Anxiety, Depression or Burnout? – Meditation Guide by an Atheist and former Guru – 15 Oct 15

A lot of people nowadays have problems with depression, panic attacks and anxiety, they suffer from burnout after a huge amount of stress they have to bear in their daily life. I have met a lot of them, I have spent time with many, I have talked with and counselled them. I have meditated with them and today I would like to write a little guide for those who are in this situation. You may think of today’s blog entry that it is bordering on being esoteric and going against what I usually write here. I also know that I have once written meditation doesn’t need guidance – but I know that this has actively helped a lot of people! It may help someone to read this today.

Here are a few lines for you if you ever feel like the world is crushing down on you. If you feel like you are alone. If you feel like nothing can ever be good again.

First of all, calm down. Let’s relax the body first – the mind will follow. Sit on a good chair or comfortably on the floor, your back to a wall and breathe. Close your eyes if you feel alright with it, otherwise concentrate on any small item close to you. A button, a flower or a pattern on a curtain for example. Concentrate on your breathing and count. Three slow counts in, five slow counts out. Let your heartbeat slow down.

Now we’ll relax every muscle, one after the other. Start with your toes. Think of the muscle strings that lead until your toes. Move on to your feet, ankles, up the legs, taking your time. Feel each limb consciously. If you are in pain at any point, register it but don’t stick there with your thoughts. Move up to your hip and further up, through your belly and back until the shoulders. Relax the muscles there, through the complete neck, into the arms and down until your fingers. Again, bring awareness to each single finger – and feel how tension leaves your body.

Once you have reached this point, you are already quite far and will notice that your mind is much calmer already. Now simply realize a few things by consciously bringing them to your awareness:

Whatever happens, life will go on. You are breathing, you are alive.

You are not alone. No matter how many of your friends or relatives have let you down, there are people on this world who can help you. And there are people who care about you as well!

You are strong. You have come until this point and you will make it further.

There is a light in the darkness that you see around you. Once you feel strong enough, stand up and reach for it. Do you still feel alone? Call someone who can help you – a friend, relative, a therapist or even a hotline! If you need help, don’t hesitate to get it!

Most of all, don’t look back and don’t feel guilty or ashamed. It’s alright to have such moments or periods of time. We will grow with them. We will come out even stronger than before!

Fear of 2012 – Will the world end, change or just be gone? – 24 May 11

Yesterday I spoke about the failed prediction of Judgment Day by Harold Camping. He now announced that this was not the physical beginning of the end but a spiritual one. The real, visible apocalypse would happen on 21st October 2011. There are hundreds of such predictions and different people have set different dates for the world to end. The most popular one which the whole esoteric and spiritual scene is partly looking forward to and partly fearing is the year 2012.

I have often wondered why exactly the year 2012 is so important and have received a variety of answers from different people and a multitude of websites explaining a large number of reasons why something will happen in 2012. They are not even sure whether it is something good or bad that will occur.

The most popular explanation that I got was the Mayan calendar. In this point however, too, people have contradictory opinions. The Mayans were very good astrologers and in their early times already made many calculations about the influence of planetary movements on earth. Some say that their calendar ends on 21st December 2012 and with the end of the calendar the end of the world will be there. They knew when the world would finish and that’s why they stopped their calculation there. A more educated explanation is that their calendar doesn’t end but only one time period, one area or cycle of time is over and another one starts. Of course this would then not mean the end of the world but still a big change on earth. Others believe nothing will happen and say the Mayans just didn’t think it necessary to count any further into the future.

Of course the date is interesting to anybody who has done some calculations with numerology: 21.12.2012. Don’t ask me how but you can somehow add up these numbers and find out that it is a very auspicious day in a very auspicious year. It is additionally the day of winter solstice, so anyway energetically a day of change.

People are thus not sure whether the world will end or if it will only change. There are people who believe that the earth will be hit by another planet, others think volcanoes will erupt, the oceans will flood continents and earthquakes will shake the whole planet before it will finally burst. Or sucked into a black hole. There was even a Hollywood movie about how this day could look like. They obviously thought it would make a good story.

