Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baggage from Past , Shed it Fast !

Updated on 5th Dec 2014

It is not possible to go through life unscathed by emotional traumas, set-backs,misfortune, adversity or grief. With time , set-backs can turn into success & adversity could transform into prosperity, but sometimes this does not automatically translate into a cheerful mindset. 
Memories of past emotional / sexual trauma,tragedy or loss are stored in the unconscious mind & they mould our personality,thinking & behavior.This is known as emotional baggage.It colors the current reality in consonance with our past experiences,thereby killing an opportunity to savor beneficial changes and grow with them.Things change for the better but we continue to  flounder in a quamire of fear,doubt,suspicion,rage,hostility and pessimism.
This can result in extreme reticence,asocial or antisocial behavior,violent outbursts or an inability to form meaningful relationships.It impedes rational thinking,& thereby causes problems which can be avoided.

 Painful times impact us deeply.Many prejudices & biases take  root in our hearts.They shape our thinking. All this has the effect of casting the shadow of old sorrows onto our present times. Even when our life-conditions improve we could continue to behave in the same old fashion. At such times it helps to remember that our attitudes , coping mechanisms & general views about life & people were formed when we were undergoing a crisis & they should be modified suitably now that circumstances have changed. 

Question arises , as to why we cling to the past when the present is offering us better prospects? The answer is not hard to find. Since this strategy helped us to tide over difficult times, we tend to have faith in it & don't like to relinquish it. We value it as a lame man would value a crutch.We are scared of changing over to a new mode of behavior because we feel in control while using our tested tactics. But this inability to change with the times can be detrimental to our growth, success & happiness. Here are the reasons--

1)We carry a burden that is no longer needed
Imagine a scenario where we have reached our destination but continue to carry our back-pack on our shoulders. Is it wise? Will we not tire ourselves unnecessarily ? Had we off-loaded the burden we would have felt light & care-free! But since we do not do so we feel tired, over-worked & miserable.If such a practice is continued for a long time it can even lead to mental disorders & physical ailments.

2)We invite unwanted conflict, criticism & opposition
Whatever happened in the past is known only to us.Our present-day relatives, companions & co-workers may find our behavior a bit puzzling to say the least. They will wonder why we carry a chip on our shoulder & why we cannot be more pleasing, accommodating & amicable. 
Take the case of Amit. He was betrayed by his partner when his business was in the fledgling stage. He had to suffer losses & vowed never to trust anyone again. Now his venture is well established & he has many employees working under him. But he just cannot trust them & is for ever spying on them, accusing them or doubting their integrity. This has made him highly unpopular & a sort of social outcast.He has taken so much upon himself ,that he suffers from the mental & physical effects of a burn-out.

3)Old coping strategies can be counter-productive
What clicked in one situation may actually turn out to be harmful in another. Nita had a very domineering mother. Till she became independent she had no other option but to fall in with her wishes. Then she left home & started her career. Even in this new phase of her life, she was always looking for ways to please & be as unobtrusive as possible. Soon everybody came to know her weakness & she was saddled with all sorts of thankless jobs. When the time for promotions came she was again too timid to ask for her just dues. She had no more importance than a door-mat or a fly on the wall .All this because she did not rethink her strategy when she left her mother behind.

Lessons learned in the past sometimes need to be re-evaluated.It is essential that when circumstances change our responses too, should change accordingly. The behavior patterns which we consciously adopted as mature individuals are relatively easier to discard. But what about the lessons which we were forced to learn when we were mere toddlers-at the mercy of an adult world ?It is certainly difficult to modify such behavior.If a child's basic need to be loved & looked after is thwarted he is bound to feel anger & resentment against his caretakers.There is a conflict between his hatred for his caretakers & the need to hide this feeling from them in order to survive. This conflict is pushed down into his unconscious but it does color his behavior for a long, long time. He finds it difficult to form affectionate relations & is sometimes prone to neurotic behavior.

