Health and Wellness by Mandakini Kwatra
They say health is wealth. And this is absolutely true at all times for each and every one. No one has achieved success in life with an unhealthy body and mind. Being healthy doesn’t mean one will never get ill. In fact, there wouldn’t be any significance of a healthy body if one never gets ill. Health is a state of the body and how fit you are to fight any illness is what determines it. Your immunity defines your health. Of course, there is also this fact that a healthy body is less prone to illnesses.
Our body has an amazing capacity to heal itself. And let’s be honest with ourselves, we have abused this a lot. Despite the fact that we do not take care of our body, it has been a lot more loyal to us than we deserve. Think about what you eat, the amount of sugar, processed food etc. that goes into your body every day, and what good they do to you. Wisdom lies in moderation but we do get carried away with our taste buds most of the times. We often choose unhealthy diet over healthy and organic foods like salads, fruits, green vegetables. The major reason is that we aim to please our taste buds than pleasing other vital organs.
Consciously, we are all aware that we need to feed our body and soul appropriately, and we do gather knowledge too, from books and Internet, but the action is missing. Which is why there are so many people suffering from obesity, hypertension, indigestion, acidity and other common ailments.
It is high time that we stop taking our body for granted and treat it the way that it should be – with love and care. For it is no one else, but us who are going to suffer the consequences. So, time to wipe off the dust that has gathered on your bookshelf, and get hold of your book on health / wellness / diet / exercise. Renew your new year resolutions and start over again. It’s never too late. Our body and soul deserve a king – like treatment, for even if one organ goes missing in action, our life may come to a standstill. Take care and stay tuned for more on fitness, diets, yoga etc.
What Does It Really Mean To Be Free?
Freedom is a word often used and abused in books, dictionaries, poems and novels. It is an encompassing word that is so powerful in its idea that it has been often misused, twisted and misunderstood. I have my own take on freedom and what it means to me and should mean to others.
Freedom is a sense of deep joy. It is a feeling of abandonment like the lifting of heavy chains. But freedom from what? Dropping the chains of what and what to unburden from? Well, relationships for one. Detachment is to be practised here meaning you value your relations and loved ones. You respect and honour them but you don’t compromise your life and beliefs because of them. You are with them yet independent of them. You value your loneliness and space and dive into it from time to time. “You are in the world but not of it”
Free yourself from false identities and flawed egos to a more relaxed and meditative state free from internal turbulence and regurgitated internal dialogues. Freedom is to be in the ‘here and now’. You must be completely free from the dimension of time with no past and no future, just the eternal ‘here and now’. You must be free from the cage and limitations of the body to be able to grasp at the very soul and then hold on to it. You must also be economically and socially free as in self-reliant and economically well to do. Social freedom is to break the chains of superstition and oppression of certain beliefs to rely souls on your intellect and good judgement independent of any other advice.
Freedom is also love and giving. Love binds us in an intangible glue that is seen yet unseen. Give abundance of love and you will receive the same in return. Freedom of debate and universal ideas, freedom to discuss and thrash out with a democratic order. Now that’s real freedom. You must have freedom from prejudice due to colour, ethnic background, age, gender or sexuality. To be able to embrace all and not judge any, that is true freedom.
Freedom from religious oppression and the freedom to practice your own faith and cultural roots. Freedom to be you in all its totality and vibrance. Freedom, utter freedom!
How To Deal With Post Rape Trauma by Mandakini Kwatra
In the light of current controversies surrounding the conviction of Dera chief, Ram Rahim and a few other Godmen waiting for a judgment, I observe that there has been neither any talk nor thought about the prolonged ordeal that the rape victims may have gone through.
Whenever a rape incident is in news, the focus of the general public, largely, is on punishing the wrongdoers. In a way, it is a sign of support that people do not look down upon the victims nowadays (there is still a section of society including our learned politicians who blame the victims for inappropriate attire). While, of course, it is absolutely necessary to convict the criminal(s), but more importantly, it is crucial to counsel the victims so that they can move on in their lives.
Rarely have we read about the victim’s trauma because it doesn’t interest us. Our personalities have become such that we let our anger overpower our compassionate sides. What interests us more is the police investigations, the court findings, public debates etc. And we follow blindly what the social and print media tells us without an iota of doubt that the convict himself could have fallen prey to a well-planned conspiracy. We never dare to think otherwise because we derive pleasure from punishment. Our entire legal system is based on nothing but revenge.
Having said this, I, by no means intend to defend the wrongdoers. I would rather stress on the reformation of both the victims and the convicts. In this article, I will share my thoughts on rape victim counselling. At first, we need to understand that rape victims are very sensitive to human touch so they may have a tendency to take otherwise, any physical advances. But, at the same time, a motherly hug can work wonders.
