Sunday, December 18, 2011

Is it truly dark at the center of it all?

In 1943, the chairman of IBM famously said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Back then, computers weighed many thousands of pounds and filled entire rooms. With the advent of microprocessors in the 1970s, the size of the computers dramatically decreased along with an increase in computational power. In the 1980s, Bill Gates was quoted as saying “640 kilobytes ought to be enough for anybody.” The average smart phone these days is more powerful than the Apollo mission’s computers that put the first man on the moon. However sophisticated or diverse the applications of computers these days, the smallest and most basic increment of data is measured in units called bits, which are either 1s or 0s. In current day computer chips, data travels through semiconductor pathways and in the not to distant future, this will be obsolete and data will be sent over light pulses instead making these chips even smaller in size.

Despite these technological advances in computers, we have yet to fully understand the basic mechanisms of how human memory works. For instance, how does the brain process and store tangible sensory input from the skin, eyes, and ears into intangible thought forms that may be recalled later? We experience thought forms both in the conscious waking state and also subconsciously during sleep in the form of dreams. Like modern day computers, could there be basic increments of data that are common to all thought forms? In other words, looking at memory from a data storage perspective, the building blocks of memory could be simple units such as 1s and 0s and looking at it from the vantage point of recalling some of life’s pleasant or unpleasant memories, the corresponding thoughts become more vivid and colorful.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Lights

Tomorrow is Halloween, one of the world’s oldest holidays. Celebrations during Halloween involve imagery steeped in mystery, magic and certain superstitions. Carving pumpkins or jack-o’-lanterns is something that kids and adults enjoy. Over the ages, traditions and beliefs associated with Halloween have evolved. Symbolism is important during this holiday. Since mind and spirit are intangibles, symbolism may sometimes help unravel the mysteries of the mind. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seeing things the way they are

A couple of centuries ago, lived a great writer who contributed significantly to the world literature. Some of his works are considered literary classics. He had his share of admirers and critics, mostly the former. One particular critic stood out and dogged this writer throughout his literary career. Lacking the writing skills of the protagonist, the critic mostly used the “spoken word” as his medium. Living in the same town, they often ran into each other. One evening, they happened to cross paths in a dark and narrow alley. Facing the writer, the staunch critic exclaimed, “I don’t make way for fools!” The writer politely stepped aside and remarked, “On the other hand, I do.”

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

This week marks the passing of a great mind. Steve Jobs successfully turned technology into an art form.  In doing so, he brought several iconic objects into the lives of millions of people around the world, enabling them to get to an intersection of the information, entertainment and communication realms. All of this with the swipe of one’s finger. His creations were brilliant masterpieces of industrial design, transforming complex engineering into simple and intuitive experiences. The user interface, or the “mind” of his products such as the iPhone, mesh seamlessly with their outer casings. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mind the present

Some of the world’s most spectacular natural vistas are found in very inhospitable places. The scorching heat deep in the Sahara desert, the thin air in the towering Himalayan mountains, and the bitter cold of the Antarctic ice shelves can test the limits of human endurance. However, those brave enough to battle the extreme elements in such places are often rewarded with awe-inspiring sights. Imagine sailing in the southern oceans, in the wild waters off the Antarctic coastline, where ice cliffs loom large as you approach the frozen continent. Stepping off the boat, onto the cold, white landscape, you climb a ridge that takes you to the top of an ice shelf that is protruding out into the sea. As you reach the edge of this icy outcrop, there is a cliff face with a sheer drop of several hundred meters to the sea below. The landscape ahead appears frozen in time, and at that instant you are a witness to a single snapshot of an ongoing process that is millions of years in the making, and will continue on long after many future generations of humans have come and gone. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Keeping a Healthy Heart and Circulation

