Thursday, October 11, 2012

Experience created from within

To become a calmer, gentler, and less reactive person…

In order to become a calmer, gentler, and less reactive person, it’s essential to understand that your experience of life is created from the inside out – not the other way around, as it so often seems.

Imagine many people stuck in a traffic jam. A vast majority of these people had just finished work. All of them were probably tired. They were in the same traffic jam, delayed for the same amount of time. So, if the traffic were actually responsible for our negative reactions, then it would logically follow that the traffic would affect everyone in the same way. It doesn’t.

This experiment shows us that our experience of life does, in fact, come from our own thinking and perception. If you carefully consider, you’ll see some powerful implications. It means that you really do have a choice in how you respond – not only in traffic, but also in all those other situations that are almost always associated with misery and stress.

If you’re in a traffic jam, for example, and can admit to yourself and recognize that your experience is being dictated by your thinking (not the traffic), it changes the entire nature of your experience. It reminds you that a shift in your thinking can result in a shift in your stress level. Rather than insisting that life accommodate you with fewer demands and hassles, you can learn to stay relatively unaffected and relaxed in spite of it all. 

Even when you’re really frustrated, this understanding reminds you that it’s possible to see the situation differently. 

Without a doubt, you’ll get through it easier than before

~ Sridham Krishna Das

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blog EntryOct 31, '07 9:48 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
Born in a Indian joint family in the early 1940's,members being very orthodox and ritualistic,bathing and worshiping gods thrice a day, celebrating all the religious festivals of the year with great devotion, I, not knowing the meaning of it all and not being explained to me either  became too sick of anything religious, even athestic, during my childhood and youth.It was somewhere in the early 1970's after finishing my training and internship in Clinical Psychology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, as I was practicing, I came across in professional/technical journals of repute, articles chronicling the beneficial effect of Meditation on Anxiety disorders.As a Psychologist, I knew too well the effect of mind over matter,yet, this is something different, Spiritual, which I was shunning all along as untrue and unnecessary.It was indeed a moral crisis for me.There is a better treatment, more economical, effective and long lasting but I do not opt for it because I do not believe in it or I do not know about it; am I not doing disservice to my client? Either I should give up practice as I donot want to engage in anything spiritual or start learning about Meditaion and other thing spiritual. I choose the latter more as a curious researcher to start with, I thought. It was not to be.When I went to a Meditation Trainig Centre in the Town to enquire whether I could send my clients to learn and practice Meditation so that I can make a pre and post  effect of Meditation, I was simply laughed off by the Teacher."You want know about Meditation by others' practice? no way.It is known only by self practice" he said.Yes, indeed. If I want to become a medical doctor I have to study and practice myself. So, why not here.I said teach me then.I started practicing Meditation since then, somwhere in the year 1973, believe me, I must have missed meal or sleep or meeting friends and dear ones owing to pressure of work but, never, not even a single day missed my Meditation.A deep relaxation, a calm, fresh and expanded and expansive consciousness I enjoyed with every Meditation practice.  
Blog EntryOct 31, '07 9:48 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
Modern scientific investigation into Meditation started in the late 1950's in the West and in particular in the United States of America. The typical design of experimentation involved testing taking certain physiological, psychological and social measures of individuals undergoing meditation for short-six weeks to six months- and long term(an year and more) durations during both before-during -after meditation for beginners as well as for the long term meditators.Typical physiological measures taken are, for instance, indices of brain processes on Electroencephalogram(EEG).It was observed earlier that the amplitude(the heights of the wave),the frequency(the speed in terms of cycles per second) and the synchrony('harmony' among the waves across the brain) of the waves on EEG correspond closely to certain psychological states : alpha waves (high amplitude,low frequency-8 to10cps- and synchronous) are associated with relaxed wakefulness, Beta waves(low amplitude,high frequency->12cps- and asynchronous) found in alert and agitated states and delta waves(slower- < 8cps) are fond in sleep.It was found that there is a predominance of alpha waves in Meditators as compared to non meditators as well as in those prior to taking up meditation.Psychological measures included are anxiety, stress and emotional stability,Personality characters such as Introversion and Extraversion.Social measures such as Suicide and crime rate in society,aggression,group conflicts and tensions.The major findings are that Meditation promotes deep body-mind relaxation(much deeper than even found in deep sleep),emotional stability,outgoing nature,reduction in aggression and suicide  rates in those individuals and society(when at least 10% of its people ) which practiced Meditation.Its impact on well being of people is also noteworthy.For instance,the deep relaxation experience brought about tremendous improvement in health and feelings of wellness especially among those who were suffering from stress related disorders such as essential hypertension,migrane headache,peptic ulcer and bronchial asthma. Psychologically the Meditator appears to have been elevated to a state of consciousness, the so called fourth state(after waking, sleeping and dream states) characterised by deep relaxation with intense awareness , a sort of a 'paradoxical' state from the the point of view of a mundane existence.Individuals started noticing many things,including very subtle things, in themselves and others which hitherto unnoticed bringing about a positive transformation in the perception of people and the world.
Relaxation of the mind and body and its impact on health and well being, however immensely valuable they are, need not be the only effect or even the universal effect in all people.In fact,one of the ancient Indian Text says 'balance',homeostasis,is the main outcome with such practices.Which means that perhaps among the highly tensed  up group,such as the most of the Western group what with their constant efforts to keep up with the Joneses and aggressive achievement orientation and on whose group initial research on Meditation were conducted,only relaxation from their over arousal would have established optimum arousal and balance.Accordingly, if one is over relaxed, he is also misfit for effective living and hence Meditation to them should increase their arousal to gain balance and be useful to self and others in life! The impact of deep relaxation of mind and body,regaining stability and balance and expansion of consciousness including the experience of fourth(sometimes called altered) state of consciousness can not be underestimated for the physical,psychological and social well being of people and society.
Blog EntryOct 31, '07 9:48 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
Silencing the mind,being in a thoughtless state or enhancing the interval between two thoughts reflecting in behaviour as calm and collected is the essence of Meditation.How is it achieved?Let us take one of the very classical view.The system,human being, consists of body,mind and intellect and a methodology should be such that the activities in all these three components is reduced to the very basic minimum.Accordingly, there are techniques to subdue the body such as various asanas and pranayama,physical exercises such as postures and deep breathing. Mind is subdued by pratyahara and dhyana,withdrawl of sensory activities to inward and meditation.Intellect is quietened by dharana, a focusing.
It may be considered from yet another angle also, which may be more evocative.The Soul is covered with five sheaths,pancha kosha,and they must be matured and harnessed and the yogic techniques can attain that:
    Koshas                                                             Training Techniques
1.Annamaya kosha         Body Sheath                  Asana
2.Pranamaya kosha       Breath Sheath                Pranayam
3.Manomaya kosha        Mind Sheath                  Japa / Dhyana 
4.Vijnanamaya kosha    Intellect Sheath             Trataka/Dharana 
5.Anandamaya kosha     Bliss Sheath                  Experience of divinity

Any meditation technique must address to the quietening of the three component of the human system,a posture to relax the body,a chanting of a sound to quieten the mind and a vision to hold on to tame the intellect.However,some suggest that producing sacred vibrations of sound within,mantra/japa,can produce eventually the quietening of other components of the system and hence prescribe only meditation with a repetition of the sacred sound.
Blog EntryOct 31, '07 9:48 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
It is often said that the purpose of yoga is to quieten the mind - that is always reverberating with thoughts fed by the sensory objects from the external world - to offer space for the inner divinity/wisdom to surface.yet, at the same time, it also offers optimum condition for effective perception of external reality as well. In fact, the eight limbs of Patanjali Yoga just provides such a possibility.
1.Yama : Self-restraint consisting of being non-violent,truthful,non-misappropriating,religious studentship and non-possessiveness. These are universal norms unconditioned by place,time and class.These contribute to a guilt free mind that can attend to the objects unhindered psychologically, an essential condition for perceiving the objects.
2.Niyama : Observance that are well established such as cleanliness/purity,contentment,a burning desire,self-study and surrender to the Universal Reality/God. All these enhances alertness and keep ready for the task ahead.
3.Asana : Posture that is steady and comfortable is essential for any prolonged activity of perception.Experiments have shown the erect posture contributes greater span of attention.
4.Pranayama : Regulation of breath.Shallow and faster breathing come in the way of accuracy of perception.Slower and deeper breathing freshens the mind and quietens the body to attend.
5.Pratyahara : Withdrawal of the senses from its object toward its opposite,i.e.,inner awareness.This process help overcome external distraction,another condition suited to perceptual activity.This process culminate in the control of sensory activity.
6.Dharana : Focusing on the object of perception, binding mind to a space.With the complete readying the body and mind to the perceptual activity with the above,mind is now ready to concentrate on the task.
7.Dhyana : Meditation,a steady and continuous flow of attention towards the directed.This is the core of perceptual activity.
8.Samadhi : A higher state of consciousness in which the object of meditation engulfs the meditator,appearing as the subject,where self awareness is lost. Here, with the fusion of subject and object, the object of perception is illumined objectively,as things as they are without biases and prejudices, all of which has already been subdued by the earlier processes.
An ordinary example will illustrate further the employment of all the above eight 'limbs' in perception.Imagine a very loud and strange sound is suddenly heard and immediately we turn our self towards the sound(postural adjustment),breath is arrested(regulated breathing),not aware of anything else in the surrounding(withdrawal of senses),focus on the sound(mind bound to space),dwell continuously on it(mediation) and then the reality dawns(subject/object fusion),not otherwise,not with the opposite process to the  above eight,that would disturb our mind and spoil the perception leading to to false perception too.  
Blog EntryOct 31, '07 9:48 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
Autobiography.              1. INTRODUCTION.
Year 2006. I was in my 64th year of age when I completed my tenure as Vice chancellor of Bangalore University and retired from Service. Many friends asked me to write story of my life. They wanted me to put out my experience as a dramatist during my childhood, as clinical psychologist, as teacher for more than thirty years, as activist in teachers' movement, as writer, as Registrar and later as Vice Chancellor of one of the biggest university in the Country and also, as a spiritual practitioner. Yet it was not enough of a motivation for me to write as they are all past, what use in beating up a dead horse, I thought.
Days passed by and with greater leisure and peace,  mind frequently moved to the past, not as reverie, not to fill the being, but there was a pull from the places, people and events as if they all wanted to speak to me, to complete the interaction of which I had missed then out of my focus on my assumed pursuits. I am feeling that the forest I passed through often during my childhood, the rivers I crossed, the animals I tended to, the people I was surrounded and many more happenings there was something that was there for me I have missed getting it owing to my preoccupation. I have decided to go back mentally there and gauze with all my silence, surrender and humility, and with an apologetic mode for not being total then to imbibe all that was there.
I do not know what 'they' are going to tell me now, I only 'know' that I have been 'called'. The narration to come is the discovery during my re visit.
Blog EntryOct 31, '07 9:48 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
Autobiography -  2. Birth.
Born on 14th November 1942 at a village, Manchale, near Sagar, some ten kilometers to Sagar off the road to Shimoga, but only officially at Manchale, the actual birth took place at mother's mother place, Kanale, a village some fifteen kilometers to Sagar off the road to Jog Falls as the practice is to go for delivery to parent's house, especially if it was the first delivery, as mine was. I was born at midnight on a Saturday. Lord Krishna was supposed to have born on a similar day, they named me as Krishnamurthy, although it is the prerogative of the Father to do so in a naming ceremony based on a standard practice. The practice was to name by father's father name and that was Thimmappa. That became my official name and as is the practice, my name had to become M.S.Thimmappa, M standing for Manchale, S for my father's name, M.T.Suryanarayanarao( his T stands for his father's name, Thimmappa). Yet, even to this day places from my mother's side know and call me as Krishnamurthy only. Those days there was no practice of celebrating birth day, it was considered as Western practice that is picked up here too much later. Some thirty years later, when on job where knowing and celebrating birthday in vogue, I was made to realise it was the birth day of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime Minister of independent India(1947), a very cultured, urbane, visionary statesman. The birthday is celebrated nationally and mine is drowned in it always.
I was born to a rural agricultural joint family. Two cousin brothers, who were no more when I was born, had two male children each and all the four brothers  lived together with their families. There must have been too much of a tension in the family, two brothers belonging to one parent, my father and his brother, and the other two of another parentage decided to part and separated when I as very young, may be three/four years old. They became poorer too with this, their status in the village being devalued a bit as well. There was a struggle to regain the wealth and status, they were toiling hard and I had a feeling that it was telling on my care too. It was permeate with new kind of tension, new kind of hardship.   
Blog EntryOct 31, '07 9:48 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
People I have begun with.
My father M.T.Suryanarayana Rao, was a highly orthodox in religion, used to conduct worship, puja, three times a day, each time after a bath. He was associated with a great sage, Sridhara Swami, with whom he used to travel all over the Country, keeping away from home weeks and months together. He had very little time to look after family affairs of tendering the areca garden and paddy fields. His younger brother, my uncle, M. T. Govindappa, used to take care of all the agriculture part as he was well versed in it too. He was a very short tempered man, used to shout and threaten workers as well as family members. It had become his managerial style and often used to get things that way fairly efficiently. My mother, I was told by my father, was a great pious and noble lady, " used to recite  Bhagavadgita in toto by heart". She died when I was about five year old leaving me and my four year old sister. She died during delivery of her third child, that child also did not survive long. We grew with my grandmother's care who was my father's step mother as my grand father had married second time after his first wife died. My father too married second time after the death of my mother as " he was too young not to marry ". During the vacation we used to go to my mother's place as my maternal grandmother, a widow herself, was deeply attached to me; she used to manage the affairs all by herself. Family upheavals, men preoccupied with their business of lifting themselves to past, pre-partition status, my young step mother having problems of adjusting to a joint family system, our care taken by widowed but harassed ladies - all perhaps contributed greatly to a feeling of an orphan. I was a highly sensitive, labile person  during my childhood feeling bit scared and insecure.  
Blog EntryOct 31, '07 9:48 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
My Schooling Days :

There was one and the only Primary School run by the government in my village, Manchale. All the classes of all the four years of the school was conducted in a single hall, years divided by the rows of benches only and handled by a single teacher. Teacher used to announce classes he conducts before hand directing to the appropriate benches. The teacher I remember there is one Sridhara who was a strict disciplinarian and short tempered. He beat children for slightest lapse or provocation and often he made student stand on the road side in front of the school with a 'monkey cap' on. I was no exception to it and probably more so because of my misadventure in mathematics. I was afraid of him and yet, he was my hero because he used to act in drama a hero's role. My father and uncle were great drama enthusiast and even be called activist. They had established a drama company, Sri Rama Pattabhisheka Krupa Poshita Nataka Mandali, where my father was the Chairman and my uncle used to play a major role in the drama, our teacher being a hero. I have seen drama in endless nights. Besides, my father used to recite at night to the gathering of family members the Bhagavata. There used to be frequent staging of Harikathas at night too. Yakshagana troupe used to visit at least once a year for a week long camp playing through whole of the night. Culture went hand in hand with the curriculum in my school days. There was no Middle School in the village and from now on all most all of my education were done staying outside of my family and village.
Middle School was studied staying in a house of a distant relative, a old lady who had lost her husband without any children, now living with adopted couple, in a place called Mungaravalli, some 10 kms away from my village. I had to travel on foot some five kms to reach the School in Bhimanakone and the lunch was to be taken in another distant relative staying in that village. Later, my sister joined for the same Middle School and stayed in the same place where I was taking lunch. Four years of Middle School was spent that way. The three years of High School was studied in Sagar Town, the only place where a High School was there at that time. The school culminated in,for the first time, a State level Public Examination Examination conducted by the Government. I used to travel on foot from my village Manchale some 10+10 kms. daily, along with a few school mates, amidst thick forest and crossing rivulets in rains and shines. However, the last(third) year, I was put in a community Hostel in Sagar itself to enable me to study longer for the Public Examination. I used to spend my vacation in my maternal grandmother's place, Kanale, reading novels of Tarasu, Anakru and detective stories of Narasimhaiah and Ramamurthy. Besides, we used go on long distance by bicycles to see plays or movies, I also started acting in dramas. Culture, Literature, drew me more and more inward, partly because of not too comfortable outside and partly, the experience of inner being offered greater joy and freedom
Blog EntryNov 5, '08 6:47 AM
by Thimmappa for everyone
Taking Charge of Self!

The joint family was in a state of turmoil being in the process of rebuilding itself after the partition. Family wanted me to stop education after school and remain in home to assist them, I being the eldest son. Schooling, studying living in outside home most of the time has already kindled a vision of a new world for me. I wanted to pursue my college studies and not to get 'messed' up in the agriculture at home. I took the case to my brother-in-law. He was a wealthy man but being the only child could not pursue higher education after his father's death. He could empathize  with me easily and convinced my father to permit me for higher studies, financial constraint not withstanding as brother-in-law would chip in too in this regard. And how well he did, I can never forget.

I joined the first grade college in Shimoga for my Pre University studies in 1957, stayed in a private hostel there. Wanted to take up medical practice but did not get seat in science combination in the first list. On my return dejected and yet hoping success in the second list, I chanced upon a booklet on the pavement shop entitled manovishleshana shastra / Psychoanalysis by Prof. Narayanashastri. It shook me deeply. I never knew a subject called Psychology existed. What is more, I have haunted by a case of Possession phenomenon in the family and several sleepless night I had spent in fright imagining it. Here is a book that unravels the mystery for me, calls it Hysteria, analyses its causes and assures cures. A big weight of fear had fallen from me to realize that ghosts do not exist! Mu future was carved right there, it has to be Psychology. I never bother to look up the second list for science combination. Psychology belonged to Arts stream then. I opted for History, Economics and Logic combination to enable me to take up Psychology for my degree. I felt alone in the decision and yet responsible for myself out of my choice. Perhaps, the bug of 'freedom' started biting me since then