The Biggest Obstacle to Meditation (And How to Overcome It)

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

“The opposite of insight is excite.”
~Ajahn Brahmavamso

A meditator went to a spiritual teacher and asked for his advice. “My mind is never free from thoughts, though I’ve been trying really hard to get rid of them since several years. Please guide me. How do I get rid of these thoughts?”

The teacher said, “Continue your practice as usual but with one change—avoid all thoughts about monkeys while meditating. Come back after one week.”

After a week, the meditator returned and reported, “Before I met you, I never had any thoughts about monkeys during meditation. But after you advised me not to think about monkeys, I can’t stop thinking about them. The more I try not to think about monkeys, the more thoughts I get about them. I’m totally stressed during meditation.

“And this stress has affected my peace of mind. I’ve lost my appetite and I can’t sleep properly.

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Canopy of Peace

Sometimes, a conversation with a friend is comforting, enlightening and entertaining in equal measure.

The decision is made. Instead of taking a rickshaw or the car, we’ll walk. Rohi will lead the way to Shreyas restaurant (http://www.hotelshreyas.in/restaurant.php) that serves a Maharashtrian Thali. Although it is January, the mid-morning sun warms my back as we walk along Prabhat Road in Pune, India. As we amble along, cars, scooters, cycles and pedestrians race past. Perhaps, ‘race’ isn’t the right word. At most, they’re all going at 15 km per hour because the road is congested and choking with people, noise and smells.

There are squeals of laughter from children nearby. One man is selling vegetables by the roadside. A young girl on a scooter wraps one end of her dupatta around her head then expertly covers her nose and mouth. Once she puts on her sunglasses, there’s nothing of her face that’s visible

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Arun: Diabetes

Knowledge of Life: Tales of an Ayurvedic Practitioner in Malaysia
“The abundance of cheap food with low nutritional value in the Western diet has wreaked havoc on our health; in America, one third of children and two thirds of adults are overweight or obese and are more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Ellen Gustafson

In Ayurveda, diabetes comes under the broad heading of ‘Prameha’. This word is said to be derived from the root ‘Mehi Sechene’ meaning watering and, in this context, it means passing urine. As such, in Ayurveda, diabetes is defined by excessive urination, both in quantity and frequency. The other signs and symptoms of diabetes are excessive sweating with foetid odour, flabbiness of body, sedentary habits, excessive mucosal discharge, obesity and flabbiness, rapid growth of hairs and nails, thirst, sweetness of mouth, burning sensation

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Asha: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Knowledge of Life: Tales of an Ayurvedic Practitioner in Malaysia
“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

In general terms, the primary manifestations of Rheumatoid arthritis are in the peripheral joints, but there is a wide systemic involvement in the body. Asha Nair was one such patient. By the time I met her, she’d been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for the past five years.

When she first walked into my room, the first thing I noticed was what I call a ‘moon face’. Her face was swollen and this told me that she was probably on steroids. Her gait was so unstable that even at that young age, she was using a walking stick. After introducing ourselves, she took a deep

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The Five Enemies of Meditation (and How to Overcome Them)

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

During the ten-day Vipassana retreat, we learn how to practice three different meditation techniques. First, we learn how to concentrate the mind using awareness of respiration. Next, we learn how to develop mental equanimity based on awareness of physical sensations. Finally, we learn the practice of metta, in which we share our positive feelings of love and goodwill with all beings.

During the meditation course, we also come face to face with the five formidable enemies of meditation. These are mental obstacles that hinder the practice of meditation. After the course, during our daily meditation practice at home, learning to deal with these five hindrances becomes a part of our meditation practice.

The Buddha called them nivarana—mental factors that hinder our progress not only in meditation but also in every worthy endeavor that we may choose to undertake. So they are enemies not only of meditation but

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How Silence Benefits You in a Vipassana Meditation Course?

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

“Silence is not merely an absence of noise. Real silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary.” ~Peter Minard

Meditation courses have become increasingly popular throughout the world. Among them are the ten-day residential Vipassana meditation retreats that originated in Myanmar (Burma).

One of the unique features of this course is the rule to observe “noble silence” for the first nine days of the course. Noble silence means that we do not communicate with fellow meditators for the first nine days of the course, neither verbally nor by gestures.

The format of the Vipassana course is designed to deliver maximum benefits in exchange for our investment of ten days. As with all the other course-rules, the rule of noble silence is flexible. Though we cannot communicate with our fellow students, we are free to communicate

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Premita: Thyroid Disorder

Knowledge of Life: Tales of an Ayurvedic Practitioner in Malaysia
Having a systemic auto-immune disease is like riding a wave of pain, nausea, emotion and physical limitations. It drains you entirely. You’re instantly being pushed to your breaking point and it never ends.”

Stacey Rudisill

Hormonal changes in the body happen all the time. For a healthy person, the most intense times these changes happen is during puberty and when a woman is menopausal. In some people these changes can occur at other times in their lives because of their lifestyle choices or because of the unhealthy stress levels. In cases involving the thyroid gland, the two main disorders are hypothyroidism (due to a poorly functioning thyroid gland) and hyperthyroidism (caused by an overactive thyroid gland). I am about to introduce you to Premita, who, through no fault of

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