As some of you know from reading my book, In Your Elements, one of the most powerful tools we have as intelligent beings is full ownership over our own choices. Our choices are so powerful, in fact, that making the wrong choices is actually one—out of only three—causes for disease.
The excerpt below is from In Your Elements on how lucky we have to have our wisdom and why we should listen to it:
There is a wise, little part of our mind called buddhi (boo-DEE). Buddhi is our inner wisdom, kind of like the “good angel” sitting on our shoulder whispering the right things to do in your ear. Our buddhi always helps us adhere to choices that would be best for us, whether big or small. When we listen to our buddhi we feel accomplished, are highly productive and are more likely to make the right choices by following through with right action.
If we do not listen to our budhhi, we will not make the right choices, which is the root cause of all kinds of problems. There’s a waterfall effect for bad- choice-making as one thing leads to another. Let’s walk through two examples together 1) when we do not listen to our buddi and 2) when we do.
You did not listen to your buddhi
Let me be dramatic for a sec. After a wonderfully tantalizing meal, you are full, but the food was so good you want a second helping. Buddhi says, “One helping is enough or you will feel overfull.” You know you don’t need a second helping, but it was just so tasty! Against buddhi’s advice, you have more food anyway. That second serving pushed you into a food coma and now you are too lethargic to take your 30-minute evening walk.
Instead, you veg in front of the TV watching House Hunters. You feel a bit disappointed in yourself and are irritated by small closets being a deal breaker, so you watch more TV (Shark Tank, anyone?) and you still feel very full. Since the TV is an addicting little bugger, you might stay up past your 10 p.m. Ayurvedic bedtime.
As the night goes on, you get snacky. Buddhi says, “Don’t do it! Just go to bed!” But you reach for the chocolates anyway because your sweet tooth is calling for it. Besides, you already screwed up the night so who cares. You get a sugar surge, so you stay up even later and have restless sleep because of the caffeine in the chocolates.
You have a hard time waking up the next morning because your belly is still full from the night before. And then you wake up feeling like physical junk from too much food, guilt from watching too much TV and staying up too late. And all because you made the wrong choices — this was nobody else’s fault.
You listened to your buddhi
Now let’s say, you listened to your buddhi and only had one delicious helping at dinner. You felt physically nourished and had enough energy to clean up the kitchen and reward yourself by enjoying a leisurely evening walk outside at sunset.
The walk refreshed you because you were out in nature able to enjoy some down time after a long day. Perhaps you even experienced something interesting on your walk, which may have sparked a nice conversation with a loved one when you got home.
When there is downtime, our mind relaxes and we have pause. When we have pause, new ideas have a window to enter.
Maybe you still watch House Hunters but limit to one episode because you know you can get sucked into TV for hours. After one episode, you have had your fill of small closets being a deal breaker and turn to a favorite book, knitting project, phone call to a friend or journal before bed.
Notice the difference of this scenario vs. the first one!?
Like night and day! Each of your awesome choices influenced the next awesome choice.
Once we start choosing and doing the right things, we will feel increasingly fabulous and we will want to do it more and more!
However, the same happens if you make the wrong choices. It can easily end up in a domino effect of bad choices and then we feel like junk.
We will not be perfect in our decision-making but at any time we derail, we can stop and make a better choice.