Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Too much to Read

What do you call it when you feel that you are "overwhelmed" by the amount of interesting books, information that is freely available for you to read. I went to this website that let the users download books in PDF, EPub, kindle formats and I felt so uncomfortable seeing the large collection-- Made me bite my teeth.
Just like a bodybuilder who is in a frenzy to build their muscles. Like a thug who wants to beat and get beaten.


Camille Paglia and Alchohol

I love Camille Paglia. I think she is the greatest known women intellectual living today. I agree to most of what she says, may it be civil liberties, sexual repression, Madonna. I wish I can write like her. But she is just an intellectual making philosophical, political arguments and interpretations. She should not be taken for a medical doctor, psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Stupid people should not even think about drinking alcohol. 

Its a slippery slope. Moderate? How much is moderate? Moderate is not going to get what boys want. Boys want to get wasted. Mayo Clinic recommendations are not going to do that. MC also advises alchohol use against middle-aged and young adults.

Paglia says in http://time.com/72546/drinking-age-alcohol-repeal/ that:
Alcohol relaxes, facilitates interaction, inspires ideas and promotes humor and hilarity. Used in moderation, it is quickly flushed from the system, with excess punished by a hangover.
Mayo Clinic Says:

If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Examples of one drink include:
  • Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
  • Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
  • Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
Moderate alcohol use may be of most benefit if you're an older adult or if you have existing risk factors for heart disease. If you're a middle-aged or younger adult, some evidence shows that even moderate alcohol use may cause more harm than good. You can take other steps to benefit your cardiovascular health besides drinking — eating a healthy diet and exercising, for example.


Alcohol make you think stupid and do stupid stuff. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cherish your Stupidity

If you feel stupid, you should cherish that feeling. You are growing up.

There are no shortcuts to intelligence. Heck I don't know what intelligence is, but whenever I feel that I'm stupid or I have been stupid, I feel less stupid. There is a word play here. Intelligent, wise, knowledgeable: different people might interpret the meanings differently. I cant draw the lines.

People with good IQ or people with the ability solve maths are not necessarily intelligent or wise. I don't know the right word anyway. So does people who passes exams with flying colors, getting through to posh universities, doing fancy jobs, with superior language skills.

Becoming wise (not Enlightened) is not a destination. It's a journey.

Most importantly, wisdom without compassion never takes off. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Freedom from Fear :)

Something wonderful happened to me in the bus the other day. As I was sitting in the last row of the bus, the well built man sitting next to me was suddenly looking at a direction, being very inquisitive. When someone does that, others' follow. Me too took a peek-a-book. And in that moment, the well built man put his hand inside my bag. hoping to get out something valuable. I saw it and I, involuntarily,  put my hand on my bag. The man  took his hand out and apologized. Yeah, he was a thief with manners.

I was terrified. I was hoping that this man would follow me around Pettah when I get down the bus. Here is the fun part full of wisdom, the stream of consciousness. I let go. I had couple of 1000ds and, my phone in my bag. But I let go of everything. Whats the big deal. The fear disappeared. I was free from fear.

:) :D

But don't leave the bag open, even a lil bit. It is an invitation for thieves.

~ finis ~

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

9 Facebook habits that annoy the fish out of me

But who am I to judge how other should behave on facebook.

1. Duplicate facebook accounts, and adding me from both.

2. Everybody knows that game request annoy us. So does invitations for facebook pages.

3. Asking to like their photos. I mean get real. How pathetic is that.

4. Tagging on images that are not photos. And doing it a lot.

5. Asking to like photos for charity so that facebook will pay for them. Rubbish.

6. Changing your name to some rubbish is so freaking ridiculous. On top of that having a picture of a cat as the profile pic. Anooying.

7. Adding me to looong, irrelevant chat conversations and filling my inbox.

8. Sending friend requests without profile pictures.

9. Telling others how to behave on facebook. :P I mean, seriously.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Living with Pain by Venerable Visuddacara

by Venerable Visuddhacara

"Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it." - Tagore

Pain is a fact of life and the sooner we learn to live with the better. It has often been said that Buddhism is a pessimistic religion because it harps on the fact of suffering. It has also been pointed out that Buddhism is not pessimistic but realistic.

Refusing to acknowledge pain in our lives does not make the pain go away. Like it or not, all of us have to succumb to old age, disease and death, that is if our life is not suddenly cut off at an early age.

It has also been said that Buddhism is in fact optimistic in that Buddha precribes a way out of the vicious cycle of birth and death and suffering. So there is hope for all of us. We need not despair. We can work towards liberation. Buddhism is actually a teaching of liberation. It harps on suffering only because it has to wake us up from out pathetic ignorance of the unsatisfactory situation we are presently in.

The British philosopher Bertrand Russell put it nicely when he said, "The secret of happiness lies in facing up to the fact that life is horrible, horrible, horrible." The reason is simple. If we know that suffering is inherent in life, then when suffering visits us, we wouldn't be too surprised. Of course we will try to alleviate or overcome it, but when that is not possible, such as when we are having an incurable disease, we can accept and learn to live with it. On the other hand, the person who refuses to acknowledge the fact of sufferings, suffer all the more when he finds difficulty in reconciling with his suffering.

How do we learn to cope with pain? Mindfulness is the key. It can help us to live remarkably well with pain. A meditator, for instance, can observe painful sensations during his sitting meditation. He can "go into" the pain, sort of be one with it. He can feel it. He can observe its intensity. He can see its changes, how like the music in an orchestra, it increases to a deafening crescendo, or how it rises and falls as if in waves. He can watch it calmly without mental pain or resistance.

