March 29, 2011

The Glow

Sometime back, while reading a book of essays by Buddhist teachers, I read something, which immediately rang a bell. The author was talking about a phenomena, which was common to many other cultural traditions and even to field of stammering. The phenomena is: when a seeker hits upon an early spiritual realization, s/he experiences a “high”- a heightened state of emotions: he is very happy, walks six inches above the ground, wants to share his achievement with everyone, talks much (sometime too much!) and becomes a little indifferent to what others might be thinking, feeling or actually needing at that moment. This guy is simply 'glowing' with his recent achievement, or change of fortunes or having discovered “my way to salvation” etc. etc. We all have heard the saying: the new broom sweeps clean! We all have known the new “convert” (to this or that 'ism' or technology or gadget or social cause) who is a little too full of himself or herself.

Sometime this glow takes on physical features: shining eyes, glowing face and non-stop chatter.. Ramakrishna, used to say that when an elephant enters a pond there is confusion all around- the water gets thoroughly churned, becomes muddy and breaks the bank- but nothing much happens when the elephant enters the ocean- not even if an entire herd did the same!

I have often wondered why? Having been through something similar sometime back, I think I can make a reasonable guess: From our very child hood, we invest a lot of emotional energy in hiding our stammer, rationalizing it (“I dont stammer, I just hesitate a lot..” “ I dont stammer, it is just an odd habit..”), denying it etc etc. Then, one day after many years, we chance upon our “release orders”. Something, someone, some event, some thought, sets us free and we realize that it is okay to stammer, it is okay to talk about it, to accept it. Then, all those trapped emotional energies are suddenly set free- and result in a “glow”. Eckhart Tolle, probably will say, that our “pain body” has suddenly dissolved and lot of energies are free.

Some of us in this state, want to 'help' others. And feel very surprised that many PWS dont want to avail this help! We develop a very simple understanding of the problem, based on what helped us- and sincerely believe that 'my method' is going to help everyone. We dont take the trouble of researching and studying what is already known about stammering. We just ride our black shining steed, like an avenging Knight, tilting at wind mills.

After sometime, in some cases, an unfortunate development takes place: Since I have helped myself so well, using this method, why should I not charge a little for my time and effort? After all, these PWS never appreciate what they get for free. At least they will be more serious once they pay some fee. In any case X, Y and Z are charging Rs 2000 per session. So what is wrong if I charged a little?

In the meantime, the media publishes a sensational story about us- our recovery and our “mission” to save other stammerers! Media of course is just looking for a “feel good” story and does not have time or skills to research and find the facts. “A sucker is born every minute!” - the saying goes and is probably true for stammerers too: You are young, you have failed 5 interviews, you researched a lot about 'cure' but know nothing about stammering itself and you are desperate. So, you promptly fall for such self-proclaimed messiah.

The whole thing has great potential for becoming the best “tragicomedy” in a century claiming to be driven by information- objective, evidence based and unbiased. On the other hand, one stammerer could help the other driven by a higher logic- mutual help, the guiding principle behind self help groups. Viren (Mumbai) drew TISA's attention to the case of Spasht Stammering Cure Group. On their discussion page on face book, one Chris Luinge left his doubts, followed by TISA's comment, but the group has not cared to respond to it. Read more about it at


WindStorm said...

It's really sad and shameful as well to know that people are looking forward 'stammering cure' as a part of the money-making business.
All PWS must agree with the fact that there is mo such thing as 'cure' for stammer. If anyone can cure the stammer then it is the person himself and Self Help Groups.
We the PWS sometimes undergo such a miserable plight due to stammering that we are ready to do ANYTHING for stammering cure.
Thanks to TISA for bringing the awareness about stammering among PWS.

Anonymous said...

As I read more and more posts about pws and how they act, I can really sense their level of intelligence!! Some of these guys are suffering for 25-30 years , but haven't learnt any lessons. Guys u need COMMON SENSE and that would be enough to get u out of this HOLE!

sujit said...

@sachin. Nice article. I especially liked the first part of it where you describe the new broom sweeps clean analogy.

Manohar said...

very true, i could literally relate to this demeanor. happens with each one us. thanks for your insightful thoughts.

Chris Luinge said...

Hey! I googled my name (yeah, I'm vain) and was surprised I found it on several Indian websites about stutttering and ended up here.

I totally agree with this article and what I especially liked is the way you pointed out the role of the media. In the Netherlands, where I am from, you also see this happening. People want to see the story where someone at first is hardly able to speak and after a week speaks perfectly fluent. But the people this happens with is just a very small part of the total population and people that watch the item don't get that, because (in general) the media won't tell you that. And neither will the (well meaning) quickfix therapists tell you that. I think this leads to a totally biased view on stuttering in society.
Ofcourse science should offer a counterweight here, but in the Netherlands science hardly deals with stuttering. And this lack of a sciencebased counterweight combined with the role of the media pretty much gives the quickfix therapists a free hand. I don't know how this is in India, but in The Netherlands I consider this a very big flaw in helping people who stutter.

sachin said...

Thanks Chris. Yes, this is the world. Every few week a crack pot, wants to leave his phone number on TISA pages- because he has found the way and wants to help other stammerers!! They dont even do the basic research..they just want to HELP!! Many of them, dont even want to meet you- they just want to tell you the technique on phone! Everyday, I am beginning to see the relevance of this post I wrote sometime back..
Lord, save us from such Saviors..

amit dixit said...

really.. very insightful post.i was one of the folk who wanted to HELP pws.In recent time my mind set changed .i realized that there are so many people who are doing very well in this field.Now i have to just support them and to spread awareness about stammering.thanks sachin sir.