By Vivekananda August 2004 Participating in the ananda spurana workshop, conducted by sri nithyananda swamigal, propelled the writer into deep ecstasy and helped him find his true guru Mind of a mystic When Paramahansa Sri Nithyananda Swamigal recently passed through my city (Oklahoma, USA), I asked him if he would let me use the newest technology to peer into his brain while he meditates. Happily, he agreed. The procedures he went through were administered by some of Oklahoma City’s finest and most experienced physicians, neuropsychologists and researchers: Drs Fordyce, Ruwe and Higgins of the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center Neuropsychology Department and Dr Chacko of the PET Center of Oklahoma. These doctors were using technology they use with patients on a routine basis. When they look at images obtained by their technology, they know what’s normal and what’s not. The results from testing Swami? Decidedly not normal. Our first look into Swamiji’s brain was achieved with the help of a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) device. PET produces images of the function of the brain through the metabolic activity of cells. An analog of glucose is attached to a radioactive PET tracer. The PET scanner then images the metabolically active brain areas at any given time. In the case of Swamiji, the drug was intended to identify highly active areas of the brain in an alert and conscious state, in the early stages of meditation and during deep meditation. The results of the PET scan tests were stunning. The activity in the frontal lobes of Swami’s brain was significantly heightened, even in early meditation stages. When we then asked Swami to go into the deepest meditation state, there were two more remarkable findings. First, the dominant hemisphere of Swami’s brain was more than 90 per cent shut down. It was quiet and still, completely at peace… The second amazing thing was that the lower portion of his mesial frontal areas lighted up in a very significant way. This area roughly corresponds to the reputed location of the mystical ‘Third Eye’. When we later asked Swamiji what he was doing when the mesial frontal areas lighted up, he said he was opening his third eye. Were we seeing an indication that deep meditation can open an area of the brain responsible for communicating with the divine, looking deep into the mysteries of self or creation? I believe the PET scan revealed what I call the brain’s ‘D-spot’. Whether you consider the ‘D’ in D-spot to stand for delight, the divine or even dopamine, the chemical through which our bodies experience pleasure, initial indications are that meditation can stimulate it. The second procedure we used to look into Swamiji’s brain is known as Quantitative Electroencephalography, or QEEG. It measures electrical patterns in the brain, patterns commonly referred to as brainwaves. From Swami’s QEEG, we can see that he has complete control over his brainwaves. When in deep meditation, his brain smoothly shifted from one state to another, like a talented pianist playing the scales. There was no hesitation and no retreating, just continuous, fluid shifts from one type of brainwave to the next. Because the QEEG represents the brainwave bandwidths as colours, it was as we were watching Swami float from colour to colour within a rainbow. More than answering questions, the voyage we took into the mind of a mystic brings intriguing questions for study. Are there techniques we can learn and teach that will bring balance and peace into people’s lives? Can we invoke a healing response or accelerate healing through specific training? Can we learn techniques that will allow us to control pain or alter the course of a disease? Can we learn to activate what I call our D-spot, thus putting us in instant connection to delight or the divine? R. Murali Krishna R. Murali Krishna is president of James L. Hall, Jr. Center for Mind, Body & Spirit, and President of INTEGRIS Mental Health, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA. When the student is ready, the Master appears.� A saying that unexpectedly came true for me after attending the Ananda Spurana Programme (ASP). A Master who attained enlightenment at 22, and is currently just 27! Meet Paramahansa Sri Nithyananda Swamigal, founder of Dhyanapeetam, located in Bangalore. It all began with a mail from Life Positive mentioning a new swami in town who was giving discourses and conducting a two-day residential programme. Being an avid seeker, I was curious enough to go to the website www.dhyanapeetam.org and knew instinctively that this young man had got it! Seven years of seeking do qualify you to separate the grain from the chaff! The first time I saw Swamiji was during his first discourse on �The Power of Ananda�. A tall, handsome young man, with dark shoulder-length hair and a contented smile. While the discourse was wonderful, the question-answer session sparkled! A point that he made on the fallacy of the dilemma that most seekers face on whether to pursue the material life (vertical living) or spiritual life (horizontal living) stood out.