The Big five emotions (Kama, Kroda, Madha Lobha, Matsarya) lust, anger, arrogance, greed, jealousy, can flood the body with the chemicals of stress. Stress is destructive. Stress is aging. Stress is a killer.
Ambition and increasing peer pressure ensures the ‘Rat in a trap Syndrome’, where you are trapped into running faster and faster, to stay in the same place. Work follows us everywhere. The blurring of work and leisure, has intensified in this era of 24-hour access, when the computer is just a fingertip away and the cellphone is as intimate as a heartbeat. The delicate tissues of the body are constantly awash in the lethal chemical bath of chronic stress. Interactive electronic devices have made stress continuous. Home is no longer a refuge.
Meditation and pranayama, provide everyone with a way of reducing the automatic violent reactions to stress. You can actually control autonomous systems like heart beat and pulse rates, which were thought to be outside the individual’s control. Knowing and practicing meditation can provide you with a silent room where you can retreat into peace: slow breathing, steady heartbeat, slow pulse. This room is always available within a person who has learnt to meditate. While you cannot change your job, family or your life situation, you can certainly learn to breathe more peacefully, thus reversing the process of excitation and avoiding the emotional hijack. It is not possible to learn meditation by thinking about it, any more than it is possible to learn swimming by talking about it. If you have to swim, you have to get into the water. Learning mediation and understanding your breathing patterns through pranayama may be the best investment you ever made. In India, there is no excuse not to learn these things. Stress need not be a response to the pace of your life. You can learn a peaceful response that protects your body.