Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Daily cleansing for the mind

"Success isn't about money or fame. Success is living a life you feel proud of"

All of us take bath daily, may be even twice daily, to get rid of the dirt, grime, germs and all the unwanted things from our body's outer surface to keep ourselves healthy. However, we never try and cleanse the mind, which harbours more deadly poisons that could destroy us very easily. Most of us wonder as to where the human mind is, knowing full well that we can not see the mind as we see our hands or feet. The mind is an integral part of the body and resides in every cell in the subatomic quantum level. This quantum concept of the mind explains many of the intricacies of the mind that were hitherto a mystery and did not come under scientific scrutiny. With the advances in quantum physics, the realization that the mind (consciousness) is the one which observes everything, even in the most complicated scientific experiments. The "Schrodinger's Cat Hypothesis" and "Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle" have brought to fore the importance of the observer. Each and every experiment depends on the eye of the beholder. No physicist has seen the Lepto-Quark, the last bit of the atomic split, although most have felt its impact.

Mind only feels what the external sensory organs see and observe. Human body has between 50-100 trillion individual cells, each of which has its mind at the cell wall with the antennae ready to receive signals from the universal consciousness (universal mind). The cells in different organs might look different but work identically, each one capable of all functions that a human being is capable of. These human cells, which lived independently for millions of years, came together for economic reasons. It makes good sense to come together and assign special jobs to groups of cells (organs). While every human cell loves another cell in the body, these body cells also love other living creatures' cells.

The mind, thus defined, is the source of all our thoughts that, in turn, direct all our actions. Actions and reactions being equal and opposite, our actions beget their consequences; good as well as bad. There are basically two kinds of thoughts-positive and negative. While the former help the growth and development of the organism, the latter, the negative thoughts, are now known to be at the root of all our ills on this planet, beginning with the simple common cold to the deadly heart attacks, strokes, and even cancer, the all pervasive destroyer!

Study after study of the risk factor hypotheses has revealed the vital role played by negative destructive emotions on the major killers. The Johns Hopkins' student study, the London White Hall study, and the Scandinavian study of men with heart attacks showed the major role played by frustration, hostility and depression in this disease. Similarly depression, with or without treatment, came up as the single most dangerous predisposing factor for growth and maintenance of cancers, with anger as the leading cause of stroke! The simple summary is that it is not what one eats that kills him, but it is what eats one that kills him.

Having thus made sure that it is the mind with negative thoughts that is at the root of all human ills, let us try to find out the source of those negative thoughts and the way they could be cleansed from the mind. Man is born with only two basic instincts-the instinct of self-preservation and that of procreation. The rest of our instincts are acquired after birth. The innocent God-like child has a mind full of universal compassion and love along with the other two necessary basic traits mentioned earlier.

 All the negative emotions are fed into our minds after we come into existence. In the name of civilization our environment makes an effort to inject all these negative feelings, basically related to the monetary economy that we inherited in the last few hundred years. Our ancestors that lived in the forests for thousands of years were innocent people without any of these negative thoughts but could have been physically more cruel when in danger. Emerson was not wrong when he said, "if mankind would have an end it would be as a result of our present civilization." Today man's greatest enemy is man himself!

The basis of monetary economy is competition. Competing with others is mediocrity, but competing with oneself is excellence. The present society has evolved to respect money and power, thus making man hate another of his species, even when not in danger, leading to unhealthy competition. In a quest for achievement we drive our younger generation into the bottomless pit of hatred. Our educational system does not inculcate values in the young mind. Spiritual quotient is as important as the intelligent quotient and emotional quotient in education but the first and the last are totally missing in the present system. When the negative feelings have taken root firmly, even if one realises the mistake, it takes a long time to flush one's mind of those devils.

For the future generation at least the educational system, for children below the age of fifteen, should avoid competitive ethos. For all of us who have been brought up in the existing system, a different approach needs to be thought of. How do we cleanse our mind of the poison already inside? Spirituality (not religion, lest it should be misinterpreted by vested interests) has many antidotes for the negative feelings in the mind. Spirituality is simply sharing and caring. There are enough scientific studies available today to show how this seemingly simple method could have such profound changes on the human mind. 'Yogic' breathing techniques that use abdominal breathing (belly breathing) methods in place of the inadequate upper chest breathing used by most of us in this busy world, caught in the day-to-day rat race, would make a world of difference.

The method of belly breathing brings on basically two changes inside the system. The first is that it reduces the rate of breathing. This in itself improves tissue oxygenation, reduces heart rate, decreases aortic pressure (thereby blood pressure) and also reduces the pressure in the pulmonary artery taking blood out of the right heart to the lungs. While aorta takes blood out of the left heart, the pulmonary artery does the same to the right heart. Both sides, thus, get relieved of their extra load to that extent. This has been shown even to help patients with advanced heart failure.

