Teaching Meditation To a 9-Year-Old

In the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda Paramhansa, the author mentioned about his ashram in Ranchi and describes, how he used to train the disciples from an early age.

In a particular instance, he mentioned that in his ashram, there was a 9-year-old boy could sit in a lotus posture and meditate for hours.

I was astonished by this, since it is very difficult for me to meditate for more than 20 minutes, and you would understand it too if you have meditated even for 5 minutes.

Meditating for more than an hour is a huge deal.

I am home and I have a cousin, Amaan, who is 9 years old, it was time for me to see if I can teach meditation to a 9-year-old.

I tried to make him understand the concept of meditation by telling him that he has to count his breaths while sitting in lotus posture and keeping the eyes closed. I thought that it would be difficult to make him understand but to my utmost surprise, he took it as a game and was very excited about it.

The attention span of a child is indeed less than 5 second, and it was evident but there were times where he surprised me with his calmness. The game lasted for 15 mins with 3 intervals and for the last 3 minute, he was asleep.

Children take everything as a game, which is a pretty interesting way of looking at life. For them, the fun is too crucial to miss.

We are too busy playing an adult and don’t have fun anymore in our lives .

Indeed, we could learn so much from a child.



A Growth Mindset

Listening has become a lost trait in the conversation.

I have been meeting a lot of people in my hometown and everyone is a philosopher.

While there is so little to learn from these conversations, I still try to listen for the most part of it, and while listening I do the next best thing, observing.

Everyone is so confident in their thought process that it is evident to say that, ignorance is a bliss.

The life here is pretty much defined by what they have already seen.

They don’t know what they don’t know, and with the mindset they have, they will never get to know the things which they don’t know.

I know, it’s pretty messed up.

Well, I also don’t know, what I don’t know, but since I am open to new learnings, I have a chance of learning new things, the things that I don’t know.

We should have an open mindset, it’s also called growth mindset. A growth mindset is crucial for success.


The Minz Stadium

Today I went for sightseeing in Gopalganj, to see what has changed in my hometown.

We use to visit Minz stadium while we were kids to watch the Jhaanki during 15th August and 26th January(Independence and Republic day in India respectively).

Jhaanki also called Tableau, is a group of models or motionless figures representing a scene from a story or from history.

The day used to be historical and the most memorable of all days.

I remember Minz stadium to be humongous, but today it was not.

It got me to thinking how our perspective changes with time, indeed it depends on the experiences we have in our life.

The huge stadium turned into a small one just because I had seen numerous other stadiums around the world.

This is true for our achievements and hurdles as well.

If we are growing the problems and achievements seems smaller every time and it is a good thing, it means we are growing.


Corruption in Bihar

The First-hand information is very valuable.

We are living in an information age, and it is very difficult to track down from where any story has emerged and reached us. Often the stories are manipulated according to the parties involved and the authenticity is depleted at every step on the way.

I read books because it has the learnings and experiences of the author which is a first-hand information.

The numerous stories which have been mentioned in the book “Autobiography of a Yogi”  by Yogananda Paramhansa, is first-hand information, and I wouldn’t have believed in any of the stories if it didn’t come from the personal experiences of Yogananda Paramhansa.

I come from Bihar, a place where corruption is a culture. I have heard of many related stories from newspapers, televisions, and social media.

Today I got an opportunity to get first-hand information of a story, which is a privilege. I had a conversation with a retired government high school teacher, Farooque Ahmed, he has been teaching English for last 40 years(he still gives tuitions at his home).

It was an honor to listen to his real life stories, his struggles, and the victories.

He discussed the situations in his school and the battle they fought against Bihar government in the court in order to get their 30 months pending salary. The situation in Bihar was really messed up during Lalu’s regime(the then chief minister of Bihar).

He shared about how they fought every step of the way in order to get the salary for the period they had already served.

These are the heroes of our nations whose stories never got covered by the media, and nobody talks about them anymore.

I listened to numerous other stories related to corruption and it was really sickening.

However, one very important thing I learned from him is that we have to be brave enough to raise our voices and be heard.

He shared his secret with me and said that it was because of courage and righteousness that he was able to fight all his battles.

Indeed, we can learn a lot from our elders.

Thank you so much Farooque sir, for sharing your story.


The Trendsetters

We come elite Muslim background and in our family, the tradition is that no female member of the family should work. I know it sounds very old-fashioned because it is old-fashioned.

I have not seen anybody work till now in our entire family.

While the world is growing rapidly, working class female is still frowned upon in our society.

I am very happy to see the first exception.

My cousin, Dr. S. Shabnam, who is based out of Kushinagar has started practicing as a homeopathic doctor. She has broken many boundaries in order to do that and has started a trend which would be followed by many others in our family members very soon.

It’s very easy to follow a trend but in order to set a trend we need much more strength and grit.

She did not discuss the difficulties she had while setting up her clinic but it was obvious since I know the background and history of our family.

We often forget about the backbone and the hidden strength of an endeavor. In her case, it is Ahmed Bhai, her husband. I could see him not brag about the support he has given, nevertheless the happiness was visible in his eyes.

We need more people who can set trends. We have plenty of followers in the world but a few trendsetters. We should encourage the trendsetters and help them set new boundaries every time.


An Unsung Hero


Today I visited the physio-gym with my mother. It is one of a kind place in Gopalganj(Bihar),  where various tools for exercise is made available to the patients.

