The fear of Corona and concerns related to lockdown has rapidly engulfed our mind body and spirit. Being a healthcare professional and specially being a nephrologist where I have to deal with a large number of critical renal failure patients my experience over the period of corona pandemic is something which our generation has never experienced before. One end there is tremendous fearful mindset in the community, millions of peoples are aﬀected, lakhs of people around the world have lost their lives. Lack of preparedness to handle the crisis across the world lead to a havoc toll on human life and entire global economy. History suggests pandemic are not new but CORONA is special because this type of massive global impact of one single disease which endanger existence of entire human species has never happened. We read about Spanish ﬂu pandemic, cholera pandemic, etc but the ongoing crisis of COVID pandemic are somehow more serious and unique from those aﬀected humanity in past.
In this era of superfast internet and technological advancement the entire world is in our hand, more precisely in our mobile device. The social networking tools, the galaxy of communication tools, the cheap internet service made epidemics of information which has
eﬀects on our mind and body in multiple ways. It’s true that getting right information is important and is quite easy now, but simultaneously we need to understand every information which reaches us be it good or bad, be it carrying positive or negative vibes ultimately leaves an impression in our mind. Good and positive impressions are supportive of live, induces conducive inner environment for healthier organ function but negative and bad impressions unknowingly lead to lots of nervous and endocrine turmoil inside our physiological system which we don’t perceive readily. Over a period, these collective impressions set some horrible trend of pattern in our psychological response system which has deep-rooted adverse impact on over all functionality of our mind and body. If we observe we will notice that among good and bad news the bad news causes deeper and more sustainable impression on our being. This nature of our mind is well understood and hence media whose survival depends on how eﬀectively they can engage people on in their broadcast often prioritize negative information or news over good or positive news and we and our entire being are the innocent victim of this aﬀair.
Recent research shows that the attention span, memory, creative thinking power, patience, compassion, containment all are badly aﬀected by too much engagement with media and social networking or being obsessed with digital world. More someone gets engaged in digital world more his or her mind receives multiple information and remain busy in processing those information, by doing that because of diverse source and content their mind gets scattered and loses its original peaceful nature, its natural tendency of being peaceful and also its balance in terms of reaction. Medically, it has been researched and understood that a scattered mind, a mind loaded with multiple pieces of information not rooted in foundation of understanding, prone for depression, anxiety and cannot think in productive ways. We all know the adverse effects of depression, anxiety or tension in our overall health. In this CORONA epidemic when there is epidemic of fearful information; on top of the evident corona crisis; another unseen inner crisis which is bound to impact our health in a serious way.
In the outside nature without our due attention or notice the sun rises every day at morning, sets in a fixed time. Flowers blossoms on their own cycle, Soothing streams of water flows through rivers, ice clad mountain peaks glows on its own glory. We are just unaware of lots of beautiful happening every moment surrounding us. Our mind is stuck to number of CORONA death , no of corona affected or fear of loosing job, economic damage to our business etc. Similarly, inside us without our knowledge or awareness our heart and lung is working in a programmed manner, keeping its tireless commitment to feed all organs with pure oxygen ,blood and nutrients. Our liver, our pancreas is producing necessary nectars to keep us well and our kidneys are filtering out all waste products keeping our entire inner environment free from dirt. We are just unaware about what’s happening within or outside and keep our selves busy in a world of man made illusionary confusing domain.
In this corona pandemic it is relevant and necessary to ask this question to ourselves does we all fall pray to the digital world by overloading ourselves with negative information flooded in digital media ? In this era of technological dependency of life on mobile phone or internet ; is there any way out ? Keeping ourselves totally away from digital world is also not completely advisable as media is source of correct information too. To get answer this question let us go in further deep and lets try to understand composition of our mind and try to do something so that inmost of turmoil our inner being be remain safe.
We need to understand a bit about the composition and nature of our mind to keep ourselves in fit and healthy in this crisis hour.
