Tag Archives: meditation

Dr. Bachratá: We live times of too much comfort

 In previous part of an interview we talked with Dr. Bachratá about holistic medicine in general. Now you can read her thoughts on meditation, lifestyle and roots of our problems.

 Alhought you´re a traditional doctor, you´re still using alternative methods. Do you find mind & body medicine as alternative medicine?

Lot of studies confirm effect of mind & body attempt, so in global context, it´s not alternative anymore. Talking about Slovakia, here it´s still different. Even I, when I just began with Mind & body center, I tried so hard not to be seen as alternative because I was afraid to risk my reputation. But lately we´ve been more obvious in this and we find it more as advantage. Also more and more people consider it as positive. Our center provides classic as well as alternative methods, because we are simple sure about their meaning. Sometimes they are the only way how to help patient to get rid of unpleasant symptoms whom traditional medicine can´t help with.

Why is traditional medicine not applying this methods too – is it financial question?

Sure. But if we count right, then this method would be much more cheaper than taking pills. But in such case would money go somewhere else where our state actually wants them to go. Problem is people are not ready yet – they are used to the situation when state takes care of them. They just wait until someone comes and take the responsibility for them, rules them that they don´t have to rule themselves, that they don´ t have to change their habits, start to work out, change eating habits or lifestyle. If traditional medicine would apply some of “alternative” methods and people were willing to take responsibility for their health, we would spare so much money. The first question is therefore not money, but the way people think. It´s about how much they need comfort and how passive they are. Also it´s question of conservatism, lobbing and corruption.

Recently, at European forum I´ve heard a speech of some doctor about how much the situation in his ambulance has changed since health insurance company let them have psychologist. He said that since then amount of patients has changed rapidly.

Do you prescript antibiotics or you can avoid them?

You can´t because people usually can´t and don´t want to help themselves. Prevention is always first, but if a person enters ambulance completely sick, two weeks with cold and he/ she can´t live with it anymore cause he has to go back to work, and not stay longer to cure himself, there is no other solution. But there are fighter who try to avoid antibiotics and they believe, as I do, that there is no infection thread, that couldn´t be handled with our immune system. But thanks to permanent stress and pressure we can´t hold it anymore. Current medical system teaches people they are no educated enough to understand their own bodies. Although we have this nature within us, only it´s not usual to us to take over our responsibility for own happiness and health.

When we look from above, almost everyone has some problem, for ex. bad relationships with parents, childish traumas, inner conflict, etc. That means that everyone has some diagnosis in general. Or you see it differently?

Diagnosis is a word I don´t like very much. It associates some disorder, something permanent and fixed we should avoid and we should be afraid of. Conflict, crises, problems or change are normal part of our lives and we should see it that way. It´s all about if we have competencies to handle that problem or not. Eitherway, sooner or later we come to the point when life turns 180 °. If we take it as regular thing, if we trust ourselves and acknowledge our skills, our limits, mind and body, if we already have such experience and we are able to listen to our intuition, we can push the limits and find always some solution.

5But nowadays is instead age of comfort, plenitude and securities and we don´t have to test our endurance in fight with animals or climate. We are trying to avoid critical situation and we pay big price therefore. We avoid hot and cold, everything out of our comfort zone and we are losing so much. One who is able to face such discomfort is more resistant and it´s not only about body but also about psychics.

We all carry some patterns that rules our life. How we can change them?

The method differs according to therapist. First is always insight – ability to accept that current pattern is not optimal for us. Then we have to discover new pattern. We apply different exercise on particular situations, where patient can preview different reactions that he would usually has. It´s just an exercise so he doesn´t have to feel insecure. But everytime it´s very individual, psychological attempt.

Our web talks about meditation. According to different researches, can meditation or mindfulness change the way we think or act? Do you apply it as well?

For me is meditation or mindfulness more or less the same – it´s in the way how it helps patient. Principle is always to stay present – now and here, which helps us to avoid negative thoughts and emotions. Andrej (psychologist at our Mind & body center) offers mindfulness as part of individual or group therapies because it brings very interesting results. Meditation is not yet available although patients are more familiar with it. Sometimes is term “meditation” deterrent for patients, they relate it mostly to some ezoterics. Slovaks are a lot orientated on rationality and performance and “going deep while sitting with crossed legs “ how Slovaks usually consider meditation, is not something they have time for. They think that change can be reached only with hard-work not while “doing nothing”. It´s hard to change their minds. We often ask patients in survey what they dislike most about themselves. “Laziness” is the most frequent answer. People think that relaxation is just waste of time and it simply lowers their personal value.

Are there any risks about meditation?

More and more people are giving chance to meditation and try some video guides or articles. Sometimes it helps, but mostly is the result not the same as they expect. We had some patient who meditated on regular basis but it didn´t do a lot. We checked him with so called biofeedback and we found out that his will to stay present “now and here” made him feel very anxious and stressed. Health issues went worse. We taught him to bring his concentration outside his body on some particular object. That made him relaxed in a right way. Not every meditation has the same effect, and we recommend to search for an experienced lector.

The most important is breathing. We can´t live without breathing but what else is it good for?

Survive is somewhere at the end of whole “thing”. Our body is smart enough to not allow us not breathing. If we would try it, we all would end up unconscious. Breathing is important for exchange of body gas´, for oxygenation and extracting carbon dioxide, which is related to acidobasic balance. Diaphragm breathing is important mediator between stress and released reactions, it influences statics and dynamics of our locomotor system, digestion, and many other functions. If we breathe shallow for long time, anarchy in our body starts. Even though we have many mechanism´to keep homeostatic. Stress reaction is principally life-saving and therefore it rules inner balance. Recently I´ve read an article of some doctor on so medialized acidity where she mentioned it´s all just nonsense.

Is it?

4No, it isn´t. Of course a big deal of whole thing is business but many psychosomatics studies show that person under long-term stress has serious inner, metabolic reactions leading to acidity. Stress stimulates process that leads to different changes of calcium, potassium, magnesium level and higher acidity. It´ s related to breathing and our genetically given reactions on stress – active fight or flight reaction or passive form, which is the eldest. It´s called freeze – person stops to breathe, pretends to be death. Part of patients,mostly those anxious, react in this way. Part of this reaction is, already mentioned, shallow breathing, weak digestions and non-functioning absorption of nutrients, skin problems. Emotions and the way we control them are ruling our physical process´.

How to deal with these emotions? Is it better to overcome them, let them release or push them through?

It´s impossible to generalize. Anyway it´s better to realize any emotion we have and investigate its roots. But often we overreact without reason. We are desperate for broke up or we have conflict at work and we shout at our kid instead. Maybe we push this emotion and it releases in other way, for example on physics. We have to release these emotions in a right way, also with risk of some discomfort. On the other hand we shouldn´t let the emotions rule our life. There should be enough self-love that balances tendency to self-sacrifice and altruism.

Experienced meditators, mostly monks teach us to accept everything and walk through life without too much emotion. Is it possible in your opinion?

I don´t  think it´s possible in common life. Some issues are so important for us that we have no chance to react completely calm. Important moments are followed with strong emotions which later disappear. E-motion is the driving force of any activity we do, that´s where the term comes from. Life without emotions is flat, has no depth or sense. I can imagine some monks living in temple out of civilization who put their spiritual life on the top of everything. It´s one possible attitude. I, personally, can´t live in world of no emotions.

I think what we talk about is called dynamic balance.

Of course. Narrow line is from physiological point of view simple death. Life is always dynamic. Every second of our life we lose this balance then we search for way how to get it back. It´s driving force of our life. We lose balance – we are hungry, feel insecure or cold, so we have to do something to get what we need. It is always related with frustration and some stress reaction. Animal wouldn´t move without reason. Why would it when it doesn´t miss anything? Why should I run when there is no reason?

But people still do that..:)

2That´s called higher goals. But motivation is always there, otherwise they wouldn´t do that. In age of abundance we are logically motivated by values from higher levels of Maslow pyramid. People need nowadays much more to keep life balance, not just to be sated.

We often hear about something as return to nature, wholeness,.. Does it mean moving to country?

No, for me it´s return to ourselves. To feel what I need and do everything to get it. As mentioned, we don´t have only primitive physiological needs – to eat, to reproduce but we care for higher values, self-realization. Lot of people, unfortunately crave for goals of others. Return to nature is return to goals of ourselves. For staying healthy we need to differ between what is ours and what we were given by family, society, work, school,…

But all of this has big influence on us, we can´t avoid that. Or you mean Rousseaus´s return to nature?

I agree with Rousseau. Civilization destroys nature of human and push everything that we were given naturally. I know that nowadays return to nature is not totally possible (or simple) but it would be very useful, mostly for men. They are losing a lot of testosterone and becoming effeminate. I´m a pacifist but still I would vote for army service some men would need it so much.

Isn´t it contradiction? If the masculinity is natural thing, then they don´t need any war to apply their instincts’, do they?

Yes, it´s natural thing. But part of it is masculine aggression, fight and overcoming of barriers and discomfort which teaches men to stand on their feet. That war is indeed not the best example, it has brought us a lot of pain and disguise but for many men it was one of the most important life experiences where they had to overcome themselves. Nowadays men run marathons, do sports instead, but still lot of young men are less masculine. It´s pretty common at households with too dominant father or, on the contrary with father who is too feminine, that son is becoming weak and submissive too. Boy needs an example of man who is brave and strong from psychical and physical side. Lower level of testosterone is often related to sterility. And we all know how common it´s nowadays.

Is it normal evolution or we should we worry?

It´s evolution (if normal, that depends on what norm we accept) but we should definitely worry. On the other hand, all depends on the perspective we look from. If we consider the fact that we have overpopulation, then from global perspective it´s evolution tendency that nature makes some couples sterile. From an individual point of view it´s a catastrophe.


5 things that I have learnt from meditation

Few months and I have learnt so much from practicing. Would you guess what?

  1. Patience – I used to be very impatient. Craved for something and wanted it immediately. I thought that everything I do, every relationship I start, must be perfect from the beginning. I could hardly handle that I couldn´t play piano like virtuoso after half year practice, that I´m not perfect employee or I don´t know how to solve something new. I wanted to see results directly. Of course it was not working. For great things you have to wait, you have to keep on doing what you do to achieve something. Good career, nice relationship, some new experiences with meditation. Anything. You just have to wait patiently and something will happen.
  2. Positivity – Before I started to meditate I had a golden rule – Always expect the worst and anything would happen, you´ll be always surprised in a positive way. So I always expect the worst results in school, in job, in any competition or relationship. Anywhere, anytime. My friends were totally annoyed with my tendency to reject all my school successes, to always blame myself for not being perfect enough. I ended up totally stressed with no reason. Only area I could be positive were life, relationships or successes of others. I quit. I realized my theory is not working properly. Either I´m negative or positive about my future success, it has no influence on result that actually comes. Only difference is that even if I succeed I end up being totally tired and weak. So I rather embrace everything with positive attitude. And even if things finish not that good, I still can find something positive about it.
  3. Acceptance – Previous years I was literally struggling. Things were going differently as I expected, I thought that things are happening just to make me sad, but anyway, it was my decision to feel this way. I didn´t know that. One day after meditation practice I looked on things with completely different eyes. Suddenly I saw that things are happening because they need to happen, they need to happen to open my eyes, to teach me some lesson. I started to accept that fact and I started to understand the purpose of these lessons. If I don´t understand immediately, I´m trying to look above horizon and wait patiently for an explanation. If it doesn´t come, I let it go. At least I´m trying to. J
  4. Relax – I used to travel quite a lot. Every time it was stress – lot of things to think of, lot of small details you shouldn´t forget and lot of mistakes I usually did. Missed trains and missed opportunities to look around and glimpse something amazing. When I was coming back from Belgian where I´d been meditating for 5 days I was completely peaceful. I lost my ticket, I forgot part of my luggage somewhere but I stayed totally fine. I sat into plane next to a guy who was freaking out – shaking, moving too much on his small seat. I couldn´t believe it but after almost hour of our conversation he stopped. The rest of the journey was just fine. Not because something has changed rapidly, but because he changed his attitude toward the road. Every time I travel now, I´m trying to take it easy – I ´m still very lucky to loose things, to miss transport, whatever you can imagine, but it´s okay. I learn that stress doesn´t help anything. And so I always sit deep down into my seat and watch all the stories passing by.
  5. Love & understanding – My biggest problem more than year ago (beside others) was fact that I was judging too much. I looked on a person and immediately start bringing solutions about person without knowing him better. I could see all the bad things at the first sight, but I could hardly find reasons to like, to love anyone. I knew it was wrong but I couldn´t help it. Only meditation had the power to change it. Now I watch with open eyes and heart. I´m searching more for good in others than bad. Actually it´s funny game. And love? To feel love is the greatest feeling ever – not just love toward your partner, but firstly love toward yourself, your parents, your friends, your job and whatever you do. Love is always at the first place, or it should be.

That´s only 5 things that meditation has taught me, that have changed my quality of life. Five exams I could pass while practicing on regular basis. Every time I stop meditating on regular basis, I ´m loosing these habits. So I gotta work on it more! What has meditation taught you?

Why scientists recommend meditation

It´s highly possible that till now you´ve been associating meditation only with eastern philosophies, esotericism and alternative medicine. Maybe you´ve been seeing it as a dangerous secret of all budhists, hinduists and people pretending to be budhists/ hinduists. Maybe you´ve never heard of a mindfulness technique and you let it to the hippie freaks and eastern addicts.

But meditation is no more only heritage of east, everyday it´s spread more and more on the west. Meditation and mindfulness techniques are nowadays widely used by specialists on brain, psychics, behavior and psychology general. Meditation is taught in schools, army, business (for ex. David Lynch foundation). Western world definitely succumbed to this method which is becoming part of a lifestyle of people of any origin, background, profession. Before you reject it just as another new wave, take a look why scientists find it so useful.

Meditation lower stress – We know very well that stress is reason for many civilization deseases: high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic pain, asthma, depression. According to many researches, meditation with concentrating on breathing and perception of inside stages of body and mind leading to deep relaxation is related to decrease of cortisol – hormone responsible for stress reactions.

Photo: Kudivani Photography

Meditation strengthens immune system – In recent article I wrote about how I used to be ill very often. Since I started doing meditation, my immune system became stronger and I didn´t even know why. Researches show why: Cortisol is also responsible for weakening immune system a regular meditation is lowering this level as well as strengthening whole body and mind. Weak immune system reacts generally not very well to the stress situation, while person with good immune system reacts better. Stress simply influences both psychical and physical part too much, and strong body and mind can handle better. Meditation is great prevention for all inflammatory diseases and together with exercising it´s simply the best recipe for current autumn period.

Meditation lowers pain and heals lot of physical deseases – Interesting conclusion was found by Duke University Medical center which studied influence of meditation practice on chronic pain. In eight week program patients with chronic pain of lower back went through loving kindness meditation and the results were amazing. Comparing to the control group their reactions on pain improved and they could handle feelings of pain, eager and sadness better. Medical University of South Carolina confirmed that meditation can have positive effect on wide scale of psychics, physics symptoms – it reduces feelings of anxiety, depression, bad mood, low self-esteem, insomnia, etc.

Meditation improves emotional perceiving and concentration – According to different researches, meditation improves functioning of amygdala – part of the brain responsible for emotional perception. With regular meditation can amygdala get smaller, and your brain can deal with emotions better. Meditation also has positive effect on prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for concentration and memory. With aging is this part degrading, but meditation can slower this process and prevent from Alzheimer. It´s worth seeing this short video explaining why. Amazing how big influence can meditation have on brain.

Photo: Kudivani Photography

Meditation improves memory and analytical thinking – Meditation has generally huge effect on mind. Studies showed that experienced meditators had increased their grey matter right in those parts which meditation works with. Grey matter rules all cognitive functions in brain, so mediation gives you a tool how to improve your brain at all fronts. Not coincidentally it´s recommended to the clinic doctors and psychologists to step on the more holistic path, using methods of meditation or mindfulness practice. Body & mind medicine applies these methods already and it´s just matter of time till traditional medicine follows this example.

Meditation improves your relationships – Every love starts with love toward yourself and for many people this is the stumbling block. Feelings of low self-esteem, self-pity, absence of self-confidence and self-love haven´t helped anyone yet. Meditation can normalize also these aspects. “When I don´t meditate I feel so pent up and tense, meditation helps me with self-love and family noticed a change of me being generally more calm and chilled out,” said Georgia which meditates everyday aprox. 30 minutes. According to studies, meditation helps self-conscious, and perceiving of our own which improves understanding what is happening at the conscious level. Person who understands himself well can generally understand others better and therefor accept their behavior. Notice that something is happening and accept it are two positive steps toward happier life and better health.

Moreover meditation, especially practice of loving kindness helps to build your compassion toward others. You´re becoming more open, understanding, patient, generally that kind of partner that anyone wishes to have.

tu a teraz
Photo: Kudivani Photography

Meditation teaches you to live in presence – All that was said is highly probably true, but at the end the most important fact: Meditation teaches you to live now and here, to live the actual moment of precious present, live more mindful, more conscious. As it was said in previous article, it cleans your glasses to see things clearer. You see what´s going on, what the others are doing and you accept it as a reality. You think more, you ask more, you don´t judge. You stop overreacting, or acting too instinctively. You´re becoming more loving and sensible person. You´re happier and healthier.

It all sounds as a miracle. It doesn´t matter if you believe it or not, still you can try it and see yourself what happens. If you find a while for yourself, it´s eitherway positive. Maybe it will become your new habit that definitely changes your life.

On habits next time. 🙂

What I´m talking about when I meditate

When I sat down, closed my eyes and tried to meditate for the very first time, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn´t know what it means – to meditate. I had no expectations. It was just an experiment.

„To meditate means being as lazy as possible,“ said monk LP Pasura to his students at Mooktawan sanctuary in Thailand. Being lazy in this case literally meant to sit down, close eyes and stay calm. Let your mind being lazy till it stops thinking.

It´s hard to imagine something like that. If we spent every 4 seconds with different thought, it´s 15 thoughts per minute, aprox. 14,400 thoughts per day. Moreover, don´t forget that brain works overnight.

Our mind has no chance to rest. It leads to tension, stress and exhaustion. Meditation is a great opportunity to give your mind some rest. „Meditator dive into stage theta, which qualitatively reminds deep sleep. In such stage person experience peaceful wakefulness – he watches but doesn´t act, he follows his thoughts but doesn´t feel their influence.“ (BROWN, 2007)

oko open
Foto: Kudivani photography

Pure mind – pure nonsense?

In a stage of absolute peace we´re finding answers for unsolvable questions. Pure mind thinks clearer. „Meditation cleans our glasses. When glasses are clean, we can see ourselves and others clear.“ (LP PASURA, 2014)

Can you imagine that you would see everything clearly? That you could understand world around you without prejudices, being able to accept everything & everyone that walks into your life?

Meditation can takes you closer. It teaches you how to watch without judgements and evaluations. „If you understand the nature of world, you´re able to accept everything and let go.“ (LP PASURA, 2014) Art of acceptance leads to happiness, freedom and peace.

Foto: Kudivani photography

And what about happiness?

We all search for happiness. Philosophers, scientists, psychologists, thinkers have been trying to formulate universal recipe for joyfull life. Budhists are aware of fact they ´ ve found it – and it´s meditation. Famous guru Osho said in his published dialogues: „Meditation is way to rule your own being. You don´t have to be christian, jewish or hinduist – it´s all nonsense. You only have to find your center and meditation is a way how to get there.“

Center in this case is a place or a moment of absolute harmony. In world full of opposites is searching for harmonic center completely logical step. Harmony is health.

Meditation or medicine?

Meditation originates from latin meditor – to heal. „Medicine defines what heals physical phenomena and meditation heals psychical phenomena. (OSHO, 1999)

For many centuries meditation has been part of an eastern philosophy, medicine and society generally. Nowadays, modern western science like neuroscience are currently investigating this traditional technique and exploring its influence on brain, thinking and psychics. Results are more than interesting. (More soon.) New branche of medicine known as Mind – Body medicine fully benefits from potential of meditation and mindfulness. People meditate in schools, companies, offices. In the USA, meditation is part of programs for health and trauma relief of communities, especially traumatised by war or social restrictions. In times when national governments invest billions of dollars into health service and laboratory researches, meditation appeals as a magic pill, moreover for free.

Foto: Kudivani photography

It´s hard to believe that solution of many problems could be so easy. But we should not forget that solution for most of the problems lies in our head, althought we´re looking for it elsewhere. We´re not able to stop and orientate in labyrinth of events, emotions and thoughts. Meditation helps us to understand this stage and adjust it. Beginning is easy – you have to become so lazy that you stop think totally. Then you´ll answer even those questions which you hadn´t even ask.

OSHO, 1999. From medication to meditation. Praha : Pragma. 1999, 344 s. IBN 80–7205-701-4

BROWN, CH. 2007. Pilates Yoga Ausgleich und Harmonie fur Korper, Seele und Geist. Bratislava : Slovart, 2007. 160 s. ISBN 978-80-8085-237-5

Lectures of a monk LP PASURA in Mooktawan sanctuary, june 2014, Peace revolution – www.peacerevolution.com

I´m alive

I was sitting alone. On the bench beyond the lake. With my eyes closed. Listening to the sounds of forest – the birds were spinning above my head, herons were screeching, whistling of raptors kept coming closer and further. Water of lake was hitting the rocks underneath the feet and rustle of leaves reminded me, that air is vivid. I breathe then and now, again and again, going deeper and deeper into the loneliness. Enjoying the moment of freshness and presence.   I´m alive – this is how it feels. Now and then, but it´s real. Not forever, but at this moment so truly intensive.

I´m alive – this happened to be my mantra in past few months. Everytime I´m loosing connection with the present moment (present myself) I turn back to this mantra.

I´m alive.

When you repeat it and listen to the sound of these words, it´s like magic. Something unbelievable that you´re alive now and here. That this is your life. The only life you have. It´s happening now at this certain moment, it´s in every breath you take.

It can be over tomorrow but it really doesn´t mater – you´ re alive now. Complete human being with all the mistakes and imperfections. With all the beauty that lies within.

Live it and enjoy it like that fresh breeze on your face while you´re sitting on the bench beyond the lake.