Here i am reminded of Nitin whom i have known since he was a kid. His childhood was spent under the strict control of his father. He had no option but to obey him but deep within, he nursed a hatred for him. This came upon surface when he started his career. Despite ideal qualifications he could not advance much because he was always at logger-heads with his boss.He had substituted his father with his boss & he felt a strange aversion to carrying out his orders. It pleased him to speak rudely to him. He failed to realize that the poor fellow had done nothing to deserve his ire & he was only damaging his career in this way. His past was clearly jeopardizing his future.

Obviously, behavior that does not give desired results needs to be changed. Here's how it can be done--
1)The root cause
Let us start at the beginning. Go back to the situation which necessitated the given behavior. If this was a thought-out strategy then it will not be difficult to do so. Now revert to the present scene. You may find that the problems which you face today are different from those which confronted you at that time. So how can the same strategy work today ? This requires some rethinking & adjustments.

But a lot more needs to be done if your behavior stems from the experiences of your childhood. You shall have to re-live those experiences, go through that pain,fear & trauma once again. You will find that even in your infancy you had managed to chalk out a plan of action which probably saved you from worse trouble. That was a remarkable achievement. A small kid had adapted to the inexorable forces that surrounded him.Come back to the present. You are not a kid anymore , nor is the situation life-threatening. As you realize this truth you shall feel much more at peace. Now you can plan how to reshape your behavior for the future. You are the master of your destiny--do not be a slave of your past.

After giving up your stereotypical behavior you need to put something else in it's place. Analyse carefully the present situation, it's demands, your own goals & the obstacles which you need to overcome.Evolve a new plan of action accordingly. Let it be a mix of lessons learnt in the past plus common sense. You don't have to chuck out all that served you till now but you do need to harmonize it with the present situation. Whether it was extreme submission or aggression; just prune it to a more acceptable level. Channelize it to achieve your goals; keeping in mind societal norms & niceties at the same time. Do you have feelings of bitterness,anger & revenge ? Avoid them like poison &supplant with a new awareness of others' rights and their &compulsions. Look at things from their point of view also.Throw out the negativity which is lurking in your mind in the form of fears & prejudices.

Talking of negativity in the past, i am reminded of Rita who grew up in a dysfunctional home.Her father was for ever picking faults in her mother who kept quiet to maintain peace in the home. One day he left home never to return. Her mother had to rear & educate three daughters all by herself. Taking a lesson from this Rita decided to not take things lying down & fight for her rights. She married Ram a very congenial & easy going man. True to her resolve Rita started hen-pecking him no end. She thought that she would bind him to herself in this way but the opposite happened & they had to see a marriage counselor. Rita failed to realize that Ram & her father were two different individuals & what might have worked for the latter would not work for Ram. She should have substituted her prejudice with a fresh appraisal of  Ram. 

3) Forgive
Forgive whoever hurt you back then.You can find more about this over here .

4)Have faith
A) That the world is just & you are no more a victim than any one else.

B) That difficulties in life serve the purpose of teaching you lessons. They should make you better, not bitter.

C) That your luck has changed for the better.

D) That you have the ability to deal with whatever may come your way.

E) That a benign presence sees to the interests of all.

 Some more tips on this very topic are available here
Lastly, what better way to wind up than in the words of Osho--
"Suffering is not holding you.You are holding suffering. When you become good at the art of letting suffering go, then you will come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you ."

Monday, March 14, 2011


As we go through life we have to face a wide spectrum of developments--some pleasant,some not so pleasant & some others downright painful. We take positive events in our stride-in fact as a matter of right; but negative happenings sometimes shake us to the core. Loss of job,home,wealth,status,respect & reputation are all very painful experiences no doubt--but these can be regained again after due efforts. However loss of a relationship can be very traumatic & sometimes irreversible.When this is due to the death of a loved one there is not much one can do save come to terms with the event. But what about a break-up in a romantic relationship ? It causes a lot of anguish when one person opts out whilst the other is not ready for it . We often hear of such a person going into depression or committing suicide. A jilted lover or a divorced spouse sometimes takes it so hard that his/her whole life after the event becomes a sorry saga of a promising life wasted away.

