The Panchakarma Experience – Part IV – Gardening

Doing a Panchakarma can be compared to gardening. I was thinking about this the other day and then Dr. Sujatha made the same analogy before a treatment. When you have a new garden, the dry top soil needs to be turned over, raked and cleared of debris & old leaves, so you can get to the rich, nutrient soil below. You rake dead leaves, remove rocks and turn the soil with a spade. In the interest of harvesting whatever you plant, you’ll want to improve the texture and structure of your soil.

The Ghee, the herbs, massage treatments with oil and steaming help loosen all the toxins in the body. The various enema’s and purging’s flush out all the physical toxins. With that flushing I felt experiences surface that I have been holding on to and emotions that have been stuck inside me. Simultaneously, the treatments cleanse my major organs, and replace and lubricate the flora and fauna in my body.

I found the physical aspect of taking medication to vomit and taking enema’s to clear my large intestine and other organs very gentle compared to some of the emotions that came up with each of those treatments. There were some mornings where I just woke up angry at someone or something that had happened in the past. Like I just couldn’t let go of it, and I was really clear about what made me so mad and hurt. Instead of feeling like, “poor me” or “I don’t want to bother that person with my feelings because they are having a hard time”, it felt like, “Fuck you… I need to tell you right now exactly how much that hurt my feelings and exactly the way in which you do that and how you continue to do that. Once I do, it is not my problem anymore it is yours. I don’t care what you’re going through. Fuck off.”

 It was fascinating… I didn’t have any big crying jags or melt downs, instead I was intensely pissed off for a couple of days about very specific things that I wrote about. I had to get it out. There was no way I could ignore my feelings. I’ve know this for a long time and I’m working on it because I need to cry more when I’m hurt. I get angry first and it sticks. Pema Chodron describes this defensiveness beautifully when she talks about vulnerability. She says

” Without realizing it, we continually put up protective walls made of opinions, prejudices, and strategies, barriers that are built on a deep fear of being hurt. These walls are further fortified by emotions of all kinds: anger, craving, indifference, jealousy and arrogance.
But fortunately for us, the soft spot – our innate ability to love and care about these things – is like a crack in these walls we erect. It’s a natural opening in the barriers we create when we’re afraid. With practice we can learn to find this opening. We can learn to seize that vulnerable moment – love, gratitude, loneliness, embarrassment, inadequacy – to awaken bodhichitta.”

I’m learning to go beneath the anger and look at the emotions that are there because that’s where my vulnerability lies. It’s hard and there are things I don’t want to look at and deep feelings that I have dismissed for a long time. Emotions that my family has certainly dismissed through the years. More than likely because of their own vulnerabilities. In some ways it feels like digging up the past, but it also seems that’s the way to till the soil to plant the new garden.

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