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+ From a ‘Human Doing’ to a ‘Human Being’

This is the story of an anguished Mom whom I mentored over 4 months to help her reestablish the broken connection with her teenage daughter who was engulfed in frequent cycles of intense, and nearly debilitating emotional suffering at a very crucial time in her life (1). After aggressively trying so many other ways, which were proven ineffective in resolving her various family problems, up against a brick wall, her desperation lead her to be open to modalities of healing from any source. She trusted me enough to try out a multipronged approach of healing. Whatever I suggested and when found useful, she made it a part of her practice. She was a voracious reader and tried to evolve herself in spite of the prolonged traumatic life experiences. She was so primed and ready to leap to a higher level that with a little spark, understanding, emotional support and a few directional arrows she could come out of the mental hell she was in. On my request, she described her journey during which she used many resources. Her writing talent shows up. I am yet to see another client of her nature. I hope this description inspires others. I added the numbers in brackets and linked notes with related information.

One remarkable feature of this case is that though the daughter was supposed to be the dysfunctional one to be fixed, I never got to even see her or talk to her. I worked only with the mom and when she changed, the daughter’s behavior changed! This proves the saying “When I change the World changes.”

Here is her story.

” Before My Journey Started
My mind was constantly busy. I could not shut off my mind. I was never at peace even when I was sleeping. Waking up first thing in the morning, my mind was already at full speed, while still laying in bed. Many useless thoughts, negative thoughts, constantly analyzing the same things over and over again. At times it felt like there were loud screaming monkeys in my head. Pema Chodron uses the term “gibbering monkey” (2) . Eckhart Tolle uses the term “incessant thoughts”. Anger, despair, frustration, impatience dominated the state of my mind and emotion (3). The most frightening part was that I wasn’t fully conscious of my reactive emotions.

It all started with a typical story of a single parent trying to do the “right” thing, to launch their college bound child to the future. I thought I followed suggestions from teachers and guidance counselors. I thought I was doing the same things most other parents do. In the midst of teen dating, teen anxiety and depression, full time job, a household to run, and another younger child to take care of, things didn’t go well. Parental encouragements were perceived by my children as pressure. College application process did not progress all through Summer and Fall. Family dinner became a rare occasion, a life situation worse than marriage dissolution. I was on the verge of losing my relationship with my child. Coming home from work at times felt dreadful. If only one could go to an electronic store and purchase a remote control that could turn the mind on and off!

Then CS Came Into My Life
A friend referred me to the man who teaches people how to count breaths, CS (short for Suryanarayana Chennapragada) (4). I had nothing to lose by spending one session with him. On the other hand, what can you expect out of a guy who teaches you how to count breaths? (5). The first lesson I learned from him: “HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS”. After learning my background and evaluating my disposition, CS suspected that all of us, my kids and I, suffered from some sort of trauma. There are a few methods of therapy for trauma using talk therapy but they take too many years. Our experience of talk therapy for my children post divorce with 4 other previous therapists only took care of some of the symptoms but never got to the root cause of the problems, something I kept asking these therapists. None of them gave me clear answers. None recommended me to get help with therapy for myself. None even mentioned the word trauma at all! CS was the first person who mentioned the word trauma and strongly recommend that I build some solid emotional foundation for myself. That was a prerequisite to enable me to effectively help and support my children’s effort to become emotionally and psychologically healthy and strong.

EMDR
I took up his suggestion in pursuing EMDR therapy based on his reading and understanding of EMDR (6). I went on and sought help in this therapy about which I never heard of, administered by an EMDRIA certified therapist, as quickly as I could. Well, finding one locally in Albany who would take insurance, has availability for the proper age, pronto, was impossible. It sometimes takes a few trials and errors to find a therapist with matching chemistry, the right fit. I finally found a therapist for myself on self pay. With her exceptional and amazing psychotherapy skills, she administered the first EMDR session on me after 3 evaluation and preparatory visits. The EMDR therapy helped me jump start rewiring my brain in forming a new habit of processing life situations and regulating my emotions. It’s all scientific. It’s biology, yet it feels like a miracle. Based on my experience, I think EMDR is a catalyst. There are many schools of thoughts among certified EMDRIA therapists. With insights into this field, CS helped me evaluate and assess the quality of the therapy throughout the entire process, a very important factor in our healing efforts due to the amount of time and cost commitment.

