Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New lesson

I have recently discovered the (apparent) answer to the question of eternal health, wisdom and sanity. An answer that takes 15 minutes per day to implement, and promises a lifetime of peace.

Its quite simple, actually. All one needs to do is to breathe in and breathe out in particular ways. A set of 7 exercises, to be done for 3-5 minutes each, which can sharpen your mind, restore your health and optimize bodily functions. Also called 'pranayaam', a subset of yoga.

Pranayaam is a combination of the words 'prana' or energy and 'yaam' or control. The human body apparently has 7 'chakras' or energy centers, which usually atrophy with disuse. What pranayaam does is to shake up these chakras and make them hum with activity. Having tried it for a couple of days now, I can vouch for the fact that definitely I feel more energetic (maybe its just the placebo effect!!)

One key component of these breathing exercises is to chant 'ooooooooooooom' through the nose. Doing this makes one reverbate with vibrations, accompanied with an echoing of similar vibrations in your environment. Sounds a bit like mumbo-jumbo, but I personally find it quite energising!

In any case, I'm sure it cant hurt to try out these exercises once in a while. Use it if it works, lose it if it doesn't!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Driving again

Posting after a long time. Another long drive, another epiphany.

I was thinking about the current (latest!!) tumult in life, when I thought of two very different people, both going through very tough times. And yet smiling their way through it. And determined to come out on top.

Also, I happen at this time to be reading a strange book called 'The Greatness Guide', written by the latest self help guru in the USofA. This book is full of cliches and I would never have read it had it not been a birthday gift! The surprise is that this person - who is thought to be so successful at helping others improve their personal and professional lives - has had a turbulent and tough time in his own personal life. The insight is that everyone - but everyone - has problems.

Therefore, the epiphany (for me) is to stop taking myself so seriously. Considering that I am one of six billion, in a planet which is like 7 others (poor Pluto has been 'plutoed' last year), going around a sun which is a mid sized average kind of sun, like a billion others, in a galaxy which is like a million billion others, in a universe (I'm not really sure there are more than one - whatever Richard Bach may say!!) ... I think I've belaboured the point enough.

Whatever it is that disturbs me, is really so trivial that its not worth thinking about.
Here's to more driving!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Flawed inference

Still on the topic of happiness, here is a news article that I saw today:

Wed, sleep to live happily ever after
1/10/2007 4:01:00 PM

New Delhi: So, finally someone seems to have figured out the key to happiness. And believe it or not, it’s something so ridiculously simple that it wouldn’t have occurred to most.
Well, the secret to happiness seems to be marriage and a good night’s sleep – whether or not in the same order is well, debatable.
A study conducted by the UK government shows that sufficient sleep and a healthy matrimony gave the maximum people a reason to feel a ‘state of well-being’.
The study – conducted by researches of the Whitehall Wellbeing Working Group - also found people who spend more time socialising, chatting with a neighbour over the fence, having plenty of sex in a steady relationship and caring about endangered species also tend to be happier than others.
“It's shown that married people are happier - so what does that mean for politics? Does it follow that we should be encouraging people to marry? Is that the realm of politics...or something that should be left to individual choice?” the Daily Mail quoted professor of economics at Imperial College in London, Paul Dolan, as saying.
So much for happiness. What makes people unhappy? The reasons again are aplenty. Researchers found that extreme weather, being dumped, getting sacked or having to live in a heavily polluted area makes people gloomy.

Source: CNN-IBN

Now I think this inference is completely flawed. What if cause and effect are inverted? It is quite possible that a happy person would enjoy a good night's sleep and therefore do more of it, would want to get married in the optimistic hope that this would increase happiness, would socialize more, would speak to neighbours over the fence, would want to have plenty of sex and would care about endangered species (since the person wont have to spend time worrying about his / her lack of happiness)!! This is quite conceiveable.
So maybe happiness is just something you have (or lack) inherently - and all these are just effects of the inherent cause. Or maybe happiness is just caused by the feeling of being better off than your fellow men, as this earlier post suggests. Or maybe its something else altogehter. Who knows? But this kind of research is certainly not of too much help!!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Something we knew all along...

Money does not buy happiness. What does make you happy, though, is the thought that you are doing better than your neighbours!!
And what better sanction for this philosophy than this