Today, most people above the age of 35 years are suffering from at least one lifestyle disease. Digestive disorders, sleep problems, and stress are more common than a few decades back.
These primary disorders are the base of severe lifestyle diseases like hypothyroidism, diabetes, hypertension, etc. And this is because of the unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits that we are following.
The Root of Lifestyle Disorders
We have severe defects in our daily routine that interferes with our healthy metabolism. They lower our immunity and makes us more susceptible to diseases and rapid aging.
Most of the people today have no fixed routine or time for eating. They skip their meals when they are hungry. On the other hand, they eat voluptuously when they are not hungry but have time to eat.
Similarly, most of us skip sleep in the night, the natural time to sleep according to the bio-rhythm of the body. Instead, they sleep till late. They miss the healthiest time of the day – Brahma muhurat and an opportunity to reset their metabolism.
Flow with the Nature
However, if we review and re-tune our bodies to the natural biorhythm, we will ensure 100% prevention from all diseases and have a life full of vigor and vitality. Ayurvedic ritucharya (seasonal health regimen), dinacharya (daily health routine), and sadvritta (moral and social conduct) ensure a healthy body as well as mind.
Ayurveda defines the wrong food and lifestyle as the root cause of all diseases. The aim of Ayurveda underlines the importance of a healthy lifestyle. According to Acharya Charak the objective of Ayurveda is –
Preserve the health of the healthy | Treat the ones who fall sick||
Compared to Ayurveda, modern preventive medicine depends mainly on health supplements. It is vague and lacks a precise and natural order of prevention. In fact, it has been only a few decades since modern medicine accepted the therapeutic importance of food or meditation.
Ayurveda is one of the oldest sciences to have an elaborate preventive system. Ayurveda defines the ideal food, cooking methods, and food habits. It defines daily lifestyle (Dinacharya), seasonal preventive lifestyle (Ritucharya), and overall prevention of all diseases by maintaining the homeostasis of the body in all kinds of external conditions (Sama Dosha).
Dinacharya is the ideal daily routine, according to Ayurveda, that should be followed to maintain the health regularly. It constitutes the dos and don’ts for everything, right from brushing the teeth to ideal sleep habits. Dinacharya regimen of Ayurveda specifies even the wood(datun) that should be used for cleaning the teeth by the people of different body constitution or prakrati.
It underlines the importance of having an optimal amount of food at the right time and in the right way. It also mentions various other preventive measures like the use of Kajal (Kohl) for the daily prevention of eye diseases, the use of Ayurvedic nasal drops for the prevention of all the disorders in the head region. It stresses the benefits of the right exercise and sleeps patterns for everyone.
Our bodies are exposed to disease-causing factors every second. And therefore, we must actively prevent diseases 24X7. And Dinacharya makes this daunting task completely effortless! It provides a precise and comprehensive guide to complete health preservation. It is a complete code to prevent diseases daily.
Dinacharya also constitutes “Achar Rasayana,” a comprehensive guide to prevent all mental problems like stress, anxiety, etc. It is the ideal spiritual and social code of conduct that, if followed, can save us from various psychological and social problems.
Ritucharya is one of the most interesting Ayurvedic preventive systems. It is one of its kind as it deals with a preventive regimen for each season.
Seasons affect the body due to continuous changes in the external temperature and the environment. These seasonal changes disturb the physiological balance of the body and can cause severe disorders in the long run. Most of the problems in the body first reflect as seasonal disorders.
Ritucharya describes in detail the Ayurvedic concept of seasonal changes and their effects on body metabolism. It is the comprehensive ayurvedic preventive system that helps the body to adjust seamlessly to the changing external environment and prevent any metabolic disturbances.
Ritucharya constitutes the food habits, ideal food for each season, lifestyle changes to be incorporated with the seasonal changes, and so on. The most admirable aspect of Ritucharya is it’s a proactive approach. It makes the body immune to seasonal changes, instead of treating seasonal disorders!!!
Here are some interesting links related to ritucharya
Therefore, the one who will follow Ritucharya will never fall sick through the changing seasons and maintain a very high level of immunity. Ritucharya is the fountain of youth. The one who drinks from it will stay in the spring of health and youth always!!!
Ayurveda stresses the preservation of natural and unrestricted metabolism. It strictly prohibits artificial control of natural urges.
Animals live in an environment free from social bondage. And probably that’s why they stay free from diseases too. Esp. Wild animals do not have any access to medicines. Still, they usually remain healthy and live out their average lifespan, just because they do not exert unnatural control over their bodies.
However, humans lose a lot in the name of civilization and society. We tend to control our natural urges like thirst, hunger, urination, defecation, etc. very frequently. Due to social influence, we tend to control our natural urges forcefully and hinder the natural metabolic rhythm.
Ayurveda suggests that the body should be allowed the freedom of natural conduct. Most of us today have become insensitive to many of our natural urges like thirst, hunger. We might overlook thirst, hunger, or defecation if we are working or watching TV! This outrageous conduct daily impedes the brisk rate of metabolism and lowers immunity.
All classical Ayurvedic texts have a separate chapter elaborating on disorders resulting from unattended natural urges and their treatment. So, it’s a significant health issue.
Next time you are in an important meeting, don’t be sorry to sneeze or cough!
Satva means the mind, and the term satvavjay is the victory over the mind.
According to ancient Vedic wisdom, the body is nothing but a projection of the mind. If you are a “Matrix” fan, you would agree! And, therefore a sensitive, meditative, and balanced mind is the core of a healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle. It is a healthy mind that is unoccupied by external noise or clutter. A soul that listens to the body and let our social obligations, stress, fear, or anxiety take a back-seat, is the very foundation of perennial health.
Each set of human mind and body has its own dharma – swadharma. Hindus whisper “tvama vedosi” in the ears of a new-born child. It means – you are the infinite wisdom. You see, your soul, your body knows what’s best for you. And a meditative mind can help you to discover a distinct and utterly personalized approach to health. Therefore, connecting with the body through meditation is the ultimate cure to all worldly diseases.
Jivem Shardah Shatam
The key of Ayurveda is balance! and with this key, Ayurvedic lifestyle can enable us to have a long, healthy, and fruitful life. Vedic Sutra “Jivem shardah shatam” means – let us live a hundred years(autumns). Ayurvedic preventive lifestyle, armed with healthy daily routine( Dinacharya), healthy seasonal routine (Ritucharya), ideal mental and social conduct ( Achar Rasayana), and other health habits, is the most comprehensive preventive system in the world.
Besides, these rules are simple and easy to follow. They can be readily observed by the sick and the healthy, the rich, and the poor alike. Ayurveda makes no distinction for imparting health to all. Let’s follow these age-old and time-tested tenets of Ayurveda and live a prosperous and healthful life.
One thought can erase the effect of another. Fear is one
strong thought that can numb other thoughts. And fear works for almost all of
us. We all fear something or the other. Initially, many of us might face
problems with the implementation of mindfulness. And fear can be a good tool to
become more mindful of what you are doing if have more of the fear factor in
Fear mostly affects us in a negative manner. We don’t start
things or continue them because we fear failure to perform. Actually, I am
writing a book on mindfulness more for my own reference in future, because I
have failed so many times, that I have become really good at getting back on my
feet after falling. And I hope that in the future, I will be able to practice
mindfulness for a longer duration than a few minutes at a time. But these few minutes
have such a blissful impact that they can help us keep going in any kind of
The fear factor has worked for me in some cases. I am not
talking about an absolute state of panic. But a small amount of fear, that
amount which prevents you from driving the wrong side of the road or telling
small white lies etc. That amount of fear can bring a lot of difference in the
way we think and act, that too in a positive way.
A mindful person can foresee things going wrong and that’s
the best time to correct them. For example, as I see myself thinking something
negative while cooking, I fear that I am infusing the same thoughts in the
food, with in turn be transferred to my family members eating it. So, while
cooking I immediately correct my thinking, at least when I am putting any
ingredient in the cooking vessel on fire. Whenever I am cleaning or dusting
something, I become conscious of what I am thinking, because it looks like I am
smearing that object with the same thought and it better not be a negative one.
Thoughts are all around us and they create the entire environment of the
positivity or negativity. That’s the reason why things touched by saints are
sacred and places of worship have a peaceful environment.
