Saturday, February 14, 2009

When Heart Disease is a Blessing

Doctors may have diagnosed some persons who suffer from occasional chest pain and discomfort as suffering from a heart condition that might one-day lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death. They may then worry about the condition and explore surgical intervention to correct the condition. Before arriving at any such decision do be careful. Evaluate that your genuine welfare and and not just the financial interest of the doctor is speaking. Greed does drive much in our world. However, there are some who do not worry about heart disease and consider that the disease may even be a blessing. Surprised?

The reasoning goes something like this. All persons have to die one day and when that time comes they shall eventually suffer a cardiac arrest. Now that final cardiac arrest can come in different ways that can be classified into two categories.

The first category of causes for the final cardiac arrest (death) is after some accident or serious illness such as the failure of some critical organ in the body, cancer or indeed any other number of different ways death takes place. The second category of causes is a direct cardiac arrest that takes place without any other illness or accident. It is usually sudden and may happen to a person who is in reasonable health prior to the attack. 

Considering the two different methods of death if given the choice (a choice that only the Almighty can give), this author would definitely go for the second since it appears to be the route of least agony. Such a thing is more likely to happen to someone who suffers from a disease of the heart rather than another who suffers from some other disease say of the lungs or cancer. If the person in question is not very young i.e. well past the age of fifty, if the final exit from this world is not preceded by prolonged sickness, it is indeed fortunate. In that sense heart disease may be viewed as a blessing. If the person is a spiritual one who believes in life after death, then he may not worry about leaving this body when the time comes and feel relieved that such a moment is not preceded by extended illness and suffering.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Einstein and the Four Pillars of Happiness

In the post ‘ Happiness is like a Building’ it was described that the building of happiness stands on four pillars. One of these pillars was described as 1. the love of God. There are many reasons why the love of God leads to happiness. One of them is best elaborated in the following description by the greatest of scientists - Albert Einstein:
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Elsewhere in this blog God was described as the whole of the Universe – everything that can be perceived by the finite mind as well as everything that cannot be perceived and must yet remain hidden from us. Thus, the love of God becomes a means to achieving the sort of unity described by Einstein. In such a state we are content to let nature decide the outcome of our endeavors and are freed from disappointments. It leads to contentment that is only a stepping stool to great happiness.

In fact, the description of Einstein helps explain the other pillars as well – 2. service to mankind, all living creatures and nature 3.working for one’s own self doing the right thing – two more pillars. The remaining pillar, that of 4. self-improvement too leads to the same goal, because if we do not take care of the tools immediately available to us –our own mind and body – then we cannot get very far in anything. Can we? Aside from improving our life style, diet and exercise, a daily session of meditation, mindful breathing or Mantra chanting are great aids to reach inner peace.

Personally, I find spending time in natural surroundings, alone and away from the sights and sounds of anything that man ever built, an extremely energizing, joyful and peaceful experience. To walk or sit in a forest, besides a stream or on a wild mountainside does something special to the spirit of man. Such an experience is not available to modern humans who live in large cities and the number of such humans has increased rapidly over the last century. The better off amongst the city dwellers who have homes with their own private gardens get a small substitution of nature in their yards. There are very many others who do not have even that, living in apartment blocks or crowded homes set neck to neck on a street. There must result, as an outcome, some essential and fundamental differences between the two kinds of humans i.e those who have had ample opportunities to commune with nature and those who have not. I have as yet not put my mind to discover precisely what these differences are but feel that the city dweller that has missed nature has missed important dimensions of life. However, given the large population of humans on earth, living in small villages or towns set close to natural surroundings is not really possible for most, in the present century. As a philosophical person with full confidence in the doings of the supreme intelligence of the Universe, I believe it is He who is at the root of this tremendous explosion in human population. One may wonder at what the supreme wisdom is behind such a large population increase of humans. Could it be, it is because mankind is now near a natural catastrophe that will restore the human population on earth to a much smaller level? It certainly seems to be something like that. Perhaps it will be a welcome change for the planet and the survivors after time has dimmed the memory of the tragedy

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Spiritual View of the Recession and Economy

This is the first in a series of five notes on the economy from a spiritual point of view. Links to each subsequent note are given at the end of each preceding note

At various places in this blog I mentioned my strong belief in reincarnation. A question that has been asked often is – if humans are a result of reincarnation, how has the population of humans increased so drastically. There can be more than one source for that increase. First is the reduction of animals and insects on the planet that has taken place simultaneously. Another source is other similar planets. A third is souls that may have been waiting without bodies to be born at the right time. The state of humans really does vary from animal like to god-like on earth. The greatest variation can be seen in countries like India rather than a largely tribal African country or a well developed European one. At one time I use to be saddened and agitated at the near animal like behavior of some humans and human habitations. Many rural Indians still live in homes without a loo, using open spaces to do the necessary job, and this when private bathrooms were common in the same country some four thousand years ago( Indus Valley civilisation). It does not cost much to build a toilet and septic tank, provided one cared to. However I have reconciled to the sad state. This does not imply that one should not help others improve whenever an opportunity arises to do so. However this may be done in small steps only without much expectation. As regards what one might teach a human who lives poorly if the opportunity arose – it seems best to teach them the same sort of things as one would others who may be considered as highly evolved beings – shun violence, lies etc. in all its forms. However the most learning has to be directed inwards to one’s own self. There is something of an animal in all of us. Less developed souls may take to physical violence readily but other humans who have rejected that mode of behavior also resort to it at the level of speech and thought. To my mind a god-like human i.e. one who is ready to step out of human life into the next higher life form in the universe is one who has overcome jealousy, anger and lust. When I mention overcoming lust I do not imply overcoming sexual interests that are subservient to romantic love or a small part of it but sexual interests that are devoid of it i.e. purely physical. A far more common problem with humans is that of greed, and that too must be overcome before human attention can be directed to higher pursuits. Much human happiness lies elsewhere – in health, love, peace, freedom etc. that do not require money to acquire. In the ultimate analysis, humans need relatively little money for their most essential of material needs of food and shelter. True there are very many on earth that are deprived even of that. The problem is, as soon as a human is able to achieve the goal of basics he wants even more, so that usually it the most well off who appear to be the most greedy. My mind goes to rich corporate executives especially those in the banking industry with salaries in millions of dollars a month who appear to be agitated by a recent order of the US President, Barack Obama limiting the salary to half a million, if they belong to an organization that is being assisted by public money. Opponents to the move have said that this will lead to a loss of talent. To my mind any human who is greedy enough to be unsatisfied with a salary of half a million dollars (plus perks) cannot be mature or a talented but rather someone who will lead an economy into still greater distress. Such a person can not be mature enough to manage our money. He may have been mature at one time, but not any more. Greed blinds a human just as lust and anger does, rendering the wisest as imbeciles. All of us surely know instances of that from our own lives. The tragedy is that although there are safety valves to lust and anger that put a stop to it sooner rather than later there are no such safety valves to greed. Once it enters a psyche it takes an indefinitely long time to leave. In the ultimate analysis it is the cumulative effect of greed that has lead to the current economic down turn. This greed has not just been the greed of ordinary citizens but also that of persons at the helm in governments and private corporations. Over the past half a century greed appears to have grown faster than the economy in the most prosperous countries around the world. True to human nature - the greater the growth, the greater the increase of greed. The recession will end only when this greed has been knocked down to manageable levels, not before. There is no economic plan or stimulus that can restore prosperity that does not address the issue of human nature that eventually dictates how prosperous a nation is.

Part II of this article is here: