the adverse effects of environmental pollutants such as EMFs. There is something “adverse-pitta” about both EMFs and processed sugar; and the effects upon the nervous system are remarkably similar. Both are over-stimulating, intense heat creating, destabilising…the antithesis of coherence.
So there, at opposite ends of the spectrum, we have the main “culprits” of modern disease: At the kapha end sit obesity, depression and (with added pitta) the potential for cancer. At the the vata end is the list-too-long-to itemize of nervous system meltdowns such as Alzehmers, MS, Ischemic stroke etc. and (with added pitta) the whole vast bucket of chronic “mystery” illnesses that are wrecking so many lives.
This may sound like a gross over-simplification (and an audacious one at that) but I suspect there is some truth in it. When pitta switches abruptly on, for me (especially if provoked by an artificial source), it tips me back into the whole mire of chronic illness sysmptoms and is a zillion times worse than how I feel when I live with the generally over-sensitive nervous system that is typical of a vata-type. This causes me to resist opportunities to introduce pitta-like qualities to rebalance my doshas. My alternative is to reach out for more kapha-like qualitites…derived from earth and water…which is what I have tended to do this last few years of my recovery; with good effect. These are qualities that ground me, soothe me and stabilise me; ones which help connect me to the earth, offering me the most sustainable basis for a recovery progression; and this is where my dosha-balancing diet is playing a crucial part in transforming my health.
However, this recovery progression is only as effective as I allow it to be by acting upon an understanding of how “adverse pitta” often undermines my efforts. In other words, I need to follow through on my own advice, as above. This is incredibly hard advice to follow because, as I already said, I love technology and using it seriously excites my vata constitution; it makes life worth living and that is no exageration. Without technology at my fingertips, life feels drab and “less than”. As I sit here hand-writing this post, what do I most long to do but switch on my laptop and share it with the world. It’s a question of balance; and of timing and degree. When and how often do we use these gizmos; do we listen to our bodies when they tell us “now isn’t an appropriate time” or do we leave them on 24/7 (subjecting everyone on our vicinity to our own techno-pollution)? Do we ever consider alternatives or do we go to these devices as our first port of call every time we want to do something? Do we rely on them too much? If we ever had to give them up, would we even remember how to live without them again? Does that not concern us; should we not keep our other skills alive and well?
For anyone at the lethargic or even borderline depression end of kapha, I would caution to at least be aware of the pitfalls of too much technology. At all costs, don’t combine use of technology with a sweet diet (in fact, kaphas should generally avoid sugary food; sugar builds hard internal structures and you really don’t need any more of those but, rather, more lightness and air). Together, those two “adverse pitta” elements could lead to the wrong kind of structures being built at the cellular level and you really don’t want that!
Above all, as a kapha, you need to get to know yourself as your own primary structure. You simply don’t need any more structure than that which you already are – a perfect vessel that is ready to hold the coherence of the light-energy you are ready to call in. You get to do this through the choices you make regarding where you place your thoughts and attention (this is also where the internet can lead you astray; being earth-fixated, you have a strong tendency to gravitate to all the heavier materials out there, as if it is your problem to deal with). Mindfulness and heart coherence will do it; meditate or walk in nature for at least as long as you spend on the internet and your life will start to balance. Yoga is perfect for you; it entrains you to think of your body as the perfect vessel and which, through holding coherent shapes, allows you to welcome in whatever highest energy you choose to fill yourself up with. My husband is a classic kapha-type but has transformed his physical vessel through yoga and this has transformed his entire experience of life like he is living in a completely different world. The internet and all those incoherent thoughts “out there” still woo him (mostly in the evenings after a day at work, when he’s too tired to argue…and the effect is that they make him deeply exhausted and lethargic until he remembers, once again, to switch off) but he is having quite the different experience of life since becoming a yogi. When the kapha-type does this, it’s as though all the lights switch on inside the beautiful, grounded physical vessel that they already are and which they have now made more coherent; and so they become the living crystal…a crystalline human…which is the ultimate physical form to be in order to buffer all the energetic variables of a chaotic world. When you hold your own resonance, like a perfect high note held unwaveringly by the heart, you can weather any circumstance and the human body becomes the safest structure you can be in on an unpredictable sea. You could say, you become captain of your own vessel.
Vatas have a lot to learn from coherent kapaha-types; we already hold that high note but we struggle to find it a home inside a physical vessel since it is like a butterfly on the wing…ever reluctant to land. We could learn a great deal about holding a coherent structure as a physical form from a kapha-type in charge of their own beautiful vessel. Yoga, for us, is all about holding coherent shapes for long enough that the body’s cells start to get the feel of the physical domain and to start to like it down here; so that our highest vibe is enticed down to ground and, eventually, finds somewhere to park itself instead of spiralling around in the ether!
One last point on the potential misuse of technology: for all the doshas, the early hours of the morning (vata time of day) is crucial to our inspiration, our fundamental wellbeing and our very joie de vive (kaphas take note on that one). At that time of the morning, in our half-sleep/half-mediation state, we reboot our entire system, our cells rejuvenate and we remember who we are and why we are here at the very broadest scale. Sleeping with live technology next to our bed or even in your house, prevents that reboot from happening or, at the very least, scrambles its data. Our nervous system dials into the collective unconscious instead of the higher data and we sync with all the collective fears, hurts and paranoias of all the people sleeping and surfing near to us instead of our highest selves. This is because WiFi piggybacks on the same neurological “wires” that vata uses to connect us to the universe. This is where we start to get desperately sick. I can’t think of anything worse that we could do to ourselves than mess with this aspect of our “cosmic wiring” in return for waking up to a particular alarm tone, running a particular “app” or being able to receive texts in the night – the trade-in value is dire. My advice: a least switch off the technology at night and then consciously choose when you want to reactivate it during waking hours, when it is actually useful.
If you are a pitta-type, please don’t feel that I am having ago at you (it is my second most active dosha and I celebrate its qualities). The highest impulses of pitta are a wonderful thing and they hold the key to the very transformation that we require as a planet and as individuals. Perhaps that key is to remember that pitta, in its natural form, requires no technology to deliver it; it resides inside of us and technology is merely its outward expression in human-invented form. It all comes back to the dilemma of the century; do we run technology or does technology run us? With this question in the balance, we each get to feel out our personal response to it; and the outcome we get to experience is likely to depend on what we come up with in response. Our health tells the most compelling stories on this topic. At this level, the balancing of doshas becomes a world issue; no less, one that is to do with “the health of the planet” and whether or not we get to survive to enjoy another day. Lets hope the warnings in our bodies are enough to guide us on this. At the personal level, balancing our own doshas dramatically increases cellular coherence…and this becomes our own personal over-ride system when chaos ensues on the outside. On the premise that we are all connected and that each of us impacts the whole, I have to believe that the more coherence we achieve…individually…the more we achieve on a planetary scale, together. Here’s hoping we all start to get a handle on this soon!
This blog, its content and any material linked to it are presented for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or prescribing. The material and opinions shared are anecdotal and should not be considered to be medical advice or diagnosis. Please consult with a licensed healthcare professional before altering or discontinuing any medications, treatment, diet or supplementation program, or if you have or suspect you might have a health condition that requires medical attention.
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