Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Alpha State and Meditation

Since the invention of the electroencephalogram (EEG) in the beginning of 20th century, scientists have been able to measure the electrical activity of the brain. Our brain pulses and vibrates like everything in this Universe.

The brain pulse is measured like sound in cycles per second or Hertz. Brainwaves are categorized in 4 categories : Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.

Your normal waking state, which is characterized by brain rhythms of 14 cycles per second and above,. In this state your mind activity is a veritable can of worms. The higher the brain activity becomes, the greater the stress factor.

A very relaxed state of mind, characterized by brain rhythms of between 8 and 13 cycles per second. In this state of mind you are relaxed, somewhere halfway between being fully awake and asleep. Dreaming and daydreaming occur in the alpha state.


Usually the state of sleep, when not dreaming. Characterized by brain rhythms of between 4 to 7 cycles per second. The theta level is also reached in very deep forms of meditation where consciousness becomes separate from mind and body.

Very deep sleep or coma, characterized by a brain rhythm of between below 4 cycles per second.

Among the above states alpha state is considered to be the most useful to worldly man. As one expert said, “However it is achieved, the therapeutic benefits are similar. When in the alpha state, one is lifted to a place inside where there is peace and order, where all is well and makes sense. When the human system is relaxed, the natural harmony in consciousness can take over, and the inner light can put things in place.”

Noted physiologists of USA, Dr. W. Penfield and Dr. H. H. Gasper have highlighted the interconnection of cosmic (thought) waves and human mind in their book on “Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain”. They have mentioned about the specific nature of the great brains of our times. As per their reports, Albert Einstein’s brain used to continuously emit alpha waves even when he was deeply engrossed in solving complicated problems of mathematics or was asleep…. It may be noted the alpha waves are emitted in a state of sharp alertness of the mind. Thus, despite being engaged in the work at hand, or in deep thinking, Einstein’s mind used to be always prepared and receptive to the cosmic signals of compatible ideospheres.”

Relaxation and meditation help us to enter alpha state effectively.

Here are two simple meditation techniques that you can learn and use right away:

Counting Breaths Meditation

This is simply a meditation to focus on the rhythm of your breath by counting your in and out breath. It is very easy to do, and at first your mind will start wandering around. Do not worry about it. It is quite natural. Just gently acknowledge that and shift your mind back into counting your breath again. With time, your mind will slow down and will stop wandering slowly.

1. Sit down, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Be aware of every breathing in and breathing out.
2. Do not try to control your breathing, or try to slow it down forcefully. Just breath automatically, freely and pay attention to the air passing through your nose, lungs and goes out again.
3. After a few breaths, start counting.
4. Breathing in, one.........breathing out ,two........breathing in, three........breathing out, four... breathing in, five..... breathing out, six
5. Should you find yourself thinking of something else instead of your breathing, just acknowledge it, and return to your breathing, and start counting again
6. Now notice the sensations of your breathing. The depth, the speed, see if your breathing becomes increasingly slower and quieter, if your breathing more and more goes to your stomach or your chest, if your body becomes more relaxed through your breathing, ...etc. Try to notice this as an outsider, without stopping from counting. If you cannot, then just go back to counting
7. Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out, etc.
8. If at any time you notice any strange feelings in your body, like twinklings, or muscle reactions, just notice that, it is quite normal. Go back to your breathing
9. Once you got to 100, slowly return to normal, open your eyes, take in everything you see in the room, get up from the chair, stretch your muscles.

Flame meditation

In this meditation, you will focus on a candle flame or lamp flame.
Turn off the lights, making sure that you still have some light entering the room, so you have the room in semi-dark. You will light a candle or lamp and position it at a level when you can look at the flame without any strains. Try not to think of the flame or the candle. Every time we wander away in our thoughts we return to the candle-flame without judging. Instead of a candle you can also choose an apple, a flower or any other object as your object of meditation.

1. Have the candle or lamp at eye level so you can see the flame easily
2. Sit down, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing, just as in the first meditation technique mentioned above
3. Be aware of each breathing in and each breathing out.
4. After taking a few breaths, open your eyes and focus all your attention to the flame.
5. Breathe deeply and steadily and stare at the flame. Don't think about the candle, the flame, or anything else. If your mind wanders away, just return it gently to the flame.
6. Breathe deeply and steadily and stare at the flame.
7. Continue simply focusing on the candle or lamp for the period of time you had set apart for this meditation exercise.
8. You can now close your eyes and try to see the object at the inside of your eyelids.
9. Try to visualise the flame as long as you can, but don't strain yourself.
10. When the time is up (about 20 minutes is ideal), just take back your thoughts slowly to the environment around you, open your eyes, stretch your legs, and just be aware of the here and the now.


Monday, July 19, 2010

The Desiderata

Some advices are lengthy and complex. Some are simple and practical. Max Ehrmann's "The Desiderata" fits into the second category. His words are wise and thought provoking. Please read and try to follow the same. You will find peace and success in your life.


The Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself to others you may be become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortune of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you from what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself, especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture the strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be; and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

- Max Ehrmann, 1927

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Costly Lesson

(Humourous article)

I could never forget the fateful day. It was a April fools day. Gopi, a co-worker of mine, came to me with visible hesitation. He opened his mouth but words did not come out. He did not tell anything for a few minutes. Then he said shyly, “Sir, can you give me Rs.5000/-. I’ll return the money with interest next Wednesday” I could see trace of tears in his eyes.

I knew him only for six months. He was always polite and well behaved. I considered myself to be a good judge of people. I judged him favourably and said, “I’ll give you the money. There is no need for interest”.

He said firmly, “Sorry sir. I won’t take money free of interest. I’ll accept money only on interest @18%”

I knew he was different. I did not want to receive interest for one week period. But he was very firm on his stand. Finally I agreed and lent him Rs.5000/-

Many Wednesdays passed since. It seemed to me he forgot about the money he received. He rarely came near me. Three months later I reminded him about the money.

He asked with vague expression on his face, “What money”

I was stunned. “The money Rs.5000/- I gave you in April…”

His face cleared. “Oh…. that money”

I expected him to say something. But he remained quiet.

So I said, “You promised me to repay the money with interest within a week”

“Yes…yes… I remember. I agreed to pay you 18% interest also”

I was relieved to hear about his memory. “Yes”

“Because of unexpected expenses I couldn’t repay. Don’t worry. I’ll repay with interest”


“Next month”

Many months passed. But I did not receive money from him. He always kept his distance from me. As the necessity of getting back the money was mine, I approached him one day. “Gopi”

Without taking his eyes from the computer he said, “Yes”

“My money 5000/-“

Again I saw the vague expression in his face. I could feel my heartbeat accelerate.

He did not say anything for sometime and continued his work on computer.

I said “I am in urgent need of money”

Finishing his work he looked at me thoughtfully. “I know some people who lend money….”

I was seething with a wave of helpless anger. “I want MY money back….”

“Oh….that 5000/-…I’ll repay it with interest next month.”

“I don’t want interest. I’ll be happy if you pay the principal amount”

“No. Though the rate of interest 18% is high, I’ll pay it as agreed. Excuse me…” He hurried to answer the ringing telephone.

Again many months passed. Gopi did not repay the money.

Before mentally writing off the amount I made a final attempt and asked him the money.

He said curtly “See, I promised you to repay the money with 18% interest. I’ll repay you when I get money. You need not ask me at all”

“When will you get money?”

“When I sell my land”

“When will you sell your land?”

“I am ready to sell now itself. If I receive a good offer I’ll sell immediately and repay your money with interest.”

“Where is your land?”

“It is in our native village. Of course it is our joint property. The offer must satisfy my brothers also. One of my brothers is very greedy….”

Controlling my rage I said, “I don’t want my money. Keep it yourself.”

“I am not a beggar. I don’t need anybody’s money. I’ll repay it with full interest…”

”Oh, my God”

He said coolly “You don’t understand me”

“I’m beginning to”

To avoid murdering him on the spot I moved away. To retain, no, to regain my sanity I stopped talking to him.

- N.Ganeshan

Friday, July 2, 2010

In Devil's Service

Today devils use religions to fulfill their purposes. Real meaning and purpose of religions are lost to the masses. How does it happen? Osho explains it beautifully in the following passages. Read and think.


In Devil's Service

Even a man like Buddha contemplated for seven days before uttering a single word. When he attained to enlightenment for seven days he remained utterly silent. wavering whether to say anything or not. The question was: Those who cannot understand, what is the point of saying to them such profound insights? They will misunderstand, they will misinterpret, they w ill do harm to the message. Rather than allowing the message to heal them they will wound the message itself – they will manipulate the message according to their minds, prejudices. Is it right to allow the message to be polluted by foolish people, by mediocre people, by stupid people?

Buddha was hesitant, very hesitant. Yes, he also thought of the few people who would be able to understand it, but then he could see that ”Those people who will be able to understand my words will be able to find truth on their own because they cannot be ordinary people, they will be superintelligent people, only then will they be able to understand what I am saying to them. If they can understand my words they will be able to find their own way, they will be able to reach the truth on their own, so why bother about them? Maybe it will take a little longer for them. So what? – because there is eternity, time is not short. But the message, once it gets into the wrong hands, will be corrupted forever.” Even to utter he was hesitant.

Because when you say something to people, if they are stupid people, they are bound
to forget it very soon. If they are mediocre people they will not bother even to listen; they won’t care. But once it is written down then they will read it, study it; then it will become part of their schools, colleges and universities, and stupid scholars will ponder over it and they will write great scholarly treatises on it. People who know nothing will be talking about it for centuries and the truth will be lost in all that noise that scholars make – they will argue for and against.

It is said that once a disciple of the devil came running to him and he said, ”What are you doing sitting here under this tree? Have you not heard? – one man has found truth! We have to do something, and urgently, because if this man has found truth our very existence is in danger, our very profession is in danger. He can cut our very roots!”

The old devil laughed. He said, ”Calm down, please. You are new, that’s why you are so disturbed by it. Don’t be worried. I have got my people, they have already started working.”

The disciple asked, ”But I have not seen any of our people there.”

The devil said, ”I work in many ways. Scholars are there, pundits are there, philosophers are there, theologians are there. Don’t be worried. They will make so much noise for and against, they will create so much argumentation that the still small voice of truth will be silenced by them. We need not worry. These scholars and pundits and these professors are my people: I work through them – they are in my service, they are my secret agents. Don’t be worried. You may not have seen my well-known disciples there because I cannot go directly, I have to go in disguise. And I have arrived there and my people have started working – they have surrounded the person. He cannot do any harm. And soon he will be dead – he is old – and then my people will be his apostles, his priests, and they will manage the whole affair.”

The so-called great scholars who go on and on with logic-chopping, hair-splitting arguments are in the service of the devil, not in the service of God. Once you write down something you are giving a chance to these people; they will jump upon the opportunity, they won’t miss the opportunity. They will mess the whole thing up, they will create great confusion around it. That is their expertise.