Monday, April 27, 2015

Helping Nepal

Namaste readers,

As you might know already, there has been an earthquake in Nepal, that has had a devastating toll of lives. It's been estimated over 4,000 lives have been lost as a result of the earthquake.

The most pressing question for those of us outside Nepal, right now, is: how can we help?

I know many people will say "pray for Nepal." If you want to pray for Nepal, that's all fine and dandy - sometimes prayer is all one can do in the face of disaster. Prayer can give those who otherwise can't help situations like this at least some comfort that they're keeping these disasters in their minds and the minds of others.

Still, prayer should be backed up by action. I'm not one to say that prayer does nothing...honestly, I'm no expert on prayer whether it helps or hurts situations like this. What I will say is that there is real action you can take, and should you be able to take this action, you should, as a supplement to your prayer.

One action is to donate to Global Giving's Nepal earthquake relief effort. Global Giving is among the most reputable sources of charity that one can donate to, as they are very transparent about their efforts and where the money goes. Donating to them can help them give to emergency services in the region that are otherwise stretched.

Another place to donate to is a Nepali immigrant association in New York City that is called Adhikaar. They have direct connections to organizations that are aiding Nepal on the ground right now, and they've started an Indiegogo campaign for helping them out.

Again, I will say this - pray if you can't do anything else, for at least that keeps the victims in your mind and the minds of others. But back it up with real action if you can. Anything can help at this point.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fighting My Own Brain

Namaste readers...

Yet another long gap in my posting to this blog. I really don't have any excuses at this point... Some good things have happened. Some bad things too. But there seems to be one truth about myself that I have yet to come to terms with.

That truth is not straightforward, and definitely not simple. But it's a truth that's become apparent to me these past few weeks. It may not seem true to others, but it's true to me.

My brain is trying to kill me.

Why would I say something like this on the internet, where my words are free and open for anyone to twist around and use against me?

Because I want to prove a point.

The point I want to prove is one that took me a long time to figure out, and I want others to benefit from my experience. This point is that one should not hate oneself under any circumstances. You can be your own worst critic, and yes, criticizing and questioning oneself is a good thing.

But you can't let that turn into self-torture. As for what that has to do with my brain trying to kill me...I've come to terms with that fact, that my brain isn't necessarily faulty, but it's separate from my soul. That is a very Hindu teaching, that the mind and soul are separate entities. The mind is part of the body, and one should take care of body and mind. But the soul is something completely different, and it is the most beautiful part of ourselves.

I know I'm sounding like a cliche New Age hippie here, but these facts I listed above are what kept me alive as I studied Hinduism and yoga these past few years. And they've helped me accept myself...including the part of my brain that wants me to die.

In order to prevent that part of my brain from killing me, I had to accept that it was there. I couldn't simply push it out, because it would bounce back stronger than before. I had to acknowledge it, and then ignore it.

Yes, I have had help from psychiatric medicines (I take a list of them that's a mile long) in doing this...and that has been part of the acceptance (and subsequent ignoring) of this evil part of my brain. Sometimes psychiatric medication does help. That doesn't mean it will help everybody (and that's why I object to the marketing of anti-depressants, and not anti-depressants themselves - ads for those make it seem like everyone would benefit from them, when that is simply not the case), but it's good that it's there for the people that do need it. Like me.

I know I'm rambling at this point, but I wanted to share what I've learned so that others can benefit. I'll stop this post with one simple statement:

There's hope for all of us.