Category Archives: consciousness

Living with Intent: 6 Steps to Living a Healthier, More Joyful & Purposeful Life

MallikaChopra

About two years ago, I approached my father (Deepak Chopra) with a confession. I told him I was generally exhausted, over caffeinated and my sugar addiction was out of control.  I realized I was overscheduled trying to balance my role as a wife, mom, and entrepreneur with Intent.com, my start-up social media company. I felt bloated and had a lot of body pain. I hadn’t been meditating or exercising much, and at night I was having trouble sleeping. My father looked shell shocked, and it took a few moments for him to transition from concerned father to Deepak Chopra, the person that thousands go to for health advice. Continue reading

Doing the Inner Work for the Outer Work in a Suffering World

space

For the last 3 weeks, I participated in an intensive program at Teachers College (Columbia University) for my Masters in Psychology and Spirituality. During 9-hour days, we immersed ourselves in an academic understanding of the inherent spirituality in children, and how spirituality relates to personal healing, education, substance abuse and depression, and communication. The experiential learning included heart based connection, artistic expression, individual and planetary energy healing, Jungian symbol exploration and, of course, lots of meditation and intention setting.

I will be honest – at times I found the experiential exercises excruciatingly annoying. I have been meditating for 35 years, have attended conferences since my teens, and teach about intention and balance at conferences around the world! For me, returning to school at 45 was clear – my intent was to develop a lexicon of theories in spiritual psychology for my public speaking, and potentially future books and projects.

This endeavor was for my mind and my intellect, not my soul.

As we sat, day after day meditating, I found myself getting more irritable. Because, the world continued to happen…

Brexit, stirring fear and uncertainty

Terrorist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, Saudi Arabia

The refugee crisis

My friend mourning her husband’s death to cancer

Philando Castile and Alton Sterling

Police shootings in Dallas

Accepting that we had to let go of Cleo, my brother’s dog Continue reading

Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully:
Noticing and Choosing What You Want As You Grow Older

men

A few months ago, I did a panel, and follow-up interview with Prevention Magazine (a magazine which I love, by the way) on aging gracefully. How funny to find myself being a voice for that…

On the panel, as others talked about diet, exercise and how to look young, I found myself getting emotional as I thought about my grandfather, Nana, who had just passed away. I realized, while sitting on the stage, that aging gracefully for me meant living with dignity, being of service, and cherishing the relationships in my life. Continue reading

How Being Flexible Can Help You Avoid Burnout

jesus-kiteque-224069

A few days ago, I was reminded of the importance of the art of mental flexibility in order to avoid stress.

One of the many reasons people feel stressed out is that life changes when they don’t want it or expect it. It is the surprise change that throws the careful routine out the window. People then tense up, trying to restore what was, without being opened to the change and the possibilities it could bring into their life.

I consider myself quite good at being flexible and I believe it to be true for the most part. But sometimes, we need a reminder.

For the past 10 years, we have led a gluten, milk and egg free life, due to a lot of food allergies running in the family. While it had been a huge initial adjustment at the time, and it had continued to be extremely restrictive for us, we had found a routine that worked. We had adapted.

Then a few weeks ago, the doctor suggested that the kids should be re-tested for their allergies and the way to do that was to re-introduce in their diet the offending foods for a couple of months and have test done again at the end of the period.

Needless to say, the kids were ecstatic. Finally they would be able to eat like everybody else and enjoy the foods they had been missing out on – pizza, cupcakes, cheeseburgers – the first few days were a teenager dream.

However, I had a completely different reaction. I felt overwhelmed by the idea of all the changes needing to happen for this to work: Double food preparation, (Not everybody in the family is being re-tested), change in shopping patterns, getting used to using those ingredients again, … The list went on and on.

While in theory, I could see that it was a very positive move, I was really struggling with the change emotionally.

Why? Continue reading

The “New Old Age” Just Got Better

elena-saharova-103024

For at least two decades we’ve been living with a drastic revision of growing old. What is now dubbed the “old old age” prevailed for centuries; it was a set of beliefs that turned the aging process into inevitable decline physically and mentally. After a lifetime of work, people found themselves set aside, no longer productive or active members of society. Generation after generation these expectations came true. But everyone trapped in the old old age was mistaken to think such expectations were inevitable. Hidden factors were causing beliefs to turn into reality.