As miraculous as it sounds, EMDR is not a silver bullet. It does help dig up and dissolve thick layers of unrealized, painful  memories lodged improperly in our brain. But life goes on filled with events, situations, moments that need to be dealt with, many can be quite unpleasant. At this point in my life, parenting is the most challenging endeavor I have to take on. I spent the majority of my life fighting for good education, good career, relationship, marriage, and child rearing to prove my self worth. Though it did bring many good fortune to our lives, it wasn’t for free. I suddenly realized the long term cost of the good fortune: lack of inner peace and serenity in everyone in my family. Since the birth of my first child, I’ve always identified myself as a Mom. Well, a roaring machine would’ve been a more accurate description of my old self.

The Beauty of ‘Meditation on Breathing’
We apply the practice of physical care to our daily lives for better mental hygiene and stronger immunity. When we are sick, we go to the doctor to get help to get better. Our mental wellness needs the same amount of care. Dalai Lama uses the term mental immunity. Daily practice is the keyword. My daily practice of breathing meditation turned out to be one way I nurture my mental hygiene. The beauty of the breathing meditation that I learned and practiced is that you don’t have to dedicate a huge block of time which is the stumbling block for most aspirants like me. There is no pressure on my schedule, and I don’t feel like I ever miss a day of meditation. I can do it throughout the day (7). Some days I can only afford 10 minutes before bedtime. I started forming a habit of snagging the few seconds or minutes of focusing on breathing while walking, while driving, warming up my lunch in the microwave, etc. CS cleared out so many misconceptions around the meditation practice that brought me back to his page “Who said Meditation is difficult? (8). To sum it up: no pretzel legs required, don’t strive for anything, drop the word “should”, no formality, all casual.

Getting It Off My Chest by Writing
James Pennebaker discovered the connection between expressive writing and wellness (9). I discovered that expressive writing, as encouraged by CS, had been a useful tool in helping me navigate through my emotion and help me gain clarity on the true reality of my experiences. Writing letters to my children to address some critical issues is a powerful and effective tool I used to connect and reach out to them at a much deeper level. Writing emails or texting with CS about updates of the healing work we did apparently was also therapeutic. It gives me a sense of cleansing work. Ideas keep pouring out as I type. Of course not everything I typed made it out of my mobile device, so for those who don’t find it easy to open up about their personal and emotional struggles to others, expressive writing is worth trying. Yes, the books recommend that you use paper and pen, but for so many reasons, those prerequisites would just give me another excuse for why I won’t feel like doing it. Improvise, make it easy. We are all busy.

Audio Books
I started reading a few self-help books a few years ago. Having a coach like CS adds another dimension and depth into my understanding and ability to apply the concepts I learn from these books. No, I do not have time to sit down and enjoy good readings. Thank goodness for modern technology and CS’s persistent encouragement, I’m hooked on audiobooks now. I look forward to driving nowadays as I use the precious time alone for listening to audiobooks and focusing on breathing. Today, I have more than 15 audio books in my library (10). It is amazing how thirsty my mind is for good life lessons on nurturing and healing our emotional pain and suffering.

Parenting Skills
For the first time in my life, I have someone teaching me parenting skills. A luxury I never thought of even wishing to have since both my parents were deceased before my first child turned three. CS stayed by my side through frequent dialog via phone calls, text, and emails, as I could not find time for counseling visits. A fundamental lesson I learned is to understand the true meaning and the misconceptions around the term unconditional love and boundaries. Applying all of these with compassion makes a difference in supporting my children’s struggles and efforts to navigate through many aspects of their life challenges. Raising successful individuals which could generate lots of stress and anxiety is no longer my goal of parenting. Helping my children with increased awareness to develop into wholesome individuals is the new goal.

Spirituality
Many of us are skeptics when it comes to the notion of spirituality. We associate it with the metaphysics world, or even religion. Those of us who were raised in Western education environments cling to the idea of scientific proof. Well, there have been an explosion of scientific research activities all over the world on the neuroscience of breathing meditation; which I could have cared less about, except that the result of my own practice proved some of the theories drawn as conclusions from this research. In the very short period of time, I have had exposures to the fields of neuropsychology, quantum physics, the science of meditation, and the anatomy of human mind and emotions. I found newer and deeper meanings in the words compassion, hope, love, and many others.

The Transformation
Fast forward 4 months. some of my friends, and  my own children noticed the change in me. Calmer, happier, more mellow, are the words I heard which were used to describe the ‘New me’. One used the word light and floating. CS described me as a ‘tigress’ on the first day he saw me. “You can’t change others, but you can change how you respond to others” was one of the first lessons I learned from him. There is a good chance that others will change in response to your changes. Sure enough my children are changing with me.

The journey has just begun. Glimpses of inner peace and serenity started appearing more and more throughout my days. The thick, heavy blanket of toxic emotion has started to lift off, little by little. “Light”, as in ‘”not heavy”, is the closest word I can think of to describe how I feel nowadays. Sure, frustration and disappointments are inevitable but I can now stop the emotional flow from turning into anger. The need to seek help from my therapist on a weekly basis starts to wind down. I am becoming more and more capable of dealing with challenges in my life with grace.

Today, my children and I are travelling together on the path of recovery to healthier relationships through collective awareness. I realize that this is a life long learning process. Having a person with such positive vibes who models compassion alongside of me makes learning so much more effective and fun!

CS may not give you the straight answers to every life problem you face. However, I receive many pointers as listed above, as well as suggestions on readings about and using essential oils. One time I unintentionally called him GPS!  He stated the teachers are literally everywhere. All around us, at any given moment, ready for us to learn our life lessons. Some attribute this quote to the Buddha: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.

Are You Ready?

Mom V2.0 ”


(1) The daughter was an accomplished teenager with high achievements in academic, sports, music, and art. With more than a decade of dysfunctional family condition riddled with hostility and violence that ended up in her parents divorce, she developed into an unhappy adolescent full of anxiety, depression, and phobias. The habit of coping mechanism through emotional shutdown cause her to fail to see and appreciate acts of love and kindness. She trusted no one in her life, and animosity toward everyone in the family was very strong.
(2) Pema Chodron
(3) Eckhartt Tolle
(4) Programs
(5) Focusing on breathing
(6) EMDR
(7) Daytime practice
(8) Who said Meditation is difficult?
(9) James Pennebaker
(10) My List of Inspiring Authors and Books

Eckhart Tolle: The Power of Now
Brene Brown: Rising Strong, Daring Greatly
Pema Chodron: Making Friends with Your Mind, Coming Closer to Ourselves, The Pema Chodron Audio Collection
Marianne Williamson: A Return to Love
Don Miguel Ruiz: The Four Agreements
Douglas Carlton Abrams, Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu: The Book of JOY
Mark Manson: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Kerry Paterson: Crucial Conversations
Mark Goulston: Just Listen, Talking to Crazy
Michael A. Singer: The Untethered Soul
Susan Forward: Toxic Parents
Harriet Lerner: The Dance of Anger
Francine Shapiro: Getting Past Your Past, EMDR
Wayne Dyer: The Wayne Dyer Audio Collection
Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist
Julie Lythcott-Haims: How to Raise an Adult
Cynthia Kane: How to Communicate Like a Buddhist
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish: How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk

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@ The three guys in the mind ‘Boss guy’, ‘Truth guy’ and ‘Image guy’

E-mail recently received from a client doing my classes:
“I have to be honest with you. When I told you I had gotten a blood test it was a lie. I didn’t get one. I’m not sure why I lied in the first place maybe it is what I had thought you would want to hear or maybe I was just scared to talk about my mental disorder at the time. However that is no excuse for my action. I am truly sorry for what I did but you deserve to know. At least I owe you that. The things you have shown me truly help. I am becoming a better person because of you.

