Saturday, May 26, 2007

Learning To Listen To Your Intuition

Séance on a Wet Afternoon

The world is full of seances who claim to be in touch with their psychic powers, and can predict when and where the earthquake will strike next; or who the next head of state of country X-Y-Zee will be; or which way the price of oil will swing the next week.

MIT Image

And then there is this body of skeptics who dismiss these seances as charlatans who are out to get your money as well as hog some undeserved limelight.

James Randi poster

So who should one believe?

My answer would be: believe in yourself. Believe in your intuition. Those gut feelings that act as your very own advance guidance system. That tell you very subtly that the guy sweet-talking before you is not _the_ one; whatever his flashy smile and tuxedo shoes and debonair style might be telling you. Or that the businessperson who is sounding so terribly self-confident is not the right company to venture your capital in. Or...

Image by G & A Scholiers, stock.Xchng

There is this package that helps you on the road to honing your intuition further. Though it claims (as all marketing guys are prone to claim) to take you to the road to crystal-ball-gazing in _just_ six weeks... I would advice pragmatism, and pace it out. Depending on your present level of advancement on the road to self-realization, and depending on how serious and sensitive you are about yourself, it could take anywhere between six weeks to ... six years, or even sixty.

Be-Psychic Box

Here is the URL: Costs USD 99.95.

image by Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo, stock.Xchng
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Monday, May 21, 2007

Panic Attacks - Two-Step Process To Beat Those Out-Of-Control Moments

andrej troha, stock.Xchng

Statistically speaking, one in sixty people suffer a panic attack at least once at some point of time in their life. Whether it is a student facing the stress of an impending exam the next day, or it is a wife worried about the fate of her spouse in the war, or it is a businessperson faced with the prospect of bankruptcy... think of any of the myriad situations where there is gloom and doom looming over the person... and all the ingredients of a panic attack are there.

image by Javier Zubiri, stock.Xchng

You may be brooding on some aspect of your life, where the outcome is (naturally) less than desirable. You either brood overtly, and spend huge chunks of your waking hours on the issue, or you dismiss the streams of thought from the conscious plane of your mind and go about the daily humdrum, but ignore the slow, festering that is going on at the subconscious plane. In both the cases, a possible end result is panic attack.

image by kopiluwak, stock.Xchng

Though the manifestation is supposed to be "sudden", the roots of the condition can be traced to the thought patterns that dominate the psyche of the sufferers up until that moment. The best example of the impact of thoughts - an invisible energy and which "happens" in the "unknown" terrain of the mind - over the physical mass of the body: is the panic attack. The continuous streams of thought build up such a crescendo of energy that the brain is forced to trigger the appropriate neurochemicals to bring about the famous "fight or flight response" symptoms that physiologist Walter Cannon had postulated.

Walter Cannon

[So, in other words, my hypothesis is in alignment to some extent with the Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion, and rejects outright the James-Lange Theory of Emotion.]

Literature suggests two lines of treatment:

- Medication, such as Benzodiazepines, anti-depressants.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which attempts to desensitize the sufferer of the impact of panic attack, by actually inducing the attack in them.

Medication, we all know, brings with it its own set of side-effects. The technique used by CBT doesn't really attack the root problem, does it? The streams of thought that are the root cause; continue to be harbored by the sufferer even after they have undergone CBT, and have supposedly been cured. I think CBT heaps on panic attack an added layer of cynicism that "one can continue to live in hell, and that hell is enjoyable!"

Irum Shahid, stock.Xchng

Here is my two-step process to beat those panic attacks; a New Age technique:

1. First and foremost: throw to the junkyard all the thoughts that have doom and gloom and worry splattered all over them! Look at these streams in the face. And work at eliminating whatever it is that is bothering you. If it is something within your control, well, do it. If it is something that you have no control over, then why worry in the first place! Rest assured - the universe wants the best for you. And whatever lessons it wants you to learn, well, learn them happily, without crying.

image by Malcolm Jelley, stock.Xchng

2. Prepare an inventory of happy thoughts and events and imageries. These will help you wash away the stock pile of neurochemicals created thus far due to the same old, dreary thoughts. And the next time, when panic attack hits you, simply shift your focus on the items in this inventory. Within moments, you will find the attack ebbing away. And this happens one hundred percent.