The second change happens in the amount of lung tissue that is available for air exchange in the lungs when one takes a deep slow breath using the abdomen. In this method when one draws air inside the lungs, the diaphragm moves so far down into the abdomen pushing the anterior abdominal wall forwards. The lungs now distend fully and oxygenate the blood many times better than in the shallow breathing of anxiety and stressful living. Although this effort, twice a day for as short as fifteen minutes, does a world of difference to our well being by soothing the nerves reducing negative thoughts, making a habit of using belly breathing routinely is a great help! The body's wisdom, in those of us using shallow breathing, compensates the loss of oxygenation by increasing the functioning of the heart to pump that much more blood every minute to make up for the loss of lost lung area. This latter is the cause of all misery. Shallow breathing, therefore, increases heart rate and blood pressure to make one feel tired easily. This is like burning our life unnecessarily.

Inadequate oxygenation of the brain added to the above sequence leads to perpetuation of negative thoughts. One small example would suffice. When you are very angry ask someone to watch your breathing and ask them to remind you to belly breathe for a while. If you did that you would be surprised to see how quickly you get rid of the hatred that brought on the anger in the first place. Many a time you wonder why you became angry at all. Anger and danger are but just one letter (D) apart. Anger and happiness are but a few belly breaths away.

Regular breathing exercise added to a session of shavasana for ten minutes makes you very tranquil and could bring on good sleep as a bonus. Philosophic outlook in life with the awareness of the insignificance of the human organism in the working of the macrocosm would make one humble, reducing pride and jealousy that eat into our minds. Hostility is our biggest enemy.  The above simple methods help get rid of all the dangerous negative thoughts

Regular physical exercise, especially outdoor walking, enjoying the bounties of nature en route would add to the perks. Diet enriched with fruits and vegetables could be an added bonus. Small regular meals four to five times a day help keep the internal environment within the limits of healthy fluctuations of the multifarious functions of the body.

Mind could never be forced to do anything but could be indirectly taught to be tranquil through regular breathing exercises and following certain simple rules of the game. Man lives for others. Helping others is the rent one pays for the comforts one enjoys in society. Molecular biology has taught us that even the thought of helping others brings on favourable changes in the cells of the immune system to prevent diseases! Praying for others is very effective as shown by a couple of well-controlled prospective studies done in the US. In addition, praying for others helps one to see life in a better perspective. It gives purpose to life and makes life worth living, avoiding depression. The latter is the greatest epidemic of the West these days. Breathe away to happiness and glory! Bath for the mind consists in daily replacing our negative thoughts like hatred greedy, jealousy, anger and pride with positive thoughts like compassion, camaraderie, co-operation, empathy, and enthusiasm to work and love.

"Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot"-Thomas Moore, Irish writer

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former vice-chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])

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COMMENTS

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

Resp. Dr Hegde.
Reading your article is like lisrening to a speaking bodhi tree.

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CLEANSING.
BUT BASIC ANIMAL INSTINCTS REFLEXES DO POLLUTE THE PURITY OF THOUGHTS. AS YOU RIGHTLY SAY ABOUT NEWTON'S LAW.
BUDDHA HAD TO WORK TO GET THE GYAN AND THEN NIRVANA.
OTHER RELIGIONS ARE FOR TREATING SYMPTOMS. THE GUILT THAT EATS IS A SIN AND YOU SHOULD GET RID OF IT AS PER MANY PHILOSOPHIES RELEGIOUSLY FOLLOWED BY SOME RELIGIONS. SOME GO TO FATHER AND CONFESS. SOME FOLLOW ANNUAL RITUALS TO ASK FOR PARDON AND START A FRESH. SOME SAY IT NECESSARY IN THE NAME OF RELIGION TO HATE NON BELIEVERS, BLASPHEMY AND CARRY OUT BLASTS.
THIS IS COMPLEX WORLD.
AS SOMEBODY COMMEMTED. ALL VIRTUES LIES IN WEALTH.
We have body and soul in it. FOR SOUL IT IS ESSENTIAL TO BE CLEAN. CLEAN ALL THE TIME BUT BODY NEEDS SO MANY THINGS TO KEEP IT RUNNING.
THEORY AND PRACTICE OG KEEP MIND BODY AND SOUL HAS TO BE PROPERLY BLENDED.
SIR I MOST HUMBLY PUT MY THOUGHTS TO SEEK YOUR BLESSINGS IN REPLY BUT STILL WAITING TO BE DIXITISED.
PRNAM
RB PUROHIT

nitai chandra ray

5 years ago

Thank you Dr. Hegde for showing us
the simplest ways to cleanse our
mind as well as body .
Reading the article is just like
taking a dip in the pure water
of the Ganges at Haridwar .
Please provide us a discourse
on the effects of antioxidants
like MATILDA AF .