I understand if you do not wish to meet anymore because of this & again I am sorry. Please do not stop what you are doing to help people because of what I have done.”

My response:
“I greatly appreciate your honesty and courage in confessing your lapse. What you lied about was your own personal matter, not affecting anyone else. That day you spoke in a manner you felt comfortable. Many of us do this. But all of us may not have the courage to confess, like you have shown. You had enough trust in me to confess. I consider myself privileged for earning that trust. Let us try to understand this incident in the broad human perspective.

There are three guys working in our minds. One is the ‘Boss guy’ who ultimately decides on the contradictory issues like a judge in a court. Second is the ‘Truth guy’ who cares only about telling the truth, not caring for the consequences.The third is an ‘Image guy’ who only cares about projecting a positive self image, to feel secure and please himself and others. He does not care how he achieves this goal. Often, a clash occurs in our minds between the second and third guys, like the one you have experienced.

The day you lied about the blood test, the ‘Image guy’ took over, suppressed the ‘Truth guy’ and made himself feel secure. After a few days, the ‘Truth guy’ who was feeling snubbed, presented his case strongly before the ‘Boss guy’. Finally the ‘Boss guy’ in you was strong enough to decide the case in favor of the ‘Truth guy’ and silenced the ‘Image guy’. Then you, the Boss guy sent this e-mail. All is well that ends well! I congratulate you for your achievement and hope my explanation above resolves any feeling of guilt you may be carrying in your heart.

Let us get back to business as usual. We learned a lesson. I am happy to be working with a person who has the courage to face the truth and confess to another person. I am looking forward to seeing you at the next class.”

Post script: He resumed the classes and working on his goals. He made appointment with the doctor for his annual physical exam and blood work.

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@ Calm serenity is the human base-line emotional state – Alfred’s progress

Please see (1) to know about Alfred.

“I have not sent you much lately but it is not because I have neglected my meditation practice. I am still at it for about an hour a day and continue to reap the rewards. Here is a short essay that, I think, encapsulates where I am at currently.

The Purpose of Meditation
Because of the strong interest I have developed in meditation I had begun to read about it. Some of what I read has been rewarding in that others have expressed insights that I had arrived at independently. This makes me feel that I am on a good path. However, much of the literature is contradictory and can create confusion. For example some practitioners of mindfulness meditation insist that you should be in a sitting posture and your eyes should be open. Others say any posture that is effective can be used and the eyes can be shut. Confusion sows doubt and doubt erodes successful effort. So, for now, I have stopped reading and am following my own path.

My path
What keeps me most focused is always bringing back to mind the purpose of my meditation. This purpose was always there but, with practice has clarified. I believe that the calm serenity I often achieve through meditation is the human base-line emotional state. When the business of life overwhelms us this tranquility is superimposed upon by agitation, excitement and stress. I also believe that emotional honesty and wisdom are best accessed from the tranquil base-line state. This fairly simple premise is the purpose of my mediation and by keeping it in mind I can redirect my attention appropriately when I stray.”

(1) Alfred

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@ Meditation enables me to ignore the demands of my ‘Self’ – Alfred

See (1) to know about Alfred. 

Self

“Most often when we use the word self (2) we attach good feelings to it.  Sense of self, self-assured, self-actualization and a host of other “self” ideas all impress us with the importance of self.  However, there is another self within us that is less noble.

Last night I had an early morning dream where a person I love deceived and betrayed me.  After waking I was upset, my mind was clouded with ill will even though my rational mind kept telling me no actual betrayal had occurred.  It was difficult for me to find tranquility in my morning meditation but, finally, I was able to shed these bad feelings.  That was my “self” feeding me bad thoughts (3).  This self is busy all day reminding us of past mistakes, upcoming appointments, relationship difficulties and problems that need to be resolved. This self is a worry wart and has no compunction about stretching the truth or even lying to you if it suits its need.

