Let Us All Unite!

You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

In the name of Freedom, Let us all Unite

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

The above speech was delivered by Charlie Chaplin. It is the Final Speech from the Great Dictator. This was Charlie Chaplin first talkies movie. Ironic how one of the best speeches ever was delivered by a “silent” movie star.

Although just a script from a movie, this speech infuses me with purpose. It ties into my personal dharma. If a group of like minded people came together – could these sentiments not become a reality?

“Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security.”

Interested in getting involved?

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Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created  I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.

My Life: Renunciation vs The World

Having recently returned from a journey of ascetic solitude in the Himalayas, disciplined practice at a monastery and delightful wandering in the Buddha’s footsteps – I face the challenge of having to re-integrate into daily life in the United Kingdom.

I am grateful for the opportunity to engage in my annual sojourn of solitude. At the end of said journey, without fail, every year – I am plagued by a desire to renounce the world and return to what feels like my real home. Many fail to understand why?

Let me explain – My journey of solitude is not one of luxury. It usually involves trekking in challenging environmental conditions and with very few amenities. It means early mornings (3am), disciplined practice, diet of rice and veg, one meal per day and long hours of labour or walking. Nights are spent in ashrams, lodgings or tents where a thin cotton mattress is the ultimate luxury and relief from the icy wind fills you with gratitude.

These journeys can be emotionally challenging as well. For as you trek through the mountains, you meet people – you experience their lives, their hopes, their pain. You hear stories that form knots in your throat that no amount of tears can undo. And you form bonds with the little people, those innocent, love-personified, children of the mountains. And no matter how much it breaks your heart, you have to leave them – for there is always more work to be done elsewhere. These mountains are huge.

And although I come to a comfortable home, warm bed, abundance of food – a life of relative luxury – all I crave is to go back.

Last year, while in the mountains – I had decided to break convention, renounce the world and just stay on. A dear friend and teacher, Vivek, convinced me otherwise. “You have too much work to do,” he said. “You are in a privileged position to be able to make a difference in the world. Live your dharma. If we all escaped to our “homes in the mountain”, who is going to do the work that needs doing?”

So, I came back to earn the funds, that enable me to support the people and projects that need support. I came back because I am told that its my duty to do so. I came back because of the bonds created in trying to earn those funds and perform those duties. Life is a web of entanglement. When you are unaware of this – it fills you with desire. When you become aware – it fills you with despair.

Hence renunciation is the easier path – for it allows you to escape this web. Living in the world is the real challenge. For even when the mind is untangled – duty keeps you bound.

Promise to Self: For as long as I am duty-bound, I will fight the good fight.

Suggestions and guidance – most appreciated!

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What is Epigenetics?

Simply put, Epigenetics is the study of how our lifestyle and environment changes our bodies. Its relates specifically to how our genes are expressed to create physical changes in our bodies.

Epigenetic refers to the heritable changes in the ways genes are expressed that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence. This is a change in phenotype (observable characteristics) without a change in genotype (structure of our genes).  These changes occur because of how cells read the genes and not because the gene has changed. Epigenetic change is a regular and natural occurrence but can also be influenced by several factors including age, the environment, lifestyle and disease. 

A growing body of research in epigenetics has helped us understand how the environment and individual lifestyle can directly influence how a gene is expressed. These changes may occur throughout a person’s life and has an effect on future children. For example, human epidemiological studies have provided evidence that prenatal and early postnatal environmental factors influence the adult risk of developing a number of chronic diseases and behavioral disorders.

Studies have shown that children born during the period of the Dutch famine from 1944-1945 have increased rates of heart disease and obesity. This is due to the maternal exposure to famine during early pregnancy. Studies also suggest that adults who were prenatally exposed to famine conditions have a significantly higher incidence of schizophrenia.

Research has also shown that a mother’s exposure to pollution could impact her childs susceptibility to asthma. The fathers lifestyle also affects epigenetics as the childs’ mental strength was found to be influenced by the fathers diet.

How Lifestyle Affects Individual Epigenetics and Wellbeing

Although more stable during adulthood, epigenetic changes are dynamic and modifiable throughout life. Furthermore positive inherited epigenetic changes could be reversed due to poor lifestyle and environmental factors. There are numerous examples of epigenetics that show how different lifestyle choices and environmental exposures can alter gene expression and determine health.

