Tonight’s annual Perseid meteor shower got me thinking about the power of cold and the theory of dosha and the five elements in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine..
Chinese medicine describe life as a warm process of transformation of food and oxygen into energy. This is a kind of movement, the breakdown of things from one into another, from food and air into blood and Qi and waste product. This is what fire does in nature, as well, it breaks things down, it turns wood into smoke and ash. The transformative nature of Agni, which lives in spades in Pitta dosha which is fire and firey liquids, like the sun and volcanic magma.
Whereas cold causes stagnation in human being as in nature. Proof? Cold freezes water by slowing down the movement of molecules. This is why cold is so hard for Kapha which is cold water and earth. When baked by the fire of Agni this material becomes bricks–Kapha’s are naturally strong when balanced. But when over-cooled by too much water, as in from a diet heavy in sweet foods, Kapha becomes like mud and you just sink down into it like a couch potato in front of a t.v. with a beer in one hand and pizza in the other.
Space is the ultimate cold dry ether, which is why Vata in Ayurveda is made of Space (Ether) and Wind (Air).
Wind is moving air. Your clothes dry faster on the line if its windy, or hot. Pitta elevation can be drying to fluids, but Vata is innately dry. Space is very very dry and wind is drying.
Vata is cold and dry and light and etheric and naturally quick and philosophical, which is what space and wind are. Proof? These meteors contain ice that has been orbiting in space without melting some of them for a thousand years. Some deep freeze space.
And the philosophical bit. Well that’s simple. What is more profound and naturally philosophical than lying on your back on an August night and contemplating the vastness of space and time.
What is interesting is that Kapha is mass and dense. Earth and water immobile. And this year’s shower is gonna be grand, because of the effect of giant massive Jupiter’s great size and mass, whose gravitational effect will tug three streams of metors towards our planet’s path for a glittering show.
Take home message: Everything in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine is based on close observations made about nature and how it works itself out in the human microcosm. Everything on earth and in space that you can see with the naked eye is made of some combination of the five elements as expressed in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, either Space, Air/Gas, Fire, Earth/Mineral, or Water/Liquid. There is nothing in the physical universe whether on earth or space that cannot be described via the 5 elements of nature. This is not woo woo, but simple premodern science. Nothing about science since the discovery of the microscope does anything to invalidate this theory, it just adds to it. And understanding that is the key to understanding humoral medicine like Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. They are based on times truths derived from basic scientific method of observation, or empiricism.