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THE SWITCH


I had an interesting experience the other day. My mind was grappling with an intricate problem at work. It involved a lot of data and details. I had to somehow disentangle it all and make sense of it. It was tough going and after a while I hit a dead end. To distract myself I decided to cook for a while. The recipe involved shelling peas. I took a whole bunch of peas out of the fridge, sat myself on the table, and began to shell them. If you’ve shelled peas you know that no matter how many times you do it, it's always quite intricate and time-consuming. As my eyes and hands and wrists worked in tandem to perform this manual task, something odd happened. The block I was experiencing with my data work seemed to get unclogged. I suddenly had an idea of how I could slice and dice all that data. It was as though my hands (disentangling peas) had mimicked the earlier work of my mind (disentangling data) and found a secret key. I felt strangely happy and liberated. Later, I remembered what my teacher had said during a yoga session once. “What you cannot do mentally, you can sometimes do physically.” This is true and I have experienced it profoundly during yogasanas. Sometimes, I cannot focus mentally. Then, I do a headstand or a balancing posture and as my body stills, I find that my mind stills too. Sometimes, I'm hurt and angry. Then, I stay in Parshottanasana, and every long exhalation greatly aided by the posture helps me let go of my rage and pain. One may do it the other way round; you may not be able to do something physically but you can do it mentally. Try visualizing yourself lying on a bed of wet grass, the murmur of a river nearby, bright red poppies waving at you in the distance. And just like that your pulse slows and you can almost recreate the feeling of actually being there. The mind-body connection is a powerful lever. You can use either of them to help or complement the other, and get interesting results. The only requirement is that you stay mindful. Try it sometime.

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