Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Health & Wellness

LIFESTYLE MEDICINEVII: The Importance of Mindfulness Meditation

Dr. M. P. Ravindra Nathan

By M. P. Ravindra Nathan,

Our mind and body are closely related. The old saying, “What the mind wants, the body will do,” is very true. What this means is mind and body are the two main constituents of your being. Always remember, your mind is the gateway to the outside world. So, it’s important to have a strong, steady and peaceful mind. A simple aspect of this is when you have to do a job, pleasant or unpleasant, it’s your mind that decides what to make of it – easy or difficult – and then give order to the body. And what gives you a strong and steady mind that will help you handle all difficult situations and live your life happily? It is meditation.  

"Meditation is a conscious effort to change how the mind works," said Lord Buddha, the original proponent of this discipline. The main purpose is to keep your mind steady, strong, relaxed and peaceful. Then you can think better, act properly, lessen reactivity to unpleasant situations, increase productivity and improve creativity. Our ancient sages and saints spent a lot of time in meditation to keep the mind calm and in control of their emotions.

We live in a world full of stress and, this mental stress can lead to several diseases and even cause an early death. However, your mind can modify your response to stress and make it easy to handle. There are so many decisions that you have to make in life and those good choices you take are the ones that benefit you and make your life happy. In order to make those good decisions, you need a calm and quiet mind with the ability to think and act properly. Meditation can navigate you away from stresses eroding into your health.

What is the neuroscience of meditation? Many studies have demonstrated “the benefits of meditation, both for self-reported stress and also for biomarkers of stress, like measured amount of cortisol in blood as well as signs of inflammation in the body.” In one clinical study of people undergoing ‘Mindfulness-based Meditation and Stress Reduction,’ the people in the meditation group had more gray matter in several regions of the brain after just eight weeks of practice! The grey matter enables you to control memory, emotions and movement. It’s important for your cognitive functioning.

Although there are different types of meditation – it is found in all cultures and religions – like Mindfulness Meditation, Heartfulness Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, Zen Meditation etc., the underlying principle is the same.

You can learn the basics of meditation in a few minutes. Sit in a comfortable position or sukhasana, straighten your back, feel your breath, close your eyes and control your wandering mind purposely, bringing your attention to the present-moment experience without judgment. You can concentrate on an image if it helps you – image of a person you love or think of a feeling like peace or harmony, that can help you with mind control, and just meditate for 15 or 20 minutes or whatever time you have allotted. For beginners, it will be good to get a teacher to guide through the process. Meditation is simple in concept but to master it you have to do it regularly. As Dean Ornish says, “It’s the process of meditation that makes it so beneficial, not how well you perform. This attitude of paying attention can help transform everything you do into a meditation. Whatever we do with concentration and awareness becomes meditation.” My yoga/meditation Guru, Amrit Desai, calls this ‘meditation in motion.’ As one author puts it, “Meditation in Motion is a way of practicing being present in the moment by being in our body, wherever it is and whatever it is we are doing.” Then you can concentrate on the job, give it all your attention and get the best results. 

Every morning, I sit in the prayer room, close my eyes, concentrate on the image of my late parents who were my ‘visible Gods’ and pay attention to my breathing. I start the session by chanting “Om” and mentally repeat the mantra. Once I finish my 15 minutes, I feel relaxed and ready to face the world. Meditation can make you a better person by helping you to cultivate inner peace and self-awareness, ability to focus and take responsibility for actions. That is why many famous personalities like the legendary computer icon Steve Jobs turned to meditation for success.

To be continued …

M.P. Ravindra Nathan, M.D., is a cardiologist and Emeritus Editor of AAPI Journal. For further reading, “Second Chance - A Sister’s Act of Love” by Dr. Nathan from Outskirts Press, can be found at



Think SMALL, See BIG! FDA Approves another New Lens Implant for Cataract Surgery

Dr. M. P. Ravindra Nathan

By M. P. Ravindra Nathan,

The United States FDA has approved IC-8 Apthera IOL for the treatment of cataracts. With over 24 million people in the U.S. alone affected by cataracts (blurriness of vision due to the aging of the natural lens), this lens implant adds one more choice to the ever-expanding range of premium lens implant technologies that patients can select during cataract surgery.

I like to explain this lens technology with an analogy of a camera where a smaller aperture brings about a pinhole effect of what is called small aperture optics. This allows a greater depth of vision, including extended range of clear vision at distance and near.

Many cataract patients still select basic monofocal lens implants over premium lens technology for their cataract surgery due to either cost issues or lack of knowledge and sometimes even limited choices offered by certain practices. While basic monofocal lenses can provide acceptable vision outcomes in simple cases, there is always a compromise at distance or near vision.

There are many firsts to this lens technology – the first small aperture Intraocular Lens implant (IOL) to receive FDA approval; implantation with a monofocal or monofocal toric (astigmatism correcting) IOL in the fellow eye; extended depth of focus lens indicated for monovision (where one eye sees at distance and the other, up close); and non-toric IOL indicated for cataract patients with low amounts of corneal astigmatism.

As discussed in my previous columns (KhaasBaat), there are many premium lenses that also correct reading vision along with distance vision. Examples include multifocal lenses, accommodative, pseudo- accommodative, extended depth of focus, bifocal, trifocal, X wave technology including post-surgical, light adjustable lenses. Many of the presbyopia-correcting lens designs have complex optics that split, shift or stretch light to provide clear vision at more than one discrete focal point.

In contrast, this lens implant, with its proprietary small aperture technology, seamlessly provides excellent distance vision as well as clear intermediate and near vision, effectively mitigating in most cases the effects of presbyopia (reading glasses).

Now, as you can imagine, a technology that focuses only on the central rays of light that come in through the clear, central corneal portion while avoiding the peripheral cornea, may decrease the visual field of vision for that patient, which may be especially detrimental during low light conditions like nighttime driving.

Additionally, this lens should not be used in people with macular degeneration or retinal problems as once again comparing it to a camera, if the film of the camera is bad and you decrease the aperture, you are now bringing the rays of light to a damaged part of the retina (film).

I continue to share my experience with eye surgeons using advanced technology, including new generation premium lens implants where we are able to correct vision at most distances in cataract patients who may have had previous refractive surgeries (Lasik, PRK, SMILE, Radial Keratotomy, etc.) or have distorted or damaged corneas (corneal scars, irregular astigmatism), that make measurability of the lens implant less accurate. But this technology should surely include patients whose cornea is so distorted that it's nearly immeasurable, especially in cases of corneal scars, extreme keratoconus, multiple incisional radial keratotomy, Lasik, PRK or Smile complications.

Because in these cases, the ability to measure an accurate lens implant power (which depends on the measurability of the cornea) is so reduced and inaccurate that this lens implant, which enhances the pinhole effect, may be the only option for clear and sustainable vision. That is as opposed to a corneal transplant in association or staged with cataract surgery.
So, in summary, I personally feel the new lens implant technology, though another step forward in the ever-expanding choices of premium lens implant cataract surgery, becomes a powerful tool in those cases, especially where measurability is in question, while also visual clarity is impacted enough to choose to possibly compromise some visual field to gain functional vision.


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