Our Trip to India: Dharamsala Day 15

by Siegfried Othmer | November 6th, 2014

by Siegfried Othmer, PhD

Sue and I have just returned from a sojourn to India, where we taught our training course at the Tibetan Medical Institute, Men-Tsee-Khang.
Day 15

September 30 (Tuesday)

Barbara and Virginia decided to rise early and join the festivities at the monastery. Chanting was interspersed with spoken text; many participated by way of circumambulation. Some of us preferred sleep.

This was the third day of training actual patients. The second meditator returned for his 40-Hz session. He had nothing further to report from the alpha experience. The same held true after the 40-Hz session, so Sue did not ask him to return.

I had no role to play in the clinical work, so I delved further into Swami Rama’s Living with the Himalayan Masters. Swami Rama admits to having been a rather arrogant and hard-headed student at the outset, having to be persuaded time and again that his teachers in fact possessed the special competences that they were believed to have mastered. But later in the book it is apparent that whatever abilities he develops personally, he sees them as standing in the shadow of his own teacher and other adepts with whom he studied. Given his own extraordinary capacities, to think that these stand in the shadow of others gives one pause. These masters, furthermore, had acquired their skills entirely by self-training, or by learning from their own antecedents who had done so. These were men in loincloths who lived at high altitude in caves and had mere brushes of encounter with settled communities. All this hints at inherent competences of our brains of which Western scientists are only dimly aware.

I also took the opportunity to see the chief doctor at the Institute, as others on our team had done. He felt my pulse over an extended period of time, and then inquired about my coffee consumption. Normally it is not excessive, but I recalled that I had had a double cappuccino that morning, which was highly unusual. Perhaps that was an overdose for me. He had picked up irregularities in my heart rate. I had noticed something similar myself upon doing Heart Rate Variability training. There were episodes when the HRV signal was the classical one, and there were also episodes where no standard breath-related pattern could be seen. The heart rate was simply erratic. Perhaps here was the connection.

We experienced yet another burst of hail. Given the higher variability of weather at high altitudes, such episodes tend not to last long. On this occasion it also brought a power outage to our classroom. Fortunately, we were operating from laptops, and were merely reduced to single-screen operation.

The end of our stay was nigh, so the evening was committed to some emergency shopping, mainly by Virginia, who had been looking for a Buddha that was not too heavy. Our frequent companion during our stay, the Tibetan monk Jampa, accompanied us, always ready to help us navigate the culture and the streets. Jampa also took us to the local computer “store” in order to make arrangements for two more monitors for Men-Tsee-Khang. The “store” consisted of a small room with a nice man who appeared to be busy repairing a few computers. We ended the day with a modest dinner at the hotel, the only time there was not a feast of many dishes.

Our Trip to India Continues

Dharamsala Day 16

Siegfried Othmer, PhD

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