Meditation has enabled me to ignore the demands of my self for a bit each morning.  And when my “self” is shut down, the peace and clarity which is always there in the background wells up and fills me with love and gratitude. Gone are worry, anger, jealousy, remorse and self-doubt. An added benefit is that, as the day progresses, I am more able to ignore my “self” (4) and to better able to judge the veracity of its often dubious  proclamations.”

(1) Alfred
His previous posts
(2) My related page –‘One living self and infinite dead selves’: I change every day, mentally and physically, to some minute degree. Yesterday’s version of me disappeared, never to be seen again, as good as dead. My only living self is the one pulsing with life, at this very moment. More….
(3) My related page – ‘Thoughts are like ….’: Birds in the sky, Clouds, Trains arriving at a train station, Uninvited guests, Imaginary demons, Delusions, Plants in the garden, Images on the screen, Balloons without air …..More….
(4) My related page – ‘My shopping cart pulls to one side’: Sometimes I pick a shopping cart that pulls to one side. I make periodic adjustments to prevent any mishaps.  I realized that my mind also tends to make biased and wrong judgments. I adjust my mind like I adjust my shopping cart and avoid mishaps. More….

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@ A practical no-nonsense approach that really works

Testimonial from Alfred (1) who had great hidden potential for meditation and spiritual growth that was just waiting for a spark to explode (sort of). His experience illustrates the quote in the spiritual filed “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.

He found my website on-line among other local organizations for Yoga and meditation. He felt that he found what he was just looking for. He attended only 3 classes and took off unbelievably on his own, like no other client.

He has been kind enough to e-mail his insights and experiences (2) and let me publish them under the pseudonym ‘Alfred’. I am learning from his insights. I was puzzled why with all his inherent wisdom, he needed to learn the very simple breathing and stretching techniques I teach. When I queried  him and asked for his testimonial he sent this wonderful description. This is the kind of endorsement I was looking for all these years. These techniques do help people like him with hidden potential, to make a simple beginning and then keep going on their own steam.  I am grateful to  Alfred for this feedback and his periodic insights and experiences.

“I am a middle aged businessman who in most all respects enjoys a good life.  I have enough money to keep me from worrying, my relationships with wife, family and friends are good and so is my health.  Despite all of my good fortune I was aware for some time of some missing element in my life.  I had always been interested in the human mind and have read quite a lot about cognition and psychology.  The one message I received over and over again was that the practice of meditation with mindfulness as a goal is something which many very credible people advocate.

I did a quick Google search and found Suryanarayana Chennapragada’s (CS) web site.  CS has developed a simple meditation technique which combines counting breaths and simple yoga to create a calming disposition.

I met with CS and took 6 (3) private classes.  Since attending those classes, I have only missed 2 days of meditation, both because of international travel.

I like CS’s approach very much because, not only is it immediately effective, but also because it is not steeped in any religious dogma or “new age” philosophy.  It is a practical no-nonsense approach that really works well for me.

I look forward to my hourly morning meditation.  It centers me for my busy days, allows me to turn off the noise in my head and enjoy the present and it has enhanced my personal relationships. “

(1) Alfred 
(2) Alfred’s progress – Posts 
(3) Actually he attended 3 classes but felt they were six. May be because we had a great rapport!

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@ Meditating while traveling – Alfred

See (1) to know about Alfred. 

Returned from a 3 week trip bike riding in Ireland. I was able to meditate daily for the entire trip except the big travel days going and coming. Meditating while traveling gave me several insights.

I began to see the trip as a scale model of my life at home. When at home, I have the usual stresses focused around work, money, relationships and managing things, both physical and mental. At home, meditation helps me keep all of this in perspective and adds a calm cadence to my daily life.

When I travel, I disregard most all of these usual stresses and replace them with a new set. Will the plane be on time for my next connection? Will the rental bicycles be satisfactory? Will I be able to drive on the left side of the road without becoming a casualty? Will tomorrow’s 40 mile bike ride be in a torrential rain storm? These worries loomed large at the beginning of the trip, but as things unfolded and, for the most part worked out well, the stress was reduced. As the stress lessened, I found it easier to still my mind in meditation.