Those people who think it will change mostly believe in a ‘consciousness shift’ and explain that we, the people and the world will rise into another ‘dimension’. Here again, people are not very clear in explaining what exactly this means. Some say that only those who have developed a higher consciousness will come along to this new stage. Others say we all form a global joined consciousness and because we all have higher energy together, we take the world to a better place. Some say there will be only people with high consciousness, so there will be no war, no violence, we all will be happy and nobody will be hungry anymore.

The more intellectual among those believers have an approach that sounds rather scientific. They mention a change and development in energy, explain how planetary constellations, the sun and the moon, have an influence on our nervous system, on our physical body and then also on our mind.

You may be asking yourself now what I think of all these theories. You know, first of all, I am not afraid of anything. I am not afraid that the world could finish and not afraid that I will not be among those who will be saved. I see that all these theories evolve from the wish to know what is tomorrow. Everybody is curious about the future and wants to have security of knowing what will happen.

I believe you won’t get this knowledge. Nobody knows. Of course there is always the possibility that this world one day won’t be inhabitable anymore, most probably because we humans ruined it ourselves. But apart from living in harmony with nature yourself and encouraging others to do so, too, there is little that you can actually do about that. So why do you worry, fear or panic about it?

I know people who are really worried about this. Once we even met a university professor who had bought several big bags with many kilos of rice, storing them in his basement, in case a catastrophe will happen. Then he will at least have rice. There are such people, who strongly believe and there are others, who worry about it but are not entirely sure. When one of Yashendu’s friends started talking to him about this topic, telling him that the world will surely end in 2012, Yashendu answered: ‘If you believe this, please transfer all your property to my name before it happens.’ They both started laughing and the friend realized that he was not 100% sure about the end of the world.

If you ask me what I think about the idea that the world will change, I have to say that it is always in a process of change. Change is taking place each moment, each second. Everything is moving and going on. I don’t believe in a special change in a certain year or on a certain date. Of course our times are faster today, we have a lot more input and information and through that, our world is also changing quickly. But this is also nothing that you actually have to worry or think about. Take situations as they come and deal with them.

I personally don’t believe that 2012 will be in any way a more special, more dramatic or more exciting year than any other. Don’t you think that 2010 was a special year, too? There was for example a big volcano eruption in Iceland and whole Europe had to close its airports! What about 2011? There was a big earthquake, a tsunami and a big problem in a nuclear power station in Japan! These events have happened in these years and they will happen in the next year, too. Every year is special in this way and I don’t believe 2012 will be very different from that. I believe that in 2013, everybody will give another explanation why nothing happened in 2012 and they will search for another date for the world to finish.

If I am wrong, I will think about it in 2012, but until then I would recommend you not to worry too much about it but to live in the present, with both feet on the ground in the here and now.

Panic Attacks and Fear of Death – Confusion of Mind – 16 Dec 10

On one of the last days, a woman came for a healing session with a very intense problem: She often has panic attacks. During these attacks her heart is racing, she feels as if she cannot breathe anymore and she always thinks she is going to die. She said ‘I don’t know when or if it is going to end. I lose control over my body functions and even my breath. I am afraid that someday it could just get too much for my body and I will die. This thought makes me afraid of having a panic attack!’ One fear makes the other one grow and the more she is afraid, the more often she gets those attacks.

You have to accept that you have to die. Be ready for dying at any time. What are you afraid of? You don’t know whether it is going to be bad or good. We have created this idea that dying is horrible but maybe it is not at all. Being dead could be more wonderful than anything you can imagine. So just be ready. When you are dead, you are dead. No problem.

The fact that you have these panic attacks however shows that you are afraid of dying. It is just a question of your mind. Your heart is healthy, your body does not have any problem, so it is your mind that creates this fear! This is good because with your mind you can work yourself. For your heart you would need a surgeon but this is now your job.

