Ayurveda For Generational Health

Published: Thu, 04/21/22

Tim and I just got done listening to an extremely interesting book, called The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy, by William Strauss and Neil Howe

It is a very challenging book and unless you are a master of history, you are way better off reading it rather than listening to it.  No, neither of us is a master of history and yes, we would have both been better off reading the book instead of listening to it.  :)

The authors use history, psychology, and a high degree of analysis to "predict the future".  There were times where I felt I was experiencing paralysis by analysis.  :)

Getting started with the book, we both had a vague idea of what to expect.  The one thing however, that neither Tim nor I were anticipating, was the Ayurvedic undertone of this book.  Yes, the entire framework of this book is based on ancient Ayurveda, even though there is not a single Sanskrit term mentioned in there, whatsoever. 

Notice how we said "Sanskrit" term?  The authors use Ayurvedic terms but they are not in Sanskrit.  Instead of the doshas, or vata, pitta, kapha, they use the ancient Greek humors of Hippocrates and Galen instead. :)  They talk about the four temperaments as in sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic.  More on them at a later time. :)

Why are we even talking about this book?

The message of the book is simple. 

No matter what is happening in our world at any given moment, it is not new.  Everything has happened before and it will happen again.

Time is cyclical, the seasons of history are cyclical, only the context is different. 

This is exactly what Ayurveda teaches us.  In fact, the main difference between Ayurveda and conventional medicine is their view on time.  Ayurveda views time as cyclical, whereas conventional medicine views time as linear.  According to Ayurveda, everything is based on the patterns of the 20 qualities, whereas according to conventional medicine everything is new.  I love this quote from Mark Twain that the authors of the Fourth Turning reference: Nothing is older than our habit of calling everything new.

I don't know about you, but I find this highly comforting! 

Moving on, according to this book, history has taught us that for a society to be successful, its members must aspire to be collectively strong, instead of individually entitled.  When we deem our social destiny entirely self-directed and our personal lives self-made, we lose any sense of participating in a collective myth larger than ourselves. 

Based on that, the authors go on to define a generation, as individuals with a collective common location in history, such as the lost generation, the gi's, silent generation, the baby boomers, gen x,  millenialls, etc.  History creates generations, and generations create history.

We consider The Fourth Turning as Ayurveda For Generational Health.   Just like Ayurveda can be applied to our individual lives, it can also be applied to our collective generational lives.  After all, ancient Ayurveda (long before the commodity ayurvedic practitioners turned it into a "drink turmeric" and "eat dates" prescription) was supposed to be a behavioral science,

Pay attention to your tendencies, physical, emotional and mental, understand why they are what they are, and modify accordingly.

The only way to do that Ayurveda says is if you observe the patterns (pay attention to tendencies), attain the knowledge to understand the why (why they are what they are), and know the consequences of time (modify accordingly).  If you cannot do that, Ayurveda says, then you cannot keep the dynamic balance and that is when disease occurs.

This is exactly what the authors of the Fourth Turning point out in terms of generations. 

They argue that in order to find the underlying root cause of a societal malady, we need to use the help of the primal forces of nature.  We need to go back and study our history, biology and humanity so we can locate the recurring patterns that reflect the natural rhythms of social experience.  The answer always lies in the patterns that are recurring over time. We are supposed to pay attention to our physical, emotional and mental tendencies, understand why they are happening and adjust them accordingly.

As individuals, we cannot avoid the weather, our environment, or our age, but we can do our best, based on our observations, knowledge and understanding of the consequences of time.

Similarly, as generations, we cannot stop the seasons of history but we can collectively prepare for them.

Until next time...  Let us know your thoughts!  Have you already read this book?
If you are have not already read the book and wish to, here it is.

Much much love from both of us!
Na’maste Kala! (Which in Greek means, may we all be well!)

-Tim and Vie | Ayurveda Outlaws