They need to be assured repeatedly that it is not their fault. They tend to blame themselves for not putting up enough fight and also because they were tagged as ‘dirty’ and impure. But society has changed with time and people have now started accepting the survivors back. An event this devastating can snatch away anyone’s self-esteem and nurturing them back is a task in itself. But love, patience and compassion can change it all.
It is also important to talk to someone trustworthy about the incident, the worries and the flashes. Tell them how you feel about the incident. Don’t isolate yourself and engage in social activities. Isolation will lead to overthinking and eventually get worse. A lot of NGOs are now providing employment opportunities for rape survivors.
Also, be prepared to have nightmares and flashes of the incidents. Exercise some slow breathing techniques and meditation to calm yourself. So whenever you have one, be aware that it is not reality and slow down your breathing to avoid a panicky state. To be connected to friends and family is the best and the quickest way to come out of the trauma. To the friends and family of the survivors, I would recommend giving unconditional support and love so that they can heal faster.
Reap What You Sow
Most of us have heard this phrase – “you reap what you sow” and some of us have experienced it too. But what we don’t know is that this is not limited to just our actions and words, but our thoughts too, for these are also the seeds that we sow. We become what we think. The law of karma is equally applicable to our pattern of thoughts and the same kind of thoughts, over and over again, will eventually transform into an action – you will be hypnotized.
Some people do not think before saying or doing something. Some, at least, think before responding to others. But not many are aware of the thoughts that they generate when they are with themselves. You can think of murdering someone and not do it actually for socio-practical reasons but a mere thought is enough to change your category of karma. The outcome of what we sow in the form of our thoughts is born at the same moment. For example, if you feel hatred for someone and think of harming the other, the entire feeling that you have is very unpleasant and disturbing. So the feeling that you reaped out of the thought that you sowed is what makes you, and not the other, feel miserable.
It is easy to deceive the world but not yourself. Only you would know whether you are a devil or a saint at a given moment. Your behaviour with others versus what you feel for them differs. This is required too, for we cannot go around killing those who we don’t like. But then this would mean that we will have to suppress our feelings. I, personally, don’t approve of any sort of suppression (please refer to my previous articles on how to get rid of your suppressions). Rather, I would stress on the transformation from negative to positive thoughts.
The first step is to identify that you have a negative thought pattern. Identification is a crucial and foremost step towards transformation. And the change will have to be deep rooted, not superficial. So you need to change your lifestyle to change your thought pattern. The more you live in love, empathy compassion and creativity, the less you will think ugly. The focus is always on maximizing positivity and not reducing negativity. So love more and meditate more, feel pious and be pious in the true sense.
What is Destiny?
We, as Indians, are a fatalistic society, we believe heavily on karma and destiny. We put our faith in all these things when things are bad and even when they are good. It is a kind of God’s will, a way to say that “Rab ki itcccha hei”. Destiny rides on a chariot of two horses namely Karma which is action and desire which is the want or need of something. The result of this is called the karma pahal or the fruits of our desire and actions.
As our desire, so are our action as our actions chase our desires. We pull at one and the reigns of the chariot. It moves to the left as we tug and it moves to the right at another tug. Destiny stems out of the two. It is a path that we have walked on using our free will but not without the interference of a higher power. When things go out of hand, we blame it on destiny. When they go according to plan, we take credit for it ourselves. The fact is that both victory and defeat are not in our hands. As Krishna tells Arjun in the Geeta “You have control on your sight, you have control on your bow and arrow but you do not have control on the deer that you are about to hunt down. If the deer moves even a bit, you will miss your target.” Our goals on which we aim the arrows of our desires are not in our hands. Therefore, many times, we miss the mark and then repent when our objectives are not met.
This leads to a feeling of failure which leads to depression and a feeling of being a loser. Again, to pacify ourselves, we bring destiny into the equation and put our blame on it. So here, destiny becomes a scapegoat. Destiny becomes something that we can fall on as a punching bag. Krishna says “Only the path of desireless action can lead us to fulfilment. Action where we seek no result can lead us to happiness. When we are content with both victory and defeat, it becomes a path of enlightenment.”
Destiny or the path can unfold in front of us as we purify our soul, sharpen our minds and use the power of intent. This is also called syncrodestiny which is achieved by attracting coincidences into our lives. These coincidences are subtle messages from the universe that invite us on to our path. These are like doorways or portals that guide us on the way. These can be in the shape of people, guides, gurus or just events that shape our destiny.
Thought and intent are foremost. They are interconnected. I think each individual should take the responsibility of their own actions and not just blame it on fate or destiny. We should be the masters of our own destiny and create our own path through focused concentration and desireless action.