Following the breath is so mundane . It is unexciting. Neither it reassures that all our trouble will be gone nor it makes us know all there is to know. I occasionally question myself “Why am I doing it anyway?” What REAL benefit has it given me?
I know at every level there are some benefits of meditation. But what are the benefits I am getting at this moment?
Right after that thought crossed my mind , I became aware of my nose.
Deep in my nose I became aware as air is touching nasal mucosa.
There occurred some very pleasant tingling sensation.
But, as I tried to focus on that sensation it vanished.
I couldn’t get it again.
I thought afterwards that there is my answer.
My answer to “what are the benefits I am getting at this moment?” is that very pleasant tingling sensation that I just felt.
Meditation not only gives us benefits but as a bonus sometimes gifts us with ability to realize those benefits. I think that realizing those benefits within us is equally important as having those benefits.
Couple of month’s back I had gone to my dentist. He told me that around my first premolar tooth there was one dental pocket of more than 10 mm in depth. X-ray of my teeth showed even the bone was infected.
The dentist told me that if untreated my teeth would break off from its socket.
This week after 2 months I went again for the dental appointment, but this time the dentist was surprised to see my teeth. Pocket depth reduced to just 2 mm. He was so surprised that he took the photograph of my teeth and my dental X- rays (both previous and now). He said that he would publish it in an international dental journal.
Besides regular brushing and flossing which I was doing ever since I could remember I changed following things in my lifestyle in this 2 months.
I regularly practiced oil pulling with coconut oil. After reading lots of positive review about it I thought I would try it.
I gave up eating meat and meat products. It was not so easy quitting meat. It was as hard as quitting smoking which I did few years back. It has been just 2 and half months that I quit meat but it already feels good not eating it.
It could be the effect of healthy lifestyle I am following, it could be the competent dental doctor of mine or both of us together that brought this speedy recovery of my gums. One good thing that happened is that I now should not go for gingivectomy (a minor surgery for opening us deep pocket so that nothing can lodge in between teeth and gum).
I don’t suggest you to try oil pulling right now. But if you are having similar problem then just go through it to know whether it is really good for you. It is said to be detoxifying your whole body. I don’t know for detox thing but it definitely improves gum health. One study even said that oil pulling is as effective as chlorhexidine gargle in treating bacteria in our mouth (Sood, Devi, & Narang, 2014) . Remember that chlorhexidine gargle if you do for more than 1 week stains your teeth very badly. (Personal experience).
I will keep you updated about this oil pulling thing and my dental health.
Thank you for reading this far.
May peace be with you.
Sood, P., Devi, A., & Narang, R. (2014). Comparative efficacy of oil pulling and chlorhexidine on oral malodor: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 8(11), ZC18.
One day I was looking at the cover of a mindfulness book lying around my table. The book was comparing mindfulness with training of an elephant. I loved that book. Looking at the book I drifted onto thinking , if my mind is an elephant to be trained, then who am I?
Then I remember one story from my childhood where there were five blind persons holding different parts of elephant. They were holding different parts describing their version of elephant. The one holding its tusk would say elephant is hard. The one holding its tail would say elephant is long. While the one holding ear would say elephant is flat, the one holding leg said elephant is strong. The one holding its trunk said elephant is curvy. They all said their version of elephant which doesn’t match with our version of elephant.
When I see my mind as elephant I see me as all those blind persons holding different part of elephant. One version of me is holding elephant’s (my mind’s) leg and saying that mind is very strong. Another version of me is holding its tusk and saying mind is very hard. Some other me is holding the trunk and saying mind is curvy and is changing. In all the different span of space and time of my existence I get to be all those blind person perceiving various aspect of my mind.
But in this story of mine there are infinite blind persons feeling each and every parts of elephant. They are so many that they now represent air/earth molecules around the elephant’s skin. I get to be each and every air molecules which is in contact with skin of elephant. Depending upon the location of air molecules the skin of elephant is different. There are billion and billion variation of elephant perceived by the air/earth molecules surrounding the elephant’s skin.
Over the course of my life I am forced to perceive billion and billion variation of my mind.
In a way the air and earth become the ground in which the elephant exists and plays its role. I am the ground on which my mind exists and plays its role of becoming every bit of different every time.
Looking deeply into my fears I see what they are made up of.
I see them as a cage.
A cage with open door.
I cannot see the door open.
To see the door I need different eyes.
I need eyes of those who built this cage for me.
Only through those eyes I can know this cage and find the door which leads to open air.
One day my wish was granted.
I got pair of eyes from the builder of that cage.
Seeing through those eyes I see how beautiful cage it is.
I fall in love with each iron bars.
I close the door and call it my home now.
I am little skeptical about buying a best selling book. I have been repeatedly disappointed by the best sellers over and over.
But I find it interesting to go through the best seller lists and particularly their reviews. In one way the best seller reviews help me understand those books which I would not have read it first hand.
One scenario that caught me was that most of the best sellers these days were coloring books.
I was tempted to write this article after I read something about mindfulness coloring books. One article titled ” Why Coloring Could Be The New Alternative To Meditation” particularly caught my attention. I found the comparison a kind of misleading. It sounded more like saying “Why light bulb could be the new alternative to Sun”. Just as a light bulb and the sun have distinct place of their own it is a universal fact that there is no alternative of sun.
I understand meditation as Sun which illuminates my ignorance. While a light bulb definitely is a source of light ,the consequences can be dangerous when we go on thinking of replacing the Sun with some light bulb.
What if we actually replace meditation with something else? Among all the things that happen one thing which actually disturbs me is fewer people venturing into the meditation. Caught up by the new alternative of coloring people may disregard the power of meditation. And on the long run the height attained by the concept of meditation in the western world will actually diminish.
The world is always looking for shortcuts and there are plenty of people trying various ways to provide us with the shortcut. Short cut to get rich, loose 20 pounds in 2 days , read 100 books in 1 day. There are plenty of promise of shortcuts in today’s world.
In search of shortcut let us not forget where we are actually going.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Albert Einstein.
As the great scientist warns of our tendency to make things simpler. Lets us not replace meditation by coloring books.
I doubt this article will ever be read by even millionth fraction of people who actually bought all those coloring books. But in this herd of people buying and reading those books there are some OTHERS who love to hold on to their meditative practices. And may these text make their hold more stronger.