� According to him we can explode in 360 degrees all the time; only we need to drop the belief that we can only do either one. Then followed a session on healing. Swamiji�s mission is two-fold: to heal the sick and guide seekers to experience ananda or bliss through meditation. He not only heals people, but also initiates those who desire to become healers. The ASP began on Saturday morning and we checked into our rooms at a� hotel in Mumbai. I shared my room with Anil Sadhana, 44, a consultant with a Mumbai shipping firm, currently on a one-year sabbatical; and Steve King, 46, a TV broadcaster from Oklahoma, US, who surprisingly also happened to be on a sabbatical! We were asked to wear comfortable white clothes. The programme began with an anecdote from the swami: �An aeroplane is once stranded in a village. The villagers, not knowing what it is, begin to use it like a bullock cart. Later, a city dweller arrives and teaches the villagers to use it for land transportation, without the necessity of having it pulled by bullocks. Finally, a retired pilot arrives in the village and begins to fly the plane. Our bodies are very much like the aeroplane. Ninety-five per cent of human beings use the plane like a bullock cart, 4 per cent use it as a motor vehicle and only 1 per cent use it to its full intended capacity�. The ASP essentially focuses on the seven chakras in our body that play a vital role in our total well-being. Our chakras get disturbed due to stress and negative emotions, creating disease and disharmony, which prevents us from functioning at our most vibrant and joyful level. During the ASP, swamiji elucidated on the emotions connected with each chakra and then guided us through meditation techniques to activate and energise each of the chakras. The meditations themselves were taken from sources ranging from Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity and the Upanishads. Swamiji also seemed to have an unending supply of jokes, anecdotes, insightful stories and quotes of various masters. Chakra Meditations � Muladhara (Root) Chakra The root chakra is the sex centre. It is the source of creative energy. Swamiji elucidates: �We are both male and female in our energies, but society does not let us express both. Mostly, society represses the feminine energy: the left side of the body and the right side of the brain, which is the abode of beauty, stillness, poetry and art. Until age seven, your energy is total. Notice how children are beautiful in their beings. But beyond seven, children are forced to suppress their other side and thus wound their consciousness. In their search for their other half, girls adore their father and boys their mother. Between ages of seven and 14, the wound can be healed if parents are closely present most of the time. But if the parents are not there, children look in vain in the outside world for that feminine and masculine energy. Chidren in the 14-21 age group, are ready to engage with the opposite sex�to marry�but they are rarely allowed. So they collect and cherish imaginations and dreams of the opposite sex through the media. Manufacturers exploit this by selling dreams and sex appeal through their products. The root chakra is a continuous fountain of positive energy�while your imagination and expectations are like a huge stone blocking this marvellous energy fountain. When we burn away all our unwanted imaginings and memories and open ourselves to reality the creative energy of this chakra flowers.� Swadhisthana (Spleen) Chakra This chakra is located two inches below the navel and is the place where fear attacks you. Swamiji says: �The average person has six to 12 fear �strokes� every 24 hours, while both awake and sleeping. This weakens your immune system and leads to depression, illness and aging. Fear primarily falls into four categories: i) Fear of loss of status, wealth or comfort. ii) Fear of disease or loss of a bodily part. iii) Fear of loss of family or friends. iv) Fear of death. Fearlessness is not absence of fear but really the courage to face the fear and experience it completely. If you can truly enter into the space of fear, it can never affect you again so deeply.� Manipura (Navel) Chakra Worry and suppressed emotions sit in the navel centre and fester, blocking this chakra. �Worrying is nothing but a constant repetition of certain words in the mind. This drains away your energy and takes you out of the total awareness and bliss of this moment. Worry is a terrible waste of time, thought and energy. 99 per cent of your worries never come true and the one per cent that do, end up being good for you,� says Swamiji. He adds: �A person who has mastered the art of worrying gets into a depression.� We were told that many stom
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