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What can I do?

March 21, 2011


Wanted to share an older post, which has some relevance for this time. As I am, I’m sure many people are wondering, what can I do? it all seems to be going so fast. Can I catch up? So, I thought I’d re-share this little anecdotal and for me very in-formative experience.

By the way, it’s never too late.

Hinduism, like all other religions, grew from a spiritual root (dark, hidden from the eye) and everything we see of it (the visible plant/tree) is merely an allusion, a hint. And one famous saying in hinduism is that it almost matters not how you lived, as saint or sinner, if you have god’s name on your lips at the moment of death, you will go straight to his arms.

Now this should not be understood literally. To me, the allusion is to the fact that it’s never too late to start.

With that:

Leading Sugarcoated lives in a Bitter-Sweet World

JUNE 20, 2010


Having spent a good many years out west (most of it in the US), I was constantly struck by an anomaly that only really made sense to me when I returned to India.

And that anomaly has everything to do with balance, or rather being out of it.

Like most folks, I was a regular at coffee shops in the US and was always frustrated at the lack of anything savoury to eat there. Here in India, tea always goes with something sweet (usually the tea itself) with something savoury. A nice balance.

No big deal, you say? Patience dear reader. It is actually a very big deal.

Another thing I delved in (a bit too much) during my time in the US was alcohol. And I can confidently say it was the same for most people around me, lots of sweet coffee, buns, doughnuts, cream this and sugar, beer, sugary snacks, alcohol, aerated drinks….  sugar piled upon sugar…day in and day out. Everything had sugar.

And on another level, was this political correctness. You could never really speak the truth about anything that really mattered. Most truthy topics were in “politically Charged” territory. Feminism, Masculinity, the running of a company, any giant fraud unfolding around you, parenting, how children were being brought up, what you thought about someone, what someone thoughts about you… you get the idea.

And truth, famously, has always been bitter, right?

And then there was the “How are you doing this morning” from the kid behind the counter, most of them hardly meaning a word of it. Very sweet, sweet, sweet.

And candy, everywhere, candy, candy candy. Halloween supplies lasted the year around.

America, from my eyes, was on a perpetual sugar high. And bitterness was banned. No public consumption of it, no public display of it.

Definitely a sugar-coated existence. No balance at all.

When my alcohol consumption (a tad excessive) left me feeling terrible, I went to a practitioner of Ayurveda in the US.  She gave me a bunch of powders, said to take them and I’d be fine.

Went home, woke up the next AM, took a spoonful of one and gagged. It was so bitter. The bitterest thing I’d ever tasted. Plus, remember, I was leading a sugar-coated life too. When you are drowning in a sea of sweetness, even slightly bitter is really bitter.

I went to her that afternoon and complained, bitterly of course, and she smiled and had the said offensively bitter powder put in veg-caps. I went away happy and did the course….. to absolutely no effect. I thought she was just a bad doc and never returned.

The significance of my experience came many years later, my alcohol days far behind me. I realized that it was the BITTERNESS of the powered that was it’s power.

Understanding that the problem was the sweetness in my system, Ayurveda lady prescribed BITTER as an antidote. I needed to taste deeply bitter things to bring my system back in balance.

And in a fractal world, it works the same way with our lives too. Sunk in false-truths, white lies and political correctness, truth, bitter truth, has receded into the background.

All of us sweet people, cannot deal with the tiniest bit of truth, much like my first dose of bitter powder. So we take any truth-speaker and shun them, lest they destroy the glazing on our Dough-nut, do-not (tell me a truth) existence.

Once I realized it, I went about finding a way to reset. I found a neem tree (see here), one of most useful trees, medicinally speaking,  known to us. Long history and every part is useful.

And it is bitter. Bitter leaves, bitter bark. Bitter!

And so I started bittering myself, eating a fresh leaf the very next morning. First thing on waking up. Start my day bitterly. Next day, two leaves…. onwards till 14 leaves at a time. ANd then I wound down, 13, 12, 11….28 days, I started my day with a bitter leaf (or three).

Believe it or not, by the 10th day, those bitter neem leaves were tasting sweet. What an amazing feeling.

And my life changed…. because not only did it balance my body, it also balanced my mind.

First off, since bitter was now sweet, most sweet things were too sweet. My sweet-bitter scale had been reset. I was not craving sugar at all.