How many times did you think that you would die? How many times did you have an attack, sat in a chair and thought ‘Now it is over’? But you are still here! And why? Because you don’t die from these panic attacks! They make you nervous, they make your heart race and they make breathing difficult but you don’t die! Make yourself understand that it is unhealthy when you have panic attacks, control your mind and have a strong will!

Most of all you should not think that death is something horrible. It is a part of the game. Accept death as a part of life and live without the fear of dying.

Panic does not Help you – 7 Sep 10

We have been talking for a while among us and also with our friends Thomas and Iris about how people reacted to the flood here. We again noticed that there are differences from here to western countries and of course these are cultural differences, attitudes that vary because of the way how you grew up, how people think and talk around you and how your parents told you to deal with problems.

When we went in the flooded area for the first time, the water was still increasing, people did not even know how bad it would be. However nobody panicked. They were just there, looking at the road and debating whether it would rise or not. The parents agreed to send their boys to the Ashram, happy that they would be taken care of. They may have worried but definitely not panicked.

When the flood was on its peak, we went there to distribute food and found a remarkably high number of people still living in the area and again, relatively calm. There were of course some women who were crying when they saw that their houses were flowing away in the water however the majority of people just watched. They were sitting on their roofs and when you listened you could hear how they calmly discussed about how far it will rise and if they would have to move fully out of the area. They realized the tragedy but they accepted it.

Every attitude has its good and its bad aspects. When discussing, we assumed that Germans would have been far more excited, sad and angry about what was happening if it had been their homes. I have experienced this, a pipe breaks and water starts filling a basement room, something that can happen and which is under your control. People panic. You can empty the basement room still on the same day, you have someone to call for help and you finally even have an insurance for your damage but you are shouting, crying, running around and are simply in panic because of this small mistake or accident.

In this case here, people have to watch without being able to do anything how the river, something uncontrollable, enters their homes. The water takes whatever they had, everything they have built in their lives and they do not know even what an insurance is that could give you anything of the value back. They do not have any possibility to do anything about it but they do not panic.

It is good, we did not have a mass panic and people were still very reasonable and we could talk with them and discuss in which way we could help them. They are fine although their whole life’s earning is gone with the water of the river. It is amazing if you see the difference in reaction. But I would say, these things are things that you cannot change. Accept them. If you are calm, you have a possibility to think about what you can do which you do not have when you get panic. You cannot change it, now water is there and you have to deal with it. Be there, don’t panic, think about what has to be done and the situation will get better.

Financial Security vs. Emotional Security – West and India – 25 Aug 08

Today we did Yoga with kids who came to my friend Sabine’s house. There were maybe ten children and we had a lot of fun, doing yoga postures which look like animals. They also could ask about India and whatever they wanted to know about us. It was really nice and one boy asked: “Do children in India come to school on elephants?” They were very cute.

After one hour with the children we also had a Satsang. The topic was about how to deal with difficult situations in the daily life. And you know that Vrindavan is in a very difficult situation at the moment. So I told a little bit how people cope with the water in their houses. It is very different from here in the western world. Yes, they are hungry and when you give them food they will desperately take it but they also play in the water and are not in panic. You know, the Yamuna is a holy river and when it starts coming into their homes they greet it, they even worship it before they start moving out of the house. They did not have much but they lost it and still, there is a big difference.

Once I saw a man here, in Germany, who had a computer crash. Even though he had backup data he completely panicked. And why is there such a difference in reaction? Because the trust is missing in the Western world. The security is in money, on a bank account or invested in the stock market but not in the heart. And in India people have a big trust that whatever God does is good. This is their security. They might not even know what a health insurance is but they have such a trust in God.

And this is how even in this situation the people are not in panic. We are trying to help and now many people are contributing. Tomorrow Purnendu will not bring food from the Ashram to the people but he will take a tent and bring along the cook and food so that the cook can cook right where the food is needed. Like this, people will get a warm meal. You can still help by donating on the flood-page or recommend it to others. Thank you for your support!