Tag Archives: Identity

Intent of the Day: Maintain Our Identity

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In the midst of changing seasons, strong personalities, new situations, finding yourself tossed in the waves of personality is a great likelihood. We’re navigating bosses, spouses, family members, strangers, ourselves. It’s a lot to juggle and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself changing shape based on the circumstance when ideally we would all show up as our most authentic selves.

When we can maintain our identities, the world gets to experience the gift of our individuality, our contribution of feelings and perspective and the confidence that comes when we are successfully able to communicate. Today our intent is to maintain our identity in a sea of personalities.

You too? Here are 3 things to help: Continue reading

The Importance of Following Your Inner Voice

inner voiceBy Kristin A. Meekhof

When a well- known author gave me the opportunity to guest blog on her website, I did a happy dance. I had to reread the email several times to take it all in.  At the same time, I was a ball of nerves. I actually felt a knot in my stomach. I worked countless hours on this blog entry, and even confided in a friend, who is an editor, that I was filled with angst.  As a professional editor, this dear friend offered to review my work. I didn’t hesitate to accept this generous gesture.  I felt that a second set of professional editorial eyes was just what I needed.

After exchanging a few emails with my friend, I felt confident that I had the polished and perfect article ready for submission.  My friend’s editorial remarks and insights were nothing short of genius.  Now, my sentences were crisp and alive. Moreover, I felt that I captured the true essence of this blog assignment. I submitted my work, and waited, and waited. No word. Finally, I got a generic email back stating that I was rejected. The words stood out like a black eye. My ego was bruised and my self- esteem tanked.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I’ve been published numerous times by a national well- respected publication and now, this- rejection!  In a panic, I contacted my friend. She reassured me that revisions and edits are part of the game.  She kept repeating “No worries”, in a calm tone.  Honestly, I was worried.  I asked the author’s assistant for feedback as to why I received the rejection. No response.  I resubmitted a revised version, and I was rejected- again.

I set aside the article for a day, and went back to reread what I wrote.  I realized that the writing did not sound like me. I had lost my voice. I was intimidated by this “big” author. Wanting to impress others, I tried to write for them instead of myself. In the past, my writing voice has served me well.  After all, it is what earned me this author’s blog invitation. After some hours of rumination, I called my trusted aunt and explained the situation. With a very maternal voice, she said, “Listen very carefully to the (writing) voice inside you.”

I had compromised my writing voice in exchange for something that I thought guaranteed sophistication. When I set aside my own style in favor of a voice that I assumed was fancy and fabulous, I rejected my own voice.  A voice that is strong, that I’ve relied on, not only to obtain other writing assignments, but a voice that has guided me through some very difficult decisions.

I think we all have our own inner voice that guides and teaches us. For some of us, that voice is strong and courageous. For others, the voice is hesitant and passive.  I’m not suggesting that we have all the answers. Of course, there are times when we can’t be afraid to ask for help. In fact, there are times when obtaining outside professional help is necessary. What I am speaking to is listening to that voice within you.  Some call this voice, “a gut feeling” or “intuition”. Whatever you may call it, listen. Listen to its whispers, to its laughter, and to its tears. These are the sounds and songs of the heart. This is what will connect you with the goodness in others, and what will bring out your own truth.  Be brave. Listen.

My intent is to listen to my own voice and to the songs and whispers of my heart.

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Brief Bio- Kristin Meekhof is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Her writing has appeared in Author online magazine,  Ecclesio, and the University of Michigan Cancer Website blog. She is currently working on her upcoming book– Just Widowed,  and can be reached at www.kristinmeekhof.com

When Too Much of a Good Thing Sours a Marriage

Wedding ringsBy: Sherrie Campbell, Ph.D.

When we fall in love and meet that most amazing person for us, we feel as if we have finally come to a place where we can rest. It not easy to meet the right person to spend our lives with and the search can be long, disappointing and hard. When it finally feels right, all of that disappointment is quickly erased and it feels as if it all had a purpose once we have met the one we want to settle down with. There is not a more beautiful feeling than this. What do we do then, we when we know we have met our perfect partner and over time it seems as if what we have is almost too good and things start to sour?

1) Balance Out Too Much Time Together:  Many couples who are madly in love tend to spend all their time together, not leaving any time for family, friends or other alone-time activities. They try and do all of these activities together. This must be balanced out.

2) Get Back to Friend Time:  Every person needs more than one person in their lives to have a healthy balance. Friends and family are important sources of connection and belonging and meet totally different needs than our partner. These people make our lives whole and our identities more solid. Getting feedback and interaction from many people is a great source of self-esteem.

