Chapter 8


In this chapter, we learn a technique that allows us to tune in to the mind and body's needs. Self-pulse diagnosis is Advanced Recovery Tool #3.

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One engine often drives a long train of addictions. Problem drinkers "cure" their drinking and become overeaters, and then cure their overeating and become compulsive gamblers or workaholics. Each addiction has different symptoms, but often a single cause.


Imagine the mind-body system as a conveyor belt. It starts at the Self and has workers stationed at different points. Each worker (level of the mind-body) fabricates whatever comes along the belt. The product of the assembly line is your behavior. If you find out what is going on at the earliest stages of the process, you will understand why you get the end result. You will understand your behavior. If you change what is happening at the start, what is assembled at each stage will be different, and so will the final product.

On a deep level, the pattern of disruption of the flow of intelligence is similar for all a person's addictions. What is necessary is to locate where the problem first occurs. But how do you look for the cause when your attention is completely caught up by the changing symptoms? You need a technique.


When you go to the doctor's office and get a physical exam, the nurse measures your heart rate and takes your blood pressure. Why? Because these tell the doctor a lot about the state of your body and mind. In ayurveda, we also take the pulse. However, ayurveda doesn't count heartbeats; rather, it pays attention to the quality of the beats.

Try it yourself, right now. Take your pulse anywhere. You could try on your wrist, or if a pulse there is hard to find, then try the carotid artery, toward the top of your neck, about two inches before the end of your jaw, and about an inch or so down. Use more than one finger, it's easier.

Once you've located a good solid pulse, take a full minute and feel it. Don't count the beats. Pay attention instead to the speed, smoothness, regularity, and intensity -- the "shape" of the beats. What you are feeling are the effects of the doshas: the proportions of vata, pitta, and kapha.

Now try to figure out which dosha or doshas are present. Here is a summary of what each one feels like:

Vata pulse is like the pitter-patter of the feet of a small animal, which is startled and running away. Vata pulses are tremulous, quick, erratic -- moving here and there, without intense force to each beat.

Pitta pulse is like someone pounding on a door -- banging with their fist, demanding to get in. It has power and insistence. Pitta pulses are dramatic and full of energy.

Kapha pulse is majestic. It is like the motion of a large ship gracefully rising and falling on ocean swells. It is closest in form to a pure sine wave. Kapha pulses are like big bellows slowly and rhythmically opening and closing.

According to ayurvedic theory, the pulse is a miniature hologram of the body and mind...



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