This somehow came naturally to me and it might work for someone who is more prone to fear than to other negative emotions like anger or greed. I believe that the so-called negative emotions are just emotions and can be harnessed for personal betterment. They can be treated like medicines that should not be consumed as food(in large amount) when hungry(have a vacuum in the mind) but works in a small amount to help cure diseases.
For example a lot of fear before the exam can lead to mental blockage and a big zero in the exams, however a little anxiety can save you from the little mistakes made under the influence of over-confidence.
A complete absence of fear is unnatural in humans. Excess fear is pathological. Therefore, probably we don’t need to become fearless. A person with absolutely no fear can turn himself into a monster. We can regulate the fear and use it as a signal for self-protection, and not allow it to numb us into inactivity.
Imagine that you are an human inhabitant of an ecologically ruined planet and have landed on earth at night. You have no plants, no animals on your planet. Suddenly, you hear a strange sound in the dark, something that you have never heard before. Something strange touches you and you start running for your dear life. Unfortunately, the strange thing also starts to run after you. To your horror, you discover that this thing can run faster than you, can see in the dark and has piercing shining eyes!!!
You might be already dead even before this thing reaches you, just out of fear. There is no need for the scary thing to do anything! Fear will kill you.
But in case you survive to see the strange thing, you might see a dog for the first time in your life. And dogs are loving creatures. If you survive the fear evoked from barking and let out something nice to eat, you might get a most trust-worthy friend on the earth.
You can reach the happy ending, only if you are not dead out of fear already. Little fear for survival can help you think fast, it can help you think out of box, it can help you observe things more keenly and try out things that you would never have dreamt of doing in your entire life!
So fear can be good, as good as excitement, confidence and other virtues. But in the amount proportional to the amount of salt in the food, not more, not less
Most of us drive vehicles almost every day. Even if we are
not actually driving, we travel sometimes in situations when it is not possible
to read or do some other work. These are the small holes in the consciousness
when past memories, or experiences, esp. the painful ones, seep in our mind and
grab our attention. Normally we are not unhappy, sad or hyperemotional when we
are engaged. These emotions are prevalent only when we have nothing to focus
our attention to. But if we are completely focused on the present, we will not
have any space for these residual thoughts.
Now driving needs so much attention. You need to be
careful and alert all the time and this compulsion can create stress of
conflict when your mind wants to focus on something else. We feel stressed only
when we feel out of control when there are too many things to handle together.
When we are worried or anxious, this need for attention on driving a vehicle
has an additional taxing effect on the mind. Driving, esp. on busy roads or
during the traffic jams can be even more stressful. This is the reason why many
people prefer to get driven to work rather drive themselves if they can afford
It is a well-known truth that most of the
accidents happen because of carelessness or due to a lack of focus.
Mental chatter takes over while driving because
driving again is a process that can be done automatically. So there is an
opportunity for the mind to start its chatter. And most of the time this
chatter arises from negative feelings. We constantly try to find a solution to
our problems by constant churning of thoughts in our minds. This churning
eventually deepens our impressions. No solution comes out of such churning. A
phase in Tulsidas Ramayana says “You cannot get butter by churning water”.
Thus all this effort is wasted. This failure ignites anger and turns on the negative
thought process. Therefore, there is a huge possibility that this anger will
turn into road rage if any suitable condition arises. Mindfulness is an
indispensable tool for road safety for us and for the others.
Another evil of driving, road rage is a complete
absence of awareness. It is when the animalistic emotions take charge of our
actions. However, no gross emotion like anger, grief, obsession can take
control of our mental faculty.
Mindfulness is about seeing things as they are. This practice
is helpful for both a normal person and as well as for a person with some
phobia associated with roads or traffic. This type of mindfulness is also
helpful in recovering from some kind of emotional shock or trauma regarding a
terrible road accident.
I have a personal experience related to driving mindfulness.
It can be called be better called an accident mindfulness J
I used to have Luna, a very old model of a two-wheeler when I
was in school. I used to be constantly absorbed in thoughts almost all the time
of the day, even while driving. It was a bad time, my father expired recently
and I used to be very worried about an entrance exam that I was aiming at. I
desperately wanted to pass the exam to make my mom feel happy. However, I
really hated studying most of the subjects. And so I used to be stressed all
the time. When I look back at the way I used to drive as a student, I am able
to understand that miracles do happen; otherwise, I won’t be alive today.
One day, as I was driving recklessly as usual. I don’t
remember what exactly happened before the accidents. That road used to be full
of dogs so most probably some dogs or something else came in front of my bike.
I must have been driving at a high speed. I used the front brakes to stop the
bike and the rear wheels went up in the air, throwing me in the air (I used to
be very thin and underweight). And suddenly I was flying! It was a moment that
I remember vividly. I can still feel that moment. I felt as if I could change
anything at that moment, in fact, everything will happen according to me. I
could hear the whizzing of my bike, the rushing air, and all sorts of sounds
and still, it was all very quiet as if this realm of sound is a very small
piece of a huge existence. That moment felt like never-ending. I did not feel
fear or joy, or anything at all. I was not numbed with shock. I actually felt
and still remember each and every detail, as if it is all happening right now.
I feel on the divider of the road on my back. I should have fallen on my head.
I remember one of my acquaintances had a similar accident. She hit the road
divider hard and broke both her legs. I
don’t know how I was able to turn in the air. I did fall on the divider but
fell on the muddy part. Only the end of my backbone hit the hard cemented
border and it did pain for a few days.
Since that accident, I have never had any fear of accidents.
Nor do I get angry or anxious during a long wait on a jammed road.
We see in movies or animation how ninjas are able to jump
from a mountain and land safely on the ground. Or walk on trees as if they are
walking on the hard ground. Or jump long distances or even fly in the air! Now
I think that it is all possible. With mindfulness, you can enter into the
control room of nature and make the laws of nature work your ways.
How to practice driving mindfulness.
mindfulness, we can have 2 situations – one when we are driving a vehicle,
another when we are sitting in a vehicle and have absolutely nothing to
Like all mindfulness practices, here I am providing
a set of standard rituals for driving mindfulness. However, mindfulness is a
completely personalized experience and I hope that these basics can help you
find your own way eventually.
The steps described below are akin to a staircase for
reaching an understanding of driving mindfulness. It also helps us to
understand that mindfulness can become as natural to us as breathing. We
breathe all the time and do not have to set aside some time for it, like the
way we do it for meditation.
Be aware of your hands turning the keys of your car. Feel the
steel touch of the keys. Consciously hear the starting sound of the car.
Observe if it is different from other days.
Feel your hands on the steering wheel.
Observe carefully what is in front of you without thinking
anything good or bad about it. It is unnatural to suppress thoughts, however,
you can be so focused that the thoughts don’t grab your complete attention.
Feel the car and your body moving to different directions as
you start driving.
Feel the air moving inside the car (if the windows are not
If you are too engrossed in useless thoughts or are feeling
negative, try listening to your favorite music (preferably light and positive
If you are mentally relaxed, try not to put on the music and
just be aware of everything around you.
Feel the metallic keys as you stop the car. Feel the subtle
push forward as you stop your car.
The mind is like a servant who behaves the way he is trained.
If you have trained your mind to think without any objective, then it will keep
doing so. In the process, it will drain your energy. Let us take the example of
a friend who talks incessantly. If you continue to hear his blabbering, it
increases in volume. But if you treat his endless chatter like an uninvited
conversation and stop paying attention to it, gradually the chatter dies
Initially, you will start noticing objects and your mind will
present you with unrequired thoughts and ideas.
For example, if you happen to pass by a beautiful woman
wearing a hot red dress, your mind can give you thousands of thoughts about
her. But if you just notice the chatter without doing anything about it, it
will end. There is a huge difference between noticing and paying attention.
When we listen to a toddler blabbering or a car engine starting, we just notice
the sounds produced. We just acknowledge their presence without actually doing
anything about them. We don’t respond to them in any way, neither do we think
about the sound of the baby or the car engine, unless there is something really
peculiar about them. But when we are in a business meeting, we are actually
paying attention. We consciously retain and mentally process all suitable
information that we come across.
