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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 on weight, blood pressure, moods, and neck & back pains

Feedback from a client, a patient of my daughter Padma Sripda MD (6), who has done 12 classes over the last one year and eight months. She gained weight (from almost underweight to a healthier BMI), lowered her persistently high BP  and gradually lowering her anti-anxiety medication per her doctor’s advice and made more improvements.

Breathing: I practice the breathing exercises while driving, walking and at work. I mostly do the ‘Counting mode’ but when driving I do the ‘Tip mode’. (4)

Hypertension: Last week I had a really great blood pressure reading 126/86. This is one of the lowest I have had. (3)

Diet changes: I have been having breakfast every morning and a better lunch and dinner. I am working to cut out sugar. Instead of soda I have been drinking juices and water. I gained 25 lbs from these changes. I added a multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Vitamin C in the powder form and the milled flax seed which I put in smoothies or a salad every day.  That was a lot of work to change my eating habits but well worth it.(1)

Sleep: I have been waking up fresher in the mornings but still getting great sleep.

Moods: I find that my moods are more even. I don’t have as much anger or depression. I feel things are easier to deal with (5).

Anxiety medication: I have been cutting down on the anxiety medication very slowly but I think I have made great progress. I used to take 2 a day. I am now down to 1.25 to 1.5. I think I feel better now cutting back on this medication.

Chronic neck and back pains: My neck pain has greatly improved from the stretching as well as my back. I can’t remember the last time I needed pain medication for these problems. (2)

I am going to continue to practice all the above items. I would like to start hiking and maybe working out a little in the gyms at the hotels I stay at.

(1) She was very lean for her height with a BMI of 21 (normal range is 19 to 24), her cheeks were shrunk and her face was looking sick . She was working out of  town and on her feet for hours. She was not eating any breakfast and hated to have any. It required lot of persuasion over many classes, for her to change her long established habit.  She neither had any good lunch. She was feeling fatigued and low in moods by afternoon. After the diet changes, her weight has improved and she is feeling much better overall.
(2) She had chronic neck and back pains and taking pain medications and sometimes even shots for acute neck pain.  Her back pain dramatically improved after practicing the “Focusing on breathing’ modes (4) and the waking up routine.
(3) She had persistently high BP (Hypertension) for at least 6 years. During the visits to her doctor, the systolic ranged from 136 to 219 and the diastolic ranged from 94 to 129.
(4) Different modes of ‘Focusing on breathing’
(5) For many months from the time she attended the classes, she was bitterly complaining about her employer’s treatment of her – not paying fair wages, not appreciating her high quality work etc. In last six months she did not say one thing on this issue.
(6) Padma Sripada

Related pages
Her previous feedback
Relief from Hypertension – Success stories
High Blood pressure and Heart disease – Books I like

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