What’s in Your Bag?

Everything we see, feel, think or do leaves an impression on our minds. It seems almost tautological to say that. Human brain is always looking to automate stuff into habit patterns to make life easier by saving computational time and energy. We are a walking bag of habits. What’s inside the bag we carry dictate who we are, how we are and what we are.

The tricky thing about the bag is that much of its contents are acquired without awareness. Some inherited. It is vast and deep and it is difficult to audit what’s inside.

The good thing, however, is that we can reengineer it! Continue reading

Imitation Games

Imitation can be an effective learning method. Dance is a good example. We watch someone dance and we try and move “the same way”. It is also useful in sports, for example, a beginning tennis player may acquire a forehand stroke that does a good job at his level by simply imitating a pro.

We see imitation in other walks of life. Business literature is littered with strategies that urge us to imitate successful people. We are told that successful CEOs or fund managers do these 5 things and that if we do the same 5 things, we could be as successful as them. Of course, the people who did those 5 things and did not make it are harder to find and hence ignored from the calculus. This is an example of survivorship bias or what is less charitably known as “proof by example”. Continue reading

The Power of Visualisation in Yoga

Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, the canonical text of Yoga, considers visualisation an important technique. Its importance can be gauged by the real estate it gets in an otherwise terse work of just 195 sūtras (aphorisms).

Here are some of the aphorisms related to visualisation:

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Why Self Transformation Strategies Fail!

Blogosphere is full of wisdom for a better YOU, with catchy titles to get your attention (like this post). These essentially help you construct a new make-believe world, usually with the help of some cleverly constructed phrases (or wordplay as Wittgenstein the famous Austrian philosopher would call them).

However, we all know how these pan out. We live a week or two of in this new make-believe world. Gradually, thought by thought and act by act, we slip back into our familiar world. I have had a fair share of these attempts.  Continue reading

The World According to Yoga

The concept of Guna is fundamental in Yoga philosophy. It can be confusing to people with Scientific training. However, it is just a conceptual model. One way of looking at the world. I discuss this issue in detail here. I will try and explain the Gunas in non-technical terms.

The context comes first! Imagine our world 2500 years ago. Telescopes, microscopes, spectroscopes, computers, etc had not appeared yet. All that a Yogi had were his mind and sense organs. His view of the world is constructed from the information coming directly from these organs. His main tool of analysis was introspection (i.e. meditative analysis or Saṁyama in Sanskrit).

Continue reading

pratipakṣa bhāvanam

Harbouring contrary thoughts (pratipakṣa bhāvanam) is a strategy suggested by Patanjali when faced with temptations or difficulties in practicing the codes of personal conduct (Yama and Niyama). This is more subtle than simply thinking positive thoughts as contrary thoughts need not only be positive. Continue reading

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