“Vivek” or discretion to choose the rights things to process
is the process as well as the incidental result of mindfulness. Through
mindfulness, we are telling our mind that there is no need to process
everything. We can choose what we want our mind to process. Thus ‘Vivek” is a
mental scanning process that accumulates useful information for the mind to
process. And it can happen only in the space provided by mindfulness.
Such “Vivek” is a 100% protection against any kind of
accidents because there is always a way to avoid them. With mindful driving,
you would connect with the cosmos and always know the right thing to do, under
It is not a great idea to expect instant mindful experience
when you are a beginner. It is natural that above mentioned is the exact
situation when you will need mindfulness the most! But let us treat mindfulness
like a tree. You cannot expect fruits immediately after sowing the seeds. So
let us not allow this tender seedling to wither away in hot and dry conditions.
Gradually, as you sharpen your tool of mindfulness, you will be able to
experience mental normalcy in the most drastic situations. Therefore, if you
are just out of a hot business debate in a disturbed or angry mood and driving
back home, it is better to cool down with light music or jokes, rather than
trying to apply mindfulness.
This is a situation when you are not exactly driving a medium
of transport but are being transported, for example, a train or a bus journey.
There can be situations when you don’t have anything to do. Instead of too much
use of electronic gadgets like mobile phones, laptops etc. on such long
journeys; you can try to practice traveling mindfulness.
The following steps can help you to get a glimpse of
traveling mindfulness. In the end, mindfulness is mindfulness, whether it is
applied during traveling, sleeping or eating!
Feel your movement as you move inside a train or a bus.
Notice yourself walking towards your seat, parking your
luggage and getting seated. It can be a haphazard or relaxed process.
Observe yourself seated in your place.
The most important factor in mindfulness is that we don’t
have to focus our attention on something outside. We have to treat ourselves as
a part of the whole and try to mindfully observe the whole!
Some people face travel anxiety. They fear the travel, about
turning off the lights in the house, about forgetting important things on the
journey, about losing things. They might be suffering from travel anxiety. They
might also fear fatal accidents. These fears spring not from the immediate
reality but from some deep-seated prejudices or disturbing past experiences.
But if you are connected with your present moment, such useless thoughts or
emotions will fail to grab your attention.
With the constant practice of mindfulness, you will observe yourself in a relaxed and unhurried mode while traveling. You will fail to forget important things to keep like the train tickets or to switch off the electronic appliances or to make important phone calls before traveling and so on and so forth. You will be able to apply a travel plan almost up to 100% in real life!
I would like to share my personal experience as a new mom. I
did not see very small children being brought up from close quarters. So I had
a faint idea that child care might be problematic but it was much more than I
could ever imagine. My daughter had feeding problems initially. All I could do
was to see her cry with bloating. I tried everything – hot compress, herbal
remedies, allopathic medicines, but 3 months were complete hell for me and my
little princess. Sometimes, I was so depressed that we used to cry together and
there used to be no one at home. There were times, when I would keep wiping the
floor, keeping washing and drying the clothes, and keep cooking, because I
didn’t know what to cook so that my daughter would eat it willingly. My daughter
was actually underweight; however, it is a common problem with new moms that
they are always anxious about the well-being of their children. The obsession
to be a “good mom” and provide the best possible for the baby, is
quite prevalent in first-time moms. And
I can safely say that this can trigger a deep sense of failure and depression –
postpartum depression. Even while writing this, I am filled with a deep sense
of regret that my daughter suffered all that in spite of all my efforts. This
is good enough to push someone in a bout of depression. Thankfully, I have
learned to be mindful about it!
Therefore I personally believe that new moms must equip
themselves with mindfulness training with a special focus on cleaning
mindfulness because they might find themselves doing that most of the time. It
is extremely important to be mindful during the cleaning process – otherwise
many such ideas like
I am good enough for doing this only
This is all I have now in my life
I am not able to give enough time to the baby because of the
No one cares to help me etc. etc.
– might pop up in the mind and continue to grow. So it is important to be mindful of the passing moment and try not to judge the entire life on the basis of a phase of life. It takes a lot of patience to see the whole picture and most of us might lack that.
Mindful Cleaning for Children
This is the reason mindful cleaning should be taught to
children. Mindful children will not fumble for things that should be done. They
will not be confused between the right and wrong choices. They will not waste
their time on meaningless deviations and save the precious years of their
Mindful cleaning for children must start with decluttering. Every
child should be taught to decide how many toys he/she actually wants to keep.
This is common knowledge that children normally do not play with more than 10
toys at a time. You might be hoarding a lot of toys because your child might
play with it someday. But let me tell you, that day might never come. So it is
a better idea to teach your child to choose carefully what she wants to keep.
And let her donate the unwanted toys to some charitable organization. This act
of choosing will make her aware of many things. First, she will know what she
loves best, it is a rare knowledge. Most of us grow into confused adults as we
never face such choices day in and day out. Our lives become overwhelmed with
confusing options just like the heap of unwanted toys that we never decided to
do away with. Children learn that there is limited room, as there is limited
time in life. And it is important to choose the best and keep it, instead of
hoarding all unwanted stuff which will hide the things that you really love.
Once the best-loved toys are selected, it becomes easier to get children to clean as picking a few toys from the floor is not a daunting task. Besides, children can be made aware that if they do not choose to pick up a toy, it will be considered that they don’t need it and the toy will be taken away. This is another level of awareness, where after a point in time the child will lose interest in a particular toy and will not choose to spent time on managing it. This also makes the toy storage area a constantly changing and exciting place, where the child will find only his favorite toys and not a heap of junk. These children, as they grow up, will be freer, more flexible and open in their approach towards life. They will not get stuck with any specific thing, person or experience. They will not spend their life trying to hoard things or money. They will be able to mindful clean all aspects of their lives.
One of the most basic processes that we all engage in is the
cleaning process. Cleaning is not only related to home-making. Each one of us
does some or the other kind of cleaning in our daily routine unless we are
filthy rich. Even if we are not cleaning our home frequently, we might be
cleaning our study table or office cupboard or organizing our work desk. It can
be any type of cleaning.
Let me give you my background regarding cleaning. I must have
been the messiest kid and a teenager. It would take me a festival or some other
occasion to clean my clothes or my desk. My books would be scattered all over
and my study table always resembled the site of an earthquake. But I considered
it natural, in fact authentic. I used to think that only the ones who study
would keep their tables messy. After all, I had all the important work to do in
the world. And cleaning was definitely not one of the mentally exciting things
that I would like to focus on. I thought that there is nothing sensible to
focus on cleaning and it must be delegated to lesser brains. Now I can safely
say that I have improved my thinking. I love cleaning now. It is a fundamental
process to our healthy and happy survival and I really respect the process of
cleaning now. Love of cleaning led me to accept minimalism. Minimalist cleaning
hardly takes any time as there is not much to clean J . And now
what I do is mindful cleaning and really enjoy it.
Now it is my personal experience that normal cleaning
activities like dusting, mopping the floor, dishwashing, laundry etc. can be
done easily without active supervision of a conscious mind. Besides, these are
normally considered to be second-grade no-brain activities. many people tend to
procrastinate cleaning activities unless it is absolutely necessary to clean
up. Therefore, these are the activities where we can easily turn off mindful
attention to the task at hand and drift into the imaginary world of thoughts,
emotions, and imagination. The mental space that these activities provide can
easily attract a lot of negativity if we are not careful.
There is always so much funny stuff available about the
grumbling housewife or the homemakers.
Why do they grumble so much? Probably, this might be so because these
people normally have a lot of the above-described activities in their daily
lives. In fact, their whole day can be full of cleaning and decluttering if
they have small kids at home. They can spend their full day doing odd jobs that
are not mentally challenging and inspiring. Thus the mental vacuum or numbness
that builds up gives enough space for all kinds of thoughts. Unfortunately,
most of these thoughts can be negative as a homemaker does not earn money,
might not be considered important enough or sharp enough to engage in any other
intellectual pursuit. It is natural that most of the time; such life can
trigger lack of self-identity, loss of self-respect and depression. Therefore, it is especially important for
home-makers to practice cleaning mindfulness.
I have described below the way I try to maintain mindfulness
while the cleaning activities like the kitchen cleaning, washing and drying
clothes, wardrobe cleaning, floor cleaning, and other odd jobs. I am sure that
there can be better ways and I hope that we find them together.