At the functional level our mind has four basic components. As per ancient scientists of India what we call as mind in English language is not exactly what they considered in the word “Chitta” . Chitta comprises of Manas or mind Budhi or intellectual faculty of mind Ahankar or ego another faculty of mind.. Manas not exactly synonymous with mind; budhi may be to some extent expressed as intellect and ahankar as ego. However there is no synonym for chitta in English language. Why it is important to know this ancient understanding is, as there is no other stream of philosophy which has so much detailed description and introspective approach toward our mind and its function as it is found in ancient Indian scriptures. Question comes why it is important to know these all staffs in COVID19 pandemic.
We need to understand the core of our mind lies in the foundation of chitta. Chitta when comes in contact of any object of perception be it any information be any perceivable thing it gives rise to smriti or memory another very important faculty of mind and memories are route of all response of our nervous system and main resource for building our ego. Moment you see a news of death or whatever in media unknowingly it hits your chitta , budhi or intellect component of chitta process it based on past memories of same or similar information either it gets matched pattern or stored as new pattern for future use. Repeated hit in similar patter provokes ego to set some chain of reaction which goes to our nervous and endocrine system as reflex response.
Now we need to understand another aspect related to depth and anatomy of our chitta ,for shake of understanding lets say mind. Though its not correct to say “anatomy of mind” as mind being abstract however for easier understanding lets bring an analogy of sea with our mind structure. The surface of the sea is always rough full with waves and tides . Never in a state of rest!! Where as the deep inside the sea which is the major part of sea is calm and cool ; devoid of any waves and restlessness. Our active functional outbound interactive mind about which we just discussed in earlier , is just like the surface of sea full of waves of thought and ripples of different desires and wishes ; liking disliking ,satisfaction or dissatisfaction always keeps it in turmoil. There is constant interplay of intellect , memory ego and thereby Neuro hormonal responses accordingly be it tension be it anxiety be it depression or joyfulness on mental level. At physical level impacts could be hypertension, glucose surge , impact on immune system sticky platelet leading to stroke etc etc. But all these values attributed to the mind which otherwise defines the quality of our life is the surface value of mind or chitta. Deep inside like a sea there is treasures of peace calmness which is resistant to any restlessness or any of perceived surface quality. Because of our outbound nature of mind we are mostly unaware about the inner blissful bigger and vast component of our chitta , just like sailing through a sea we can’t understand the depth of the sea. Now if a person expert or technically equipped with diving dives down or go to the deep sea via a submarine , he or she can only experience the beautiful corals and marvelous treasures and diversity of inner sea which is absolutely not perceivable from the tidy surface of the sea.. Similarly on our being if any one by practice learn to dive in and can touch that inner blissful calm devoid of restlessness component of our “chitta” which is always there we are just unaware of that, the behavior of components of functional mind and its responsiveness changes. “reaching there and remaining for few moments in that blissful layer of our chitta, abolishes the set pattern of neurohormonal response invoked earlier by the superficial functional agitated scattered layer of mind. Automatically the impact of anxiety tension abolishes and calmness establishes , depression changes to joyfulness anger converts to compassion. Fear shifts to face the situation and appropriate action taking mode. And on the physical level our hypertension diabetes, other chronic disease starts to heal. Immunity gets boosted up tendency to stroke reduces, life becomes productive full of bliss.
We just need to dive in and reach that unexplored portion of our mind and get ourselves contented happy and enjoy the glory of life.
Our day to day activities for surviving in the social system in search of comfort ,security happiness we all are in dwell our of significant amount life time on surface activities of our mind. Our job relationship; belongings desire to grow all demands superficial mind to be on action. But doing that continuously often we forget the deeper values of our mind which is the ultimate source of peace containment. We need to learn technique by which we can dive in and enjoy the god gifted treasure which we are unknowingly carrying all the time and searching peace outside. We all know about “Kasturi Mriga” or “MUSK DEER”a special types of Himalayan deer, who produces a beautiful fragrance from its umbilicus. The poor deer runs here and there just to find the source of that fragrance without knowing the source of that fragrance indeed inside his body. We are just like Musk Deer, without knowing the source of bliss within we are running here and there for finding joy , happiness, satisfaction.
