Ayurveda: Sattva and Mental Ama

The secret of sattvic people is that they have naturally healthy desires. Unhealthy desires can arise in anyone because of mental ama. You will remember that “mental ama” is the term used for impurities, or negative tendencies in the mind. Sattva is the force of purity that combats them. The Ayurvedic sages say that mental ama is produced by:

-Negative emotions-anger, fear, self-criticism, greed, resentment

-Psychological stress-family problems, tensions at work, loss of money or job, divorce, death in the family

-Lethargy, mental inertia

-Unwholesome surroundings

-Contact with other people’s negativity

-Violent, crude or shocking books or other forms of entertainment

The debate over whether it is morally right to show violence on television misses the essential point, according to Ayurveda. The issue is one of health. The sight of violence gets translated into unhealthy chemicals in the body, leading to the buildup of ama in our thoughts as well as in our cells. Everyone has a right to expose himself to any kind of influence he wants, but the physician’s role is to warn against those influences that damage our well-being. Avoiding mental ama is therefore considered a preventive measure against the imbalances that lead ultimately to disease.

-Depak Chopra, M.D. Perfect Health

November, 15 2010