Some tribal cultures have the practice of removing all
useless things before the new harvest season begins. They throw all such things
in a bonfire, dance around it and celebrate their harvest! These people are
mindful of what they need and what they don’t, unlike us. We are told what we
need by the advertising and marketing agencies. We have almost nil awareness of
our real needs. Therefore, mindful cleaning starts with the process of
decluttering. Physical decluttering can be used as a good example later for
The first big step towards mindful cleaning is decluttering.
If you are cleaning mindfully, you will ask yourself “why am I cleaning this
thing?”. You should look for a sensible
answer. The next mindful question that you can ask yourself is “why do I own
this thing?” or “does it brings joy to me?” or “is it really useful to me?”. I
used to have a lot of show pieces that I collected from my travels. After my
daughter was born, it became a real pain to be able to maintain all of
them. It took me 4 long years to realize
that I don’t want them. They might look nice but if they come at a cost of my
priceless time that I could have spent with my daughter instead of cleaning
them, I don’t want them at all. They offer very little value for the time spent
on cleaning them. I gave away all of them, every single one and now I never
Another big cleaning happens around the clothes. I used to
have cupboards full of clothes, just because my mom was very fond of buying
clothes. And she would keep buying my gifts. Besides, I kept storing all the
clothes so that I would wear them SOME day, which actually never came. I highly
recommend reading Marie Condo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of
Tidying”. There are youtube videos also available, that will give you a
zest of the book. I sincerely wish that I had read this book year back. I would
have so much of my time and energy on senseless work. Cleaning is not senseless;
however, there is nothing more idiotic than mindless cleaning.
I knew that we should throw away the things that are not
useful to us. But I would keep clinging to things that I would be able to use
ONE day. So my rooms were full of such things and never looked clean in spite
of all the cleaning. There was not
enough space. I failed to realize that I need to keep things that I am going to
use frequently and not all the things that are usable in some way. After a few
years of failed attempts of cleaning, I came across the documentary “The
Minimalist” and it changed my whole life. I loved the idea and made a
strategy to achieve minimalism. Actually, it was my strategy of getting rid of
excessive anger, might work for you too. I started throwing 5 things per day
that I have not used for more than a year. Over a course of 6 months, I donated
some 35-40 suitcase full of clothes and other usable things to a nearby
orphanage. I felt so relieved and free immediately. After 6 months I could see that my house
remained clean without doing any extensive cleaning. It was because there was no trash left in the
house. I was blind to the trash in my house and I was trying to manage trash
instead of cleaning it up. Mindful awareness of my real needs helped to figure
out what I really need and remove the rest. Marie Condo, the tidying expert
suggests onetime cleaning which is actually the best way. However, if you do
not have the moral strength to do that, go by “5 things out every day” method.
This process really makes you more mindful o the things that you value and
would want to keep at home.
Once the house is properly decluttered, you must be mindful
of anything that is not required in the house. Such things are believed to
block the natural flow of energy in the house.
In Indian tradition, it is believed that Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth
comes to the home which is clean and pious. And interestingly, the broom is
also worshipped during the worship ritual of Lakshmi. Therefore, cleaning is
more than a mindless job.
After the mega-decluttering of the house, I believe that you
need not spend more than 30 min cleaning the entire house, that too when you
have a small messy child at home.
Initially, I would several ideas running in my mind,
especially that I am losing time in cleaning and that I should be using this
time to earn more. But I flipped that idea into another belief that as I am
dusting my things or mopping the floor, I am removing dirt from my good luck.
As I shine my house, my fortune will shine as well. With thorough faith in this
idea, I became completely aware of the way that I am cleaning. I am attentive
to the fact whether the things are getting cleaned properly or not. This
thought works for almost all of us because we all face little financial crises
here or there. When aligned with prosperity, cleaning becomes far most
important than it would appear otherwise. Since I have few prized possessions
that are useful to me after a massive decluttering, I really have time to clean
and manage them properly.
Again gratefulness helps a lot to stay in the moment. When I
am washing my daughter’s favorite plate, I feel grateful that I have a
beautiful family, an adorable child, good food and comfortable life! Positivity
connects everything in life, just as negativity does. This feeling helps me to
be more aware of the pretty plates and other utensils that I have.
When I am mopping the floor in a mindful state, I am aware of each and every inch of my house. My house looks like a living entity in its own right. I work better and faster. What’s best is that I have less work, since I know what I should do and what I don’t need to. Mindfulness might not help you to work fast. However, it sure can sweep away all useless things and work from your life and you are left with few crisp and clean things to do.
The walking mindfulness is a part of Zen, Chan Buddhism, Korean Seon, and Vietnamese Thiền. There are two types of meditations – sitting meditation and walking meditation.
Almost all of us are aware of the concept of sitting
meditation. Walking meditation is a complementary form of meditation to the
sitting meditation. Walking meditation was meant as a meditative break from the
long slots of sitting meditation. It improved the blood supply after sitting
still for a long time.
I used to be completely unaware while walking. I used to be
so much lost in the thoughts that once I was about to put my foot on a crab, as
I walked back home with my family to my house. It was a dark rainy night and I
was walking as usual, lost in my thoughts. In fact, I often used to walk while
thinking. So walking was a side thing to do for me as I thought. My imagination
was the way for me to get out of my uninteresting or sad state of affairs, as I
used to perceive it then. Now, I believe that I must have wasted so many years
just walking and thinking. I thought so much that I was left with neither
interest nor energy to do anything else. It was an absolute waste of time. Now
I feel that I could have saved so much of energy and time I only I could just
be present. What I did was completely opposite to the walking mindfulness. It
must be mildly true for many others, who start strolling as they think about
something serious. It normally happens when you feel an urgent need to do
something about your problems, but since you do not know what to do, you start
walking. It gives your mind a false relief of doing something about the
problem. Also the physical exertion takes away much of your stress by releasing
the anti-stress or feel good hormone. Gradually, it might become a unproductive
habit that is like a drug. It gives you a imaginary escape into an imaginary
world of comfort, whereas the real problem remains unsolved.
Walking mindfulness is but walking meditation in other words.
Normally, when we are walking we are looking or thinking
about something. At least, we look or think about the destination where we are
going. Most of the time, a person in the frenzy to reach somewhere, will
overlook the path. On reaching the desired place, if you ask him about the
things that he saw on the path, he would hardly remember any. But in
mindfulness meditation, there is awareness of the path, of the footsteps,
flowers or greenery on the roadside. With an aware mind, when you pass through
a path, you really are present with every step. You can even hear the crunching
sound of the dry leaves as you put your foot on them. This is mindful walking.
Walking mindfulness can be practiced anywhere. It is great if
you can practice in a place that you love. It can be a spot of natural beauty,
or a temple or even your own house. Initially, if possible you can choose a
place that you love. However, your house might be the most convenient place to
start. The most helpful application of mindful walking can be in the office. In
an office, normally the people are sitting in a sedentary position for a fairly
long duration. Besides, it can help very effectively in managing the stress
during office hours.
Walking meditation can be practiced while walking from one
room to the other or on a mountaineering expedition.
Let’s look at the way walking mindfulness is experienced.
Now, this is a personal experience. There are no steps or ritual for practicing
Be aware of the tension in different parts of your legs and
your body as you get up or take the first step.
Be aware of the surrounding sounds and voices.
Be aware of your foot-steps and the pressure on the soles of
Be aware of chatter in your mind. No need to stop it, just be
aware of it.
Let us share my personal experience of mindful walking. I
could not get into the desired college for graduation and one day I was
extremely miserable. I just walked up to the window of the corridor in my
college during a break and looked out of it. For 10 sec as I walked towards the
window, I could feel my feet touching the ground. I remember even the sound of
the birds chirping, leaves rustling and normal hubbub of college extra clearly.
And as I looked out of the window, it was the most beautiful sight. Suddenly,
the leaves of the trees appeared extra bright green, the sky was a beautiful
blue color and everything looked so bright and colorful. I realized that I have
eyes. Realization is always different from information. I knew that I have
eyes, just as I know that India is my country. However, this fact hit me deep
inside that I have eyes. Realization is a living thing, which makes it so
complete. It meant that I could see! It meant that I should be grateful that I
can see when many others can’t. It meant that the world is so beautiful and
colorful and I should be grateful to be living in it. It meant that I actually
never saw anything, that my eyes were never connected to my soul. My eyes have
been put to no better use than the optical hole of a camera.