Now the question comes ,how to touch that deep layer of our blissful mind or chitta. How to practically experience that. Our ancient scientist did phenomenal research on this aspect and given us practical techniques which any one can learn and practice and as an outcome can enjoy the inner glory . Here I will discuss few of them . In dept and Detailed discussion of every techniques is beyond the scope of this article and also not advisable also for misinterpretation or wrong practice.I will recommend the reader to join our MUKTI programme for practical learning of those techniques however some simple practices which any one can do , I am elaborating here
Breath Observation or “Ana-Pana” Meditation : It is observed that breath is one most essential component of life . Life starts with breath and when breathing stops we are no more. Such an essential element of life which otherwise synonymous with life how little we know about it? It is observed that breath has direct connection with the response our being does in any given situation. Moments mind is agitated; moments anger depression sets in, the pattern , character of our breaths also changes . There are lots of other physiological changes that’s starts happening but those are beyond our perception; however with minimal training we can perceive the changes in breath. And there by perceiving alterations of your usual breath pattern could open a window of understanding that something unusual is happening within us. Why this is important ? Because if any thing wrong happens with us and we detect it at the level of inception we can try to correct it . Ando also for going to deeper plane of our blissful being we need calm and stable mind. Hence observing breath could take us to a state from where diving within becomes easy.
Practical Guide : The practice room should preferably be well ventilated devoid of any bad smell and should be neat and clean. Sit in a calm and comfortable posture close your eyes. You can sit in a Yoga Mat at floor or in a chair, it does not matter. Keep your spine erect and sit comfortably. Those who has back pain can take some back support also. Keeping your eye closed take your attention to the process of breathing. Just remind yourself mentally that you are breathing in , pure oxygen and lots of positive energy is entering within you and you are breathing out all carbon dioxide is getting out from your body along with carbon dioxide all negativity, tension ,anxiety also releasing from your body and getting out of your body making you lighter and fresh. Now gradually draw your attention to the opening of your both nostrils and observe the passage of air while you are breathing in. Don’t try to control your breath just observe your natural pattern of breath. Your breath may be long may be short ,may be shallow, whatever does not matter, Keep your mind entirely focused only on breath and only limited area of the entrance of your nostril. Do not control of your breath just obseve. Now try to feel the touch of the breath coming in. Keep your awareness focused on the entire length of inhalation. Once inhalation is complete remain aware and feel that exhalation starts automatically and spontaneously. Keep your awareness alert and Start feeling that air has started to going out and feel the passage of air from nostril to outside during the entire duration of exhalation. Try to feel the touch of the outgoing air. After exhalation feel that again another cycle inhalation starts spontaneously , don’t control any part od inhalation and continue the process as per your time and comfort. At the beginning 10 min of Ana-Pana Meditation is good and reasonable time of practice to start with. For best result do it Morning and evening if possible. Beauty of Ana-Pana is you can practice it while in car, while travelling, in office break, before going to sleep any time any where. Your only instrument for practicing “Ana Pana” is your awareness and breath , both of which you are carrying every time every moment everywhere in your entire life.
while doing this initially unknowingly you will notice your mind is not at breathing rather roaming some where else !! You will be surprised to know and discover how restless your mind is? Just now it is on breath but unknowingly it jumps to some where in next moment. Moment you notice that your awareness is not on breath , bring it back to your breath again. Do not get frustrated, its normal at the beginning and It takes roughly 45-90 days of daily practice to gain a reasonable control so that whenever you want your mind sets in breathing as per your desire!!
Beneficial Effect : 5-10 min sincere wilful practice of Ana-pana daily can do a marvel in your life. You will feel more calm and contented state of mind. Your attention span joyfulness will start to increase. Ana-Pana Meditation has multiple level. As beginner it is important to stick to the practice what I have discussed now. Those who are interested to learn the higher levels can contact our MUKTI co-ordinator for guided training from me.
Ham Sau Technique: Once some one gets some mastery over Ana-Pana meditation Ham Sau technique can be practiced . Haam SaU Technique is simple but tremendous powerful practice towards ones journey to touch his or her inner blissful being. One who practices “Haam SaU” Technique sincerely with earnest devotion will discover marvel within himself by practice of this technique.