Based on a talk given to a consulting group in Chennai, India on Sept 1, 2011

Hydrocarbons such as oil are very important for keeping the engines of any economy going. In 2009, the average daily consumption of oil for a large country such as India was about 2.9 million barrels. Just as crucial as uninterrupted supply of oil is to the world economy today, a healthy and normal blood circulation is important to the human body. Keeping this in perspective, an average human heart would have pumped approximately 1.1 million barrels of blood during the entire lifespan of a person living to the age of 80. This is quite remarkable considering the that the heart is approximately the size of one’s fist. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What a mirror reveals

Long ago, when the world was teeming with wild animals, a king and his entourage visited the jungle. An inquisitive young royal asked the guide many questions about the animals they saw. After learning about the laws of the jungle in relation to predators and prey, the young man asked the safari guide, “Which is the most dangerous animal here?” The guide picked up a mirror and held it up in front of the somewhat confused youngster. Putting his hunting gear down, he said, “Surely I cannot be that dangerous now.” The guide chuckled and broke into an all knowing grin and remarked, “The source of the danger is in man’s mind.”

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The hidden power of ego

In the course of a single day we may wear different hats, that of a father or mother, son or daughter, husband or wife, brother or sister, employee or boss etc. Our thinking and emotional output corresponds with the the roles we play. A common thread underlying all our experiences is our sense of individuality. This sense of individuality can also be referred to as the ego or “I”. We carry this distinct stamp of individuality as long as we live. The joys and sorrows we experience in life are due to our identification with this attribute.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Being rich

I was having dinner with some friends the other day. The current state of the economy came up as a topic of conversation. Someone pulled out a smart phone and pulled up an image of an ATM receipt. Now why would anyone care what an ATM receipt looks like? This was an unusual one. It showed a remaining balance of 99 million dollars after a withdrawal of a few hundred dollars. Whether it was a real or not, this image changed the tone of the conversation considerably. With that kind of money, simple struggles of life would vanish. Looking at the faces around the table attested to this. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Limited or unlimited

When we refer to someone by name, we generally attribute the name to a physical human form. This human form is a collection of many trillions of atoms. There is a hidden glue that keeps these atoms together as long as life exists in the body. Essentially everything in the universe is built from atomic structures, just arranged in different ways to create everything from the creatures in the ocean to the air we breathe. Luckily for us, on a day to day basis, we don’t have to deal with orchestrating the dance of the atoms within our bodies. As we wake up and go about our day, we simply carry our atoms with us, without giving it much thought. We don’t often acknowledge the impressive internal order between atoms, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems. Instead, we usually focus on the body as a whole. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Obstacles to happiness

While the perimeter of a person’s brain is confined by the skull, the mind is like an endless ocean. We know he brain is real, because it can be seen and studied, but what about the mind? Intuitively, we feel its existence, but cannot prove it so easily. It’s impossible to transplant one’s mind into another person as we can with organs such as the heart, lungs, kidney or liver. However, we can share ideas with people in a way that causes the seeds of our thoughts to plant themselves in the minds of others.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Relax Your Heart

Based on a talk given at C. Purser MD’s wellness group, Bradenton, FL on June 23, 2011

The human heart is an amazing organ. It is small, about the size of one’s fist. It starts beating well before birth and in fact even before brain waves are detected in the fetus. An adult human heart beats over 100,000 times a daily pumping about 2000 gallons of blood daily. It supplies freshly oxygenated blood that traverses a vast network of blood vessels that may stretch approximately 60, 000 miles in an average adult.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why are we here?

Based on my talk at the Dattoli Cancer Foundation on June 14, 2011.