Many people who have had NDE(Near Death Experiences) state
that everything looks extra bright and vibrantly colored in heaven. I still
remember that sight from the college window and I believe it when I hear that
heaven and hell are here on earth itself. We just don’t have the right
Mindful walking can bring amazing insights into our lives.
Sometimes, even a small incident of mindfulness can change the entire outlook
of an individual.
Apart from benefits in the spiritual and mental realm,
mindful walking offers multiple other benefits. Mindful walking is a great
exercise for dancers, acrobats, sports people as well as home-makers and office
workers. It is good to support posture and gait improvement.
Mindful walking can prevent a lot of pedestrian accidents on
the road. Combined with mindful driving, the accidents can be reduced to almost
Hope this simple exercise benefits you and helps you to reach your final destination!
Sleep is one
of the 3 pillars of health, according to ancient Indian medicine, Ayurveda.
Therefore, good quality of sleep is indispensable for good health.
Unfortunately, most of us have improper sleep on most of our nights. There are
many reasons for improper sleep, hyperactive brain, stress, anxiety, fear,
anger, and other negative emotions can drastically degrade the quality of our
sleep. Sleep quality is not great for most of us and the reason might vary from
person to person.
of sleep cannot be compartmentalized as a separate part of our day. We cannot
switch on good sleep after a bad day. Ideally, It can be an incidental result
of a peaceful day. Therefore, moment to moment mindfulness helps to create a
deep rejuvenating sleep at the end of the day. it is better to correct an
emotional slip within a few minutes, rather than planting it as a thorny bush
in your mind and letting it grow till the night. Therefore, when all religious
texts ask us to forgive the mistakes of others, it is more for our immediate
good rather than anyone else’s. No one sleeps better than a forgiving
sometimes we do have very bad days. Sometimes, it is difficult to forget or
forgive some people immediately. But it is always possible to steer away from
the sad memory and find a safe emotional place to tackle it. This is not an
escapist approach. In case you have your house on fire, you would first get
away from the fire and then try to put it off. There is no sense in standing in
the middle of the flames and trying to find a solution. Even if you don’t
follow mindfulness the whole day, saving emotional stress is a great practice
not only to ensure a great sleep but also a very peaceful day. Find more about
it under the heading – anxiety and anger management.
You might have
ample justifiable reasons for bad sleep. But let’s not dwell on the reasons for
long. In order to remove the darkness, we do not need to think of its reasons;
we need to focus on lighting the lamp. Let’s make a resolution to improve the
quality of our sleep and have a fresh look at the following awesome ways that
we all already know about.
Ways to a
The right time
The best time
to sleep is a few hours (2-3 hours) after the sunset. However, we can make our
own time table according to our convenience. However, it is important to be
punctual for the bed. For many people, night appears to be the most relaxing
time, when they can actually focus and work. Many people work at night and
sleep during the day. But the long term effects of this unnatural behavior are
bad health and rapid aging.
workaholic people are not able to stop working or thinking about it even during
night time. However, this extra mental exertion hardly gives us anything except
the satisfaction of extra time devoted to work. Whatever is important and worth
thinking can be worked upon in 5 hours of daytime. All extra hours we normally
put in work might results in low productivity over the years. Looks like
these extra hours work on the law of diminishing returns. They constantly
decrease in productivity as they increase in number. Therefore, it makes sense
to halt the work when it is time to rest.
sleep as important as a business meeting and pay equal respect to it. Let us be
mindful of the important role sleep plays in our lives. We are truly in the
hands of God, when we are sleeping. In ancient Indian tradition, sleep is
considered to be a goddess that rejuvenates all the creatures. When we are
mindful of sleep, we can approach sleep as a pious ritual instead of a
by-product of daily metabolism.
In spite of
all kinds of problems in my life, I have had a very peaceful sleep for most of
my life. This was sole because of a feeling of gratefulness that I had while I
went to sleep. I am averse to cold things, cold weather or anything cold.
Therefore, when I went to sleep at night and I had a warm blanket to cover
myself, I felt that the blanket is actually God’s love that covers me. In
childhood and teenage, most of my days were not great. As I used to lay in my
bed, I used to feel so happy that the day is over now and I have no liability
for tomorrow as no one knows about it. Only when I got a job and I had more
than I ever had, I forgot about this subtle ritual and gradually drifted
towards sleepless nights. I forgot about the blanket, as I started taking it
for granted. Instead, I kept thinking about all the things that have gone bad
and all other things that might go worse. I drifted to sleep in a resentful and
angry mood. And what followed was even worse. When I hit the worst possible,
then I remembered about the blanket and the warmth that I have always had. Now
I feel that we invite problems because we fail to learn and improve without
them. I could have gone from good to great, but I chose to move in a downward
spiral because a few things were not going according to me.
gratefulness is the single most important quality that can change your
perspective about things, make you happy and peaceful in a moment, and feel
abundant and satisfied.
music is a great way to move towards sleep time if you are tensed or
frustrated. It makes sense to start playing a devotional song or soft music
that you relate with the sleep time. For example, if you have to get into bed
at 10 pm, you can start playing the music by 9.30/9.45 pm. Gradually, your body
will start responding to that signal and immediately relax on hearing the
specific music. This especially works in case of toddlers and babies who have
problems falling asleep.
The body scan
is an amazing way to relax the body just before sleep. It can be completed in
less than 5-7 min. It is another method to become mindful about the body and
consciously choose to relax.
A short and
gentle body massage with a moisturizing lotion or oil can be very relaxing
before bed. Body massage is another great way to become mindful about the body.
You can be mindful about a specific part of the body as you move your hands
around it. You can feel the soft skin, throbbing of the heart and rigidity of
the bones. You can also become more aware of the stress, pain, inflammation or
any other mild sensation that was not felt during the day as you were engrossed
in your work. You can massage the painful body part and suggest to your mind
that the pain is gradually getting healed.
Now let us
assume that after your nighttime rituals, you are finally lying in the bed.
Normally, most of us are thinking about some random thoughts and we move into
sleep unconsciously. However, sleep is a doorway to our unconscious and
subconscious mind. If we can sleep mindfully, we can have a dip in greater
consciousness. If we are unaware of the sleep process, we might sleep with a
negative emotion or a useless thought. Ancient Indians believed that the
thoughts that we sleep with get registered permanently and form sanskaras or
mental blocks. Therefore, it is advised to remember god or a higher
consciousness as we sleep. You can start mindfulness by remembering God before
sleep, just notice the thoughts passing in your mind. Consider them like cars
passing through the road out of a window that you are looking out. You do not
focus on any specific car, you do not judge where they are going or coming
from, you do not try to imagine who might be sitting inside, none of these. You
just watch the cars. They might just make a pretty spectacle to look at that.
Zero complexity. In a similar way, you can look at the thoughts passing your
mind. As a matter of fact, we might never know why a specific thought appeared
in our mind. There is an endless connection of past events that we might be
oblivious of. The reasons that we can think of appear as a result of a
structured reasoning process of our mind, sourcing facts from conscious memory.
Therefore, engaging deeply with any thoughts is as mindless as thinking about
who might be sitting inside an unknown red car. So just be aware of the
thoughts, no reasoning, no fusing, no justifications; just simple observation.
This is mindfulness.
As we become
more mindful, strong unresolved thoughts will start emerging at bedtime. It is
important to remember this that this is not a degradation of our practice, in
fact, it is proof of advancement. Now we are rid of general chatter and have
dug deeper into our consciousness. The thoughts can be about a painful past or
about uncertain or dangerous future. Sometimes, it might look justified to get
involved with the thoughts.
example – you are invited to watch a video on a life-size screen. Everything
appears lifelike, but you know that it is just a screen. However, you see the
image of a very dear friend or your family member approaching. It is quite
possible that you might forget for a while that it is just an image, not a real
person and you might try to strike a conversation with the image.
I had an
experience while meditating. Years back, when I was a little child, my
grandfather slapped me very hard for not listening to him. My grandfather was a
very strict person. He was visiting us for some time. Till that time, I was
almost never beaten at all by my parents. And it was a very stark and painful
experience because I did not understand why I was beaten. And nobody said
anything about it. But I forgot this experience and never recollected it.
However, while meditating I remembered this incident as if it was happening
right then and there. I started crying. I could see that I felt lonely and left
out. I could feel the situation. I started thinking about the experience again.
I felt resentful towards my parents, grandparents and almost everyone around me
in a chain reaction. I did wrong. This is not the way such experiences can be
handled. They re-emerge to seek an answer. Now it does not have to be a
physical or a material solution. In fact, all real solutions are basically
threads of acceptance. So what I should have done was to accept that IT
HAPPENED. As I accepted that it happened, I could see that my grandfather
basically meant good. The thrashing was the only way he knew to communicate
something serious. Probably he had a very high temper and was mentally
handicapped in that way. This is what he must have been treated like as a child
and never grew beyond it. I remembered so many good things he had. He was
extremely honest, hard-working person. He was generous and always helped the
poor and needy and so on. All these complimentary thoughts can emerge as we
open door to them. If I choose to think negative, I will be able to dig out
equally potent reasons. The essence is even the good thoughts are not to be
fused with. So there is no need for me to reason that since my grandfather was
a good person, he did well by slapping me. And probably I can do the same to my
daughter. The essence it – IT Happened, period.
painful thoughts that might emerge in your mind at times during the day and
esp. before sleep – are just thoughts! They just happened, period. It takes
time and patience to achieve this goal and to be honest, I am far from it. But
the only benefit that I might have is that I know it when I make a mistake. And
it helps to steer in the right direction. So, let’s just focus on the fun with
mindfulness every day instead of trying to achieve it as a target.
prevalent thoughts that I face during sleep are thoughts about the future.
Thoughts on the future are far more compelling because the future is something
that we must prepare for. It can be a fairly compelling argument that if we
don’t think about the future, how are we going to be prepared for it? The
general procedure to deal with overthinking can be something like this –
thinking, esp. overthinking can only deplete your mental energy and leave you
feeling drained. How are we going to work in the future if we feel mentally
depleted? So there is no need to think, or better stated, worry about the
future. These are 2 logical extremes of thought station. You can choose either
one of them and you will find yourself to be equally correct. However, with
uncertainty and unpredictability of life, this 2 logic will keep changing and
you will be oscillating like a pendulum between them. No peace!
mindfulness, we have the midway, the central stable point when the pendulum is
not moving. The power to rest in Mindfulness is the weight of the pendulum. And
we all know that heavy pendulum needs more force to get destabilized from its
resting position. More mindful you are, the greater the force it will take for
any problem to move your mind into chaos. So accept that the future is
uncertain, it is unpredictable, it can be even dangerous.
The queries of
mind are not real. They are assumptions, like the factor x, in order to solve
the equations of life. The conscious mind has limited memory and processing
capacity. Therefore, it is not wise to expect the best results from it. It is
like expecting a digital calculator to be able to print a document. However, if
you accept this limited capacity, you will have fewer reasons to be affected by
mental chatter. You will be able to notice it without reacting to it, just the
blabbering of a baby. We hear it, we respond to it, but we don’t try to find
any meaning in it. Nor do we try to suppress it because it is meaningless. So
mind is saying” tomorrow I might get a promotion” – or “ I might get
fired”. These might also be practical possibilities for tomorrow. However,
there is no need or no gain by fusing your thoughts with emotions. For example,
feeling happy at the first thought or feeling sad at the second one is fusing
with the thoughts and proving that they are real. Thoughts are like souls, if
you acknowledge their presence and believe in them, you can give them body.
they can get really powerful if you give affirmations to them over and over
again. Most of our phobias and manias are basically strong thoughts. They are
so strong that we are not able to handle them. And their seeds can be sown very
effectively while going to sleep. So it is extremely important to be mindful
while going to sleep, even more, important than being mindful in the
might face extremely strong thoughts about the past or about the future and you
might get swept away. I had a huge fear of death since I saw my father pass
away at a very early age. Sometimes, when I was frustrated and scared as a
teenager, I would have thoughts about death while going to bed. The negative or
positive thoughts that are attached to a real incident in life can be very
difficult to tackle. They look quite real and possible. At that time, I did not
know anything about mindfulness, but I devised a way to be happy at bedtime. I
would shift my attention towards more real things, like the blanket, bed or the
fan that I have and I am comfortable at night. I have a home and I have a bed
to sleep. Besides, I started to believe that sleep and death are the times when
you meet God. So I would imagine a very loving God who is going to take care of
me as I sleep. This was super strong imagery. In fact, I was always the
happiest as I went to sleep.
The point is
that when you have super-overwhelming emotions already attached to some
thoughts, you might find it difficult to practice mindfulness. So you can take
help of love and gratitude. Ask yourself the question – “is it happening right
now?”, we can be grateful that we have a peaceful time right, even if something
wrong is bound to happen. “what are the
good things that I have right now?” or “what are the good things that have
happened to me?”. Past positive experiences are always the best staff to hold
when you are emotionally shaky. These questions will help to bring yourself
back to the present. After that, you can practice your normal routine for
I would like
to share one practice that significantly helped me improve my emotional
stability. You can find more information about it on
This practice helps to clean the impression that we have collected during the day. It is believed that the sanskaras (the mental blocks) formed during the day are processed by our brain during the sleep and they solidify in our memory. If we are able to remove such mental blocks before they become registered in memory, we will have a clearer mind. Now is it possible to remove the blocks by giving yourself a suggestion that they are getting removed. I believe yes, because you can remove thoughts with another thought of cleaning. Hope that the cleaning process helps you as much as it has helped me!
Now most of us are drifting far away from cooking
every day as more and more ready to cook or ready to eat options are available.
There are far more eateries and restaurants that were there a decade back. The
food business is one of the industries growing at a very fast rate.
As the families became smaller and women started participating in the workforce, the cooking started to look more like an extra activity that should be avoided if possible. Everyone wants to use the time otherwise spent in cooking for more useful pursuits like more working hours in the office. More working hours mean more money, a better job, promotions and so on and so forth. Cooking became completely dispensable as compared to the latter because cooking for the family was not earning you anything. In many western countries, people now prefer to eat out. Cooking is applicable more to restaurant chefs than to anyone else.
Their change was not completely wrong. Initially,
as women started working, they had petty jobs with a small income. They could
devote enough time to their jobs as well as their household work. But as women
started getting better and more time-consuming work, cooking and household took
a back seat and cooking suffered.
Most of us face stress because we have lost the experience of basic survival. We unconsciously depend on more and more possessions in order to live. And most of our time is consumed to acquiring and maintaining the same. Unfortunately, now most of these requirements are superficial and complicated. For example, a second car, a larger house with an extra guest room(even when there is no one to visit us), an expensive trendy dress etc. etc.
We have lost touch with reality. A person can live his full life in a few hours’ time inside a video game but the reality is not like that. When a kid brought up in the world of mobile phone, video games and television is exposed to the real world where one has to work with his/her own hands, where it takes time to cook food and eat it with his own hands, wash his own clothes etc., he might get a rude shock. Most of the people bought up in a virtual world employ most of their time and energy to acquire enough resources so that they can escape the real world. We want a dish-washer, washing machine, automatic cooking systems to save more time. This saved time we will then spend in front of the TV or mobile phone. This orientation is making us oblivious of the world around us and more and more self-absorbed, self-centred. We want more resources to preserve our ignorance.
Anxiety, stress, anger, greed and all most all the
mental vices emerge from this state of preserved ignorance. Our desires become
unreal, when they are not fulfilled we get angry and stressed. This unreal
world creates a secret fear of the unknown.
Cooking is not a woman’s or homemaker’s job. Cooking is an essential process for human survival.
In ancient traditions, was considered to be a pious or religious exercise. In ancient Indian culture, it is compulsory for the cook to be peaceful and happy while cooking a meal. Also, one should refrain from eating or cooking when anxious, sad or angry. It was believed that the negative energy of the cook is absorbed in the food and reaches the consumers. Recent experiments on the concept of water memory confirm the same. Water kept in a certain atmosphere and exposed to different kinds of prayers and music confirm that even water absorb the negative and positive vibrations.
