Battery Drain on the Body Clock
As much as our human hubris would like to think we are separate from Nature, we are not. Humanity seems obsessed with its attempt to dominate and control the world around us. Pure folly. Good luck with that. Nature wins.
We have gotten so far removed from Nature and even awareness of our own bodies, that we need a smartwatch to tell us if we’re healthy. We read data from a little battery-powered buddy on our wrist to find out our heart rate while we jog. We use a weather app rather than look up at the sky or smell the wind to see if it’s going to rain. We let spellcheck be our arbiter of vocabulary, (usually unsuccessfully since spellcheck doesn’t discern among synonyms or homonyms like “your” and “you’re”); and we are rapidly erasing our own ability to remember things because we simply google the name of that actress who played opposite what’s-his-name in Casablanca. We’ve become blithering idiots and we deserve it because we did it to ourselves.
One of the most drastic and obvious examples of how out-of-touch we are with our bodies and Nature is the diminishing accuracy and effectiveness of our internal body clock that Western science has dubbed the diurnal and circadian rhythms or clocks. But few cultures have a better understanding of how time affects the human condition than the ancient ayurvedic tradition originating from the subcontinent of India thousands of years ago. In fact, the ayurvedic scientists of old, the rishi, had a pretty good handle on everything from atomic physics to sub-molecular biochemistry, cosmology to genetics. It’s just that they didn’t use the same technology that modern science is burdened with. Modern science is encumbered by the need for quantization. The rishis employed observation that bridged the gap between physical and metaphysical. What they came up with is a clear understanding of how the body’s clock interacts with the world of nature.
Dincharya is the Daily Cycle In Sanskrit, “following the day” is called dincharya. Energy flow is obvious on a daily cycle. Acting in accordance with these cycles, wear and tear on the body is minimized. Health is optimized.
The three basic energies identified by ayurveda are pitta, vata and kapha. In addition to being present in all aspects of creation, each energy dominates certain daily segments. First, the days are divided into the twelve-hour (roughly) daylight and nighttime segments we call phase one and phase two. Within each phase, a pitta, vata and kapha period extends for about four hours then repeats a second time in the second phase.
Nature begins with a kapha stage around sunrise or six a.m. Even animals reflect that. Things grow in the early stages of kapha. It is productive. We should arise daily before the kapha period begins to prepare for the productive time. Notice around sunrise, birds and animals make a racket, are very active. An hour or so later, they are still. Stay in bed past that crucial switch to kapha, we get sleepy again.
By ten a.m. we enter the first pitta stage of the day. It is the “intake” version of pitta. We take in fuel best at this time. It’s a high-energy time when we should eat our main meal of the day, the peak of pitta period. The fiery characteristic helps metabolize food efficiently.
Near two p.m. we enter the first vata period. There is airiness to what we do and get done. This is not the time to be doing the heaviest work of the day but time to restore some of the energy of the day.
Around six p.m., nature enters the second daily kapha period. Our early evening meal should be light for the earth is growing heavy. You can feel it as the earth and animals grow quiet, preparing to rest. We should enter sleep near the end of the heavy period, around 9:30. Remain awake beyond and it is likely that you will catch a “second wind” and then won’t be able to sleep easily until the next period change.
By 10 p.m., the earth enters the second pitta period of the day. It is still high-energy and fiery, but as outflow. As we sleep, our temperature is a little warmer and we are metabolizing waste materials out of the body as the organs and breathing excrete. Being pitta, it is still high-energy but of a different polarity.
By two a.m. we are in vata, the airy time of the night, cooling. Now we dream vividly, our body cools. Nearing the end of this vata period, about five or six a.m., is when we should arise. From about 9:30 p.m. to about 5:30 a.m. we have gotten the sleep we need.
Synch or Sink Technology takes us out of synch with nature. Since seasons are part of pitta, vata and kapha cycles, nature provides foods that help balance the energies. In the hot, dog days of summer ( a pitta season,) nature gives us vata foods like melons and leafy greens to cool us. Fall, and nature proffers potatoes and heavier foods. Winter is the time of stored grains. But technology has disrupted natural food selection. We can deliver foods from around the world at anytime. We are seasonally indiscriminate in our menu selections.
Our undisciplined use of the electric light is probably the greatest obstacle to living in harmony with nature. We stay up later than nature, not because we should, but because we can. Within ayurveda there is clear guidance that can help us live in accordance with nature, which is, after all, mostly just common sense.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.