There are certain times in our lives when we catch ourselves thinking, “Why are we here?”. This question sounds simple enough, but when we apply it to our life here on earth, it is a difficult one to answer. Having spent over 330,000 hours (and counting) here on earth since I was born, I have come to realize that a large number of those hours have been spent experiencing the happiness and sorrow of mortal existence. Over 110,000 hours of my time has been spent sleeping. I often wonder if using even a small fraction of that time to dwell on the question, “Why am I here?” would lead to a greater understanding of my own self. Certainly thousands of hours focused on the outside world has not shown me much of a clue. The answer must lie within.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Charity Begins At Home

Simple phrases sometimes have very profound meaning. The depth of the meaning is different for everyone, and depends on the context in which a saying comes into one’s consciousness. If we let a phrase that resonates with us marinate for a while in our minds, it often resurfaces at pertinent times in our lives and accumulates even deeper meaning.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Fork In The Road

When watching television, our brains process many millions of images, and sequence them in a format that makes sense to us. It is hard for me to recall in vivid clarity most of these endless images that have passed through my consciousness, except perhaps one that has stayed with me over the years. Picture someone with a snorkel mask swimming laps for hours in a small pool, and making notes with an underwater pen and pad. I was watching a television documentary on a prolific Japanese inventor who happened to get his most profound ideas during this monotonous routine of swimming laps. Rather than get out of water and put his ideas on paper, he would write them down with his underwater pen on his waterproof writing pad. When asked about the secret of his creativity, he had a rather simple answer. He said that whenever he was faced with a choice of taking the easy way or the hard way, he always embraced the more difficult road. He felt that the experiences gained from choosing the harder way helped him turn his creative genius into practical reality. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Failure is the stepping stone to success: What my first three steps taught me

As you approach any endeavor, there are three likely outcomes. One, you are successful; two, you achieve partial success; three, you are unsuccessful. The outcome is not as important as what you learn from your experience. You don’t learn as much from your success as you do from failures. Success and failure, however both have their benefits. Success gives you the fruits of your efforts and failure gives you the seeds that you can then later transform into success in another form. If you look at success and failure in this manner, one can ask, which is more valuable, a seed or a fruit? A fruit once eaten is done and gone. A seed on the other hand has the potential for turning into a tree that can bear countless fruits.

When I look back on my life over the course of the last decade or so, just as the average person out there, I have had my share of successes and failures. Based on lessons learnt from past failures, I came up with seeds for my future success. These seed are universally applicable to anyone, anywhere. Here are the three stepping stones that helped me find the seeds of success.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thinking outside the box

In medieval times, some thought the world was flat and others correctly subscribed to the idea of a spherical world. At that time, there was perhaps a lot of speculation about what lay beyond the vast seas. Discovering the new world involved thinking outside the box. The modern world as we know it today would not exist if Christopher Columbus did not think outside the box. Since that time, man has not only discovered and accounted for every square inch of land on earth, but also has landed robotic rovers on the surface of our neighbouring planet, Mars. Every innovation that has translated into the everyday conveniences of modern life, such as cellphones and microwaves, that we take for granted, is the result of someone thinking outside the box. A lot of people have great ideas, but only a few actually take the leap of faith to turn an idea into something that is tangible and useful. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Work-life balance

Tim woke up to a gentle morning breeze. The weather was perfect and the early morning air drafting in through the large bay windows facing the Pacific Ocean felt like a cool mist in his face. As he moved towards the curtains flapping in the breeze, the first hint of the rising sun just over the eastern horizon glinted off the azure blue waters given it an ethereal golden sheen. The only sign of a restless wind was a couple of whitecaps out in the distance. As he watched sailboats slowly move across the waters, Tim’s work life was a distant memory although he had just arrived on this Pacific island paradise. Watching the waves gently lap the picturesque and nearly deserted sandy beach, his mind was similarly tranquil. The only sounds were those of seagulls and other avian life that made this particular beach home. He was snapped out of his early morning reverie by the humming sound of a motor in the distance. A tractor with a large net was clearing the beach sand of sea weed that was brought in by the ocean current overnight. As the sound got louder and louder, Tim was startled to find himself in his cubicle, one among several hundred similarly sized cubicles spread across an endless expanse of floor space. The only hint of the sun in his windowless cubicle was an old frayed piece of paper with a rough rendering of the sun above a couple of mountain peaks drawn by his young daughter in her art class a couple of years ago. The janitor slowly sweeping across the aisle with his industrial vacuum cleaner just before the 8 AM influx of hundreds of office staff, reminded Tim that was already three hours into his 16 hour work day. One would think that as he was taking a long anticipated and much needed vacation two weeks hence, he was at his desk very early to get all his work done. However, with the ever increasing demands of his high pressured job, not the least of which was his boss snapping at his heels and barking orders every time he passed through Tim’s section of the office floor made Tim an office rat glued to his seat. A relaxing vacation was a distant dream. Needless to say, Tim had no work-life balance.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The sophisticated beggar

