Thursday, May 27, 2021

Exposure builds immunity


Immunology 101: exposure builds immunity. 

Continuous exposure in small doses is required for the body to develop resistance to New viruses 

When the baby is born, it picks up "germs" from the  mother's vaginal canal , a huge load of them which gives it a great start in life.  C Section babies are less immune and they start with a handicap in life.

Children need to play in the mud, eat some mud, and get dirty, to develop their immunity 

Everyone needs to drink the local water of the place they visit ( and not drmineralised, lifeless, germless  "mineral" water) in order to pick up the local germs for the body to be familiar with.

We, all of us, life long, need to be always "exposed" to all that is out there so that our bodies are constantly facing these gems, and developing their responses to it, storing all of that in the cells' memories.

We are doing the opposite. We are isolating, masking, and rubbing our hands with alcohol. We are running away from germs .

I am not talking of corona. In the name of escaping from the corona virus, we are doing all  that.

The prognosis is not good.

Wanting it All

The ironies of life are too immense,
To be a mere coincidence,
We humans have a natural talent,
For muddling up, not knowing our own minds!

To be or not to be is the question,
We would rather be, and not be, at once,
We want to have the cake and eat it too,
We lose both us and the cake in trying!

The journey is a road with many forks,
Each one branching out into many more,
We always regret and we look back,
Wishing we had taken the other one!


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Into The Magic Shop by James R Doty : Book Review

 

Just read this book, Into the Magic Shop, by James R Doty, MD. It bills itself as a "Neurosurgeon's quest to discover the mysteries of the brain and the secrets of the heart."

 

A wonderful read – it has been a long time since I finished a book in a single sitting. It is much more than what it claims to be. It is a heart-warming story of success against all odds, about life's vicissitudes and about passion, to one's profession, and towards whatever one wants to manifest in one's life. But it also more than that.

 

The story is quite simple. Poor buy fights against all odds to reach success. Becomes a neurosurgeon. Becomes famous. Loses all his money in the dot.com crash. Then he picks up the pieces and builds his life again. Ends up as Director of CCARE – Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford, for which the Dalai Lama is the Chief Patron. So far, nothing very different from the usual heroic-achiever stories.

 

But it is different in the way he achieves his success. When he is a boy, he finds a teacher who teaches him the secrets of manifesting whatever he wants in his life, by desiring it deeply. It is the same trope of "the universe conspiring to give you what you want, if only you believe in it strongly enough", except that the path to achieving it, is set out in exceedingly simple terms.

 

His teacher starts first by teaching him how to relax. The technique is exactly the same as that used for Savasana in Hatha Yoga. Swamit Satyananda Saraswathi of the Bihar School of Yoga, while talking about meditation, spoke about how important it is to relax first. Most people fail to see this connection.

 

From relaxation, the teacher leads him on to techniques of concentration, which are very beautifully laid out – the book touches on the three most effective techniques for concentration (which leads to meditation)  - focusing on one's breath, staring at the flame of a candle, and chanting a mantra. It is all done in a natural way, like when you would explain to a twelve year old, for that is how old the author is when he is learning all this.

 

And then, it talks of visualization, and manifesting whatever you want in your life. The Dhammapada, in its first two verses, says "1. Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draw it. 2. Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves."  (The Dhammapada,  Eknath Eswaran's translation)

 

The teacher first teaches him to "open his heart" which is the seat of wisdom, and then the techniques to bring into his life all that he wants manifested.  The techniques are described in a very simple way, but it is one of the best manuals on meditation I have read, explained in a few, simple, concrete steps, devoid of all jargon.

 

The book is written in a very direct, simple style, and it manages to do what all good books do – put you in the shoes of the protagonist and make you look at life through his lens, and share in his journey.  All in all, a good read, short, sweet, and insightful.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

THE FOUR YOGAS


Offer your services to the world,
Expecting not any rewards,
Do not fall into inaction,
For therein lies the wrong path!

Immerse yourself in what you do,
You are no different from the Work,
In immersion lies Mastery, 
It flows on its own, as it were!

Dedicate your work, all, to Him,
There is peace in the surrender,
Once you drop all expectations,
The world places itself at your feet!

Forever strive to distinguish,
The Transient from the Real,
The world attracts with lots of tinsel,
The Truth is hidden, plainly in sight!

*(The Bhagavad Gita talks about: 
Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga )

Monday, May 10, 2021

The covid panic continues


People are rushing helter skelter for vaccines. There is a shortage and many hospitals in Bangalore have suspended the vaccine program due to lack of stocks. Online slots for vaccines where available  are being cornered by techies since they are very good at the game of fastest finger first.

People are desperate. On meeting ( at a six feet distance) they ask "vaccine done?" and not "how are you?".  A burst of envy greets the other person if the reply is positive.

The fear is palpable. Everyone is trying to "be safe", and "being careful".
To the best of my knowledge that involves trying to run away or hide from something which will anyway get you.  Many people who have been "safe" have also got the virus. 

There are repeated exhortations to continue wearing the mask and maintain  distance even if one is vaccinated. Why this should be so, I can't figure out. I do get the standard explanation being trotted out  but that is not convincing.

It seems to me that whether you follow all precautions and take the vaccine, or you don't do any of those things, 
the chances of anything happening to you is about the same. Or , so marginally different, that it makes no difference.

But the cost of "taking precautions" is high. And it is  certain, a hundred percent probability of decline in immunity due to masking and distancing, due to shallow breathing, and lack of exposure.

 Life is anyway a probability game. There is no such thing called hundred percent. 

In such a situation, the most rational approach is to do nothing. No masks, no distancing, and no nothing.

Better to live every day and die once, than die  every single day.