Meditation and Melatonin Connection

Yesterday I had one of those AHA moments about meditation. I have always read in various books about how prolonged meditation cuts down the amount of sleep you would need. I should admit, I really was trying to put that to good use – when I was working for myself – where the work days would last 16 hours and there was no work/life balance.

Anyhow, what I have always known was – 20 mins of nap during day == 1 hour of sleep during night. And 15 mins of deep focused meditation == 1 hour of sleep during night. I have seen that being said everywhere but I could never understand why.

Yesterday I learned the answer. Here are the details.

Everyone of us have something called ‘Pineal Gland‘. This small almond shaped gland is the end point of our nervous system which connects to our brain. As we get signals from nervous system, this gland kinda vibrates and releases a hormone called ‘Melatonin‘. Now Melatonin is a natural hormone – which we use to replenish and heal our bodies. So sleep is a means to the end of getting Melatonin. There I was like AHA. Now I know.

So basically when you take a nap or meditate – you are making Melatonin. Once our body gets that – it doesn’t need us to sleep longer hours for more and that way you can get away with 6 hours of sleep and still be alert during day.

Again, I don’t think just simple meditation generates Melatonin. What meditation does is to slow down our brain waves and I think when we get to theta level – we are able to produce Melatonin.

I have also learned that in the ancient cultures, people knew about this and focused on Pineal gland focused meditation technique. Usually when we meditate we are asked to either focus on a picture, idol, light or breathing. The more noob the more external things you need to focus on. So, you would start your meditation practice with a picture and end up doing it by focusing on your breath as you progress. But in Pineal gland focused meditation technique the seeker focuses on the back of the head (where the gland is located) and this (with practice) furthers the easy making of the Melatonin harmone. I think this is a very valid technique. Two years back I was taking a Super Memory reading course – because I had way too many books to read than time. In that they teach you a technique which works like a wonder. While reading the book – imagine a imaginary orange behind your head. Just hovering there. Once you do that, your focus kinda shifts to the back of your head and it kinda puts you in a trance where all the external distractions are minimized. It’s called the orange technique and it really works.

Tantrically thinking, I think Pineal gland is actually the esoteric, analogical third eye of Shiva. It’s not a literal one which is between your brows but something inside your head. And as Mythology and Scriptures say – once it’s open it doesn’t destroy the literal world, but your *idea* of this world. This whole shebang you carry around in your head called life is blown away.

Mercurial is all about Sex!

At my new job we use Mercurial (for the non-techies but still interested in sex this is Mercurial <– click that). I have used Git in the past and liked it but it’s been long so it was kinda re-learning the basics. I was happy to jump onto it – because I really really really wanted to forget all about SVN. I don’t think I will ever want to use it again.

I know now you are getting restless – because you probably are reading this because of the word ‘sex’ in the title! Fear not, I am gonna give you a nice way to understand Mercurial. After that you may never choose to use it or forever love it.

I figured it out that Mercurial is all about sex. To go with the story lets define some terms.

  •  Under mercurial everyone has their own repository.
  •  You may or may not choose to have a central repository. Kinda free to be alone.
  •  Working directory is a piece of shit. Mercurial remembers whats in your working directory (if you are ”committed’) and then can swap it out with 1 command. So, don’t feel bad about your jewel code in there – mercurial doesn’t care.

To elucidate lets take an example of a guy and girl who are trying to date. Lets call them John and Jane. Here is how I can explain the concepts behind mercurial.