This is probably the reason why people would eat in religious gatherings and the food was considered to be divine. At the same time, it was considered inauspicious to eat in the local eateries as the cook might have mind on his mind while cooking. It is supposed to drastically change the quality of the food. Also, earlier it was considered inauspicious to eat in the house of a corrupt person because the quality of earned money will attract food ingredients with bad vibrations and such food will bring bad luck and ill health.
Therefore cooking as important as a religious ritual and should be treated as such. For most of us, because of a hectic lifestyle, cooking is akin to defrosting a frozen meal or assembling a ready to eat a meal. Or throw in some ingredients in a pot. Most of the cooking is thoughtless and soulless. It creates more restlessness and anxiety. So it is there an exponentially growing spiral of mindless cooking and increased stress. Mindful cooking is something that you can practice. It will result in 2 benefits at the same time – the practice of mindfulness and soulfully tasty food.
Imagine yourself cooking a simple vegetable curry. As you wash the vegetables, be aware of the dirt and how the water is removing the dirt. This vegetable is getting ready to be incorporated into a higher life form. It is going from plant life to human life.
These are some of the ideas. You can have your own interpretations. Gradually these interpretations will make you more aware of the work that you are doing. Careful observation will become a habit. It will happen with natural childlike awe that we had once we were toddlers.
Some ideas and interpretations of small acts of life help us realize the abundance of already existing meaning in life, rather than going in an endless futile search for it. The essence of life is to “know thyself” and not to “make thyself”. Ancient proverbs and precepts very beautifully convey the great philosophies of life. For example, there is ancient Indian saying – karat karat abhyas ke Jada mati hoye sujana, rasari aavata jata hi Sil par parat nisa. The proverb means that through constant practice, even a dull mind can become sharp, like the way even a soft rope can make a mark on the stone by constant rubbing. (Rope of the well can make a permanent mark on the stone wall of the well). Now, thousands of people must have used the rope for pulling water out of the well, but one in millions with an aware mind can observe a philosophy on a stone wall.
Another proverb from Kabir says that the ones who go in the deep waters are able to get the pearls, but the people who keep sitting on the shore out of fear of drowning, get nothing. These simple sayings underline the wisdom that the eternal truth is all around us if only we are able to absorb it. Mindfulness can make simple things in our lives more meaningful. Such a life is incidentally peaceful and happy.
This blog aims to bring out some of the subtle beautiful thoughts that are woven in our daily chores.
A most common problem that people have while following any kind of meditation is that they are not able to find time to do it. Meditation is advertised as a physical process in which we have to sit quietly in a certain position for some time. It is natural to feel awkwardness and futility of such a process when 20 other jobs are pending. I realized this after my daughter was born. I have been an ardent follower of meditation for the past 20 years. I joined the meditation centre as a teenager. And meditation really brought the magic in my life. All the best decisions that I have made in my life can be dedicated to the effect that meditation had on my mind. Also, meditation helped me reconcile with the things that went bad or the mistakes that I made. However, I was stuck with this idea for a very long time that I need to find some quiet space and sit for some time with my eyes closed. And with my daughter, it was next to impossible. Leave alone closing my eyes, I could not even sit in one place for a few minutes. It must have been my inexperience in managing babies that led to my woes. But even with all my inexperience, I would have managed things pretty well if only I were more present. I used to worry endlessly about every other thing, right from finances, the future of the family to the rip in my shirt. If you decide to worry, there is absolutely no dearth of plausible reasons. I would often think that if I am able to meditate all my problems would vanish, but I was not able to do that. Even when my daughter was sleeping, I would fret over what to cook as my daughter was severely underweight. Besides, I took it on myself that since I am at home I should become the wonderful mom and the wonderful wife and the wonder chef etc. etc. I have always been a target oriented person and such people are always able to find some or the other target to fret upon.
For some time, I tried to chuck away the other work and
meditate. I thought that this will improve my efficiency and I will be able to
do everything quickly. But the impossible load of work that I took on myself
did not reduce. In another attempt to find a way, I left meditation completely
and started trying to finish the unending house-work. Nothing improved. I was
short of time, short of money and full of worry. If I were more mindful at that
I time I would have realized what I did realize after I learned mindfulness. I
declutter my house, reduced my possessions to the really necessary once, stop
collecting trash for some use in the future, and reduced the unnecessary
chores. Instantaneously, my life became more manageable, and more importantly,
more meaningful since now I was spending more time in things that I loved. All
this was only because of mindfulness. But because of mindfulness, I started
accepting the right advice that was always present around me.
I was always anxious that the food will be awful, it will
take more time, I have so many other things to do. And as a result, the food
was always awful, it was never done on time and I was always confused while
cooking and ended up redoing my dishes many times over. I believe that I could
have finished my cooking in ¼ time than what it actually took me to cook a few
Since childhood, I had a notion that cooking is a very
difficult thing. At the time I got married, I hardly cooked anything except
instant noodles. Besides, I feel that the discomfort and lack of confidence was
the only culprit for all the troubles that I have facing regarding cooking. I
always feared some or the other mistake while cooking. Therefore, I had no
enthusiasm while cooking. Instead, at the time of cooking, I would always think
about all the things that went wrong and that can go wrong in the future. And
obviously, my food lacked the attention it deserved; hence it always carried a
terrible taste. I am very grateful to my kind and loving husband who ate my
highly unpalatable food for so many years, without any complaints!
My cooking transformation started with a habit to listen to
motivational videos during cooking. I was finding it very difficult to focus on
cooking without thinking something negative. It was a very difficult time as I
was facing serious emotional problems at that time. So I decided that instead
of thinking something negative while cooking, I would try to focus on some
sermons that I liked a lot.
As I started listening to all the inspirational videos, I
started to look forward to my cooking time, as it was an opportunity for me to
do something that I liked, instead of something that I feared. After a few
months, I became more relaxed. There were certainly ups and downs. I would hate
anyone to watch me listening to videos or make any remarks because I was
already fired up at that time. So I would wake up early morning and cook for
the whole day. There were multiple benefits to this approach.
My cooking was done more patiently
My mind was geared up with a motivational speech for the
entire day to come.
I would make a new positive resolution each day and try to
stick to it.
I was free of frequent cooking the whole day and had more
time to play with my daughter or do things that I really loved.
This was the positive spark that stimulated a chain of
positive changes. I started reading and listening more often to positive and
useful videos. One of my main problems is that my house was always untidy. But
while browsing endless videos about cleaning, I found Marie Condo method of
decluttering. It was there online all the time, but I was not looking for it. I
was able to keep my house clean with hardly any effort. I started registering
all the positive things that I did each day. Every day I would read my past
entries and they would make me more and more confident.
Since I had more confidence, I started to be more aware of my
surroundings instead of cowering into my imaginary world for protection and
comfort. This is the first step to mindfulness that I learned. This sequence of
events worked for me as sometimes you might be too deep in your woes to have
willingness or space to try out anything new. You will have a unique sequence
of positivity, just be mindful of the positive signals from the cosmos.
As I became more positive, I became more attentive towards the sermons. The negative voices in my mind became fainter. They are still there but much weaker than before. I became mindful of their triggers. I decided that these thoughts are like advertising links on a website and I can choose not to click on them.
The first step towards mindfulness for me was to avoid fusing
my identity with an undesirable thought. For example, if I get a thought
“I should throw my trash in a public area”, there are 3 ways in which
I can react to it.
How can I
think of such a mean thing?
It can be
done as many others are doing it.
as useless thought
Mindfulness is about choosing the right response. I still
struggle to choose the right response. But at least now I know which way I am
If I choose the wrong thought, there will be a current of
similar thoughts. It is exactly like the way the internet works. If you view a
spiritual video, it will suggest more of them. If you view a porn video,
similar suggestions will start floating. And sometimes, similar thoughts can
stir your emotions and provoke you to fuse with the thought process. So when
you fuse yourself with a thought of anger, you become angry. For example, if
you choose to fuse with a thought “all blacks are criminals”,
instantaneously your mind will supply you with enough evidence and information
confirming the given fact because there is always enough supporting information
for all kinds of beliefs.
