You know how sometimes you get a crazy week or weekend when things just don’t go your way. I had one of those recently, and when I came through it, my innate trust in things was somewhat shaken. This is a normal response by the mind, which is just trying to model its environment.
Well, after this hectic weekend, I was still trying to get in contact with my accountant about a taxation letter I had received from the friendly but totally inefficient tax office in Alès, our local city. I was getting frustrated and impatient. I had sent him an email about 10 days ago, and called his office on two occasions hoping to fix an appointment with him to sort out this tax mess.
Our accountant is great. He has a Shiva on his desk, and our annual meeting inevitably include a fifteen minute chat about spirituality. He likes his job because it’s a technical challenge (that’s an understatement, French bureaucracy being more complex than particle physics) and gives him freedom (he’s his own boss).
But despite his redeeming qualities, being unresponsive to my urgent needs was enough to cause me to doubt his goodness and consider finding a replacement. I even went as far as asking our neighbour for a recommendation. They were farmers, and, being farmers, France treats them like an endangered species, lavishing them with all kinds of tax breaks, subsidiaries and what not. So their advice was to ask the local mare (who also owns a roadwork’s company). Somehow, I didn’t imagine that his account would have the experience and sensitivity to understand our particular business needs.
Luckily, my accountant broke his silence and sent me an appointment. We had a great meeting and, like he always does, he performed instantaneous accounting-enlightenment on my ignorance ridden accounting dilemma. I left his office with a smile on my face and, hopefully, 3500 euros better off.
As I drove out of his car park, I was struck by a wave of disbelief at my near un-loyalty to my accountant. It had been so easy for me to abandon him for a few days, casting him aside in search of a better solution. It had been so easy for me. It hardly crossed my mind to consider why he had been unavailable to my bleating calls of help. Turns out he was weighed under by all his client’s books (being that time of year when everyone has to submit their income declaration to the tax offices).
Why had it been so easy for me to consider abandoning him? OK, sure, he’s not a friend, nor a relative, but still. It put it down to my physiological and physical constitution (called prakriti in ayurveda). I’m a vata-pitta type, which means my nature, both metabolic and mental, is dominated by two of three underlying life principles: vata and pitta.
Vata is said to be the intelligence in life that governs matter in a state of movement. It is likened (as a metaphor) to air or the wind, which are extremely mobile, dynamic, free, erratic, light, flexible, quick, dispersed and so on.
Pitta is said to be the intelligence in life that governs matter in a state of transformation. It is likened (again, as a metaphor) to fire or the sun, which is hot, intense, radiant, penetrating, quick and so on.
The third principle, called kapha, is the intelligence in life that governs matter in a state of liquidity and solidity and affords cohesion, structure, support, stability and so on.
Being a vata-pitta dominant person, I have a lack of kapha (the cohesion principle) which means that by default, I have less stability, patience, commitment, and all those other ‘sticky’ tendencies that relate back to this watery principle. Kapha holds things together, both physically and mentally: It’s the glue of love and trust.
My vata side is particularly detached, like space and air; neither have any ballast, any stickiness. Air tends to disperse, to expand, and in the same way, so does my feeling of trust, as the wind of doubt blows in my mind. Vata’s tendency for detachment can be seen as a pro and a con. Like I said in my previous blog, there is always a flip side to things.
I have found that knowing my ayurvedic constitution has helped me understand my nature and in turn, the way I behave and the emotions that I get caught up in. It has also helped me understand others, and why they react to things the way they do. The power of this information alone has helped me resolve many a dilemma, whether it be in my most intimate relationships, or in more mundane daily situations.
Knowing your ayurvedic type (your constitution) is a first step in ayurvedic psychology. Once you know your type, and start to get to know yourself and others through this dosha-tinted perspective, patterns start emerging, sense begins to appear.
A great book that explains this idea of ayurvedic constitution is Dr Robert Svoboda’s “Prakriti – your ayurvedic constitution”.
Take care, Alex.