Homa Psychotherapy: Training the Mind

By Barry Rathner, Clinical Psychologist


    Though recently we have been writing about thriving, not just surviving, as pandemic fatigue spreads and reports of mental dysfunction and disorder proliferate, perhaps it might be a good idea to temporarily set our sights or goals a bit lower.
      In fact, it might be said that one of the current challenges is maintaining sanity and happiness despite many of our usual diversions and joys being unavailable —everything from visiting with relatives to going to movies to going to restaurants.
First, activities we usually have less time for—meditation, exercise, music, etc.—might be good places to start.
This form of turning lemons into lemonade may be a very helpful mindset.
How does Fivefold Path relate to this discussion? In order:

YAJNYA is such a valuable addition to daily sunrise/sunset Agnihotra that added time available at home can be put to use optimally by doing Om Tryambakam Yajnya.
Many report substantial benefits to doing 30-60 minutes daily either in one or two shifts. Do keep in mind, however, that Yajnya is NOT a substitute for Agnihotra. It is an addition for those already doing regular Agnihotra.

DAAN – sharing our assets in a spirit of humility.
The opportunities either to contribute funds or volunteer time are many in these challenging times. It is easy to find those in need and in more dire straits than we.

TAPA – self-discipline.
Food, it seems, has because an issue for many of us during lockdowns as we are so close to our refrigerators and food closets at home.

So, a food discipline might be very appropriate. Pick your favorite junk food (ice cream, potato chips, candy), announce to your family you will not eat the item for 90 days, and proceed.
If you usually eat the item three times a week, serve it with a smile to your family four times a week. If you ‘fail,’ just before eating that bowl of ice cream, notice how easy it is for our minds to control us instead of the other way around.

KARMA – we reap what we sow, what goes around, comes around.
All of our actions constitute our karma. In times such as these ‘sliding,’ that is taking shortcuts feels much less advisable. Making a schedule and trying to stick to it may help.
Finding and maintaining a balance is especially important as working at home can wipe away lines between work and home/family activities. So, attention to this is important. Setting boundaries for ourselves and family members can help.

SWADHYAYA – Self-Study,
Why am I here? Who am I?
The importance of going within and trying to answer questions related to Swadhyaya may be very ‘on time.’ We are all being challenged to ‘be the best that we can be’ these days, and that is a pretty good way of describing Swadhyaya.

This too shall pass,” the Bible reminds. And in 12-Step, it is said that I cannot continue this way for a year or a month or even a week, but for the next hour, I can stick with the program.
And so it is.

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