The “new old age,” created by the baby boomer generation, threw out the previous beliefs, exchanging them for more optimistic ones, and by now we’ve grown used to a set of readjusted expectations. Millions of people over 65 haven’t retired, and few have taken to the rocking chair. To be healthy and active one’s whole life seems possible. But as much good as the new old age has done, it faced two major obstacles. The first was that aging itself has long been a mystery, not explained by medical science because too many changes occur over a lifetime, and these changes vary from person to person.  The second obstacle, assuming that aging could be defined, was how to reverse it.

An enormous leap forward in overcoming both obstacles was made by Elizabeth Blackburn, the molecular biologist who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their discovery of telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes a section of DNA known as telomeres, which cap the end of each chromosome like a period ending a sentence. Telomeres are “noncoding” DNA, meaning that they have no specified function in building cells, but they are far from passive. Their function seems to be to preserve cells. Every time a cell divides, which happens constantly somewhere in the body, its telomeres are shortened. Longer telomeres are typical of young cells in the stage of luxuriant growth; shortened or frayed telomeres are typical of weary senescent cells.

Now the head of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, Blackburn covers every aspect of cell aging and renewal in her 2017 book, The Telomere Effect, co-authored with her close colleague, UCSF Professor and health psychologist Elissa Epel.  They convincingly describe telomeres and levels of telomerase in the cell as our best marker yet for the multifold process of aging. This also implies that by increasing one’s telomerase levels and thereby causing telomeres to grow longer, a healthy lifespan can be founded on cells that keep renewing themselves for decades.

In their book Blackburn and Epel cite a startling actuarial prediction. There are currently around 300,000 centenarians existing around the world, a number that is rapidly increasing. According to one estimate, reaching one hundred is about to become so commonplace that one-third of children born in the UK will live to be centenarians—the issue of protecting your cells is suddenly more urgent than ever.  We highly recommend reading Blackburn and Epel’s book–its wealth of information needs to be absorbed in detail. But the bottom line is to understand what puts your telomeres at high risk and low risk. Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Eat with Intention

dan-gold-123932

We spend a lot of time discussing the mind-body connection, but today we want to focus on the body half. Whether we want to or not, we have to slow down to eat eventually. It is in this simple and basic act that we can help or hurt ourselves, make or break a day. To begin, when we rush through eating, we can eat without realizing how our body is affected. When we skip eating, we deprive our body of vital nutrients to make it through the day. When we binge, we flood our body with excess, making us lethargic and heavy. Prolonged habits can cause lasting damage and much of it can be traced back to eating without fully connecting to the act. Today we want to start a different habit. We will eat with intention.

You too? Here are 3 things to help you do the same: Continue reading

Why You Aren’t Who You Think You Are

vitaly-105775

Each of us perceives reality through the filter of a personal self, an “I” that is unique in the world, thanks to the unique experiences we’ve had since birth. We rely on “I” to be able to navigate through everyday situations, not realizing how limiting “I” actually is. It’s fair to say that few people realize how unstable and distorted their sense of self is. To begin with, each of us filters out an enormous portion of the input we receive at a given moment.

Part of the filtering is unavoidable–human eyesight is limited to the visible wavelengths between ultraviolet and infrared, human hearing between the frequencies of 20 and 20,000 Hz (vibrations per second). In cosmic terms the visible universe, along with the universe detectable with scientific instruments, is a fraction of the total matter and energy in creation–perhaps as little as 1% to 4% depending on how “dark” matter and energy are computed, along with invisible interstellar dust.

On the personal level, the human brain has all kinds of limitations, including its dependence of a macro level of space, time, matter, and energy. At other levels of nature, including the quantum, ordinary clock time, the familiar three dimensions of space, the solidity of physical matter, and so on change entirely and at a certain point disappear. The fact that “something came out of nothing” during the big bang destabilizes common sense reality in radical ways.

