(This article is inspired by Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy and is dedicated to Zainam)
These are the three Rs of Waldorf Education.
THREE FOLD AND FOUR FOLD NATURE
The human being is a product, a creation of nature. He’s made up of the same elements that are around us in nature. We have layers to our human body.
Physical – earth
I consciousness /self-warmth
A human being is also made up of 3 systems- the Trinity, the tridha….
Brain and central nervous system or thinking,
rhythmic or heart lung system -feeling
thirdly the metabolic limb system which rules over the will and makes up the organs.
The head system is influenced by the metabolic system. The rhythmic system forms a bridge between both. You can imagine the 3 systems of the human being in the shape of an 8 (Lemniscate) with the head on top, metabolism at the bottom and the rhythmic in the middle.
As I have said earlier, our bodies are made up of 4 sheaths: physical, etheric, astral and the I-Consciousness. The Etheric or pranic body is connected to the rhythmic system.
So when we have good, natural Rhythms guided by the rhythms of nature, we are in harmony with the natural world as we share a common collective etheric body.
Paramahamsa yogananda mastered his breath and the Etheric body. His body did not decay for 21 days after his passing! The bodies of farmers take a longer time to decay as compared to a city dweller as they work on the farm and have a strong life force, someone told me once!
As nature suffuses us with etheric or pranic forces, so do Rhythms. Good rhythms give us health and vitality.
Our body being a product of nature just like the plants, birds and animals, has a natural Rhythm.
Unfortunately, the human being, the only creature with “free will”, has tampered with these natural Rhythms and we have lost our harmony and healthy balance resulting in lack of stamina and reduced immunity and new age illnesses.
Let’s think about it:
What are the aspects of our body connected to rhythms?
Breathing and lungs
Liver and metabolism
Female reproductive organs, and so on
Although we have mastered the art of prolonging life, we are falling victims to lifestyle diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, hypertension, cardiac problems, asthma, infertility issues, cancer, ADHD, sensory issues and so on.
The more we tamper with nature- our nature, we are harming ourselves.
Once we know this truth, we can slowly regain the harmony.
How do we do it?
By understanding bodily rhythms.
By remembering how our grandparents and great grandparents lived, how they ate, and most importantly, when they ate. They rose early, ate before sundown, slept early and did a lot of physical work. My grandparents had excellent rhythms and were healthy and independent right into their 80s and 90s. They never took the sick bed and decided the date of their own passing!!
Our liver has its own set of rhythms. It is in an accumulation mode from 3am to 3pm and in an assimilation mode from 3 pm to 3 am. That’s why wise people said have a heavy breakfast and a light dinner.
The liver rhythms are as follows:
Breakfast: 3am to 9am
Salad, fruit or soup: 10.30am
Mid afternoon light snack: 3.30-4.30pm
Dinner: 6-7pm (this is when they/we crave for junk food a snacks!)
Sleep: 8 pm especially for children as they need 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep for growth, healing and development.
We need to create optimum conditions and ambience for sleep by dimming lights, making sure there are no loud noises or excitatory activities including gadgets 2 hours before sleep.
Gadgets, especially touch screens use up the the Etheric forces and deplete our vitality.
A nice foot massage, a song or a story in the mothers soothing voice will help the child drift into sleep land.
Another important aspect about rhythms is the breathe-in, breathe-out aspect.
This is the aspect in us that constantly expands and contracts.
Like the universe- the big bang and the black hole.
Like the sunrise and the sunset.
Like the waxing and waning moon,
Like day and night
We breathe in and breathe out.
We awaken, we go to sleep
It is very healthy and harmonizing to bring this expansion and contraction into our daily Rhythms.
Physical and movement activities, play etc. are breathing-out or expanding activities.
Painting, writing, thinking, fine motor activities, listening to story, eating, sleeping are breathing-in or contracting activities. As our in and out breaths alternate, so should our expanding and contracting activities.
When children are always out out out or always in in in, it affects the rhythms and the Etheric forces and robs them of their vitality, strength and immunity.
Yoga practitioners would have heard that the out-breath is longer than the in-breath.
Hence, the expanding activities should be of a longer duration than the contracting activities. Play and movement should be longer than sitting down and focusing.
A young 5 year old in whose nature it is to run and play, but is made to sit at a desk is bound to be restless!!
Other rhythms are the weekly rhythms, monthly and yearly Rhythms which include family activities, holidays, get togethers and festivals.
RHYTHMS, THE BRIDGE TO HEALTH
The metabolic system needs a lot of etheric forces for digestion. Since thinking, processing and cognition, are the basis to good digestion (yes, you heard me right! Not brain!), a good store of etheric forces and rhythms are required to build a bridge between the higher head pole and the lower metabolism pole.
Good rhythms lead to general well being. A healthy etheric body, strengthened by good natural rhythms, leads to good immunity, cognition,memory , habits and character formation.
Happy RHYTHMING dear friends!!!