International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) 1715 6165 | Library & Archives Canada Entry
Editorial Note: What thoughts to think? ; Recipe for Tomato-Cauliflower soup; Dieting + Tai Chi + Mindfulness
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What Thoughts To Think? [Editorial Note]
by Parmjit Singh, PhD
Just like the photograph of the pensive lady on the cover page, it is easier to lapse into thoughts and get carried away on the unending waves of thinking, imagination and day-dreaming. Thinking thoughts is an essential part of our life. Sometimes they come bidden and other times they are unbidden. But sooner or later, we notice getting caught in that net.
Where do the thoughts come from? Are they integral part of mind or they just arise in response to some impulse? This is a debatable question and philosophers and scientist have wrestled over this for centuries without getting to a consensual answer.
Buddhist, however, believes that mind has inherent clarity; that when we allow all the distractions and ruminations to settle down, our mind becomes clear just like a placid lake without a ripple of wave on its surface. It is only, according to them, when we are distracted or disturbed that thoughts and emotions appears on the surface of mind, just like when we step into the lake thereby muddying the otherwise clear water.
This view has a profound implication for how we can change our negative thoughts and emotions to positive. Buddhist paradigm says is that anything which is dependent upon some internal or external condition will disappear once the condition causing it is taken away. E.g. as in the above example, if you let the water settle without disturbing it again, very soon the water will regain its original clarity.
Similarly, our mind will become calm and settled once we eliminate all the conditions that cause disturbance in it. Once we internalize this wisdom that all being and phenomena are impermanent, we start to look at life, thoughts, and relationships with a fresh perspective.
What thoughts are you thinking just now? Can you catch them? If not, do they really exist to make you worry? Think about it. [HQ]
Tomato-Cauliflower Soup [recipe]
by Manjit Handa, PhD
4 tablespoons organic tomato paste; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 2-3 cloves garlic, minced; 4 cups water; 2 cups grated cauliflower; Salt and Pepper to taste; 1 teaspoon curry powder, optional; Cilantro or parsley for garnishing
In a saucepan heat the olive oil and add garlic. When it turns golden brown add water, tomato paste, salt, pepper and curry powder if you like to spice it up. Stir well to evenly mix the paste with water. When the soup comes to a boil, add grated cauliflower and turn off the heat as soon as it comes to a roll again. This will sustain the crunch of cauliflower. Garnish with cilantro/parsley and serve immediately with your favorite piece of bread or enjoy it all by itself.
Bon appétit! [HQ]
Dr. Manjit Handa is the editor-in-chief of the Healing Matrix, www.HealingMatrix.ca. Her more recipes can be found in the previous issues of this newsletter and our website.
Dieting + Tai Chi + Mindfulness
by Parmjit Singh, PhD
Dieting does not Work, Still
If the past research and centuries of folklore wisdom is not enough to convince you that dieting does not work, at least in the long-term, here is another study which echo the wisdom of the past: it still does not work. A research being published in the forthcoming issue of American Psychologist, once again, claims that going on diets does not work very efficiently. You may end up dropping around 5 to 10 percent of body weight but this drop is not that sustainable over the period of years.
What works then, you might ask? The old grandmotherly wisdom of eating in moderation and doing sufficient exercise still does the trick. Add to your habits some mindfulness and you might even start noticing your relationship with the food changing for better. You will start looking at food as the one which nourishes you and should not be just stuffed into your mouth as you are doing other things.
Tai Chi Boosts Immunity
In a recent research published in the JAGS (Journal of American Geriatric Society), scientists have found that practice of Tai Chi boosts varicella immunity in older adults.
Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art, is a sequence of exercises combining aerobic activity and meditation. These exercises are done with intentional slowness while focusing the attention on the process of the movement. Tai Chi is really good for older people because it is not that exertive on bones and muscles and at the same time builds strength and stamina through practice.
Mindfulness Works better than other Relaxation Techniques
Mindfulness techniques often used in therapeutic settings are derivative of original Buddhist practice where in a practitioner monitors his/her moment to moment awareness without any judgment or labeling.
A recent study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine shows that mindfulness practice works better in comparison to other relaxation techniques for reducing distress and improving positive mood states. It further says that mindfulness tends to reduce distress through eliminating distractive and ruminative thoughts and behaviors.
By being mindful of the moment to moment awareness, one tends to cultivate a non-reactive attitude toward situations and impulses. [HQ]