It was about five years into my career. I was struggling to keep my sanity while learning how to handle tight deadlines and balance it all.
Stress, infections became a little too regular.
I stumbled into an interview with Dr. Andrew Weil, and after that, bought one of his books – Spontaneous Healing. He recommended an eight-week program to slow down by limiting information/news overload, doing simple things to change the ambiance, experience at home and office. It alleviated my condition a bit. Dr. Weil has explained in the book a holistic approach to integrate both mind and body. One of my takeaways was the body has innate healing powers. Fear, anxiety, stress get in their way.
Not too long after that, I read Dr. Joan Borysenko’s book – Minding Your Body, Mending your Mind. I understood the power of focusing on the task at hand – no matter how routine. The book also explained the power of putting me in an observer's position – observer of my thoughts, emotions, breathing pattern, and body. I learned to relax my body using simple breathing techniques – my blood pressure goes down, my thinking gets sharper, I feel more relaxed. It felt so healing, nurturing, soothing.
A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe'; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.
Joan’s work referenced Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and picked up his book – Wherever You Go, There You Are. The numerous insightful nuggets in the book resonated with me naturally; it felt right.
I read more about Yoga. My Indian roots and heritage helped me a bit here and understood the ideas and try different things readily.
I got a book from Shakti Gawain – Creative Visualization. There was a CD with simple meditation exercises that naturally rejuvenate me. In the book, there were a couple of quotes that left a lasting impression on me.
“Make every moment of our lives a moment of wondrous creation, in which we are just naturally choosing the best, the most beautiful, the most fulfilling lives we can imagine.”
“To whatever degree you listen to and follow your intuition, you become a creative channel for higher power of the universe.”
All the things made me feel like I am not my body; I am not my mind. I am something more or different; I can somehow control my body, reactions, and emotions when I am relaxed, not caught up in the frenzy of my daily routine.
Not that I could explain, but I clearly can feel it. It is experiential rather than cognitive.
One very encouraging outcome from all this is me pursuing the ideas I liked, focusing on them. I got into writing; I never knew before I had it in me. I started training customers, other people as part of my work. I sensed that I am enjoying that tremendously, merely being in front of people explaining ideas to them. The quality of the experience was liberating, growing. I gravitated to a career of more customer-facing work – project integrations, product marketing, content creation that would become one more channel to express myself. I enjoy the creativity involved in writing, presenting, designing different pieces - presentations, white papers, case studies, etc. I got into public speaking, and I enjoy it so much. All the things that make me stay in the moment focus on the task at hand; they help me tap into my innate abilities, my natural healing and nurturing power from inside.
One of our close friends, Naina, gave us a book by Swami Chinmayananda – Self Unfoldment. Swamiji explained the idea of Mind, Body, and Intellect (BMI) in the book. I am not my mind; I am not my body; I am not my intellect – however, I experience and interact with this world through the mind, body, and intelligence.
A few years later, one of our toastmasters-club members and a friend, Mark Prather, gave a speech on Ekhart Tolle's book that he read – A New Earth. I picked up the book. It captivated me. It made me think and reflect on the universal conscience that is also me. Ekhart explained so well that I am not my ego – that is something separate. He also developed the idea of the pain-body – the energy field; I create with my actions. The energy field is all around me, from the effects of others around me and the power it can have. He calls it Pain Body, or Karma. Eckhart has an excellent way of explaining how to stay in the moment. The conscious awareness of the present moment detaches me from my pain body, from my ego. It also connects with that pure consciousness that is all around me. (Read more on it in this blog post.)
On DAILY GOOD website, I saw an explanation of the word – Namaste: I honor the place within you where the entire world resides. I honor the place within you of hope, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor the place within you where when you are in that place within you and I am in that place within me, there is only one of us.
It is all about being in the moment.
Feb 10, 2021: Following are links to blog posts from my experiences, reflections on mindfulness, and meditation: