Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dr R.S. Agarwal's Mind and Vision

In India, Dr R.S. Agarwal (available in a book form titled Mind and Vision, published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, costing Rs 50) offers his carefully researched methodology which has been popularized by Sri Aurobindo Ashram. In Mumbai, the modest Sanjeevan, the School of perfect eyesight, based on Dr Agarwal’s system has hundreds of ardent adherents, from all age groups, who have benefited enormously and improved their vision through this yoga of the eyes.
Dr Agarwal establishes the mind-sight connection right in the first sentence of his marvelously practical book: “Preservation of good eyesight is almost impossible without proper eye education and mental relaxation. The quieter the mind, better is the eyesight preserved.” He starts off giving credit to Bates, but re-introduces the yogic techniques of palming, sun treatment (also called sunning), relaxation. He says even five minutes of sunning (only the mild sunlight as at sunrise or sunset) can give relief in most eye problems. He also lays a lot of stress on the connection between a relaxed mind and perfect sight.
Palming helps for several reasons that is even today not clearly understood. But motivational guru and endocrinologist Deepak Chopra says just by mentally focusing on a particular body part we can increase blood flow to it, thus helping it heal itself. Perhaps palming works for similar reasons, where the light pressure on the crucial acupressure areas around the eyes give it relief, hastening and facilitating blood flow, encouraging lymphatic drainage, thus allowing the eyes to become stronger again.
Some of Dr Agarwal’s suggestions, shared by other alternative therapists for sight, include reading fine print to improve memory of letters, palming as often as possible, sunning, body-winging to help the eye muscles relearn the art of accommodation to fluctuating light conditions and re-training the mind to remember letters. This also includes relearning the art of blinking. Blinking gives rest to the eyes.
Today’s modern computer boom means that we are fast forgetting the significance of this simple body mechanism. It is said those who sit before the computer for long hours blink 20 to 40 per cent less than is normal. Again, because most computers are placed in a-r-conditioned rooms which cause dehydration, we suffer the double whammy of dry eyes that have forgotten to moisturize themselves through blinking. This is the second in the three-part series on yoga and sight. Posted by Shameem Akthar at 4:51 AM Saturday, November 18, 2006 Labels: , ,

Friday, November 10, 2006

Monks and monkeys

October 27, 2006 The Evolution of Handedness and Laterality
The evolution of bilaterality marked a great change in the organization of animals and to this day some illnesses are associated with disturbances of the normal balance between the two sides of the human body, most especially of the hemispheres of the brain. Presumably they would not occur if we were still arranged like jellyfish or sponges. But then we would probably not have become the species that we are without that great evolutionary leap forward.
A new report has shown that at the molecular level, the first signs of genes that are expressed asymmetrically are in the lowly sea anemone. What is even more extraordinary is that the same asymmetric genes found n the sea anemone can induce lateralization in the embryo of a frog.
This is of more than just academic interest: it tells us that the move toward lateralization was already present hundreds of millions of years ago, and primitive versions of some of the same genes in your body are also present in the simplest of organisms. This is incredible evidence for the oneness of life. There is also something else. Nature is economical: genes that are not needed are discarded. The fact that these lateralization genes have been around for such a long time indicates that they were critically important in our development. And disturbances of them may be important to this day.
The scientists doing the study have speculated that creatures with radial symmetry, like starfish, might have evolved from asymmetrical animals. I couldn’t help but remember the apparently strange speculations of Rudolf Steiner, who said that the essential form of humans was present hundreds of millions of years ago, and that other animals devolved from them. The idea was that sentience and spirituality did not just crop up with homo sapiens. but have been present since the beginning of time. Be that as it may, understanding more about the fundamental processes of lateralization will likely have important implications for understanding human evolution and disease.
“The wise man remembers that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.”--Herbert Spencer (English Evolutionary Philosopher, 1820-1903)
“We are descended not only from monkeys, but also from monks.”--Elbert Hubbard (American Editor, Publisher and Author, 1856-1915)
“As Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin knew, the future of humankind is God-consciousness...”--Ken Wilber (American Philosopher, 1949-)
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