3) Alone Time Activities: Whether it is working out, reading, taking walks, taking baths or watching TV make sure you get enough of this. Remind yourself that you can be alone and feel completely fulfilled. It is so important to maintain activities that soothe and fulfill your soul that have nothing to do with anyone but you. This reminds you of your vale, of your special qualities and that you are happy on your own.

4) Support Your Partner’s Independence: Make sure you support your partner to go out in this world to be the biggest, brightest version that they can be. We should want our partner’s to be fulfilled in all ways and not held back by the marriage. Rather the marriage should be the supportive spring board from which all success occurs.

5) Never Do For Your Partner What They Can Do for Themselves:  The best way to help your partner grow is to encourage them to handle their own life challenges. You can support your partner emotionally but do not get too enmeshed in their issues. This creates arguments and not enough separation. Life challenges us all, be there to support and encourage but not to enable.

When each partner came into the relationship they had independent lives, activities and commitments which made them fulfilled. It happens so often when we combine with someone we lose track of how we eat, how much exercise, read, and do the things which fulfilled us before.  We become one with our partner and their desires giving up essential parts of ourselves. Soon each partner misses the person the other used to be and they miss the person they used to be. It takes discipline not to lose yourself into someone else but if you want the marriage to last long term, make sure you love yourself and your partner enough to maintain your own happiness and identity.

Little life message: The sexiest thing to be to your partner is interesting, so make sure to keep your independence.

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Dr. Sherrie Campbell is the author of Loving Yourself and is a licensed Psychologist with more than nineteen years of clinical training and experience. She provides practical tools to help people overcome obstacles to self-love and truly achieve an empowered life. Click here to get her free article on Five Ways to Make Love the Common Ground in Your Communication.   She is a featured expert on a variety of national websites and has a successful practice in Southern California. Receive free insights from Sherrie and to be involved in her Facebook community of others looking to improve their relationship. For more information visit http://www.sherriecampbellphd.com.

A Chopra in Yoga Class and the Intent to Connect

We are midway through week two of our 21 Day Yoga Challenge with Tara Stiles and Sports Club LA and I want to thank all of you that have participated.

There have been a lot of inspiring intents about creating a yoga practice, getting back into it or simply wanting to create a deeper connection. Here are a few of my favorites that I wanted to share with everyone.

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The best thing about starting Intent has been to foster a community that supports each other and pushes themselves to do better things. That’s the real purpose of these challenges – to bring everyone together and encourage each other. Click any of the intents above to support them or adopt them as your own. If you want to join us you can create your own and put it in the yoga category on Intent.com.

And you’re not alone! I’ve been using the challenge to push myself in yoga as well As a Chopra there is this expectation for me to be really good at yoga, but the truth is I’m not. I’m not at all.

One Christmas, Gotham gave me a gift certificate for yoga classes. The certificate was valid for 6 months, and I had not redeemed it. When the guy looked at the certificate, luckily, there was no date on it — so, I lied. I told him, with a sweet smile, that I received it for my birthday in July. Not a moment of Chopra guilt.

As he was putting my info in the system, he furrowed his brows and I knew the question was coming. “Any relation to Deepak?” I nodded. “Yes, he’s my father.” He replied, “Cool. We have his books here.” I looked up, and my fathers face was smiling at me from above the counter.

“Deepak Chopra is your father!!” A woman waiting in line next to me, squealed with delight. “Oh, my God! I love him. Can I touch you? I have never met anyone famous before.” The rest of the people in line peered at me. I smiled awkwardly. “I’m not famous,” I said. “People know my father…”

The woman was right in my face now. “My name is Sarah. I loved his book – 7 Practical Laws of Love.”
Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” I replied.

Sarah put her mat next to mine. She started telling me about how the Law of Least Resistance had changed her life. The yoga instructor walked in, “I just heard you are Deepak’s daughter,” she announced to the room. “Now, I feel all this pressure!” The other people turned, looking at each other, nodding knowingly. And, then it all went totally downhill. I completely unraveled. It was the moment of truth and the whole room witnessed it.

I kept slipping during Downward Dog Pose. I couldn’t balance during Tree Pose. Forget about even attempting, Sirsasana, the Headstand Pose. Every time I turned to the left, Sarah was ogling me, but also a bit confounded about what I was doing. I felt totally inadequate. I just could not perform. People pretended not to see my awkwardness. Sarah actually stopped looking over. The teacher seemed to have slowed down a bit, embarrassed. Finally, it was Mrtsana, the Corpse Pose, and, thank god, it was over!

