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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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@ 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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* Many problems resolved, my face glows

Feedback from an African American client Christine (not her real name) who attended four of my classes over 5 weeks. She reported multiple problems when she came in. She absorbed the techniques and practiced them with all her heart. On my advice, she read most of my articles on Relationships (1). She came out of most problems in a surprisingly short time of 5 weeks. Details –

“I was really stressed out on my job at a medical office, due to my boss. I had to always to prove myself and be constantly on the go. I could never stop to even think where I was and what I was working on.I learned in the classes how take breaths and relax more effectively in my daily life. The breathing techniques I have been using are the ‘Tip mode’ and the ‘Segment mode’ (2), in the morning and night. I also do a lot of breathing  during the day (3).
Due to these practices, my body balance has changed and my mind has become so relaxed that nothing and no one stresses me. I am so calm even when dealing with others at work. My skin complexion has changed. I now have a bright glow in my face.

I thank ‘C S’ (Suryanarayana Chennapragada) for helping me achieve total peace of mind.”

I had a personal interview with her to inquire about the several problems that she had but did not mention in her above feedback. She let me know their status as described below.

Stressful interactions with boss

Before: Her boss was very intimidating and being mean in his daily interactions with her as well as other employees. She used to take his words seriously to her heart and tried to respond to them in all earnestness. As nothing she said or did made any difference to his behavior she was getting angry and frustrated. She used to clench her jaws and grind her teeth.
Now: After practicing the breathing at bedtime and during her interactions with her boss, she stopped taking his mean style seriously. She listens to him and tells herself that he is the one who has the problem, not she. His verbally abusive behavior  has nothing to do with her.

Jaw tension and Grinding of teeth

Now: Reduced by 95%

Migraine pains

Before: Almost every day, lasting for 2 hours.
Now: Once in a while.

Shoulders puffed up

Before: Whenever she heard his mean words, which was every day.
Now: None, in spite of his behavior  being same.

Hears everything in sleep

Before: In her sleep she used to hear all sounds around her. She used to wake up twice in the night.
Now: She sleeps undisturbed,till the alarm goes off. She does not hear any sounds. Recently her husband commented with a surprise that she was able to fall asleep even when the the TV was on. 

Hours of sleep

Before: She used to sleep at 10 and wake up at 3 am and was not able to get sleep for at least 30 minutes, due to her racing mind.
Now: She sleeps undisturbed all through the night, till the alarm goes off at 6 am.

How she felt on waking up 

Before: Felt exhausted
Now: Feels great.

Back pain and Neck pain

Now: She has them only slightly. To avoid neck pain she stopped holding the phone between her cheek and shoulder. Her chronic stress was straining her muscles in her jaws, neck, shoulders and back.

(1) My articles on ‘Relationships’
(2) How can I focus on breathing?
(3) Daytime practice
(4) Releasing tension in the jaws

Related pages
Face looks bright and healthy – Success stories

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* I have made great improvements with my weight, self confidence and …

Feedback from my most remarkable client who has done 19 classes (6) over the last one year, more than any other client.

She earnestly makes plans based on my suggestions, takes her written down plans home and sincerely tries to implement them. She keeps in touch by e-mail between the classes. Her multidimensional progress is a tribute to her courage and persistence. Her progress gives me immense satisfaction. She is still doing the classes, determined to get over all her problems. Such cases give me the impression that when the person is ready for change, help comes from somewhere, and it is absorbed like a sponge. Her report –

“This is how I am trying to implement my plans based on your suggestions.

  • I do my daily breathing practice.
  • When I have bad thoughts wherever I am, I do my breathing and it helps to calm me down, along with saying my prayers.
  • I do my breathing every night and try to do 4 times on each hand but usually dont make it that far before I fall asleep.
  • I do my breathing in the morning along with saying my prayers while getting ready.
  • I try to stay very busy inside and outside the house.
  • I drink Metamucil fiber at night before bed, and it does help with my bowel movements in the morning.
  • I have changed my diet a lot:  More fish, more vegetables and fruits, more fiber and water throughout the day. I eat more fruits and vegetables than ever before. I have a banana for breakfast every morning, not good at eating lunch, and cut down on my meat intake for dinner. (4)
  • I have been making my husband’s lunch for him to carry to work. (1)
  • I now drink soy milk. (3)
  • I take fish oil pills with 2000mg of Omega 3 every day. I started putting flax seed on my food and also put it on husband’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without him knowing. (5)
  • I keep calm when my husband’s temper builds up and walk out of the room. This has changed his yelling behavior.
  • I’ve let my husband know “He cannot control me”.
  • I do read a spiritual book every night before bed. Sorry I am not good at writing the journal.
  • We are paying down the debts and consolidating them.
  • I did look for a walking partner by posting two ads, but have gotten no responses yet.
  • I still need to work on smoking. I’m not sure I can make a full commitment right now, it is very hard for me but I am still trying and have cut down a little. I have tried to change my smoking habits before bedtime, by not going to bed till I am very tired and feel sleepy. (2)
  • I did call about taking CPR training and they put me on the list for a free class in September. (1)

I have made these great improvements in the last year with your help:
My weight, my self confidence, my body pains due to lupus, my marriage problems, my sleeping habits, my eating habits, learning how to control my fear and much more. I can’t thank you enough.”

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My notes
(1) She got this idea on seeing her husband gasp for breath recently. He is obese and does not care to do anything about it. She is worried he may have a heart attack one day. She is also trying to help him lose weight by not eating greasy outside food while at work.
(2) She smokes maximum number of cigarettes at night, after lying in the bed to sleep and not falling asleep. This suggestion was to break this behavior pattern.
(3) She had constipation for a long time. She was consuming lot of dairy products which were suspected to be the cause. On a trial basis, she was advised to avoid all dairy products for 2 months. Though she was very fond of yogurt, consuming about 4 cups a day, she gave it up with determination. This change eliminated her constipation.  Soy milk was replacement for diary milk.
(4) She hardly ate any vegetables or fruits before. Introducing fruits and veggies and cutting down meat helped her significantly in losing weight. She never ate any breakfast and lunch was irregular. She felt fatigued by mid day, aggravating her sensitivity to body pains.
(5) To get Omega 3 in view of her lupus and mental problems. Also to help improve her husband’s health.
(6) Seminars and classes

Her previous reports
I lost 30 pounds
I feel so much at peace now
My family life changed dramatically
I always leave your class feeling better

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* I lost 30 pounds in last 9 months and gained many other benefits

Feedback from one of my clients who attended 16 of my classes over last one year.

” I have been seeing C.S.(Suryanarayana Chennapragada) for all my health problems, since last one year. So far, I have seen the benefits such as:

  • I lost 30lbs. since last September (in nine months).
  • I have been eating a lot more healthy food than ever before, with a no red meat, a lot of fruits and vegetables.
  • My self-esteem has gotten much better and my marriage benefited from the counseling C.S. has given me.
  • I suffer from mixed connective tissue disease (Lupus) due to which I have a lot of problems when the weather changes. Due the diet changes I have made, I seem to have less pain in my muscles than I did before, on rainy days.
  • Practicing the breathing technique has enabled me to calm myself down whenever I get stressed out. I deal with problems better now than before.

I started seeing C.S. originally to quit smoking but had to tackle all these problems first before I could take on that problem. I plan to also try and quit smoking in the next year as one of my goals with C.S.

I would recommend counseling with C.S., to anyone, with weight, stress or health problems.”

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Related pages
How can I focus on breathing?
Books on nutrition

* No more insomnia or headaches

Feedback from a client who attended 4 of my classes (3) over last one and half months.

“I had some anxiety issues and sleep problems. I was looking for solutions for these issues not willing to take any medications. So, it was a blessing to come across the countingbreaths.com website and get to meet CS (Suryanarayana Chennapragada).

I used to have headaches almost everyday, due to my anxiety. The more I worried about my headaches, the more intense they became.

I had sleep problems as well. Once I got into bed, it used to take me about 3 hours to fall sleep. Thanks to the breathing techniques,  those problems were fading away gradually. I use the ‘segment mode’ of the technique to fall sleep (1). Now it only takes me 10-15 minutes to fall asleep!

Every time I feel a little stressed I use ‘counting mode’ (1). It helps me to feel more relaxed. The ‘911 technique’ (2) helped me to cope better with my anxiety issues. Since working with CS and using the techniques he has taught me, I feel I have a better quality of life. I feel great, no more anxiety, no more headaches and I sleep better!”

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(1) ‘How can I focus on breathing?’ using different modes.
(2) 911 mode
(3) Seminars and classes

Related pages
Relief from insomnia – Success stories 
How to enjoy quality sleep and conquer insomnia by ‘Focusing on breathing’

* Walking on gold coins, eyes closed

‘Focusing on breathing’ is a technique that is easy to understand and practice.It reduces and prevents stress without demanding time, posture, teacher or money. Many people under stress  admit it may relieve some of their problems. But they are unwilling to try it, even at bed time which is the first step I suggest on this path. I believe it shows that they are not yet ready to come out of their stress and its consequences. This idea is brought out in the following story from Indian mythology.

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Once upon a time, there lived a great devotee of the God named Shiva. He was always chanting the name of God Shiva. But he was always poor, unable to support his large family. He would visit the nearby village every day, asking for donation of food from the housewives and return to his family to feed them.

One day, God Shiva’s wife, being aware of this devotee’s condition, asked Shiva why HE was not helping HIS great devotee. Shiva replied that the devotee’s time to come out of his suffering had not yet come. But Shiva’s wife, felt a lot of compassion for the devotee and insisted that Shiva must do something immediately, to help that poor devotee.

To pacify his wife, that night, Shiva sprayed gold coins all along the road on which the devotee walked every day to the village.

In the morning, Shiva and his wife watched from the heaven, to see what the devotee would do. When the  the devotee was about to step on that road, he got a brilliant idea. He thought “I have been walking on this road every day, for so many years. I know all its turns and pot holes. Let me challenge myself today, by walking on this road with my eyes closed.”. Then he closed his eyes and walked confidently, stepping on the gold coins lying all along the road. At the end of the road, he opened his eyes and congratulated himself for his great achievement!

Shiva told his wife “I told you that he is not yet ready to come out of his suffering!”
+++

I tell this gold coin story in the introduction part of my seminars. At the end the story I say that every breath that enters and exits our bodies is like a gold coin lying on our path. Noticing a breath is like picking up a gold coin for free, because every time we focus on a breath, we prevent stress and also reduce our stress, for sure, though only a tiny bit (1). In all our non-sleeping moments, we have this ‘golden’ opportunity to prevent and reduce stress (2). Stress being the root cause of many mind and body problems, this practice has immense potential to help us get relieved of many problems (3). Participants appreciate this powerful message.

(1) ‘It is only a little’ – My Article
(2) Stress – Its causes and effects
(3) Helping mind and body

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* I always leave your class feeling better

Report from a woman who attended my classes

“I want to thank you for taking all the time you have, to talk with me and look into my health problems. You have really taken an interest in me. You have given me a lot of very good advice in all areas of: physical health, mental health andrelaxation methods. You have also been a good friend to talk to, whom I trust to tell all my problems to and I always leave your class feeling better.You have been better for me than any doctor or therapist I have ever had. I have learned a lot from you and have benefited from all you have taught me. I really enjoy our conversations and hope we can stay friends for a long time.” Rita 45 years (Not her real name). Rita attended 7 of my classes over a period of 4 months. She is under disability and taking regular medications for epilepsy, lupus, poor memory and paranoia for many years. For the first time she feels some hope that she can work on her problems.”

* ‘Focusing on breathing’ helping three generations

Here is a wonderful feedback from a woman narrating how this simple technique is helping her, her daughter and her mom, all three generations

“Well I guess I should start out by saying that I am a 31 year old single mother that needed a little assistance with some unneeded stress in my life. Being a mother of two has been a wonderful, trying experience. I work full time and had a part time job to make ends meet. I was first introduced to the breathing (1) by my co-worker C S (Suryanarayana Chennapragada). I’m a very open minded person so I was willing to try anything to reduce the production of any grey hairs. On top of me being a full time mom and employee, I also had other added issues that needed to be attended too.  I have arthritis in my lower back which causes me a lot of pain.  I started the breathing mainly for this reason.  I would start breathing at night before I would fall asleep.   I noticed it didn’t take me more than 5 mins to pass out. I was able to clear my head and focus on sleeping instead of the 15 million different things I had to accomplish the next day or week. As I continued to do the breathing and speaking with C S, I was able to then use the breathing other times for many different things. I use it for when I’m stressed out and going through difficult situations.  I can see a difference with my attitude and how I carry myself and just how I feel. It’s been very uplifting for me so far………so I decided to share with my children and with my mother.

I have two children who are 12 and 8 years of age. The breathing didn’t go over so well with my 12 year old due to the fact that she isn’t that open minded and set in her ways. Now my 8 year old definitely needed the breathing. She was having problems in school with friends and her attitude along with taking instruction from her elders.  I started the breathing with her before she would fall sleep. She first found it to be a game that would buy her a little quality time with mom plus allowed her to stay up longer. After about a month of doing it together she would take it upon herself to do it alone. I could see the change in her attitude when she woke up and with her attitude in school. It was nice for a change, to receive positive reports from her teachers, instead of the usual negative ones. As time went on, I would catch her midway into the breathing and she must have fallen asleep before she got done counting the breaths.  I’d catch her with her finger stuck at a segment. She is also doing much better now with her relationship with her sister. They haven’t stopped fighting totally but the arguing has calmed down a lot.  She just is much more pleasant and fun to be around. The progress still continues……

On to my mother. My mother has many different health issues. Some that she has brought upon herself and the others she has developed.  For many years of living in the same house, she just always seemed to be very tense and unhappy. Plus she is a heavy smoker that smokes 4 packs of cigarettes a day.  I told my mother about the breathing and I also mailed her some flyers. She didn’t really believe that it would have an effect on her.  She put it off for a while until one day that she had to face a tough issue head on. She would call me up on a daily basis to inform me that she tried the breathing and she felt like a new person when she got up in the morning. From then on, she was doing it on her own. She realized that she could also use it with her daily lifestyle as well. This made a world of a difference. My mother always had a short fuse. My father has even given me his input. He called me thanking me for sharing this technique with my mother because she was so much nicer and easier to get along with now.  When we do spend time with my parents, I noticed it myself. She isn’t so quick to jump to conclusions and start yelling.  She still hasn’t tried to change her smoking habits but this is a bridge that I’m still trying to cross with her.  She at least listens to me talk about stopping smoking and how the breathing would help but she isn’t quite ready for that big step yet. I will continue to encourage the breathing for my family and friends. I figure if it worked for me then it can work for anyone………”

(1) How can I focus on breathing?

Related pages
Training children in ‘Focusing on breathing’
How to quit smoking by ‘Focusing on breathing’

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Please send your comments through the ‘ABOUT – Contract’ page.