The word ‘beggar’ conjures up images of destitute people in dire straits looking for the very basic necessities of life such as food and shelter. If you look at the wants of a person in this unfortunate position, it is in direct correlation with that individuals needs. For the more fortunate rest of us, we have the ability to meet the basic needs of life without putting much thought into it. Food is the basic necessity of a poor man and gasoline is the basic necessity of a rich man. However, what we have in common with a ‘beggar’ is our needs and wants in life. The only difference is the degree of correlation between our needs and wants. Most of our wants are on a mental level. For a person in desperate search for food such as what we see in TV images from the poorest parts of the world and for someone on a diet, the common theme is hunger. In the former case, hunger results from need for food that is not easily available. In the latter case, hunger results from the need to stay away from food that is easily available. There are no right or wrongs here, only differing perceptions. All are born equal. Feeling rich or poor depends on how you perceive life on a mental plane. The more you want something, the more have to beg in the inner silence of your mind. This in turn makes you mentally poor. Recently, when asked about his net worth, Donald Trump said, “I am worth whatever I feel”. If you feel that you don’t lack anything and feel well equipped to deal with life whatever maybe your circumstance, mentally you are a very rich person. If you always think that you are as well equipped physically and mentally as anyone else in the world, there is no reason you cannot achieve what you set out to do. Most humans can function adequately with one eye, one ear and one kidney, we should consider ourselves lucky to be born with the gift of a pair of eyes, ears and kidneys. We have a spare just in case one goes bad. So, why feel that you were born with limited resources.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Inner Rainbow

Based on a talk given at the Dattoli Cancer Center, Sarasota, Florida. April 12, 2011

Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind. The natural state of the universe unmanifest. Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it. It is your own true nature, it is home.
- Tibetan Book of the Dead

This succinct description of the mind helps us go back to basics and helps us find our roots whenever we are troubled by thought forms which can be infinite in variety. When you close your eyes, you may see a million different thoughts pass through your mind’s eye. If you are able to “turn” around and back project all these thought forms, the mind may appear as a tiny dot of white light. Imagine a cone of light coming from a spot very deep within your brain that carries with it thoughts. Thoughts appear like the intermingling of tumbling dust particles that show up when the afternoon sun peeks through a window into a dark room. As this cone of thoughts, lit up by your mental energy, dissipates away from its source it starts to form mental images that we see with our eyes closed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Focusing on one's duty

Dave, a business owner, manages a lot of people. He faces a rather common scenario that most managers face. How do you react when people don’t perform their tasks in a manner that meets your expectations? Do you take them to task and have them do the job your way? Or do you remain passive and hope that things eventually work out the way you envisioned it without hurting the other person’s feelings? In either case, nobody wins. In the former scenario, you as the manager may feel that you have done your job, but have failed to recognize the short and long term collateral damage respectively in the form of hurting others feelings and eventual loss of productivity due to building resentment. When you remain passive and hope things will eventually work out, you fail in your duty as a manager and more importantly you may not be a positive influence by empowering people to develop the wrong work ethic.

