The Health Q
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) 1715 6165 | Library & Archives Canada Entry
Editorial Note: What is your miracle?; Recipe for spiced Tofu; Eat when eating; Beneath the wheel; Books worth reading; What is fate?
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[Editorial Note] What is Your Miracle?
by Parmjit Singh, PhD
Fate, luck, destiny fascinates us. We want to see into the future, see what is there in store for us: if we would we able to reach that fabled state of happiness; if we would meet someone dreamy with a promise of fairytale love life; if riches and fame await us, etc.
However, more often than not, these aspirations, even when completely realized, have a bad habit of leaving us high and dry. Their fulfillment does not guarantee a fulfilling life. Meeting a dream person does not mean a fairy-tale love life. Our assumptions keep on playing spoil-sport in our life.
Only way we can ward off a potential disappointment of ‘glorified future’ is to remember the beauty of present life. Even if you are not famous, rich or powerful, you will find that there are so many things in your life for which you can be proud and happy about.
Everything you do with heart is worth celebrating. Being able to walk freely is a miracle; eating with your loved ones is a blessing; being able to breathe freely is a blessing; sharing with your friends is a miracle; being smiled at is a miracle; being loved is a celebration.
In everyday life, miracles happen every moment. And if we get into the habit of finding and savoring those moments, we spend less time day-dreaming about a time which is a figment of imagination rather than real. Future may or may not come. But present is here, right now.
At every moment, you are invited to enjoy that miracle. [HQ]
[Recipe] Tofu: Spiced Indian Style
By Manjit Handa, PhD
Herbed firm tofu, 1 block (450-454g);
One medium onion, diced;
½ inch ginger, grated;
1 teaspoon cumin seeds;
1 tomato, diced;
2 table spoons olive oil;
1 teaspoon black pepper powder;
1 ½ cup water; 2 tablespoons milk;
2 table spoons cilantro/parsley, minced, whichever preferred;
A pinch of turmeric powder;
Salt to taste.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add cumin seeds. After a couple of seconds add the diced onion and ginger and keep stirring until golden brown. Then add turmeric powder and tomatoes. When the tomatoes are tender add tofu, water, milk, salt, pepper and cilantro. When the water begins to boil, simmer down the heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Then increase the heat and let the tofu absorb all the liquid. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve as a side dish, starter or hot salad, just the way you like it. Enjoy! [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.
Eat When Eating
by Parmjit Singh, PhD
Eating, especially, in our society is sort of peripheral activity. People work through lunches and dinners as if eating is such meaningless engagement that it has to be qualified with some productive work.
Zen masters advocates that pay attention to your eating; the kind of food you pick up; the way you chew; the time you take to finish it. Let your whole being participate in this act of nourishment. Take an actual break; simply pay attention to the process of eating. Your body and mind will thank you for that.
Would you change car’s engine oil while it is still turned on? If you can take care of your car that much, should not you do the same to your body. You can buy a new car, but try getting a new human body!
Beneath The Wheel, Willingly
by Parmjit Singh, PhD
“There you see a couple of gentlemen,” he said softly, “who helped to put him where he is now (dead, added).”
This line is from the last page of the ‘Beneath the Wheel’ by Hermann Hesse, the German Nobel Laureate. This short novel I just finished reading is about two young talented and promising boys who meet different fates owing to different decisions they make. One, a rebellious poet, rejects the systems, walks out of the prestigious academy, shuns a socially-sanctioned promising life and lives while another, acquiescent one, embrace the system, tries to outrun it with intellect and is consequently crushed (literally dead) under the ineluctable wheel of social and academic expectations.
The novel is set in middle 20th century Europe but it read so modern. As I was thinking about, it occurred to me that situation has not changed much. People are still getting crushed under the wheel of social expectations, some willingly and others unwillingly. We have not smartened up.
Worse, with the explosion of technology, wheel is spinning faster now and so is likelihood of getting crushed. Phones, blackberries and other communication modes have hastened our life. Expectations have risen. You are expected to reply an email within few minutes or else you might be called inefficient. If you do not carry a mobile phone, people might think that you are not successful enough or ‘have no life’. Rather than thinking that you are saving yourself unnecessary hardships, you may feel guilty and socially less than your neighbors. Examples are countless and can be found right under your nose.
Despite the fact that wealth, technology, possessions have inconclusive (and purportedly negative) effects on overall life-satisfaction yet we hanker for them. Strange! Would not being intelligent mean that we look through the charade and make an intelligent choice? Or being intelligent is overrated in our world?
Whatever the reasons, our world is a weird place. It promotes mediocrity under the guise of intelligence and excellence. If somebody is making big bucks through ruining our breathable air and eco-system, we call them smart or intelligent. Should not it be called insanely dumb when you are gradually cutting the umbilical cord of next generation? What is so laudable about annihilating your own future?
If being intelligent means possessing, hoarding, plundering, exploiting, avarice, selfishness, prestige, they are cogs of wheels Herman Hesse alluded to in his novel. They are the ones under which Beneath the Wheel’s protagonist got crushed.
Alarming rates of depressed and unhappy people in our society are, most likely, the people who got crushed beneath the wheel— trying to ‘make it in this world’—who unsuspectingly thought, like everybody else, that they are going to outrun it.
This is not to say that universe is vindictive. In fact, it is very generous. However, it follows the rules of cause and effects. Whatever you do is going to bear fruit: negative deeds will set into motions, in combination with other factors, negative consequences and positive deeds will lead to good karmas. For a healthier and happier life, you will have to carefully weigh the consequences of your actions.
If you do not do that, you run the risk of getting crushed under the wheel of social expectations and norms. [HQ]
Books Worth Reading
by Parmjit Singh
Destructive Emotions by Daniel Goleman
What is the common element in the threat to emotional and physical health, planet, environment, and moral fabric of our society? It is our negative and destructive mental and emotional states. They are the ones that are driving us to anger, violence, exploitation, willful infliction of suffering on our fellow human being. Even more than that, they rob us from peace of mind, disturb us and make us mentally and physically ill. Born out of a marvelous collaboration between western scientists and Buddhist practitioners, it shows the merits of cultivating positive emotions.
Zen 24/7 by Philip Toshio Sudo
Zen is not only when you sit in Zazen or crack complicated koans. Zen can be and should be practiced in everyday life. The possibility of maintaining Zen awareness is there when you brush your teeth, drive to work, do groceries, make love, and go to washroom, watch TV, or type on computer. This beautiful book by late Philip Sudo reminds us that Zen is there wherever you care to deploy attention. Use it as a pocket book to remind yourself of the sacredness of every day mundane activities.
Happiness by Matthieu Ricard
Matthieu Ricard did his doctoral studies under a Noble Laureate and then dropped everything to embrace Buddhism. This book is born out of his personal understanding and insights. His suggestions are profound and speak of compelling reasons to willfully cultivate happiness, or Sukha. Drawing from latest research and personal practice, he lays out convincing arguments that cultivating Sukha or happiness is even more valuable than setting career, fitness and material goals. Shining with wisdom, this book is beautifully written.
What is Fate?
A certain man asked the famous Mulla Nasrudin, “What is the meaning of fate?”
Mulla replied, “Assumptions.”
“In what way?” the man asked again.
Mulla looked at him and said, “You assume things are going to go well and when they do not, you call that bad luck. You assume things are going to go badly and when they do not, you call that good luck. You assume certain things are going to happen or not happen a certain way, but you do not know what is going to actually happen. You assume the future is unknown. When you are caught out (things do not work out for you), you call that Fate.”
Note: This story is one of many about the interesting character, “Mulla Nasrudin.” It is an old Persian tale. On a different note, my mother who has not read this story, once said to me, “When things do not go the way we want them to, we wrongly blame Fate!”
With arrangement with www.zensufi.com.