I rushed out. I did not glance at Sarah — well, to be honest, she was not even looking at me any more. I did not want to face the teacher. I felt like everyone in the room had discovered my most intimate secret. But as I ran out, the man at the register stopped me. “Hey, Ms. Chopra, could you do us a favor and sign these books?” There was a pile of my dads books on the counter. People started drifting out of the room.

I panicked for a moment. Sarah was looking over my shoulder now. “Oh, wow. I didn’t know Deepak had written a book on yoga.” She actually sounded perplexed. I took a deep breath. I dropped my head in shame. I took another breath. And, then, something miraculous happened. With that breath, somehow, I had re-connected. Another breath. Connection. I was a Chopra. Another breath. Admit it, I suck at yoga. Another breath. That is ok.

I smiled at the man at the register. “Sorry, I really can’t sign those books. They are my father’s, not mine.” Another breath. I started to walk out.

Remember who you are.

“But, you know what,” I turned back in. “I could sign my book, if you carried it…”

Sarah looked up, and the look was coming back into her eyes. The look of hope, the look that there was still something to believe in.
I stood tall, put my hands together in Namaste, and smiled that Chopra smile at her with all of its glory!

Setting goals and intents aren’t about being perfect – it’s about trying. So I hope you try with us!

Stumbling Onto The Path of Awakening

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My path to awakening began in 2005, when during a time of major transition and deep personal sadness, my mother suggested I might find relief with yoga. She put me in touch with her friend, Grace, a yoga instructor at a fitness center in Indianapolis where I wound up taking my first yoga class. Five years later, on an afternoon lunch break, a co-worker introduced me to meditation for the first time. Yoga and meditation would continue to flow in and out of my life like waves in the ocean. I would dabble here and there and then get distracted and return to the way things had always been. These practices were nothing more than nice things to do sometimes if I was in the mood, but I didn’t feel connected to them in any meaningful way. They were more like novelties.

Two years passed by and in April 2012 I sought a Jyotish (Vedic astrology) reading from Swati Jr*. Her words didn’t make sense to me logically back then, but something about what she shared did feel true on an emotional level. Like she was whispering to parts of me that were hidden away from myself.

Six months later, on October 1st, I was lured into Moksha Yoga LA by a $40 special membership rate advertised in bright paint across the huge windows of their studio. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the heat on that first day, but I didn’t stop. I pushed through all of the sensations that come along with participating in a hot yoga class and left the studio feeling a bit out of body.

My general perspective of everything felt lighter and more expansive. It seemed to me like I was in on a secret and the people walking and driving by me didn’t appear to know what I now knew. I just felt a strange happiness that’s hard to explain in words and I couldn’t wait to go back. By my second or third class, I distinctly remember getting the sense that I was being pulled towards something that would change my life.

Thirty-one days after that first class, my life appeared to implode. Within the span of one month, my live-in boyfriend of two years ended our relationship, I was forced to find a new place to live and before I’d even had time to unpack the boxes, I was given the news that I was being laid off from my job. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Fuck. My. Life.

The main thing that kept me sane during this time was my then brand new yoga practice. I felt something when I was in the studio everyday. Something that told me to keep coming back. I listened to that feeling and stuck with a near daily practice.

During the five months I was unemployed, I took off on a lot of hikes through Griffith Park, abused my library card and booked a last minute trip to Bali and The Gili Islands, where I traveled solo for three weeks and experienced a sense of mindfulness for the first time in my life.

I didn’t know at the time that what I was experiencing was mindfulness, but when I look back, I recognize that that’s what it was. Slipping under the surface of the water off the coast of Gili Trawangan, snorkeling for the first time in my life and feeling rolls of amazement take over my being as I laid eyes on a fantastical underwater world. Willing myself to stay present in the indescribable perfection I was feeling in those moments. Overcome with gratitude as I experienced the feeling of something new, something absolutely, mind-boggling new, for the first time that I could ever remember in my adult life.

Sleeping when I was tired, eating when I was hungry, listening to my instinct and sharing myself with the people around me without thought or reservation. I traveled with a backpack and my yoga mat, stopping to breathe in the air around me, talk with strangers, wander without purpose and just be. I wrote and cried and listened and laughed and swam and kissed and danced and rode bikes and practiced yoga, but most importantly, I let go of time and other people and expectations. I just was.