I have seen countless gyms and physio centers all across Delhi, and this is definitely not the best one I have ever seen. However, in Gopalganj there’s is only one place where people can be treated in such a way.

In Delhi, there has been a culture of entrepreneurship and almost everyone wants to be one. This has created a stiff competition in the metropolitan areas. But in every entrepreneurial endeavor,  everybody wants to serve the same class of people.

From centuries, it has been said that the true India can be seen in the villages. Well, it can also be seen in my little town and there are thousands of opportunities in these areas. It was really great to see all the people getting help from this place.

I have heard of many unsung heroes in the past, today I met one. Dr. S. H. Khan could easily get a safe job in metropolitan of his choice and he could also have easily opened his center in any metropolitan, but he didn’t.

I got an opportunity to talk to him and I loved the man. He definitely is not doing this only for money, a true hero indeed.He is serving countless people and is happy with his job.

The most important thing that I would like to emphasize here is that the people who are treated here would not have been treated at all if it weren’t for his physio gym.

He would not have all the glories of the world but he is leading a happy and fulfilling life. I am truly grateful that my mother is treated here. Thank you so much, Dr. S. H. Khan, for helping so many people.


Going Home

I have a thing, I don’t know if it’s good or bad but I just love it.

I always want to go places without any scheduled plans, I love that.

Yesterday, I got to know that I have 4 days of vacation and I planned to go home at that very moment. I had no reservations and no ticket.

In my early days, I was frightened to board the train without a confirmed seat. It used to scare the hell out of me.

I always wanted to conquer this fear and today I conquered it.

I reached home safe and sound, I am exhausted as hell. Nevertheless, the feeling of conquering my fear is more pleasant than my exhaustion.


The Guy Who Set Himself at Fire

Yesterday in the late evening I heard the news of a Pakistani guy who set himself at fire just because he was not allowed to sit in the examination.

I feel sad for him.

Surprisingly, earlier that evening while returning home, I was thinking about my problems and was really stressed out.

Problems really sucks the energy out of us.

Suddenly the mind shifted my attention to meditation.

In meditation we have to focus the attention to breathing, and I started breathing consciously with paying attention to each breath.

I realized something at that very moment.

If I am breathing, I am alive, and I can solve all my problems.

That’s right.

It’s so simple that we have forgotten it.

With this thought in my mind, my problems just fade away, and I felt peace.

Thinking that we only have one chance in life is the biggest mistake people do in life. I truly have started to believe that we have given numerous chances to succeed in life.


Book Review Focus The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

Good morning everyone, how are you doing.

Today I am going to share my reviews and learning from the book Focus The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman.

Let me share how I came to know about this book.

A couple of months back I read the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and in that book I came to know about Neem Karoli Baba, he was the one Steve Jobs wanted to meet when he traveled to India. Unfortunately, he couldn’t meet him. As he died the year Steve came to India.

While researching about Neem Karoli Baba I came to know about many of his students including Daniel Goleman, and I started searching for his books and the latest book was Focus the hidden driver of excellence.

Here are pointers which I would like to remember for the rest of my life.

Remember how Steve Jobs use to say that we should listen to our intuitions as they already know what we want from life. Turns out that the next question is how do we listen to our intuition ?

This book has some answers for this question.
This book discusses on how to be in the present moment and how to refocus our attention to the things that we want to do. And what happens when we are in the present moment.

He talked about the blind spot in group thinking for example Bush administration was convinced that Iraq had nuclear weapons but they all were wrong. Daniel calls it the blind spot in the group thinking.

The most important power since childhood is will power. The ability of a child to process the mechanism of delayed gratification makes all the difference in the later life.

He discussed the importance of delayed gratification in life and discuss many experiments which have happened in the past for this theory.

A very detailed analysis of doctor and patient relationship, on how a doctor should treat a patient. What is going on in the mind if doctor and patient while they have the conversation, things that a doctor should keep in mind while treating his patients, It was completely new information and I liked it.

We all know about the 10000-hour rule by Malcolm Gladwell which he mentions in his book “Outliers the story of Success”. The author says that it’s half true, he says that 10000 hours with proper focus and feedback mechanism only we can be among the top 1 percent of the world and focus is equally important as time to be really good at something.

He discusses various techniques that can be used and are being used in numerous schools around the world which help students to focus. He also discusses the importance of mindfulness.

He also discusses various mindfulness activities which are being practiced in many organizations like Google, Target, and many other organizations.

He talked about the various strategies adopted by technology companies including successful and failed ones.


http://www.an-idea-a-day.in April 13, 2016 at 12:35AM faisal raza #anideaaday

Mind Wandering

We think mind wandering is our natural state since there’s a constant flow of thoughts happening inside our mind all the time. Sometimes have happy thoughts, other times we worry and so on.
After I started reading the book, “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence” by Daniel Goleman, I have come to know that it’s normal and everyone experiences it.
Daniel has very easily described the 4 states of mind we go through during meditation which is worth sharing here.

  1. We are in meditation but the mind is still wandering.
  2. We realize in our conscious mind that, the mind is wandering and we take the third step.
  3. Refocusing the attention towards breathing.
  4. The Mind goes back to wandering state.

and the cycle goes on and on.

What I found most helpful was that when I use to meditate and my mind started to wander I got frustrated. Now that I am acknowledging mind wandering, I am able to refocus my attention to breath without frustration.