Earth Therapy

Inner Farming

           In the book, One Straw Revolution, the Japanese farmer gives a powerful strategy to avoid the growth of weeds in the farm. He observes the timing of the growth of weeds. Weeds, too, have a season. The farmer sows the seeds for his crop and allow them to germinate just before the seeds of weeds sprout. Since the weeds do not find a favorable environment (strong competition from crops) they remain dormant.  So Masanobu Fukuoka avoids the use of herbicides to overcome weeds. Instead he uses Time to his advantage - the right time to plant his field.

          If weeds are like negative thoughts and crops the desired positive thoughts, then one has to overcrowd the mind field with positive thoughts. As we discussed earlier, for this the intellect is our only help. For this, Discipline is required. We had started with water therapy as a discipline for growing positive thoughts in us. Next,  we should use eating habits as a means of disciplining the mind. Not only do we get immense physical health benefits, ultimately we get to exercise a powerful control over the mind.

       Mind is the soil which allows the growth of both weeds and good crops. Undisciplined minds are like the uncultured farm where all sorts of weeds grow with very little yield of desired crops. Depression and all other psychological problems are the results of prolonged cultivation of negative thoughts. We might have scientific  proof of genetic influence over the diseases of the mind, but we should not forget that we have will power or freewill that no other being enjoys in this world. Prevention is better than cure. These psychological problems can be cured by growing positive crops in a timely manner along with constant watching out for weeds to be curbed away.

       Using anti-depressants and medications is similar to using herbicides to thwart weeds. It poisons the entire soil and is not a permanent solution. To avoid depression and psychological problems one has to grow positive thoughts.

Garden of Life

       The fostering of positive thoughts is the fundamental aspect of Pancha Bhoota healing. The physical health benefits it offers is only a side package like the beauty of flowers in a farm. The real benefit of the farm is the fruit the we enjoy in the end. Similarly, the real benefit of Pancha Bhoota healing is the fruit of freedom of the mind.

      Since this section is about Earth as an element of healing, we will discuss how through eating habits we can gain control over the mind.      

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                    Food and Mind Control

             Over eating is a problem  in modern society. This happens because the mind in a majority of the people, is restless, agitated.  Usually people seek refuge in food; others look for it in alcohol, tobacco,  drugs etc to overrule mental agitations. 

          We have five senses - sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. We enjoy one or different combinations of these senses through different means.

One sense - We love to hear music but hearing is the only sense involved here. 

Two senses - Watching movies is enjoyable and involves sight and hearing.

Three senses - Talking to others is enjoyable because of the three organs involved.

Four senses - Food gratifies all four senses except hearing.

Five senses - In sexual gratification all five senses are involved.

       The more the senses involved,  the more difficult it becomes to exercise control over that action. It is easier to give up an addiction towards music or movies compared to food or sex, because of the number of senses involved.     

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           We have five sense organs -  eyes, nose, ears, skin and tongue. It is very interesting to note that all our sense organs, except the tongue, are in duplicate: i.e. two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the whole area of skin from head to toe to sense touch. But we have ONLY ONE tongue!

           Also the four organs have only one function each. But the tongue has TWO functions. Taste and Speech. Tongue is the sense organ that invites the most trouble, both through taste and speech! We talk hurting words and invite trouble. If the tongue is not under control, we do not know how much to talk, when or where. Similarly, with the tongue we do not know how much to eat, nor the time or place. We let lose the tongue without any control for either taste or speech.  Without keeping the tongue in control, we overeat.  Because of lack of control, we  eat and drink things that are harmful to the body.

       It is an irony that we want to be healthy, slim without having control over the body. This is as good as wanting to jump in the water without getting wet. Again we do not tell you not to eat tasty food. Food is also to be enjoyed but we need a control over the enjoyment otherwise it  creates massive problems for us.

        In Vedic tradition the pleasure of enjoying the senses (Indriyan) is called Swarga which means heaven. This is ruled by Indra, who is a Deva or  God. But when the sense enjoyment goes into excess or addiction it is called Asura or demon and hell is their abode. Sura means to be a leader or have control over. "A" is a prefix to denote "no" and so Asura refers  to someone who has no control.  Generally, the battle between the Asuras and Devas is taken literally. But the ancient masters have conveyed the message through these beautiful illustrations; how in every sensory enjoyment there is always an internal battle between enjoying and indulgence.