 This is a major cause of depression in the lives of youth today. Therefore it is imperative to avoid such break-ups wherever possible. Obviously when two persons have been in a relationship for some time there must have been an initial attraction between them. As they got to know each other better one of them realized that the other was not suited to his needs & decided to break off ,whilst the other wanted the relationship to progress. No wonder he was shattered by the suddenness of this catastrophe. The question is could such a situation have been averted ? Was one of them too hasty in breaking up, or the other negligent of his partner's needs ?Perhaps if they had been more perceptive of each other's needs this heartache could have been avoided. 

A spouse or lover who has been jilted does try to mend the relationship but sometimes it is not possible to revive it.It is best to give it up as a lost cause & look to the future.However it is imperative to avoid the pit-falls which led to the break up.

*Take a breather,put your affairs in order,lay down your priorities,attend to the matters you have been neglecting so far because of this emotional upheaval.For achieving all this & more,you can take help from this link.

*When you meet a person you feel like connecting with,make sure that he is unattached elsewhere. He is not two-timing you is he? Can you vouch for his sincerity?

*Try to find out if he is befriending you because he is on the rebound from a broken tie. This is a shaky base for a long-standing relationship.

*Two persons might be attracted by the outward trappings of each other's personality but their nature & temperaments might be entirely unsuited to each other. It would be better if they were to think about this in the initial stages of their friendship itself, so that a wrong partnership could be avoided. For example if both of them have a quick temper then they will always be at loggerheads. If one loves partying while the other is a confirmed home-bird,or one is fiercely independent while the other is over-possessive; then also there will be problems. Therefore it is important that their temperaments should jell & not repel. 

* O.K! So both of you are genuinely attracted & temperamentally suited to each other. What next? I mean what is the goal of your relationship? Are both of you progressing towards the same destination ? What if one of you wants marriage & the other is against it ? Do you have the same views on sex or live-in relationships? It's true that you cannot very well ask such questions on the first or the second or the third date. But keep your involvement minimum till you are satisfied on all counts.

* So you have found a suitable partner & are sooo happy to connect with him. The first flush of love has engulfed you & both of you are on your best behaviors. Most probably your partner is eager to fulfill your smallest wish. Fine! But be careful. Look after his needs too. It shouldn't be one-way traffic. Take note of his likes & dislikes & be considerate. Give some, take some. A perfect matching of fancies & aspirations is not possible. Love blossoms when both go half-way to meet the other. This will lay a foundation for a strong relationship like it did in this case.

* When two persons become intimate they get to know minute details about each other's personal habits,mannerisms,standards of hygiene etc. This can easily lead to criticism & discord.One needs to exercise a lot of restraint & tact on such issues. Be careful not to hurt the other person's feelings. Guard against a holier-than-thou attitude because it will certainly lead to friction.

* These issues assume great importance when a couple marries. Extra efforts are needed to adjust with one another. Remember that nobody is perfect. If you are disenchanted with your spouse & wish to have another try at finding a perfect partner you may be disillusioned once again. Your happiness as a couple depends upon how well you can adapt. Be magnanimous & you may even begin to love his idiosyncrasies. Idyllic love stories are rare in real life. Let good enough be good enough. Appreciate what you have & work together to enhance it.You will find joy in your relationship as a couple did in this case !!!!!


