dealing with common ailments

Here I detail the results of my investigation with meditation over the past five years in dealing with common ailments…

First some clarifications. I’m an engineer and not a qualified medical practioner. This post isn’t any claim of some hocus-focus miracle. Nor is it anything to do with mystic or psychic healing power. And one important clarification is that in this particular system of meditation, there is no claim for curing any ailment – its not really the objective but only a potential by-product.

The following is by no means a comprehensive documentation of all the benefits I have got from practicing sitting in stillness for a while everyday. Nor have I been as regular as prescribed, still have a lot more to improve on discipline and have made significant progress in working towards it. I’m not any “icon of good health”, but am definitely far better than what I was a decade ago, inspite of my Electronic-City Malleswaram lifestyle.


If we really look closely, the root cause of many ailment is bad habits. What meditation does is it helps us develop enough awareness to empower us to address the very root cause i.e. the bad habits which we hadn’t even known about earlier!

[There is another important thing: that this teaches us to learn to cope up with any condition objectively. Even if it does not save a person from an ailment itself, it atleast definitely greatly eleviates the suffering from the ailment – by learning not to make it a worse situation than it actually is!]

The following are real examples from my own life. Of course they did not all occur at the same time 😉

Toothaches can be caused by improper oral hygeine
– improper brushing – either the lack of brushing teeth, or sometimes, even too rigorous brushing that damages the teeth.
– not rinsing the mouth after eating food
– eating too many sweets


Though I already had a few painful appointments with the dentist, I knew it theorotically, but still when I’m feeling lazy, or sleepy at night would neglect it and soon neglecting became a habit resulting in another appointment.

With awareness, I could really sense the bad feeling in my mouth when I didn’t brust my teeth at night, or rinse my mouth after a meal, and and would go and clean it. When brushing with awareness, one is aware of not brushing too hard or too soft and not ignoring any remote corner of the jaws.

This is typically caused by one or more of the following reasons:
– bad posture
– lack of relaxation of the back
– wrong angle of sleeping
– lifting too heavy weight without keeping the spinal cord vertical.


Earlier, I would never know when I’m having bad posture. I would sit in any flimsy posture and even if my back was paining I would be oblivious to it, until it became too bad. Same thing, when I’m sleeping in the wrong posture, the discomfort always starts very mildly. I wouldn’t know about it at all because I was hardly noticing it. Eventually it increased enough to qualify as a backache but then it was too severe.

With awareness, I could learn to realise, correct and rectify a bad posture by myself sooner or later. When strained, I would recognise that its strained and give it the rest it needs before it became too much.

– wrong posture
– lack of relaxation of the wrist

knee pain
– being overweight

being overweight
– unable to control eating food (mostly junk food) inbetween meals
– during meals, esp when hungry and food is tasty, unable to stop eating as if its some kind of “inertia”!
– lack of excercise

Notes: My urge to binge on junk food drastically reduced. Earlier when I saw junk food, I’d see one perspective of it: a very tasty meal that would make my senses very happy. With development of awareness, I developed another perspective… when I see junk food I would still see the tasty meal, but also see the fat and calories in it, the discomfort I would experience after eating it. And this helps in making a more balanced decision on whether it makes sense to eat it or not.

While eating during meals, the “inertia” of continuing to eat even after meeting my needs used to happen because I would not realise I am full. With awareness, I eat slower and digest it better, and also am sensitive enough to listen to my stomach and stop eating when it indicates a signal that it is full.

I also recognise clear indications like heavy breathing or breathlessness when I haven’t had enough excercise and am getting too phsyically unfit. This immediately compels me to pay more attention to my physical fitness making it a higher priority than anything else.

I have also overcome strong psychological aversion to fruits that I had since a young age. Since then, have been able to include the important nutritious food as well forming a more wholesome diet.

eye strain

Read natural cure books like Eye Care by Dr. Gala, etc and we find that glasses are like crutches for the eyes, and the eye can naturally reduce its power. The real reason for developing power and increase in lenses is because of bad seeing habits. More is explained in the book. But basically it comes down to awareness as well, with awareness we can really feel the tension in the eyes (which can cause headache as well) and we remember to do blinking, palming or any of the other various eye relaxing techniques.

common cold

This is probably the single most dramatic and incredible of all in the list. I don’t know if anybody will even believe me.

Its a well known fact that the common cold is a virus for which there’s no cure, and any medicine available gives temporary relief.

I’ve sufferred from cold for many years since I was a kid. What used to happen is that I would get one or all of: a earache, a blocked nose, and a throatache. Breathing became a terrible struggle – it used to take a lot of effort. My entire body would start aching, heaviness in my head, and I would feel very tired and miserable. This would go on for almost the entire week if not more.

After learning meditation, with increase in awareness, I discovered a very interesting thing.

I was able to clearly see the signs of a cold just at the stage when it started.

It typically used to occur either occasionally due to allergy to a lot of dust, but mostly due to a fluctuation in temperature . What typically used to happen is that I’d switch on the fan on a warm night and fall asleep. Then somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, there would be a drastic dip in temperature. So it became very cold, and on top of that I’m putting on the fan, and haven’t covered my feet (one of the most sensitive areas). Such situations, I discovered was almost the perfect recipe for a cold. It could happen under different permutations and combinations (say the fan wasn’t on but still my feet were uncovered, or vice versa). But the basic point is the change in temperature. And this would happen when I was asleep and not knowing what was going on, except when I woke up and found myself already having the miserable blocked nose + complete packaged deal along with it.

With awareness, I got to know about the whole thing above but initially couldn’t do anything much but only take precautions, such as avoiding the fan, or making sure I’m completely covered up. Still such situations occasionally used to occur.

As I developed my practice, I finally reached a point when I could see it more clearly right at the initial stage. And this time I’d have enough awareness as to put my entire, uncompromised attention right there, without reacting to it. I would actually watch the whole process start to weaken. My cold usually started with a earache. Sometimes it would be like a battle… because with awareness, the symptoms started weakening, and then I’d start to fall asleep, and the symptoms would start getting stronger! Sometimes I lost this battle (and end up with a cold) but most of the time I would win. Of course its only in hindsight that I describe the concept of winning or losing, when it was actually happening there was more of pure observation than any obsession with winning.

There was one instance when I’d “lost”, and my nose was completely blocked. Still I started doing aanapaana, and it was difficult at first, but suddenly and miraculously, it seemed as if there was this fine thread somehow weaving through that blocked nose. It was incredible… my nose was blocked, and yet I was able to start breathing. I gradually continued it, and finally that night the cold completely left me.

I now very rarely get a cold that lasts for more than a couple of hours.

2 Responses to “dealing with common ailments”

  1. bellur ramakrishna Says:

    I suffered from back and tooth related problems sometime back. Cold is my pal for life.

    Very useful and beautiful post. Must read for all those who care for their health. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

    As you can see, I am trying to finish off the backlogs at my fav. blog. 🙂

  2. msanjay Says:

    Yeah like I keep telling my project teammates, Take care, as health does not always come with an Undo key!

    Heh heh now trying to finish the backlogs of my comments.

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