The real answer to this question is changing the work culture. People frequently say that change trickles down from the top and does not rise up from the bottom. This serves as a convenient excuse for people at the bottom to continue in their set ways. If people at the top don’t make a conscious effort to change the status quo, whether good or bad is maintained. The top and bottom are relative concepts. If you visualize yourself at the center of a wheel that is turning, as the wheel turns a point at the top of the wheel eventually becomes a point at the bottom of the wheel and conversely, a point at the bottom of the wheel has a chance to rise to the top. At the center of the wheel that is turning, the top and the bottom of the wheel are relative concepts.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Role of the mind in context of thought and consciousness

In a previous post "Thought = Matter x (Consciousness). Part 2: The role of the mind”, I described the mind and our interaction with it. Let’s further explore the role of the mind in the context of thoughts, experiences and consciousness.

When we look at the world outside, we interact with the outer world through the medium of the five senses. There is an inner world as well. We interact with the inner world through the medium of the mind. The mind also is a meeting point for thoughts, impressions and memories from the inner realm and the impressions derived from our interaction with the world outside. The various components of our inner architecture that help create impressions that we see in the mind include thought, stored experiences from the outer world, dreams and memories.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Finding stability in changing times

Last week I was having a discussion with a good friend of mine, Len Doherty. Len was kind enough to allow me to use our discussion as the basis for this post. Looking at the storyboard of Len’s life, I think everyone would agree that it is one of a very successful man. In his early 20s, he played professional soccer for Arsenal in the English Premier League. After injuries curtailed his soccer career, he founded Horizon Optical, which is now a leading independent prescription company in the UK ( He has a wonderful family and has achieved virtually every goal he set himself.

But, Len said that something was missing. He said that he was having a little difficulty adjusting to the fact that things around him were changing. He is now 62 and transitioning out of something he had worked hard at for over 30 years. His children have grown up and are leading their independent lives.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Breaking a habit: A true story

We learn a lot from day to day interactions with people. I happened to have one such interaction that reinforced my notion that every habit, however strong can be overcome. I was visiting a hospital in Ohio recently and while making morning rounds we were asked to see J.M. who was admitted with a serious heart condition brought on by illicit drug use. As I walked into the room, J.M. immediately burst out saying “don’t look at me as if I have a drug problem, I am a normal human being just like everyone else”. After proceeding with the examination and going over his plan of treatment, I wondered if his opening statement would give me an opportunity to pry into his drug habit. I then proceeded to ask him what his circumstances were right before he came into the hospital.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thought = Matter x (Consciousness). Part 2: The role of the mind

In the previous post, we deduced an equation linking thought energy with experiences derived from matter or the physical world. The common thread linking thought and matter is consciousness or awareness. Hence the formula,

Thought = Matter x (Consciousness).

While considering the concept that consciousness links thought energy and experiences derived from matter, we have to also contend with the human mind. Defining the mind is not easy. In both ancient and modern philosophical viewpoints, there have been many theories and ideas regarding the mind. Mind is not something that can be collected, measured and placed in a bottle with a label. Yet it exists and plays a very prominent role in our lives. When we are born, everyone comes into the world with a physical form and an entity called the mind. Our bodies change gradually, while our minds can change in a fraction of a second. We are “stuck” with two changing forms.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thought = Matter x (Conciousness) or T= MC

We exist in an energy spectrum. This energy spectrum is manifested in the form of electromagnetic energy. The two aspects of electromagnetism are electricity and magnetism. These two components are interrelated and interchangeable. A strong electric field generates magnetism and a changing magnetic field generates electricity. The light by which we can see is a form of electromagnetic energy. Other examples of electromagnetic energy are X-rays, microwaves, radio waves and ultraviolet rays. Electromagnetism is a universal phenomenon and is responsible for a lot of what we see in daily life. As a cardiologist, I use this electromagnetic energy in the form of x-rays to diagnose and treat problems related to the heart.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Facing Hardship

I was asked recently to comment on hardships we face in life, whether it is necessary for our progress in the material and spiritual worlds and how to deal with difficulties in life.

