Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Heart of Love

From the Article " How to Cross the Heartbreak Bridge" on the Deccan Chronicle, Feb 14th 2013

“But I love him”, she said as tears trickled down. It took a lot of tapping at an acupressure point near her collar bone to subside the sobs. Often people visit me to speak about love or rather love lost. On this day as we celebrate love it also good to check our understanding of this often misunderstood, misquoted term.

Buddhist texts have a simplified way of understanding love. Love comprises of Metta or loving kindness or friendship, Karuna or compassion, Mudita or joy and the elusive hard to cultivate equanimity Upekka.  Using this yardstick it is good to introspect once practical boundaries of self respect are in place.

  • Are you being a good friend? (Especially when your happiness and gains are at stake)
  • Does your heart quiver at your beloved suffering? (What if their suffering is owing to an overdose of you, trust me that happens!). 
  • Does your soul feel joyful when your beloved is happy and is there peace in your mind, composure in your word and deed?
And then maybe a realization may occur that it is not love after all. It doesn’t matter if the answers skew you away from the realm of love. What is needed is the knowing that right now, in this moment this is the best you could have been. Healing and evolution begins with the acceptance of the current state of affairs. From here begins the journey to love more deeply and to heal past hurts.

Whether it’s a broken heart,a heart ache or maybe the need to explore higher dimensions of love; healing the heart may be the most meaningful journey you may embark on.  Within traditional knowledge-base there are many paths that involve various senses and methods. In Indic philosophy the energy of love is known to reside in the heart center Anahata. Anatomically this is the cardiac plexus.  Anahata responds well to postures that opens up the chest. Back bends with an emphasis on the upper body such as Camel pose (Ustrasan), Matsyasan (Fish) pose are ideal. 

If you are a visual person you may wish to imagine brilliant emerald green color above the center of the chest and the light healing the heart. The seed mantra for the anahata is “YUM” chanting that mentally also help release blocks in the heart. If you are attracted to scents; rose essential oil is known to energize the heart.  Affirmations on love, compassion, forgiveness aids the healing. The practices followed mindfully would ensure that you feel lighter, refreshed, at ease with our emotions and ready to discover and embrace deeper meanings of love.

Wishing you a Happy Valentines day, may there be none left to forgive, may there be many who draw from your loving compassion and joy ; may you lead a life of radiant composure.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Defy and Defend With Dignity

Based on "Know your limitation, work on it", Deccan Chronicle, Kochi Sunday 30th December 2012

Rape is a global phenomena.  It has been there in the past and sadly it will happen again. What we need to remember is that it could happen to any woman, girl, child or infant. What we need is to show no tolerance towards any act of disrespect in deed or ideology. The Delhi Gang Rape is a tipping point for many of us to get out there and make the change.

What is the change that we need?The physiology of rape is testosterone, the psychology of it is power and subjugation. Countries that have had some success in resolving controlling the issue or are women friendly follow a route of education, empowerment and strict enforcement of law. Interestingly countries that cover up women and keep them indoors are the unsafest places on earth for women.

Empowerment of youth is what I feel is needed in Kerala. I have seen smart and “trained to defend” young girls in Kerala go into an absolute state of shock the moment a man misbehaves.  The other extreme is an emotionally charged response.  Neither helps. Both fuel further such incidents.

What is needed is conscious and apt response to the situation. Foremost I suggest  learn to run, to sprint. When in dire circumstances your legs will turn to jelly. Train them well. Energy needs to flow through them, do not let it stagnate owing to fear. Vinyasa style yoga helps achieve the stamina and control. As a woman I am soft and  I accept I am not as strong as any man. Once you know your limitation, work on it, defy it and then you are ready to stand your ground. 

Standing your ground is an attitude that you will not take criminal nonsense. It also means maturity to take complete responsibility of the consequences of your actions. Meditating  on the qualities of a Goddess archetypes has  helped many to gain this inner strength.

From that state of self respect, calmness  and clarity you can proceed to scan your  surroundings to create a weapon from what is available a rock, a pen, or a stick. If you like to be prepared think of investing in a pepper spray or have a tiny aerosol with strong red chilly powder-vinegar solution. Fourth is to use your weapon unflinchingly to have maximum impact. The efficacy of the weapon is purely in the hands of the user. However no woman likes to inflict pain. But to deal with men who are inhuman it is needed to move away from our inherent sweetness and find that resilience to grab the offending crotch and pulp it.

I have great faith in the youth of my nation and state. I believe ten girls who can react calmly and effectively will make a difference in a city. I hope to train girls to develop this attitude of respect using yoga, meditation and simple martial arts techniques for free. However this approach is partial unless the boys are part of this change. What is needed alongside is to sensitize men that the “fairer weaker sex” is a human who deserves a life of smiles, love and light. 

PS: .In the article that got published in the newspaper my line on grabbing the crotch and pulping it got edited out. Possibly that is whole point I am trying to make when it comes to defying, defending and doing so with dignity. There is no space for being politically correct and socially tactful – the operative word is “unflinchingly”. We need to be able unflinchingly visualise and execute what is needed effectively, efficiently in the calmest possible way. Crotch and eyeballs, I find are the easiest- to- access  weakspots and the element of surprise acts as a good advantage. 

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