And boy, could I ever speak the truth. Bitter truth in return was sweet music to my ears.

I’ve done this time and time again and just 15 days or so ago, as I was planning to do another round (I’ve moved since and had no neem tree around), guess what, from nowhere, a sapling peeked out in my garden.

Just like that. Healthy and growing by leaps and bounds every day.

My neem bitter therapy starts tomorrow and I can hardly wait.

What I figured out also is that life deals you it’s bitter moments. To all of us.

If we choose to em-bitter ourselves, nothing life throws at you can sway you. It all seems so sweet.

And that is the balance I’m speaking about in our lives. Too far in one direction only leads to im-balance and dis-ease.

So, go to your local health food store, or Ayurvedic practitioner, or find yourself a neem tree, or bitter gourd juice. And take a big bite, swig dose of bitter. None of it can harm you and your life will become truly sweeter for it.

I can guarantee it.

Go on then, take a bitter pill!


And for those who might be interested in a little bit of my spontaneous style of music, something I recorded on 12th March, called it Fukushima Blues. It’s not really bluesy, like that. At your own risk:

It’s the latest video posted.



24 Comments leave one →
  1. leo permalink
    March 21, 2011 9:47 am

    reading your article i suddenly understood why lemon is such a wonderfull medicine!

    we live in THE SWEET CORNER!


  2. March 21, 2011 11:14 am

    The Pendulum, the Triad of three forces and Choice. Very interesting account of finding the right balance, thank you for sharing this again.

    Most people do not realise, that they are caught by the swing of the pendulum, most of the time.

    Once one becomes aware of this phenomena, they are at the crossroads on the way to the formation of second body and ultimately, a lessening of the pain. The crossroads is an interesting phenomena in itself, allowing us to view the intersecting of eternity versus time. The cross (an esoteric symbol) also figures into all forms of spiritual teachings, not exclusively owned by any one of them. Another is the isosceles triangle with a curved base, although this one is lesser known.

    I have written about these ideas before and will write about them again, thanks in part to your inspiration.

    Please! continue sharing…


  3. flipspiceland permalink
    March 21, 2011 12:00 pm

    I was with you until you came to the part about the constant ‘sweetness’ and no displays of bitterness.

    Actually the bitterness is front and center. It’s just that it manifests itself in a different way. You can read in in the face of the people who are silent.

    Visiting Paris and riding the Metro you almost feel the bitterness in nearly everyone on the trains. Yoju could ‘read’ in their expressions, and the slightest bit more nonsense they had to put up with would push them over the edge.

    Here in the U.S. I see it differently than you do. The frustration has become a constant. It is now an ‘adopted’ attitude, which has become a permanent part of the features on the faces of the middle class, less so in the poorer classes because they have become parasites, much like the rich, feeding off the middle classes who produce anything and everything worthwhile in goods and services.

    The bitterness is made manifest in a thousand different ways but is embodied in the term, “passive-aggressive”, a defense mechanism well documented in the annal of psychiatry.

    I am one of them. My sense that I can do nothing but fume and complain about the many, myriad, and monstrous injustices perpetrated on us by the likes 0f the members of the Wall Street elite, the government elite, and ‘public service’ elite, have etched my brain to the point where the only answer I can now perceive is an armed revolution. And being further frustrated that it will get me nowhere but dead or incarcerated for life.

    The only other outlet is to take on the accoutrements of the vigilante which I am woefully unprepared to do in skillset, strength, and acumen. But hope springs that one day there will be others to ‘take out’ some of the perpetrators, the unprosecuted criminals on Wall Street, Fleet Street, and K street. Once a few of these slime are exterminated, the others might fear for their lives and begin the process of healing.

    Ghandi was wrong. But it was all he could do.

  4. flipspiceland permalink
    March 21, 2011 12:08 pm

    But I would be interested in the bitters that you took that took the edge off your sweet addiction.

    I too am addicted to sweets and chocolate and it is without question very harmful in the long run.

    If I could take a ‘bitter pill’ as you did, I might be able to overcome this obsession with candy, cake, donuts, and all the other wonderfully tasty treats that are out there.

    But I’m even more curious than ever about WHY so many things that taste so great are the worst things we can take into our bodies and WHY thru the auspices of Darwin, and his evolution theory that we crave that which is so detrimental to ourselves and the enormous costs in lives, and money that it has engendered in s0 many of us.