  • John wants to be in a relationship. He needs to initiate it and intend it: $hg init (the folder name could be- ‘one night stand’, ‘long term rel’)
  • May be John saw his friends making out with their girl friends – so John want something similar: $hg clone
  • John gotta work on himself. Build that 8-pack he has been thinking of and all those fat tires around his waist and neck: $hg add, $hg remove, $hg mv, $hg cp  and finally committed to look good $hg commit
  • It’s the same for Jane too.
  • Everything is all about the local repo. It’s like this ideal person John and Jane wants to be. It’s like seeing themselves in mirror and updating themselves: $hg update
  • $hg status – state of mind. John drunk and horny. Jane depressed and flirty. Pick a vice.
  • Now the fun starts – John and Jane are dating.
  • John wants to take Jane to dinner at his parents place! (I know lame). $hg pull
  • Jane wants to control John and tell him what she like and dislikes : $hg push
  • Once they meet after 6pm and both are needy. Irrespective of whether they pushed or pulled you would end up with 2 heads. Imagine John and Jane lying down on a bed next to each other. You see 2 heads right? If not run : $hg heads. Well for the adventurous one it’s possible to have more than 2 heads -but don’t be such a sicko!
  • Now the most fun part – once in bed they gotta do something: $hg merge – Woo Hoo.  It starts with a lonely init and ends with a climatic merge!
  • There are some other stuff which might help –
  • John wants to check whose his parents are : $hg parents
  • Jane checks herself out in the mirror and see what’s happening. $hg diff
  • $hg revert –  Jane wiping her make up off.
  • $hg rollback –  1 chance for both Jane and John to cheat on each other and rollback.
  • $hg backout – I think this might be about saying goodbye. Not sure.
Ok, I know it’s crazy but consider this. This post was written under heavy influence of fine Bourbon – so back out and chill. I am not making fun or Mercurial. I actually like it. Ooops there is a fly in my Old Fashion – Gotta go.

On becoming a Father

I have been thinking about what is different in my life after Sahana, my daughter arrived. My friends have asked me what feels different. I didn’t have any right answer for that question as I was busy with being one and never spent time on thinking about it. I think I have my version of what is different now that I am a dad.

I think everyone has preferences, strengths, weaknesses, tendencies etc which can be categorized in 4 categories. Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. That’s not written in stone but one way to slice it. And among these 4 categories there is order. People over a period of time build a stack of importance using these 4 categories. I think being a dad/father/mother/parent brings a lot of insight, shift in the top categories.

For example: Mine are ordered – Spiritual, Mental, Emotional and Physical (yeah last physical – which explains why I don’t know anything about Baseball and why I carry those extra 20 pounds on me!). I think after Sahana came to our lives, I was affected more spiritually and mentally than emotionally or physically. I mean, I have gotten used to little physical inconveniences like – sleeplessness, more work etc but they don’t discourage me from anything nor they inspire me.

What affected me more was I became more spiritual. The whole experience from the moment I learned that Sangita is pregnant till today is this great spiritual dance. Everything that happens to me, around me has a spiritual meaning tied up with Sahana. I do believe she brought in a lot of luck for both me and my wife. If she brought more patience to Sangita, she brought me more spiritual depth.

As for the mental side – I have shed everything that has short meaning in my life. I used to treat work in a specific way. I wanted it to be more my way and that was the reason why I went to work for myself. But now, after this change – something in that area has shifted for me. I still have the same passion towards my work but less stubbornness. I focus on what is most important and drop everything that is trivial. Thats been very refreshing in the past 3 weeks since I started to work full-time. Especially interesting how it is affecting my 2 other areas of life – emotionally – spending more quality time with Sahana in the evening and physically – going to sleep early and getting more than enough sleep than when I used to work for myself.

I wholly welcome all these changes in my life. I am happy to be a dad.

History – Very interesting

I have never been a big fan of History. In school we all went through Indian history, World history etc – but my sole purpose in learning those was to just get some good grades and go to the next class/level. Recently I happen to be browsing the history aisle of Barnes and Nobles and I decided on checking out some of the books there. I did come across a very interesting book and I was hooked.

It’s called ‘A little history of the world’ by E.H.Gombrich.

I love that book. I think this book taught me more about History than all my schooling did. I know it doesn’t cover everything comprehensively but the way it’s explained is awesome. The best part of reading it has been how my imagination flares up. I can literally close my eyes and see everything that is being described in the book before my eyes. I love it. I love watching futuristic movies because at some level I love to see how these artists think the future is going to be. But now I think history has the equal interesting things to show and teach something.

I would highly recommend it.