The Sound of Music soundtrack cover

In order to help you work on both these suggestions, is this excellent self-Hypnosis CD - Costs USD 12.95 for a download.

Hypnosis Box

Remember Maria von Trapp telling the kids of the things she loves? Like the raindrops on roses, the whiskers on kittens? The cream colored ponies, the crisp apple strudels? The snowflakes that stay on the nose and eyelashes? And then she says - "When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad!"

And then one of the kids asks her - "Does it really work?" she assures them, "of course, it does!"

Then she asks the kids what their own list of things was that they loved? And each of them comes up with their own answer, based on their perspective on life - from "bunny rabbits" to "no school!" to "telegram"!

So, you can prepare your own list. And whenever your particular dog bites or your particular bee stings, just fill up your mind with the things you love and like and which make you happy.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Meditating In A Group / Meditating At Pre-determined Times

Seated Buddha, from the Chinese Tang dynasty, Hebei Province

Does it make a difference whether you are meditating solo, or as part of a group? Intuition says that it does.

With increasing number of electromagnetic-wave-generating devices around, you are continuously bombarded, 24X7, with all sorts of vibrations around you. These could come from the incandescent bulb or the old ballast your father had installed when the family moved into the house decades ago. Or they could come from the computer monitor you love to stare at for so long, or from the mobile cellphone you stick to the ear all the time.

Old Ballast, Reader's Digest image

Some of these frequencies are very low, as low as below 50Hz (50 vibrations in one second). What could be the impact of these extremely low frequencies (ELFs) on your brain? The consistent external ELFs can cause the brain's own natural frequencies to dance, slave-like, to their tunes. So it might just be possible that your brain is resonating with the microwave oven in the kitchen! Or with the ballast up above in the ceiling, or with the computer monitor!

MRI of human head, Uni of Sheffield, UK image

One of the outcomes (I would say one of the purposes) of meditation is to bring the vibrations in the brainwaves to a very low frequency (less than 12Hz). When you are meditating solo, and you are in the midst of all your fancy gadgets, the interference from the external world may be too strong to achieve meditative states. (That is also perhaps one reason why people don't achieve the desired results from meditation.)

3T Phillips Scanner, Uni of Amsterdam

This is also one reason why yogis of yore used to seek the silence of the mountains - well, there weren't so many ELF-producing devices those days, but they could escape from the natural ELF generators. (The ELF could come from the rapid wing-strokes of a bumblebee or the thoracic vibrations from the humble midge hovering near by, for example.)

image by Felipe Hadler, stock.Xchng

Meditating in a group implies that the brain inside all the heads that have congregated in one place resonate to more or less the same band (mind you, not the same frequency, but hopefully the same range). Hopefully, this counteracts the external impact of natural/artificial ELF-generators.

Have you ever experienced group meditation? Visualize a horde of bald monks, all sitting silently in meditative posture in an isolated place, and you are sitting right there, in the center. It's such an exhilarated and peaceful feeling to be there!

Meditating Chan monks

They are planning a Global Peace Meditation Day on Sunday the 20th of May, 2007.

Global Peace Meditation Day

Care to join?

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Hypertension? Try These Techniques


These Are Proven Techniques

It sounds strange that, despite this being 2007 - Hypertension or HTN can still only be diagnosed incidentally - somebody does a routine blood pressure check and discovers that you have high blood pressure. But it is true. Yet, this fact is so fundamental to our existence. That the heart is having to exert a lot of effort to do so normal an activity as reaching life-giving blood to all the cells in the remotest corners of the body.

image by Hokusai, Katsushika

However, all medications to cure hypertension solve only the symptoms, and while attempting to solve one problem, bring in another problem in the form of side-effects. I have always advocated life-style changes and natural techniques that do not require any invasion of chemicals on the body.