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Non-Vegetarian Diet

          Whether a non-vegetarian diet is good or bad is a most frequently asked question and the most debated topic in forums about diet. Since a lot of information is available on the benefits of being a vegetarian, we are  only highlighting them. We will discuss these with relation to our mind.

1. A vegetarian diet is healthier than a meat based one.

2. More energy and earth resources are needed to grow meat (animals) than plants foods.

3. Animals have a higher mind development and so exhibit much fear when approached for killing.

Mind and Non-Vegetarian Food

         The mind is restless by nature and this is further intensified by eating non-vegetarian food. The mind and intellect of plants is less developed than of animals and so the agitations of the mind are much less in plants. Mental agitations are expressed as chemicals in the form of stress hormones which are seen in a higher degree in animals and very less in plants. Since we are interested in decreasing mental agitations for health reasons, spiritual development and finally peace of mind, eating plant based foods helps us in our pursuit more than meat foods.

          Often our sense of taste is addicted to food and we lose control over our mind. Consuming meat further intensifies this addiction. You can experiment how, by switching over to plant based foods, you gain  better control over your senses and mind. It has to be very clear that just vegetarian food alone cannot bring mind control,  but the point is that it facilitates it strengthening the intellect and pulls the mind towards it and away from the senses.

         This is why in most spiritual traditions, vegetarian food is recommended. More than health, ethical and economical reasons, the most important aspect is that vegetarian food helps in strengthening the control over the restless mind. (Read about five reasons not to eat meat)

Different foods require different amounts of energy to produce. Meat is four times as demanding as grains are. If consumers would gravitate toward less intensive foods, energy use would drop. Reducing the enormous amount of food that is wasted would save energy as well. Check out the data and commentary below, expanding on "More Food, Less Energy" in the January 2012 issue of Scientific American

Hidden animal products in many foods

Specific brands with animal products

Fish oils in many veg foods- Beaware

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 Eating with Awareness -The Yogic Eating

       Food does not satisfy only the sense of taste. One has to enjoy food with all the senses. One enjoys the sight of food - red, yellow, green, orange, the shades of different colors satisfy the eyes. Various odors stimulate the smell organs. The touch of foods with bare hands itself is a pleasure. Various forms and textures of foods are felt with the hands. In the mouth, the six types of tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, hot and astringent) are tasted. We enjoys four modes of eating - drinking, licking, chewing and gulping. Different textures like softness, graininess, hardness, roughness, powdery and crispness, etc can also be felt while eating. Unfortunately, we enjoy only the first few mouthfuls of eating. Then we forget about the science of eating! We read, watch, talk, work or think of other things, rather than eating.

Eating has become mechanical
       Eating then becomes as mechanical as filling gas in a car. There is no involvement of the mind. The mind is not aware of what is being eaten. Therefore, we don’t get the full benefits of eating. If we are aware of what is being eaten one can get the full benefit of it. If the mind is aware of the fact that the food that we are eating is  healing, naturally the body will be healed with the food. You may wonder whether this is true. Ancient masters have observed these minute details which are still unnoticed by the scientists. When you eat while you are emotionally upset, the food is less digested leading to constipation.

        We remember when we were children, we talked very little while eating. In modern times,  people become restless if they eat without talking. In India, our  grandmothers used to be very strict about following silence while eating as one of the table manners. You cannot read with full concentration if you drive a car or while watching a TV. Of course, many people do just that, but they don’t understand that they don’t get the full fruit of that action. In every action we are asked to fully concentrate on the work, but we don't think that the same applies to eating also. Therefore, eat peacefully and be aware about what you are eating, thereby, reaping the full benefit of eating.

Awareness eating helps good bacteria than bad ones to dominate in our body:

"Norunga thindral nooru vayathu" is a tamil proverb, which means if you chew your food well, then you live for hundred years.  When we chew the saliva mixes well with food and that well chewed food feeds the good gut bacteria. This helps then to make the liver healthy and free from diseases. It is interesting that eating food in Yogic eating manner, many has lost weight, relieved of arthritic pain and many benefits like that.


Eating less is better

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