Practical Guide : sit in a calm and comfortable posture keeping your spine erect, close your eyes. Take your attention to the process of breathing as you learned in Ana-Pana Meditation. Just remind yourself mentally that you are breathing in , pure oxygen and lots of positive energy is entering within you and you are breathing out all carbon dioxide is getting out from your body along with all negativity tension anxiety also releasing from your body. This preparatory part is same as as you did in Ana-Pana Meditation. Now gradually focus your entire attention to your breath. Do not try ever to control of breath feel the natural cycle of automatic and spontaneous coming in and going out of breath. Once the spontaneous cycle of breath you are aware of , utter mentally “Haam” with the entire length of inhalation, once inhalation ceases and spontaneous exhalation starts , utter mentally “Sau” through out the entire length of exhalation. After exhalation again Utter “Haam” along with entire length of spontaneous inhalation and continue the process as per your time and comfort. One mental utterance of “Haaaa……..aa…MM” should cover the entire length of inhalation similarly one mental utterance of “Saa….aaa..uuu” should cover the entire length of exhalation. Continue this practice for at least 10 min
Beneficial Effect: “Haam Sau” technique is simplest way to reach to our inner being. Long practice of HamSau sharpen our mental faculty and automatic calmness and contentment is evident on the practitioner. It is better to experience the effect rather than reading about it.
Sequential relaxation Technique:
Lie down in a bed or Yoga mat. The room should preferably be well ventilated devoid of any bad smell and neat and clean. At the beginning slowly settle yourself in a steady and comfortable supine posture. Do not wear any tight garment. Now close your eyes. Keep your both leg a feet apart and both arm at the side of your body a bit away from your body. Keep your palm facing the ceiling . Now bring a gentle smile on your face and take your attention to breath. Observe your breath for some time once you feel your breath is calm and quite start sequential progressive relaxation. Start from your right Great toe. Relax all muscles surrounding your right great toe. Keep your attention for a moment until you feel all muscles around your rt great toe is relaxed. Now relax next toe then next in this way relax all the toes of your rt feet. Now feel that a wave of relaxation has started to flow upward from your toes to feet , relaxing all small muscles and small joints of your rt foot , then relaxing your ankle joint . The same wave is flowing to your back of the leg , front of leg , knee joint , thigh hip joint and muscles of right buttock. Next feel that another new wave of relaxation started from your left Great toe and in the same manner slowly slowly progressing through left feet ankle joint, left leg ,knee joint and left thigh and hip joint. At the level of buttock both the wave of relaxation merged and slowly progressing through pelvis, lower abdomen, back abdomen, chest shoulder joint. From shoulder the web started to flow toward both Arm elbow joint fore arm wrist joint ,small joints of hand and relaxing all fingers including thumb.Once both the entire upper arm is relaxed the wave of relaxation again flowing up toward shoulder joint, and merging with each other the great wave of relaxation now started to flow to front of neck, back of neck, chin, face muscles , muscles surrounding the oral cavity, muscles cheek, muscles around eyes , muscles of fore head, scalp , top of your head. Stay in this complete state of relaxation as much time you feel comfortable. Then gradually gradually come back to your normal state.
Beneficial Effect: Sequential relaxation is very simple and unique and effective technique to get rid of anxiety tension and depression. Please practice it daily to experience its benefit.
Life is unique journey. On superficial and experiential level its only one time affair.The challenges we face be it small be it big , the opportunities we are enjoying be it small be it immense , the bad time we are passing through, the good time we are enjoying or enjoyed are bound to change. In reference to time nothing is permanent . If we understand this universal truth then every moments in life seems unique and has only one quality common ; which is it is bound to change to next moment. It is just our mind, to be very precise our one faculty of mind that is memory, which has a tendency to stick to our past experiences or think about what going to happen next in future and disturbs our original nature of being aware about omnipotent present moment. In this CORONA pandemic we are killing our every moment of life in fearful thought of what will happen to us. I think we should be concerned but not fearful, we should be alert but not anxious. I hope the practices which I discussed here if we practice daily in this crisis time with proper understanding, these will definitely empower us to be in touch with our inner blissful chitta component and help us to gain strength to tide over this crisis joyfully. May all enjoy their joyful and peaceful state of their being.
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