Saturday, March 5, 2011


Yoga is an ancient science designed to keep mind & body fit &enjoin the individual mind with  universal consciousness, which is the ultimate aim of Hindu philosophy. It consists of eight components.You can learn more about all these components over here Out of these the common man mostly practices only two viz. Yogasan (physical exercises ) &Pranayam (breathing exercises ). These two, if done properly & regularly, are enough to endow one with a healthy body wherein all internal organs function at their optimum levels. Yoga is better than other exercises since it is the only one which can impact the internal organs.When we constrict a particular body part &then stretch it, the increased blood flow to that particular region clears the toxins accumulated therein & the rush of new blood gives it a fresh lease of life. When the body is healthy one feels energetic, has the energy to face all problems & enjoys a better quality of life. It is especially beneficial for the nervous system,the circulatory system ,excretory system & the endocrine glands. Not only this,Yoga sharpens our mental abilities by improving our memory & the power of concentration.It also boosts our immunity & keeps minor ailments at bay.There are various asans aimed at helping those suffering from common diseases like Eye-problems,Asthma, Diabetes, Heart trouble, B.P, Thyroid, Cervical Spondylitis, Arthritis& constipation etc. Only a learned person can guide you as to which asans to do & which to avoid.

Nowadays many permutations of Yoga have come up which is not at a healthy trend at all--because Yoga should be practiced as it has been laid down by the seer Patanjali. If done wrongly it can even harm a person. Following are a few factors which ought to be kept in mind before you start Yoga--

1)It is best done early in the morning after  the daily evacuation when the stomach is empty, or in the evening, three & a half hrs after lunch.

2)Find a quiet place, spread a mat on the floor & face the East while doing it.

3)The place should be neither too windy nor stuffy-fresh air is essential. 

4)The temperature should be neither too hot nor too cold.

5)Choose a clean spot where the ground is level & there are no disturbances. A park would be ideal.

6) Do not talk while doing Yoga.

7)Concentrate on the particular body part that is being impacted while doing an 'asan' i.e body posture.

8)There should be no jerks or force employed while doing an asan. If your body is stiff go only so far as you easily can, in the beginning. Slowly your body will become flexible.It may take six months to one year for you to attain the perfect posture.Do not despair. Regular practice will certainly bring you success.

9)It is best to learn from a knowledgeable person as to how to do the asans. Wrong practice can harm you.

10) Persons ranging from 10 yrs to 80 yrs can do Yoga.

11) People suffering from fever or severe diseases should not practice it. Ladies should desist from doing it during their menstrual cycle & after the first triemester of pregnancy.

12) In the beginning do only a few simple asans.

13)An asan can either be repeated a given number of times or you can hold it for as long as you easily can. The latter is more beneficial .

14)It is important to inhale ,exhale at the correct time while doing an asan. A guru (teacher ) is the best adviser. Generally speaking, one should inhale while stretching upwards &exhale while going down.

15) If you do an asan which involves bending forward, follow it with one in which you bend backwards.

16) Do not eat or drink anything till after half an hour of doing Yoga.

17) Remember if you are not doing it right you will feel tired & breathless after Yoga but if you do it right then you will feel energized.

As far as Pranayam is concerned it too should be done under proper guidance of a guru. If done wrongly or too much , it can even harm you. For a normal person ten minutes of daily Pranayam is enough. Ideally it should be done sitting cross-legged on a mat, facing East or North with eyes closed,spine erect&body relaxed. The air you breathe should be fresh. The focus should be on the center point of your chest or on your breath.

It is best to first do the asans then Pranayam .In the end lying down for some time in Shav-asan or the life-less pose helps to perpetuate the benefits of Yoga.These are some precautions which should be kept in mind while doing Yoga. Yoga not only gives a flexible, healthy body; it also increases the bone-density,heightens immunity,improves memory,enhances concentration,overcomes depression & makes us more tolerant,patient & understanding. So what's stopping you ? Make it a daily habit & soon the benefits accrueing from it will make you so addicted  that you would not like to miss it for a single day.

It would be beneficial for all if Yoga regulars share which advantages they have felt after starting Yoga.I myself have been able to halve my Thyroid & BP medicines only because of Yoga.

So what are you waiting for?Get into this routine & have a happy,healthy life!!!!