Most of our filtering, however, occurs as a result of the experiences we assimilate all our lives. A collection of past wounds, conditioning, and beliefs forces us to go into denial about ourselves and the world around us. The phobic who is deathly afraid of spiders seems extreme, but every strongly held belief shuts out other viewpoints, and in the process the world we don’t want to see becomes invisible. The input we receive as raw information might not be entirely suppressed, but it still gets examined in the process of interpreting what’s happening to us. At a crude level, we interpret every experience as good or bad, hurtful or pleasurable, something we like or dislike, etc.  Depending on how judgmental you are, you fall somewhere between extremely close-minded and extremely open-minded. Depending on how empathetic you are, you fall somewhere between compassionate and cruel.

Once we take into account the ways that “I” gets shaped–through filtering, interpretation, beliefs, memories, and all types of social conditioning–it’s inescapable that “I” is a rickety structure that we ourselves didn’t build of our own free will. With most people, “I” reflects forces outside their control since birth. Still, we all defend “I” and go to great lengths to identify with it. But a closer examination reveals that “I” doesn’t have a secure perch on reality, because instead of a stable structure, the self is constantly bounding around. At a minimum we have three versions of “I”: Continue reading

The Evolving Cosmos: Is Reality Getting Any Closer?

nathan-anderson-143022

Science is the modern authority for telling us what’s real, using verifiable facts to prove its theories. Over the last century many facts have emerged about the nature of the universe, and since we know we live in an evolving universe since the big bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago, naturally scientific knowledge has evolved.  But strangely enough, this hasn’t brought reality any closer. The mysteries of the universe were expected to be solved by looking closer and closer at phenomena “out there” beyond Earth, “at smallest scales” as we probe within the matter, and then reality pulled a number of baffling tricks that brought everything into question.

The pattern that overlays everything has been breakthrough = disruption. The whole field of biology isn’t disrupted by discovering through genetic analysis that pandas don’t simply look like bears but are bears. In physics and cosmology, however, major discoveries have overturned the applecart, beginning in 1915, when Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity made a rupture from anything previously done in physics, by giving a geometrical model of gravity. Space and time were unified, and suddenly the cosmos was a four-dimensional continuum in which two fixed, and earlier separate entities, space and time, were now seamlessly linked, behaving not alone but relative to each other.

Einstein’s theory was massively important for physics, but it altered the relationship between the cosmos and human beings. First, our senses were now rendered either unreliable or pointless in grasping the complete reality, because relativistic effects were abstract and mathematical. In other words, these effects were simply not grasped by our usual sense perceptions. (Einstein used simple examples taken from ordinary life, such as standing in an elevator as it descended or watching a train approach the station, but these analogies only hinted at what General Relativity explained.) Second, relativity was a wedge that opened up the possibility that the human brain, which operates in linear time and three-dimensional space, might be inadequate to grasp alien dimensions and “spooky” behavior outside our experience. Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Things That No Longer Serve

zugr-108

When was the last time you went through a solid spring cleaning? Not just your bedroom. Not just the places people can see. We’re talking the deep cleaning. The garage. Behind the appliances. The areas you usually avoid. What about the things that don’t even work anymore- figuratively and literally. Taking a quick inventory, we can often find quick fixes, things hanging on by a thread and unnecessary items collecting dust in our home, but also in our mental and emotional lives. You have a bookshelf but it is full of books you never read and basically serves as an item we avoid having to dust. We have a closet full of clothes that used to fit or we hope will one day fit but no real plan for how to do that.

Our physical space is often time a symbol of what is going on internally. Are there things collecting dusts? Are there problems waiting with no plan of action to move you closer to a solution? You need no special mountaintop moment to begin taking inventory of what works and what doesn’t. Some things are still in fine condition, they just no longer serve where you are and where you are going. This means that a person, place or thing doesn’t have to be bad to be ready to transition elsewhere. It simply means keeping your eyes and your grip open for the purpose of growth.

We intend to release the things that no longer serve.

You too? Here are 3 things to help you do the same? Continue reading

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...