The Obama balm

When Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech, tears rolled down the cheeks of many a supporter – both, American and otherwise. In fact, many hearing him in Mumbai, were moist-eyed too. What was the connection between an American aansoo and an Indian one? Which of the words he uttered, what part of his speech, and what thoughts that he articulated, managed to appeal to people from Greenland to Girgaum? Was it the hope that held out of a new world order, or just the fact that he had fulfilled the hope of every African-American? The operative word here is ‘hope’. It is this hope that caused that gush of energy inside every hopeful’s heart.

Hope is more powerful than the best of medicines. In fact, every therapy is built on a foundation of hope. When you take a pill for a headache, you do it with the hope that the pain will vanish. When you study for your exam, you do it in the hope that you will pass and do well in life. We hold onto hope, because many successful stories have been wrought around it.

It is common to find an insulin-dependent diabetic asking "Doctor, is it true that once on insulin, always on insulin?" Or a HIV-positive patient looking skywards and asking, "Oh God, why me?" We can hope for a patient to get well only if we zealously guard his hope to survive, to surmount.

This column too revolves around hope. When people write in with their prayer requests, they do it with the hope that I will publish them and also hope that people will pray for them in the Connect-Ticket group. And it is this very same hope that has weaved magic in the form of people getting well just through people's prayers.

Let’s take this hope trip a bit further. I invite you to tell me your success stories. If you have conquered diabetes, tell me how you did it. If you've won over cancer, let me know. Or AIDS, epilepsy, liver cirrhosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's... any ailment known to man. Success stories like these will act as a tonic to many a tired soul. My aim is to keep hopes alive – to tell the success stories of people who are fighting against all odds. One hope leads to another, and who knows one success story may lead to another too.

Solutions can be got in a myriad ways. To think that only medicines can cure a person is a fallacy. A senior citizen in an old age home doesn't need medicines for treatment; he/she just needs a patient listener. A person with bitter experiences in life just needs to meet one Samaritan to bring about an attitudinal shift. Solutions therefore, can come from anywhere.

It is essential that we do this exercise, especially since our hope for a bright future seems to be getting bleaker in the wealth-depleting and MNS-challenged world we live today. The need of the hour is to connect to each other at a soul level, where we genuinely pray and wish for each other's happiness. The results are miraculous.

Barack Obama said just that, and the people saw in him the hope that they have been nurturing for a very long time. Now, whether he actually fulfils that hope will have to be seen.

Countering the countdown

Recession! Meltdown! Countdown! Doom! All that we get to hear these days are these words and their assorted synonyms, isn’t it? There is a distinctive air of bewilderment all around, as everybody seems to have simply no answer to the plummeting financial markets and their eroding net worths. Suddenly, they are finding themselves out of balance and out of sync…as if their centre of gravity has been yanked out of position. But come to think of it: this situation makes for a fascinating study of energy movements, doesn’t it?

We all have heard the age-old wisdom: life has its ups and downs. What goes up must come down. There is always light after dark. And so on. All these clich├ęs however, point to only one thing: the movement of energy. If you understand it, managing a financial crisis like the present one, becomes easier.

When stress levels of the kind we are seeing today hit, the first impact on people is that they become off-centred. In other words, their centre of gravity (CoG) shifts. When that happens, it hampers energy movements in the body. Then, every chakra or energy centre in the body, does not receive adequate amounts of energy, and in turn, starts to malfunction. The chakra system is a study in itself and it will not be possible to explain it in entirety in this column, but simply put, these chakras are connected to the endocrine glands, which release hormones in the body. When the root chakra or Mooladhara (the last chakra located at the base of the spine) gets affected, the primary symptom that arises is fear and the stress hormone released is adrenaline and cortisol. And that is what we are seeing today everywhere – a fear about the future.

So is there a solution? Well, there always is. All you need to do is set right the energy flow.

Interestingly, CoG has various definitions. The layman’s definition is “it’s an imaginary point where the total weight of a material body may be thought to be concentrated”. We learnt this in school. In sports, it’s defined as ‘the point at which the whole weight of an object can be considered to act and, therefore, at which all parts of an object are in balance”. And in military terms (a concept developed by Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian military theorist), CoG is defined as "those characteristics, capabilities, or locations from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight." Thus, the center of gravity is usually seen as the "source of strength".

Therefore, in the current scenario as well, much can be set right by just setting right your centre of gravity, and thereby your energy flow. In other words, by setting right your ‘source of strength’.


  • Watch your posture: Make sure you walk straight, that your weight falls uniformly on both feet, your spine is erect and shoulders are broad. This will ensure your energy is flowing down your spine to all your major chakras. One way to check if your posture is wrong is to check your footwear and check the way the sole has been worn out.
  • Exercise: Exercise replaces those "fear hormones" in your body with hormones that promote strength and power for longer periods of time.
  • Trust in the future: A brain imaging study at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has discovered that the fear-processing circuitry in the human brain appears to be short-circuited by the brain chemical oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the "trust" hormone. Oxytocin quells the brain's fear hub, the amygdala (and its associated brainstem relay stations), in response to fearful stimuli. So, a good affirmation to mentally repeat is – This too shall pass.

It pays to concentrate on setting right energy movements first, and then pondering over the symptoms, instead of the other way round.