When I returned home, I had over 70 items of mail to deal with, 234 emails, text messages and a host of other things that demanded my immediate attention. Thrust back into the maelstrom of my life, I found it hard at first to still my mind. But in a few days, as order was restored in my routine, my meditation practice returned to the way it was pre-trip and I found calmness easy to access and also some progress almost every day.

The point of all this is that problems always exist in life but the way you perceive them can vary widely. Assumptions about the way things are, is often largely illusionary. It is really a choice we each have, to be crippled by our way of thinking, or to see things more philosophically and not let our perceptions destroy our mental well-being. Often times we feel frustrated or weak because we allow ourselves to adopt an unhealthy attitude. With practice I believe you can change your moods like you would change an article of clothing. Adopting a more patient and thoughtful mood allows us to keep our challenges in perspective. It allows us to see that, no matter how difficult a situation seems, it too will pass.

(1) Alfred
His previous posts

Related pages
How to  drive like a Buddha
My mind related articles relevant to the last para above

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@ Improved my relationship with my fiance

Report from a client aged 52 who attended three of my classes over 3 weeks.  He picked up the techniques very quickly, practiced in all earnestness and derived remarkable benefits in just 3 weeks. When I see improvement achieved by such people, I get the thought “How many people are suffering from not knowing these simple techniques or similar ones? Should we not teach them in school and college?”. 

His responses to my standard questions are here. 

  • What were the issues which prompted you do the classes?

* Insomnia: I have sleep apnea and using CPAP machine. I had a hard time falling asleep . I was waking up 2- 3 times in the night.

* How to manage stress

* Managing anger (as it affected my relationship with my fiance)

  • What techniques have you learned and practiced and at what times? 

I practiced ‘Counting mode’ primarily, the ‘Segment mode’ or the ‘Tip mode’. I also practice the ‘Staring mode’ when at a red light (1). I find myself being disappointed when the light turns green, as it interrupts my breathing practice (2). I also use the feeling mode (1) sometimes when at work.

I do the ‘waking up routine’ (3)-.

After returning from work, I lie down on the carpet with a yoga mat under just below the knee and complete four hands using the ‘Segment mode’ (1).

I do the going the ‘bed routine’ every night (4).

  • What improvements have you noticed in mind, body and relationships?

My insomnia has improved dramatically. In just the three weeks practicing these techniques, I have only woken up once in the middle of the night and I fall asleep much faster.

I’m much more patient in circumstances where I’m usually impatient such as waiting at a red light.

I feel much more relaxed. Especially after coming home from work and doing the after work routine. I feel incredibly relaxed after that, like all the day’s tension has gone.

It has improved my relationship with my fiance. I’m much calmer in situations where normally I would react in anger or feel tension rising within me. Instead of responding back to her in anger and frustration, I try ways such as telling her that I appreciate her feedback but I get negative feelings when she expresses it to me in that manner. This has worked in preventing the situation from escalating. I try not to feed the fire.

(1) All the modes are in this page “How can I focus on breathing?
(2) Focusing on breathing during driving
(3) Waking up routine
(4) Waiting for sleep

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@ I finally had a good night’s sleep

Feedback from a young Engineer who just completed his masters and looking for a job. Seeing the great distress he was in, his friend, a patient of my daughter Padma Sripada (1) asked me to help him.  He did three classes at frequent intervals, as he was to leave Albany shortly. He learned the basic techniques – ‘Waiting for sleep’ (2) , ‘Waking up routine’ (3),  ‘Stretching for beginners’ (4) ‘Loosening exercises of Yoga’ (5). After he left Albany, I am continuing to work with him by periodic phone and e-mail contacts.