As a physician, on a daily basis I see people dealing with hardship. When people come to physicians they usually have a worry about their health and well being or they may have a real health problem. Healthy people with no worries about their health have no need or desire to see doctors.

Hardships come on many levels and is a part and parcel of life. It may be at the physical level due to illness causing impairment, it may be a mental worry about something. Others may have hardships at a spiritual level. An example of this is someone who suffers ill luck at every turn in life would naturally ask the question, “why me and what have I done to deserve this fate?”.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Combating stress and overcoming its physical effects

Stress is in our evolutionary DNA. Otherwise we would not be equipped with a sympathetic nervous system. Of the many thousands of nerve pathways crisscrossing our bodies, the sympathetic nervous system is assigned the task of species survival. This network of nerves is also thought of as the “fight or flight” mechanism. Early history of humans right from the prehistoric times was fraught with very frequent instances of danger that would have reminded those early humans of their mortality on an almost daily basis. In response to these dangers, the sympathetic nervous system put out adrenaline, a stress hormone that gave humans temporary superhuman capabilities to help escape from a life threatening situation.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Atrial Fibrillation and YOU

Based on my talk at the St. Armands Key Lutheran Church, February 23, 2011
Many of you may have heard the term atrial fibrillation. It is a very common condition that I as a cardiologist see in my daily practice. It is a disorder of the heart rhythm. If you feel your pulse either at your wrist or on the side of your neck just under the jaw bone, you will notice a nice regular rhythm to your heart beat if your heart is in rhythm. A normal resting heart rate usually ranges 60-90 beats a minute.

What is atrial fibrillation?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The power of relationship building

One hallmark of successful people is their ability to harness the power of building relationships.
The successes or failures of individuals, families, communities and countries depend how we interact with one another. If individuals get along communities are formed, if communities get along a nation prospers, if nations get along, the world becomes one. In order to enjoy the fruits of the prosperity of individuals, communities, nations or the world as a whole, one needs good health.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The universe outside is a reflection of the universe within

Based on my Talk “The universe outside is a reflection of the universe within: Journey from the star wars at the start of the Big Bang to the star within you” given at the Dattoli Cancer Center Support Group, February 15, 2011, Sarasota, FL.

Good evening and thank you for having me here.

I apologize if the title of the talk was confusing to some people. Hopefully it the meaning will be more apparent at the end of this talk.

I find that my best teacher and the source of my inspiration to find my real self is the world around us. I am a cardiologist by trade and I deal not just with problems related to the heart and blood vessels, but I am also very involved with preventive care. Prevention involves trying to prevent disease before it manifests in the physical body. Just like we can’t build a house without a plan or a blueprint, I sometimes wonder if there is a blueprint of illness somewhere within ourselves before diseases set in. Scientists are studying genetic makeup of individuals to determine if there is something in our genetics that can serve as a forewarning. Conversely, once disease manifests, scientists are also looking at targeting treatment based on the genetic makeup rather than using a shotgun approach that constitutes modern medicine as we know it. This targeted approach is also called personalized medicine. There are a lot of unknowns that are still being worked out. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pointers to the Journey Within

Based on my talk at the Center for Spiritual Living, Sarasota (Minister- Rev. Karen Wolfson) Feb. 13, 2011.

Good morning and thank you for having me here today.