Bidup

5 years ago

With respect, I beg to differ. A person's success/capability is measured only in terms of the wealth acquired and NOT otherwise.This is indeed the accepted norm in the society, notwithstanding the existence of the laws to tax incomes, etc. It is ultimately the question of the survival of the fittest-and the fittest are those who own much more than any other person on the earth! One can't "buy"good education, procure good job or pay requisite bribes to get everything--even legal dues--done. It is money alone that determines the position of a man, as was written thousands of years ago even in KATHASARITSAGAR.
Sorry, Prof. Hegde. You are in a different world.

REPLY

Narendra Doshi

In Reply to Bidup 5 years ago

Dear Bidup,
Read your comments which did not like even ONE word of Prof Dr Hegde and here I am whi LIKED AND BELIEVES every word of it. In fact, I thought and experienced that even if I miss one word of it, I will be missing many interpretations, so well linked and articulated by Shri Hegde.
Each of us is entitled to have his view and at the end one may die happily while the other probably may not be able to have his last breathe in peace and also thereafter.
It is a matter of choice to live either way.

Inflation rises to 7.2% in April; vegetable prices shoot up

Inflationary pressure, driven by prices of food articles, will keep the pressure on the government to remove supply side bottlenecks

New Delhi: Inflation moved up to 7.23% in April on account of spurt in prices of vegetables, meat, milk and pulses, although onion and fruits showed a declining trend, reports PTI.

Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was 6.89% in March. In April last year, it was 9.74%. Vegetables turned costlier by 60.97% during April. In March, the rate of price rise in vegetables was 30.57%. Pulses were expensive 11.29%.

Milk became costlier by 15.51%, while rice and cereals turned costlier by 5.68% and 5.8% respectively. Prices of potato too rose by 53.44%. Besides, eggs, meat and fish prices rose 17.54% during the month, slightly lower from 17.71% in March.

However, as per the official data released Monday, inflation for the overall food items category was 10.49% in April, as against 10.66% in March.

Onion prices declined (-)12.11% in April. The rate of decline was (-)24.23% in March. Food articles have 14.3% share in the WPI basket.

Inflation in the price of manufactured goods increased marginally to 5.12% in April, from 4.87% in March.

The headline inflation number for February was revised upwards to 7.39%, from the provisional estimate of 6.95%.

Inflation in overall primary articles inched up to 9.71% in April, from 9.62% in March.

On year-on-year basis, among manufactured items, iron grew dearer by 17.98% while edible oil prices rose by 11.10%. Inflation in tobacco products and basic metals was 9.48% and 10.72% respectively.

Non-food primary articles, which include fibres and oilseeds increased slightly by 1.61% in April. In March, it was (-)1.2%.

Inflation in the fuel and power segment was 11.03% on an annual basis. The rate of price rise was 10.41% in the previous month.

Experts said the inflationary pressure, driven by prices of food articles, will keep the pressure on the government to remove supply side bottlenecks.

Overall inflation hovered at double digit for most of 2010 and 2011. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hiked key policy rates 13 times, totalling 350 basis points, between March 2010 and October 2011 to tame inflation.

Since January, RBI has resorted to injecting liquidity into the financial system, by reducing Cash Reserve Ratio for banks. Besides, it has called for fiscal steps by the government to combat inflation.

However, in its annual monetary policy last month, RBI cut key lending rate by 50 basis points to lower borrowing costs amid falling industrial and economic growth.

RBI has projected inflation to be around 6.5% by March 2013, with a caution that it will remain sticky and there is need to arrest the decline in economic growth.

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Futures and options have stopped trading suddenly on NSE

NSE said there was issue with order inflow, which is now resolved, but there are still some problems in order confirmation. Dealers do not confirm this

The trading on National Stock Exchange seems to be facing critical technical issues. According to brokers, they are unable to do any trading in  futures. Trading in all futures products such as Nifty, Bank Nifty, CNX IT, newly-launched FTSE etc are frozen since 1.36pm. Traders are unable to place execution orders in NSE F&O segment.

Apparently, there was some hint of trading resuming at 2.12 but this has not happened. According to traders, they are still not getting any confirmation for their orders. In addition, there is a big gap between buying and selling. In fact, it is showing reverse figures, the traders said. The quote that is shown on NSE shows the best seller at 4875 while the best buyer is at 4893.60. 

At around 3.10pm, the markets have started to move upwards. However, due to the problems in the system, the Nifty shorts are trapped and may suffer losses.

According to NSE, the order inflow was not coming through and therefor there were no entries. But the issue has been resolved. The traders can place orders. However, there is an issue with the confirmation, which they are trying to resolve at the earliest, said Divya Malik Lahiri, spokesperson, NSE over phone.

In a press release issued in the evening, NSE said, "An erroneous order cancellation request was received by the trading system today ,which disrupted the execution process. Concurrently, there was a malfunction in the network layer. These led to the interruptions in the derivative trading system today."

"It was therefore required to start the process on the contingency machine for the market to function in an orderly manner. The contingency machine was pressed into service in a short span of time and matching continued," the bourse added.

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