“Using ‘Focusing on breathing’ techniques helped me handle insomnia and anxiety in a better way. For a long time, I always got anxious during those situations where I had to deliver my best, to achieve success. Unknowingly, I was getting anxious, failed to control my anxiety and over stressed myself. Due to chronic high stress level, I lost my daily routine and had very poor sleep. I became restless, could not focus and concentrate on anything and failed to perform even minor tasks which were easily handled by me, during stress free times. I figured out that I had to get back to good sleep routine to help my mind and body. Even after knowing this fact, no matter what I did, I could not help myself to get sleep, for more than an hour or two at night.

I was advised by my friend, to meet Mr. Suryanarayana Chennapragada (C S). He carefully listened my problem and analyzed my situation with great patience. Later the same day, he walked me through his ‘focusing on breathing’ techniques, one by one. His breathing techniques are “very simple to learn and adapt”. That night I practiced the techniques lying on the bed. After a week of sleeplessness nights, I finally had a good night sleep. During three more sessions, Mr. C.S taught me how to use the breathing techniques in various combinations. As per his strong advice, I consulted a Doctor who  prescribed a medication to bring my anxiety under control quickly. I am continuing both medication and breathing practices. My long term goal is to completely depend on breathing practices, rather than medication.  I totally believe it is possible.  I thank Mr. C S for his “patience and dedication”.

(1) Padma Sripada M.D
(2) Waiting for sleep
(3) Waking up routine
(4) Stretching for beginners
(5) Loosening exercises from Yoga

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@ Improvements in patience, judging people and pains – Alfred’s progress

See (1) to know about Alfred. 

Meditation practices and experiences

When you count your breaths try not to say the numbers in your mind. You might try replacing one, two and three with red, green blue and as you mark each color in your mind try to visualize it. Or make up three syllables to replace the numbers: aaaa, raaa, hum for example.

When practicing meditation be extremely gentle and loving of yourself. Do not think badly of yourself if your mind strays, simply redirect. If you find a position or mental place that makes you feel good then allow yourself extra time there and try to go deeper into tranquility. When you are done, stretch like a cat in ways that feel good, scratch your scalp with your fingers and pat yourself quickly and firmly all over with your hands.

As a boy I had dreams that I could fly. It was not flying like superman, more like I had figured out the secret to undoing gravity. I would rise up above the sidewalk and slowly float down again; like a slow motion jump. At times I would get quite high up so that the town below me looked like scenery in a model railroad set. These dreams were always elating. I felt like the world was filled with many happy secrets and, maybe, I was able to figure them out. Sometimes I would awake, and in my half sleep, still believe in the possibility of levitating. This belief sometimes carried through the day. Meditation is beginning to create a similar feeling of elation in me. Although I am firmly planted in the “real” world, meditation gives me a glimpse of hidden possibilities and is restoring my belief in magic.

Changes I attribute to my daily meditation
  • Increased patience in traffic and with people
  • I am less likely to judge people in a bad way
  • The stretching has reduced some aches and pains I have had for a long time.

(1) Alfred

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@ ‘Counting breaths’ helped me calm myself during my mammogram

First of its kind report from a woman, on how she practiced ‘Counting breaths’ to calm herself during a mammogram screening. Prior to the screening, she was practicing the technique to get sleep and to be calm under stress.  

“I had to repeat my mammogram to clear the doubt of the radiologist on the first screening report. This time, more views were taken than before, some of them with extra compression, to get a clearer picture. In one of the views it hurt and I yelled. One more hurting view was  going to be taken. This time I didn’t want  to yell like a baby. I badly needed a coping technique. The ‘counting breaths’ technique came to my mind (1). I immediately started counting my breaths. The hurting view was done in a few seconds and I went through it without distress.

It was a big relief for me to have this technique handy for coping with such a stressful situation.”

(1) Counting mode
(2) Tip mode
(3) Segment mode

+++

I have been using the ‘tip mode’ (2) or ‘segment mode’ (3) whenever I opened my mouth for dental work. Absolutely no stress! My dental surgeon who did root canals and extractions under local anesthesia commented every time “I wish all my other patients were like you!”

Related pages
Relief from Anxiety – Success stories
Relief during dental work

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