The Digesting Fires

Mush by Caroline

Mush by Caroline

Primordial Agni is the fire or driving force and light of creation. In essence, it is intelligent flow. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called it Creative Intelligence. It shows up on every level as transformation – the fires of dissolution and of creation.

The key with transformation is balance. Balance sustains the universe while allowing transformation. Too much fire and too much gets destroyed. Anger, frustration, acid reflux, and Pitta imbalance are some ways this manifests.

Too little fire and things are not digested properly. They go toward too much air and ungroundness (Vata) or an excess of sludge and inertia (Kapha).

Our body, emotions, and mind all digest their experiences. The body has trillions of microbes to aid us in digestion. Mind and emotions have similar life-forms on their level that help us process our experiences.
All of those beings use some value of transforming fire, agni for digestion. Our eyes are the senses attuned to fire and are the seat of the pitta dosha in the body. The simple act of seeing “digests” some of what we see.

We can have physical balance but emotional imbalance, and so forth. Evolution requires both dissolution of the old and growth of the new. This depends on balancing fire.

The primary digestive fire Ayurveda calls Jatharagni – it comes in a balanced form or a style influenced by the 3 doshas or tendencies to imbalance – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Few people have balanced agni.

Our body not only breaks down food into its molecules like proteins and sugars but can break it down into its subtle elements as needed. This allows the body to build almost any compound it needs – if things are all working right. Thus the body has 5 elemental agnis (Bhutagni), one for each of the elements.

Ayurveda also describes 7 stages of digestion, each level producing a progressively more refined kind of tissue (Dhatu). Each of those 7 also have an associated agni (Dhatvagni).

Food is first converted to plasma (Rasa). Finest plasma is converted to blood (Rakta). Finest blood into muscle (Mamsa). Finest muscle into fat (Meda). Finest fat into bone (Asthi). Finest bone into nerves (Majja). Finest nerves into reproductive fluid (Shukra). We might also say finest fluid into Ojas. This isn’t a “tissue” but shows up on the skin as a healthy glow telling us all is well.

The name of the tissue agni is the tissue + agni. For example, meda and medaagni.

A balanced digestion also supports Soma processing which aids in the refinement of perception, including the ability to experience all this.

If the system is plugged up, the process falters at some level and the more subtle tissues are not as effectively created.

This also ties into the 6 tastes. Ayurveda recognizes 6 tastes and suggests that if we have all 6 in a meal, it will satisfy the body. That makes sense as it ensures we include all 5 elements or building blocks.

Taste: Created by
Sweet: Earth & Water
Sour: Earth & Fire
Salty: Water & Fire
Pungent: Fire & Air
Bitter: Air & Ether
Astringent: Air & Earth

Rasa, taste, has a high importance in Ayurveda. It tells us the qualities and suitability of things we consume. It is one of the 6 Bhavas or birth influences. That has an influence on the dosha or way the body most easily becomes imbalanced. It is also the first tissue the body produces, plasma.

Prana is the life force, also known as Vayu or air. There are 5 primary styles of air in the body that complement the fires. Sama (even) prana brings life force to the digestive fires. It fans the flames.

Memorizing these details is only much use if you plan to become an Ayurvedic technician, helping people to rebalance their bodies. The point here is a general understanding so we support balanced fires that can digest all the “food” of our experiences. Otherwise, we build up a backlog, a sludge of undigested experiences. This leads to indigestion, overshadowing our current life. Undigested experiences repeat on us causing discomfort.

Strong, balanced fires will roast that sludge and clear the channels for flow.
Davidya

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15 Responses to The Digesting Fires

  1. Jean says:

    It really looks like the body is a distillery.
    It distills our experiences into ever finer structures of perception.

  2. Hi David,

    It’s funny how the memory of an experience can keep replaying and seem so important and, then one day it’s gone and no desire to fill the space with more of the same, however, a lot of struggle along the way to that open clearing.

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    Maybe unrelated— the presence of all as an experience without an experiencer. Simply the presence of experience which includes the sense of me. There has to be a forced effort (also an experience) to try and place this sense of me as separate from the experience as a whole…increasingly, impossible!

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    • Davidya says:

      Hi Lewis
      At some point, you’ll find the difference was in the energy/ emotion. Something in it hadn’t completed so it kept coming up until it resolved/ was experienced. When its more conscious, we can be more efficient.
      .
      Right, but in this case you’re calling the me the experiencer when it’s what is claiming that as itself. That is what is letting go. What I refer to as the experiencer is the detached witnessing consciousness. Things are a little muddled together still. 🙂

  3. Yes, I see what you mean by things being muddled together— As though the ‘me’ is claiming to be the ‘detached witnessing consciousness.’

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    Can the ‘detached witnessing consciousness’ itself be said to be an experience and not ‘actually’ experiencing anything? No experiencer, simply experience.

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    I mean, like water is water but completely unaware of being so.

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    • Davidya says:

      No, the detached witness is what is experiencing. To be experienced, it must be content, not what is experiencing. The “me” can be experienced and is thus an object. And thus the 2 are different things.
      .
      Simply experience is consciousness but the parts are not clear yet.
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      Water on a physical level is unaware of itself. But thats not true at other levels. 🙂

  4. Ha! The first and third sections now make sense, thank you

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    What do you mean by the second section— “Simply experience is consciousness but (the parts are not clear yet.”)

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    • Davidya says:

      When you notice there is simply experience, you are noticing consciousness. However, the distinctions between what is experiencing, the objects of experience, and the process are all kind of merged together as an experience.
      .
      The parts become much more clear as each wake up. 🙂

  5. So, experiencer (I), experienced (objects) and experiencing (process) = Consciousness and each ‘part’ becomes more clear (conscious of itself as Consciousness-experience).

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    Somehow it feels as though consciousness or perception is a thought.

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    But beyond consciousness aware of itself (a thought) I really can’t say. A kind of not knowing-knowing! Strangely familiar…myself deep silence at home.

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    • Davidya says:

      Well – not exactly. Consciousness has 3 aspects but the aspects are not the whole. But yes, as we evolve into our deeper nature, the aspects become more obvious.
      .
      When you relate to it with the mind, it is indeed a thought or idea. Thats what the mind creates. But mind can’t be aware without consciousness.

  6. David, thank you for sorting all that out, much appreciated.

  7. David, sorry about this but how can there be the experience of presence and yet the thought about the world of objects in relation to it (presence) be unclear/confused as if trying to place pieces to form a picture-puzzle? Something is experiencing presence!

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    “When you relate to it with the mind, it is indeed a thought or idea. That’s what the mind creates. But mind can’t be aware without consciousness.” — Actually, this statement feels as though one of those keys that can open many doors. —

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    What is the “you” that does the relating?

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    Is consciousness seeing the “mind/thought” in action or acting as/through it?

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    So, the mind is an object to consciousness.

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    When It just Is— none of these questions (absent/or else few and far between) seem important or relevant but then (later) as though the mind/thought kicks in (or orientation of focus into the world of objects) and a desire to place it all in order reappears. Is this consciousness flitting between the two?

    • Davidya says:

      Hi Lewis
      Firstly, presence may at first seem like an experience that comes and goes. But eventually, we realize it’s not an “experience”, its what is experiencing. We can be more or less aware of it, but it is always present. (Hence it’s name)
      .
      Thoughts about presence are mind. Mind functions on a different level and understands presence by inference as it can’t know it directly. When presence still comes and goes, it can seem like another object of experience as above.
      .
      The “you” that does the relating varies by person. For someone not awake, it is the identified ego. For someone awake, it is consciousness itself. For someone close to waking, it can vacillate which may add to the confusion.
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      Both. Consciousness observes and consciousness expresses through the body-mind. But this isn’t personal. It is universal consciousness running the show.
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      Right – when we’re in consciousness/ presence the quality of being is dominant. We just are and all the usual worries of the day fade. When we’re in the mind, it wants to figure it out, get control, etc.
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      Consciousness isn’t flitting but the focus of attention is. When the identification with the me winds down, that largely ends. Mind will still want to organize things but we don’t get caught it that. We just notice it happening. In time, this winds down a lot of it.

  8. Thank you, David, this is good, very clear indeed.

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    Like— without the sun emanating light how else could it see itself.

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    • Davidya says:

      Right. At first the sun sees itself in the reflections from the planets, the objects of it’s experience. But by looking within, the sun can see it’s own nature. 🙂

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