The environment has a powerful influence on epigenetics. Scientists have found that air pollution increases one’s risk for neurodegenerative disease. Interestingly, B vitamin supplementation may protect against harmful environmental effects.  

While scientific data is limited, anecdotal evidence suggests that yoga and meditation practice has positive epigenetic effects.

Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created  I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.

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What is Karma?

As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps; no man inherits the good or evil deeds of another. The outcome of any action is of the same quality as the action.

— Mahabharata, xii.291.22

The Indian concept of karma developed and evolved over centuries. The earliest Upanishads (Indian Classical Texts) began with questions about how and why man is born, and what happens after death. This led to theories of cause and effect. These theories then evolved into the diverse concepts of karma

Over time, various ideas developed as did many different definitions of karma. Central to all these definitions was the relationship between karma and causality. Karma – was described as action, deeds, intention as well as the outcome of ones action. Hence karma was both cause and effect.

Some Indian schools of philosophy described karma as deterministic – which meant that you were bound to past actions with no ability to change the outcome. These schools seem to claim that you are determined by your DNA with no option to improve your circumstances.

Others, made room for free will, moral agency and human effort in enabling you to mitigate the effects of past deeds. These schools of Indian thought seem to have pre-empted the modern concept of epigenetics.

The Yoga school of Indian philosophy was one such school – it claimed that human effort could overcome biological and physiological constraints. In Yoga, karma from past lives (akin to modern concepts of Genetics – DNA or conditioning) is of secondary value. The Yoga system proposes that it is one’s current actions and practices that alter behaviour, physiology, and psychology. Regular actions or practices may lead one to entanglement or enlightenment.

There is more to your downward dog or Vriksasana than you think. Body reconditioning is the motivating force. And reconditioning can alter karma.

An important point to understand is that there is no essentially good or bad karma. It is about acting appropriately in every given moment.

For more information about responding appropriately to life – read the article on dharma.

Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created  I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.

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What is Dharma?

Dharma is an ancient Indian concept. Over the centuries it has been integrated into various eastern religious and spiritual doctrines. Due to its long and varied history, it is often mis-understood.

There is no single word for dharma in English. A few authors have attempted to translate dharma and have come up with over 20 different translations including “law, order, duty, custom, nature, practice, purpose, quality, statute”. However each of these words is incomplete. Even a combination of these concepts do not convey a complete sense of dharma. Hence the word dharma has become a widely accepted loanword in English. In common parlance – dharma is taken to mean “right way of living” or “path of righteousness”.

In ancient Indian philosophy, dharma includes two aspects –

  1. Yuga Dharma which refers to laws that apply to a particular age.
  2. Sanatana Dharma refers to eternal law or the unchanging cosmic principals.

Yuga Dharma

Yuga Dharma is somewhat simpler to understand – it involves adhering to the rules that govern a particular period in history. There was however an inherent understanding that these rules would be transient and may change in the future. Yuga Dharma is the legal or social rules that we currently agree.

Sanatana Dharma

To understand Sanatana Dharma – you need to understand three underlying concepts – Rta, Maya and Karma.

Rta is the principal which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything in it (including humans) – it is akin to the fundamental forces described by modern science. Sanatana Dharma involves honouring these fundamental forces.

However, as most humans cannot even perceive these natural forces – living this concept has historically come with detailed instructions and the need for a spiritual guide. This concept is what inspired many enlightened teachers – like Buddha.

It is also this concept that gave rise to the various meditation, yoga and tantric practices. These practices were used to develop your body and mind so you may perceive and live in accordance with Rta. Living in Rta means living your dharma.

However, if your perception or consciousness is unclear then you are prone to being led astray by misguided goals. These misguided goals may have short term benefits but are detrimental in the long term. Misguided goals are due to Maya. Maya means fraud, deception, illusion – it refers to anything that misleads and creates disorder.

The world as most of us perceive it, is often referred to as Maya. We know that if we looked through a giant microscope – we will see a very different picture. Yet, we decide to make the material world our reality.

Maya is contrary to Rta. And Maya conditions us to behave in a self-limiting manner. This self limiting behaviour results in karma.

The only way to overcome karma is to train your mind and body to live your Dharma. Live your truth!

Dharma is to do whatever you do practically, skilfully for the benefit of all beings. Dharma is purity of heart.

Response from a Nun to Bethany Hughes question “What is Dharma?”

Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created  I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.

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