Before we get started, I would like to use the power of collective thought of all those whose are gathered here this morning to send a prayer for world peace and harmony. The power of collective thought is like connecting a series of batteries to power a transmitter. The more the batteries, more the power. Each of your minds is like a battery and you can enhance your thought power by deeper concentration.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Conflicts in thought and feeling

We all have times where we feel great. We also experience moments where we don’t feel so well and at times we when we close our eyes we have a million different thoughts. Wouldn’t you rather feel wonderful all the time? It is not as hard as you think. Join me as I explore the process of thinking and feeling and I will share a technique to help you start the process of feeling great.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Channeling you inner electricity - Part I

When you talk of green energy, nothing beats the human body. We have the power to generate electricity that runs bodily functions. An average adult human body generates about 80 Watts of power at rest and the human heart can generate about 7 Watts of power. As a cardiologist, on a daily basis I see evidence of the ability of the human body to generate electricity. A simple EKG or electrocardiogram is proof of that. On an EKG you see positive and negative deflections depicting the voltage of the recorded electricity. The human heart is a fascinating organ. It has the ability to constantly put out electricity that runs the mechanical pumping portion of the heart. As will be explained later on, the impulses to run this electrical generator does not cease till we die. The ability to use these impulses to turn on the electricity generating capacity in the body changes with disease states, medication use and some genetic factors.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Conquering Anger

I was talking to a friend recently and he asked me about anger control. He stated that he is usually calm and does not feel angry unless he is provoked. He alluded to the fact that he was not to blame as he is generally not angry unless there is external provocation, in other words, the source of his anger is outside him. This is a very common situation we face, myself included.

Luckily for me, discussing anger is not as difficult as trying to prove the presence or absence of the human soul. We have all experienced anger, so we know that it is real. There are any number of scenarios where emotion is expressed as anger. We cannot say that avoiding certain situations will cure anger, as no two persons interprets a situation the same way.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

On Religion...

At one of my talks, where I spoke about the importance of right breathing and the benefits of measured and regulated breath on the functioning of the heart, I was asked a simple but profound question, “Is what you are talking about have anything to do with religion?”

When you talk about religion, there are endless opinions, just like there are endless waves on the surface of an ocean. Each wave is entitled to rise above the surface of the ocean and eventually has to merge back into the ocean. One wave does not make an ocean. Similarly each human thought is a wave on the ocean of collective human thought, which can also be thought of as human consciousness. Just as no two waves are the same, each human mind is a little different from another.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to develop will power

A colleague of mine asked me how to develop will power.

Before going into the mechanics of developing will power, let’s first define what will power is. Will power is the process of consciously directing a concentrated thought. Is it not strange that to do things that are not beneficial to us like wrong eating and wrong habits does not require any will power at all? Resisting the pull of these habits sometimes requires superhuman effort and despite this, we often fail.

Think of a circle with a point in the center of it and a line running along the circumference of the circle. The mind can be compared to a circle. It has a natural tendency to wander to the periphery of the circle. Every time you want to come back to the center of the circle, you have the option of coming back to the center of the original circle from which you wandered off, or use the point at the periphery of the circle to make that a new point of reference from which to jump to the periphery of another circle you just created in your mind. In this way, the mind links thought to thought and soon enough, it wanders off.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Life after death, reincarnation and purpose of creation.

A dear friend of mine, Gary asked me today about my thoughts on “life after death, reincarnation and the purpose of creation”.

In my humble opinion, as part of my own spiritual journey, I have had the best luck in understanding these intellectually draining topics in simple easy to understand portions. Just as a meal is best enjoyed in small servings, as opposed a large meal that makes us uncomfortable afterwards, let’s take these topics in an easy to digest serving size. Otherwise, just as a heavy meal makes the body uncomfortable, heavy intellectual discussion will make the mind uncomfortable, more confused and will bring up more questions than answers.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mind, Diet and Blood Vessel Blockage: Understanding the link.

Based on my talks at the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key (November 7, 2010) and at Dr. C. Purser's wellness group (January 27, 2011).

Imagine driving along a busy road lined with red brick walled buildings. As you are driving along, without warning, a seemingly endless cascade of bricks falls out of nowhere and completely obstructs the road in front of you. This is what happens when one has a heart attack. The blood vessels, also called arteries are complex structures that transport red blood cells. During a heart attack, the blood vessels in the heart are suddenly blocked preventing red blood cells from reaching the heart muscle downstream. Red blood cells are important because they have hemoglobin, which transports oxygen. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, this results in death of the cells of the heart and ultimately forms a scar tissue. Depending on how much heart muscle is involved and how long it is deprived of oxygen, the efficiency of the pumping mechanism of the heart is correspondingly reduced.