One natural technique that I have found particularly useful is: Meditation. The internet has tons of information on the subject of Meditation. Jon Kabat-Zinn's eight-week course called "Meditation-Based Stress Reduction" (MBSR) is a technique that the West has been familiar with, since 1979.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Washington Post

You can practice meditation anywhere, so long as you are passive, and not doing any activity. So you may be traveling (in the passenger seat, not in the driver seat), or waiting outside your doctor's chamber - whenever you get the opportunity to sit still, simply meditate. I have a set of articles post on another blog of mine; here is the URL:

Michigan University, Meditation in Group

When you begin practicing meditation, you will slowly discover that you feel rested, refreshed, rejuvenated...

And when you are in that deep meditative state, begin visualizing the entire body, and consciously feel the plaques in the arteries being removed, the salt imbalance being restored to what is just right for your body, the arteries regaining their original, healthy diameter ... in short, whatever it is that the good doctor has told you is the root cause of hypertension in your particular case. This visualization is very powerful: it is the Law of Attraction being put to practice!


At the same time, it is perfectly understandable to not being able to meditate initially. A lifetime of not being "mindful" is a hard habit to crack! So what do you do? This is one great way to begin: use self-Hypnosis. Self-hypnosis is one great way to tell your mind very gently but emphatically, the goal that you desire. It is like an intense, yet calm method to restore the self to a particular state of living.

Self-Hypnosis Lower Blood Pressure Box

Here is one URL where you can find a Self-Hypnosis CD for lowering blood pressure: Costs USD 12.95 for a download, USD 25.95 for a physical CD.

Another technique that simply relaxes you at the end of the day is this: listening to Relaxation CDs. This is the most-diluted and weakest form of reducing hypertension, but effective, nevertheless.

Relaxation CDs - End of the day, Tension Release Box

Here is one URL where you can get a "Tension-Release" CD: Costs USD 24.95 a pop.

Try any one of them. These techniques are much, much better and more effective than those medications which mess with your body. (With apologies to the medical profession; but I not sure whether the good doctors have completely understood how nature works. Most of the time they work with the symptoms, and not the cure. But I may of course be prejudiced.)

MIT Image

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Quitting Smoking - Two Possible Cures

Image by manuel sierra, stock.Xchng

Solutions From The Self-Dev Industry

We human being are all equal, I say. Doesn't matter what race or creed or color stock we may come from. At the very core, we are all part of the anima mundi.

image by Thomas Picard, stock.Xchng

Look at our habit of smoking. We enjoy this addiction. Within five minutes of waking up, we reach out for the fag. Whether we are Canadians, or British, or Americans, or from any of the other continental shelves, we all have the same (dirty?) habits.

Image by Aldon Scott Mc Leod, stock.Xchng

Serious and thoughtful monarch that he was, King James I of England was no medico. So, wonder where he got the idea that smoking was harmful to the eye, and harmful to the brain, and dangerous to the lungs? Though I am sure his diktat to his subjects in 1604 A.D. wouldn't have had much effect. I know - even the guys and the gals of four hundred years ago didn't have the willpower to abstain from smoking, once addicted.

Image of Pocahontas at the court of King James I

The 19 (!) different carcinogens in cigarettes play havoc with the body. Pamphlets and brochures and banners loudly proclaim the harmful diseases that one gets with continued smoking: from cancers of the mouth and larynx and lungs, to emphysema and heart attack. To the males, the biggest threat of them all: Impotence! Too is dangled before them.

Poster from ASH Australia on tobacco and impotence

But the smoking continues.

Mothers have been told of the horror of crib deaths caused by secondhand smoke exposure as well as carcinogens seeping through breast milk.

Advt released by Dept of PHHS

But the smoking continues.

Thankfully, over the past few decades, the overall prevalence of smoking has reduced to a large extent. The diehard smokers amongst us, who still find it difficult to quit smoking, are the ones who the self-dev industry seeks to help.

Image by Arto Myllys, stock.Xchng

There are these two good solutions, worth trying.

One is the use of Self-Hypnosis audio CDs. The script that the voice-over speaks in their mellifluous tone first relaxes the body and the mind totally. Then a series of self-affirmative, positive statements begin, which work on one's willpower, one's love for one's body and concern for one's health, and how life can be enriched further by the right attitude and thinking. Repeatedly listening to the CD for a period of four to six weeks is known to work wonders. Here is the URL to one such CD: This costs USD 12.95 if you want to download and hear it on the computer. If you want to buy a CD, it is USD 25.95.

Hypnosis CD - Stop Smoking

A second solution is the use of audio subliminal technology. This technology works on the premise that our mind sometimes pays heed to suggestions when they are made in whispers. In fact, even more subtle than whispers. Consciously, you won't even know that somebody is saying something to you. Heck, you can't hear the voice! But, unbeknown to you, the suggestions seep into your subconscious mind. And what they say is, yes you guessed it: Quit Smoking. Repeatedly listening to the suggestions, administered subliminally, takes you to the path of smoke-free health.

Quit Smoking CD - Subliminal Audio

Here is the URL to one such CD: Costs USD 19.95 - comes only in CD version (no download).

Try them out. And make things happen in your life.

image by elvis santana, stock.Xchng
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How To Play Like Tiger Woods

image by Steve Woods, stock.Xchng

... And Be The Most Successful Golfer Of All Times

"Hail The Future King Of Golf!", I said, "Hail the future Tiger Woods!" My tone was sincere enough, I thought. But my friend deprecatingly laughed it off, as usual. We were walking on the teeing ground, caddie in tow.

Tiger Woods

My friend, let's call him Jim, comes to the golf course every weekend, religiously. I occasionally give him company. Invariably, he would heed towards the green tee markers - the ones meant for beginners. He had started his golfing lessons with the green tee. Today, four months later, he is still stuck there.

image by Steve Woods, stock.Xchng

As I watched him struggle with his putts, amused at his feet-stomping and frustrated aarrghs when the ball just wouldn't behave the way he wanted, I remembered his motivation behind learning this game: he wanted to be keep up with his peers at the social club he had recently joined.

image by Alek von Felkerzam, stock.Xchng

By sheer grit and hard work, he had risen from what he disparagingly describes as the "bottom ranks of wealth-holders" to a position which he describes as "respectable". His gaining entry into this snobbish club was, according to him, a height he had only "dreamt of achieving".

What he "dreamt of achieving" --- he has achieved. Why then hasn't he achieved his dream of improving his golf handicap, even after working at it for so long?

image by Dani Simmonds, stock.Xchng

I think the problem lies in the contradiction between his "Dream" of becoming an expert golfer on the one hand, and his "Self-Esteem" that keeps telling him that he doesn't deserve to be an expert golfer. (Or may be he thinks he doesn't deserve to be in the company of the august people he finds himself in the midst of, nowadays?)

His lack of self-esteem comes through every time he opens his mouth to describe his game: they are all peppered with negativisms about himself: "I am just no good", "this is a problem with me", "I don't think I will be able to get this @#$%& ball into that @#$%^& hole ever"...

image by Dani Simmonds, stock.Xchng

What he needs, I think, is a good dose of positive self-affirmations. If he spends an hour everyday listening to a set of positive visualizations, where he is the King of the Golf Course, and the ball swings exactly as he wants it to swing ... and then when he comes to the course in the weekend, I am sure his game will improve. Here is the perfect CD that I have in mind for him:

Hypnosis CD

Costs USD 12.95 for a download. May be I should gift him a CD on his birthday coming up next Friday (costs USD 25.95 per CD).

May be it will be some while before I can gently advice him to be at ease with his own self, and not keep comparing with the others - whether it is on account of money, or social skills, or "having arrived" ... After he has mastered Golf, there is every chance that he will embark on the next mission of being one up on another set of peers for yet another symbol of wealth. What will it be next? His own yacht? His own private lagoon? Well sure, why not. Aim to be prosperous, but not with the perspective of "being one up". This perspective fuels insecurity and lowers self-esteem.

But as of now, I sure want my friend to be comfortable playing Golf! :)

image by Steve Woods, stock.Xchng
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