    I don’t have the weight and obesity problems that accompany this addiction to inflammatory substances nevertheless, I wouldn’t mind losing 20 pounds to get back to my 20s weight.

    Please advise which most effective bitter concoctions you take.

    • Green Leader permalink
      March 21, 2011 3:25 pm

      The strongest older men I have ever known eat considerable amounts of watercress weekly.

      When I went to work at a nuclear plant in the middle of USA I called the place “The land of the bitter.” People were bitter all around, middle class from middle USA, late industrial rust belt.

    • March 21, 2011 5:24 pm

      flip, I’d try bitter gourd juice. Or powder which you can mix in your water and drink. Just find a natural healing store or a chinese/asian store near you and ask them.
      Anyone else with ideas?

      the other thing is the pre-ponderence of taste in our lives. It’s just one aspect of life, blown way out of proportion. In every way, clothes, cars, homes, food. Something to ponder, hmmm?

    • Yellow permalink
      March 21, 2011 7:43 pm

      The human body is no different than that of other mammals with a natural predisposition toward the essential nutrients which are rarest in nature: fat, sugar, and salt. This undoubtedly serves an important role for those living in scarcity as they meet these needs when able. On the other hand, this same disposition creates a tremendous imbalance in those living in abundance who fail to take into account the natural order. Balance in all things.

      • March 22, 2011 3:46 am

        Balance in all things indeed. Well said Yellow.
        The natural order has been sub-verted. Righting it has to be at an individual level. The collective effect happens automatically.
        Sadly, I think we are in an avalanche stage 1 (begun, irreversible) for the collective.
        For the individual, it’s never too late to get a little “bitter”. 🙂

  5. Ron Olson permalink
    March 21, 2011 1:07 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful thoughts on this subject. Your words are very sweet to me.

    • March 21, 2011 2:56 pm

      Was smiling as I read that. I was hoping for a rather more bitter effect. 🙂

  6. virginia permalink
    March 21, 2011 6:51 pm

    This could be bitter…apologies if considered off topic, many of you may unaware and want to know, since Deepwater Horizon, the UGA scientist Dr.Samantha Joye (one of those independent researchers who contradicted BPstatements and identified oil plumes) has along with others held follow-up symposiums. I was recently informed, UGA will host next one April 4, 2011 at 4PM (Not as posted am.). Public is invited . There is some way that questions are emailed ahead, I found one for interested folks.. . Holding accountable those that degrade and destroy Life is one thing All of us can do…virginia

  7. cathartes aura permalink
    March 21, 2011 8:12 pm

    mmm, yes, struck a chord there V ~

    as one who currently resides in amrka, the happy-smiley-sweet can be overwhelming at times, the relentless need to “appear” positive, particularly if you are female.

    that yellow “smiley-face-Have-A-Nice-Day!” that was so ubiquitous in amrkn “culture” – the false customer service attitude dragged into personal relation-ships – is coming unglued now. . . interestingly, such things as sugar, alcohol, etc. inflame the liver, which is the seat of anger/angry outbursts, and herbal remedies for healing that imbalance include bitter milk thistle tincture. . . I’ve lived in shared housing with guys detoxing their liver using this, and the outbursts can be substantial!

    as someone who is frequently accused of a “bitter” disposition for exploring the un-sweet aspects in reality (“oh, I can’t take in that information, it’s so hard! it makes me sad! why can’t you just talk about nice things!”), I can recommend some of my bitter faves, ha – arugula, dandelion, and watercress as GLeader mentions – all good eaten raw. . . bitter melon is an acquired taste, but as a soup/appetiser it stimulates the stomach juices, taste buds. . . I often eat the pith of citrus, the whole peel if it’s organic, but the pith is the white flesh between the outer zest & inner juice pips. . . wish I had access to a neem tree though, I love the notion of regular chewing of the leaves. . .

    I think it’s interesting that sugar is so prevalent in amrka, particularly the hyper-sugar of High Fructose Corn Syrup, as is alcohol abuse. . . and now, bitter-ness at the loss of the “dream” false paradigm. . . the anger is beginning to boil over, and no doubt it will be mostly directed laterally, infighting between “them” and “those people” – always divide ‘n’ rule, doing the hierarchy’s work for them.