In such a case, there is only physical pain but no mental distress. One is observing the pain as a mere sensation. One would not identify it as "my pain" or "I am in great pain", or "This pain is killing me. It is terrible. When will it go away? If only it will go away". Such thoughts need not arise; for when mindfulness is strong, the idea of self does not arise. One does not take the pain as belonging to a self. Rather one see it as a mere process, that it is merely pain that arises and pain that passes away. Here, there is pain but no sufferings.

Another condition can be attained ... a condition of ecstasy.  A condition so far from what the people of planet Earthexperience it's not even discussable.

A non-meditator may find this hard to understand but experienced meditators can vouch that even excruciating pain can be watched calmly. Of course, this is not easy. But the meditator who keeps at it will eventually acquire this ability to observe the pain. With repeated effort and noting, his mental "muscles", so to speak, will become strong.

When we can observe pain thus, we will come to have less fear or no fear of pain. And therefore when pain comes in our daily life, we can face it. We can observe and endure it. We can turn it into just another meditation object! We can live and work with it. This ability to cope with pain is a very desirable benefit that comes with mindfulness meditation.

Monks takes robes leaving their worldly pleasures for something that is even more pleasurable. 
In fact, this practice of mindfulness has become popular in the West. In the US, the Stress Reduction Clinic at the Univ of Massachusetts Medical Ctre has for the past 10 yrs successfully been using Buddhist mindfulness techniques to help patients cope with pain. The Clinic runs an 8 weeks' mindfulness course of 45 mins per day, 6 days a wk. The course has been so successful that the Clinic has made a video program of the mindfulness technique. The 1-hr video World of Relazation has become so popular it had been purchased by over a hundred hospitals in America & Canada.

The Mindfulness Clinic was started by John Kabat-Zinn, PhD, an associate Prof of Medicine. Dr Kabat-Zinn who is a meditator is internationally known for his work using mindfulness meditation to help patients cope with chronic pain and stress. More than 4,000 people from all walks of life, incl doctors, heart specialists, executives, businessmen, teachers & judges, had taken part in his stress reduction program using mindfulness techniques.

Patients with problems ranging from headaches, high blood pressure & back pain to heart disease, cancer ; AIDs, had been referred by doctors to his Clinic. One elderly patient who came of a wheelchair with severe pain in his feet told the class on his first day that his pain was so severe, he just wanted to cut his feet off. At the end of the 8-wk course, he had progressed from wheelchair to crutches to cane. The pain, he said, had not changed much but his attitude towards the pain had changed a lot. He found it more bearable after he started meditating.

Another patient who suffered from a series of chronic aliments - hypertension, coronary disease, ulcers, arthritis, lupus and urinary tract infections - coped remarkably well with her pain and stress after taking up mindfulness practice. She slept better, her blood pressure dropped and her symptoms and pain decreased dramatically.

Her story and that of many other patients who found relief or a refreshing new way of living through minfulness had been documented by Dr Kabat-Zinn in his book, Full Catastrophe Living, published in America in July 1991.

In recommending mindfulness practice as a way of reducing stress, coping with pain and finding peace of mind, Dr Kabat- Zinn said, "There are no drugs that will make you immune to stress or to pain or that will by themselves magically solve your life's problems or promote healing. It will take conscious effort on your part to move in a direction of healing and inner peace. This means learning to work with the very stress and pain that is causing you to suffer."

Look at the big picture of the wheel of life. Above it, there is a Buddha. He is pointing, not towards the wheel, but away from it. He is indicating that there is something else - nirvana.

Pain is something we can work with, if we know how to apply mindfulness. Mindfulness gives us mental stability and courage. With mindfulness we can face any situation without fear or anxiety. We can take them all in our stride. Not only will we live well and be a source of good cheer, solace and inspiration to others, we will also be able to die well.

Ven Visuddhacara from Malaysia had written on how one can use Mindfulness to work with pain. It is in one chapter of his book "Drinking Tea, Living Life - Applying Mindfulness in Everyday Life & Critical Times".Below is a condensed version of that chapter.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meditation and Bipolar

As I see it, meditation creates an equilibrium in our mind. Our mind is on a rapid flux. It fluctuates from moods such as anger, depression to bright happiness that prevents us from seeing what's happening around us. Due to these moods we take wrong decisions, make mis-judgements.

In Anapanasati (breathing) meditation, we focus our mind on the breath gradually. First we start by experiences the sensory inputs (what we see, feel, hear, thoughts, perceptions, feelings) as they are. We are aware of what's happening around us. Then we focus on our breath, gradually creating an equilibrium.

The more we are exposed to this equilibrium, we develop a mind that leans towards the equilibrium. It stays there even after we get up from the cushion. Thats the difference with meditation. It creates a permanent effect, unlike meth, although makes you "happy", leaves you with cruel side-effects.

Whatever the biological factors that cause bipolar disorder, our mind also plays a big role in our unstable moods. Except in extreme cases (your psychiatrist should judge that for you), you can train your mind and be prepared for an bipolar outbreak. Theoretically (as I have had not had the opportunity to experience bipolar), the gap between the fluctuations should lesson with meditation. With the continuous practice, the instability will cease.

When life gives you bipolar, you can meditate.

There are so many articles on bipolar and meditation. Please comment if you find good ones.