02 Mar Coping with ALS with Meditation and other Natural Means
My name is Madhavendra. This name was given to me by my spiritual teacher, Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda,19 years ago. I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease where the motor neurons gradually deteriorate and die. This means that your brain gradually can’t control or send any messages to your muscles. So you eventually lose the ability to move, eat, speak, and even breathe. Despite being diagnosed with this terrible disease, I actually feel more at peace, more inwardly joyful and more alive than at any other time of my life. I owe this inner peace and happiness to my regular spiritual practices and the wisdom shared to me by my spiritual master. Actually anyone and everyone can also experience real inner peace and happiness in even the most difficult times and that is why I’m writing this. I want to share a little with you about how I came to taste this inner peace and how you can also have greater joy and wisdom in your own life.
I also follow holistic practices like acupuncture, a careful diet and take lots of supplements that have been prescribed to me a by naturopath. I was diagnosed with ALS 3 years ago but have experienced symptoms for 4 years. I have limitations with my body but I can still walk (not too far) and am able to do simple tasks like cook a meal, drive, and work on my computer. This is not bad for someone with ALS as usually the prognosis is 2 years and in rare cases 5. This disease is moving very slowly in my case. Whether it is because of my diet and lifestyle, maybe. But the main focus in my life has been my spiritual practices. I feel so fortunate to have this.
I had been a yoga practitioner and teacher for many years but had always wanted to know how to meditate. The yoga asanas (exercises), although I liked them, didn’t completely fulfill me and I knew there was something more to yoga. Around 30 years ago in Australia some lovely people moved next door to my house and taught me yoga meditation. This is a process of meditation that doesn’t involve exercise where you focus your mind on ancient transcendental sounds known as mantras. The mantras are all pure and all purifying. Simply by hearing and repeating these mantras my mind became calmer, I became happier, more satisfied, and gradually I became more peaceful.
So that when I was hit with the tsunami called ALS I had somewhere to turn. I turned inward to my meditation practice. When we’re diagnosed with a serious life threatening disease death becomes a reality. But thanks to Jagad Guru’s teachings and the ancient teachings of the Yoga scriptures I know that I am an eternal spiritual being and that the material body I am wearing is a temporary garment. When it dies I will not die. So my meditation practice has given me the most wonderful gift. It has helped me to realize that I am not this body, which is falling apart, I am spirit soul temporarily residing in this body and I know this disease will not kill me. It will just kill my body and I am eternal.
Part of my meditation practice is Kirtan, the singing of transcendental mantras usually done in a group setting. I’ve been singing these mantras for 30 years and as soon as I chant I’m instantly transported to an amazing place of happiness, strength and inner peace. This is a beautiful place full of love where this awful disease can’t enter.
Whatever time I have left I’m going to stay immersed in hearing these beautiful transcendental sounds and not be concerned about ALS.
If you would like to know more about the meditation practice I follow please go to www.meditationtoronto.com or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org All of the meditation classes are free. There is also some wonderful information on www.wisdom.yoga