The rather sudden nature of a heart attack has its roots in our childhood. The central theme of all heart attacks is buildup of plaque or blockage in the blood vessels. This process of plaque formation starts very early in our lives. Diet plays a very important role in the formation of these blockages.

We are going to explore how blockages or plaques form in our blood vessels by tracing the pathways of food metabolism.

Key points

  • Three major food groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
  • End product of food metabolism is carbon dioxide and water, regardless of the type of food.
  • Excess carbohydrates and proteins are converted to fat for long-term storage.
  • Cholesterol is important for integrity of all cells in the body, helps in the absorption and digestion of fats in the intestine, precursor of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.
  • Cholesterol and fats are insoluble in blood, are transported in the bloodstream attached to particles called lipoproteins. One such lipoprotein called LDL or bad cholesterol is responsible for the formation of blood vessel clogging plaques.
  • Better the diet (lower calories: remember, carbohydrates, proteins and fats are interchangable, excess is ultimately stored as fat), less need for blood stream lipoprotein (LDL) transport of cholesterol and fat .
  • Less circulating lipoproteins (LDL), less probability of plaque formation which leads to clogging of blood vessels.
  • Mind influences diet to a large extent.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Introductory Comments At Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce 1/19/2011

Thank you very much. It is wonderful to see everyone coming together for the success of the new Long Boat. Everyone one of you is equally important in the success of this endeavor. As a heart doctor, I am very excited to be a part if this, especially the wellness component. There are several activities planned including rowing and triathlon which is great for heart health. Being a cardiologist, I thought I would share a little piece of advise on wellness that is guaranteed to change your lives. In my daily practice as a physican and healer, my attention is not just trying to fix the mechanical, electrical and plumbing components of the heart, but to focus on the well being of the individual as a whole, that is mind, body and spirit. In my definition of wellness, the mind plays a central role. If any part of the body is affected by illness, the mind is restless. The converse is true as well. If the mind is restless and under stress all the time, diseases can sprout. Let’s look at wellness using a tree as an analogy. Our hands, legs and body can be compared to the trunk and branches of a tree. Our five sense senses and internal organs are like the leaves and fruits of a tree. To keep the tree healthy you water the roots not the leaves or the branches. Our mind can be compared to the root of a tree. To ensure a healthy body, the mind has to be kept calm and still. Everyone one of you has the potential to achieve inner calm and peace of mind. I am happy to share with you a simple technique to help you realize this inner potential that will give you peace of mind and in turn great health and well being. This involves something that you do several thousand times a day, that is your breathing. If you want to learn more about this, I would be happy to talk with you individually. Thank you very much and enjoy the evening.

Talk at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church 1/20/2011, Longboat Key, FL

Thank you for having me here today.

What is life?

About three years ago, 2 events occurred in my life that changed my way of looking at life. One was the death of my grandmother and the other was the birth of my daughter a few months later. My grandmother was sick for quite sometime before she passed away. She always kept a smile on her face despite all her difficulties and she always told me “have only one mood, and that is a good mood”. She lived this principle all her life. I was at her bedside when she took her last breath and she departed with a smile on her face. Everyone around her, family, close friends were either weeping, crying or sad. A few months later, my daughter was born here in Sarasota. As all newborns do, the first thing she did was to cry for 5 minutes. Everyone around her were all overjoyed at the new arrival and the mood was generally very happy. Contrast these 2 situations. When my grandmother died, she was the only one smiling while everyone else was crying. When my daughter was born, she was the only one crying while everyone else was laughing and smiling. So, we all enter the world crying and leave with a smile. Everything in between is what we call life.