  8. dublinmick permalink
    March 21, 2011 10:50 pm

    Yep you have definitely spent some time with us. Around here nobody much talks of things that matter. I mean you don’t bring up what is the meaning of life sitting a Dunkins doughnuts. If you do you might hear something like “how bout those forty niners!”

    By the way Dr. Chiappalone is back. People don’t like him too much either.

    • March 22, 2011 3:44 am

      Yup Dub, I read it. As out there as it sounds, it has a certain, shall we say, “ring” to it?

      And by the way, that same sweetness, cloying sweetness is coming to India now. At least in the targeted middle class. And it is a burgeoning, bloating, sicker by the day middle class. Over-eating and sitting in front of a machine all day and a TV at night. Very sad to see.

    • Nadall permalink
      August 14, 2011 7:18 am

      He’s amazing. Thanks for the link Dbmk. Ring totally works Vivek.

  9. Usman permalink
    March 21, 2011 11:08 pm

    Fukushima blues = awesome!

  10. Stephen Baze permalink
    March 22, 2011 6:39 am

    Flip – I understand your sentiment and frustration with things in America and agree with your concepts. The “sweet” concept is part of that rationale is it not? Most here in US do not understand the sweet/bitter concept of duality and balance and are conditioned to demand only sweet and that has caused lots of problems now hasn’t it? The sweet of economics has caused a complete meltdown and the sweet of sugar has caused massive health issues for the masses who are not only unaware of their self inflicted maladies, but more than happy to believe that by taking the latest pharma concoction, you don’t have to change anything in your life or be responsible for your own health and don’t worry about those side affects, those only occur occasionally. The truth is we all live in a giant illusion and we are all responsible for our own well being on every level. Only in America do we provide electric carts for fat people to cruise around in Walmart and purchase more of the wrong foods on food stamps provided by some one elses efforts? At the same time the EPA allows BP to spray a form of Corexit that is known to be toxic to living things and Obama is hailed as some sort of saviour simply because of his skin color as he approves of and does nothing about the GOM atrocities amongst numerous other atrocities, but if you speak opf these things you are immediately labeled a hater or racist? Ha Ha Ha………
    Like I said we live in complete illusions and most are asleep and not paying attention nor questioning authority at any level and simply blindly stumble thru life. By the way, Burdock root is also bitter and good for cleansing as well as dandelion and milk thistle. The human body is amazing in its ability to rejuvenate itself if given the proper foods. We here in US think doctors and the AMA are our saviours and nothing could be further from the truth, very similar to thinking the gov will fix the economic woes. Music was excellent indeed. I like your unbridled approach to life with less definitive restrictions as in your music and freedom of restraints! Waiting for events to unfold…………or not?? I think most here are as well, good luck to all.

  11. March 22, 2011 6:56 am

    one of my sons developed acne. people suggested various pharmaceuticals and once he read about the side effects he declined. he was 15 and it was bad. so he decided to change his diet. and although we don’t really eat sweets or cakes, there would be sugar in tea and the occassional chocolate and such. so this guy went fully off sugar and anything processed. with each meal he would have half a portion raw food – for three years he persisted. and it cleared. but the most remarkable thing was how much more mellow and wise he became on this diet. years ahead of his age. astonishing to see.

    i love bitter. start the day with the juice of half a lemon. and whatever i eat gets rocket chopped up and added to it.

    sugar is a poison. a total antidote to humanity.

    • March 22, 2011 2:32 pm

      Thanks for sharing that wonderful story. Three years…. special kid he must be. Very nice. And a lesson there for all of us, perseverance /discipline, if it comes from within, is a force of nature beyond compare.

      And sugar, like all things, is perfect in small, natural, balanced doses. It’s current role in our collective existence is poisonous beyond measure.

  12. Stephen Baze permalink
    March 22, 2011 2:59 pm

    March 22nd has arrived

    • March 22, 2011 3:06 pm

      Indeed, and look around us.
      I’m finding it difficult to see an uphill trajectory for the collective Humanity from here.
      Now we all get to truly find out that we are on our own, but not alone, eh?

  13. Stephen Baze permalink
    March 22, 2011 3:36 pm

    We shall see if Mckennas projections are valid? What I or you think about it does not matter, only what happens will verify or deny. I doubt the 22nd is an absolute date though, some variance may well exist in such a large and complex biosphere/solar system/universe. Hoping for the best and that may well be the conclusion of this order which many might consider disastrous.

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