If I choose a positive thought, for example, “all blacks
are kind and generous”, I will be equally at fault. The only difference in
this perspective is that previously I would be creating troubles for the black
people, but now I am vulnerable to the few wrong black people because of my
blind faith in all of them.
Mindfulness helps me to be more in touch with the current
reality. In a mindful state, I will be able to get out of my cradle of
prejudices and see a person as he is. So I will be cautious of a malignant
person, whether black, white or yellow. At the same time, I will respect a
benign person, whether young or old and mellow. The mindful state is the
ultimate blessing that God can bestow on us.
Gradually, I started noticing my process of cooking without being anxious or nervous. I started getting a better estimate of salt, sugar and other spices. It is still far from being perfect, but now I know it better than before. I could cook faster and better. The food was tastier in general.
With mindful attention, after a few months, I no longer
needed sermons to get rid of the negative thoughts. However, I was still
anxious about the time I was spending over cooking since I had many other
things that needed urgent attention. Mindfulness still helped me here in an
incredible way. I was trying to find a fast way to cook elaborate meals. Mindfulness
helped me see a clearer and more comprehensive picture. No one needed elaborate
5-course freshly cooked meals in my family. But I took it on myself as an
essential criterion for being a good wife. Also, I unconsciously blamed my
husband because I assumed that he might want that. In reality, he wanted a simple
easily cooked and tasty meal after which we could watch TV together. Dreamlife!
Only it appeared too good to be true. Sometimes, we develop strong prejudices
as children that might leave us logically handicapped for a lifetime. It took
me a long time to accept and absorb that life can be much simpler and pleasant.
Fortunately, I am able to see the truth with the help of better observation and
more acceptability. The practice of mindfulness really helped me get over this
and many other mental blocks that I had in my mind.
And the most important and enabling discovery of all was that
I was able to practice mindfulness without closing my eyes in a separate quiet
place and specific time. I realized that the only condition for life to proceed
smoothly is flexibility with balance. This is a practice which can become as
habitual as breathing itself. And the permanent state of mindfulness can
elevate us to the level of divinity, just as breathing (potential of an active
energy exchange) distinguishes living things from the non-living.
This discovery set me free. Now I could meditate anytime,
anywhere and without any physical limitations. The only thing truly required is
the willingness to practice. The moment you desire, you are in the state of
mindfulness. One of my spiritual teachers Babuji used to say that for
spirituality, you just need to turn your head from one side to the other – from
material to spiritual direction. And yes, it is really so easy!
So now I don’t think that I don’t have time to meditate or a
quiet place or enough resources or a meditation guide. I don’t need time or
anything else to meditate. I just need to be ready and I am there.
It might take time and it might require some patience. But it
is like an experience of a really good coffee. Once you have it, you will be
able to replicate it in your own kitchen after some trial and error. But just
keep trying. It is true that troubled people are blessed ones. I kept trying
because there was no other way, no other option than to try. And because of the
igniting fuel of all the emotional problems I had, I was determined to find a
I have not reached a stage of perfection. I still fall, but
now I get up and get going faster than ever before. My growth has become
multi-dimensional. After mindfulness, I started better house-keeping, trimmed
my work, read multiple motivational books, implemented kaizen and Kanban
techniques in personal life etc. Thanks to my husband, we have completely
changed to organic vegan food. Now I
note in my diary one positive change that I made every day and fortunately, I
do have many positive changes to record every day. I suffered to find out that
there is no need to suffer. Hope that this book helps you to skip or reduce the
unnecessary suffering and open your eyes of wisdom.
The ayurvedic hypothesis is that the food items listed above diminish digestive fire and release more toxins than nutrients during their digestion. The only person with extremely good digestion power is able to absorb proper nutrition from them. Let us assume that consuming the above-listed food is like putting damp wood in the fire, which takes a long time to get burnt, produces a lot of smoke while burning and still might not get burnt properly. Only a very strong fire can burn the damp logs. A weak fire will get extinguished by them.
Food that should be used rarely
Food cooked in a mixture of milk and curd/yogurt etc.
Pork (Red meat)
Beef (Red meat)
Buffalo meat (Red meat)
Urad Dal ( Black gram)
Also, it is important to note that according to Sutra rule, the foods listed above are more harmful than the foods listed below. That means a mixture of milk and curd is the most dangerous in the entire list, worse than even beef and pork.
Milk and Curd (yogurt) Mixture
According to Ayurveda, milk and curd are different in the constitution and so is their digestion process. Milk is sheeta virya (cool temperament) and curd is ushna virya (hot in nature). Milk is an almost neutral emulsion and curd is acidic.
Let us imagine the cooking (digestion) of rice in two different forms. If we cook completely raw rice, mixed with already cooked rice then the cooked rice will get overcooked and lose its nutrition. If we focus on the cooked rice, the raw rice will not get cooked properly and will not be absorbed if consumed.
When something does not get properly absorbed in the body, it starts to putrefy and produce contaminants. Thus, digestion of milk and curd together produces incompatible substances, which might not be easily absorbed, thus producing more toxins.
This mixture should not be consumed at all. If consumed, it should not be more than once a month for a young and healthy person.
Cheese is made from adding acid(for example – lemon) to the milk.
According to Ayurveda, Cheese (Sanskrit – Kilat, Hindi – Paneer) is a good food for people suffering from insomnia (with good digestion). Cheese is heavy to digest but nutritious. It promotes semen and muscle formation and balances the vata dosha.
According to Charak, colostrum, cottage cheese water, or cottage cheese is for the people who have EXCELLENT digestion. There are very few people who can claim that today. Therefore, you should think twice before you consume cheese. Besides, even if you have a great digestion, cottage cheese should not be consumed every day.
Consumption of other types of cheese that are aged is better than eating cottage cheese. But even the aged cheese (like Cheddar, Mozzarella. Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) Pecorino etc.) should not be consumed in heavy quantity (example: pizza, cheeseburger etc.)every day. No wonder, the cheese was rarely used in earlier days. Now-a-day, in any party or celebration I can find cottage cheese in almost half of the menu. Such food is the cause of our low immunity towards all diseases.
Ideally, you should consume cottage cheese only once or twice in a month if you are young and healthy.
Consumption of beef is highly restricted in Ayurveda. It is important to note that beef is mentioned to be used only in specific diseases like the vataj disease, chronic coryza, recurrent fever, dry cough, weakness, excessive digestive juices in the body or certain muscular disorders (Charak Samhita – S.S-17/19). However, the word “only” is very important here. It should be used “only” in the above diseases.
Pork is considered “guru” or hard to digest. This single quality should make it a fairly undesirable food for most of the population. It is not dry in nature like the Urad dal, but if we have to compare the 2, pork will be at least a 100 times harder than Urad dal to digest! Again, it is can be used in certain diseased conditions but definitely not every day.
Buffalo meat is again Guru or very hard to digest. Besides, it causes excessive sleep and obesity. Similar to beef and pork, it has many good qualities. It is unctuous, hot temperament and gives strength and stability to the body. It endows enthusiasm to the mind. But because it is hard to digest, it should be consumed only once in a while.
These foods are like medicine, they help when consumed in some specific conditions and kill when consumed every day. Consider antibiotics, they are good, but you cannot eat them every day! According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, red meat like beef and pork might have a carcinogenic effect on humans, with possible risks for colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, Gastric cancer, and prostate cancer.
You should consume any kind of red meat once or twice in a month if you are young and healthy. Also, you should refrain from red meat during the rainy season. Red meat soup with few meat pieces is the best preparation that is the easiest to digest in all seasons.
Digestion is the door to health or disease
According to Ayurveda, digestion is the key to health as well as disease. Digestion is the main route through which the nutrition can enter the body. It is like the assembly line which processes the raw material to the finished product. But if the raw material has defects, it will not only produce an imperfect end product but also derail the normal functioning of the assembly line.
Heavy food is like an impure raw material that requires more resources and time to produce the same end product – energy and nutrition. This naturally makes the heavy food a low-profit bargain for the body. You should not stay in a low margin business if you have to thrive. In fact, it has more possibilities to be a loss-making transaction for the body (toxins from undigested food). Therefore, we should make sure that only the most profitable food goes into our mouths.
This is a hypothesis according to Ayurveda and more research is invited to verify the truth.
Please find the details on curd, fish, urad dal and sorghum in the next blog.