When I came home to Los Angeles I felt different. Really different. And really good.

Then at the end of June in 2013, I began meditating everyday. A few weeks later, I participated in a 21-day meditation challenge hosted by Deepak Chopra and that’s when things really started becoming more clear for me. I was transitioning into a new awareness of my life and I have never felt more certain that I am living exactly the life I’m supposed to be living right now.

Since this time, I’ve devoted almost every energy to exploring the possibilities with meditation because I’ve become fascinated by the universe living inside me. Also, I feel as if someone wiped a layer away from my heart and now I’m capable of feeling the world instead of just living through it.

I read books, watch videos, seek out people who practice regularly, ask questions, sign up for seminars and classes, and look for opportunities to learn more about higher consciousness at every moment of the day. Discovering and understanding myself and the energy field we all exist within, make up, and move through, feels like it’s my reason for being here. It feels like I’m supposed to be collecting this information so that I can share it and talk about it and live it fully.

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Aubrey is passionate about living life all the way and believes that a daily meditation practice can help anyone move into a totally engaged state of being alive. She published a book about her old life and is now busy living her new life so that she can write a follow-up about how awesome the world becomes when you’re finally able to slow down and feel into your body. She creates free guided meditations about once a week and you can connect with her on Twitter @MokshaDestiny

If you’re interested, I send out free guided meditations about once-a-week. Sign up here!

Do You Know Who You Really Are?

36519-2560x1600Are you a fairy, a ghost, batman, a pirate, witch, goddess, a favorite movie star, or a monster? It’s that time of year when we don our masks and become whoever we want, or maybe someone we think we really are.

What aspect of yourself will you be expressing? One year we were two geisha girls in tight kimonos and white make up. For Ed it was a chance to experience the feminine; for Deb it was a moment of stepping into someone else’s shoes and realizing how restricted such a lifestyle can be, which made her confront places she was restricting in herself. Another year Deb went as a lotus pond wrapped in a blue sheet with pink paper lotus flowers pinned all over, while Ed was am Indian holy man in orange robes and a turban, so as not to take the spiritual journey too seriously.

Does dressing up in a costume enable you to act out your secret fantasies? One year we were invited to Dublin to be on Kenny Live, a popular Saturday Night TV show, and we arrived at the hotel where we were staying to find ourselves in the midst of an over-50’s costume party. We got stuck in an elevator surrounded by every type of she-devil you could imagine, and the fantasies were pretty outrageous! It was hilarious.

Does expressing different parts of yourself highlight parts of your personality that normally never see the light of day? Do you feel you’re releasing some pent up hidden part of you that you need to express?

Or does it show how you normally hide behind false images and labels, such as race, religion, or profession? We tend to identity with the content of our lives, yet beneath all the labels is our essence, that which we truly are. Can you find who is there without the masks or the façade, without all the many images of yourself? We so identify with the masks we may lose sight of what lies behind them. But the labels are only a part of us, not the whole of us, and we need to honor our whole being.

Try the questions below to get reconnected with who you really are:

Naming the Masks

Find a comfortable place to sit quietly. Have a pen and some paper with you. When you are settled, begin by making a list of all your big labels, the ones that are most obvious, such as race, age, mother, father, child, brother, sister, religion, job, profession, and so on. Build a list that would tell the outside world who you are.

Then make a list of all your personal labels, the ways in which you see yourself, such as your physical health, size and looks; then your emotional and mental labels, how you see your personality, strengths and weaknesses. This is a list that says how you see yourself and how you are seen.

Then make a list of all the parts of yourself behind the labels; the inner you that few people ever see. This may start negative, such as insecure, frightened, angry, sad, depressed, and so on. But then focus on the positive, such as caring, loving, generous, kind, aware.

Now read your lists through a few times. Can you find the real you, in amongst the labels? Can you find a you that hides behind the masks? Are there ways that this inner you can find expression in your life? Write down any ideas on how you could bring this more hidden part of you into your life, so that you can begin to let go of the labels and the masks and live more authentically.

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change. See more at Revolutionary Mindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

How to Define Success for Yourself

hikingPeople like to be comfortable. We also like to make sense out of the chaos that surrounds us.

We find the best way of doing this is to rank and organize everything around us; including accomplishments. It can become so easy to see a family member or a friend living the life that “you should be living,” and look upon your own accomplishments with much less fervor. So what if I asked you if you’ve lived up to your life and career expectations; what would you say? How would you judge yourself?

The truth is that everyone will have a different answer, because we all have a different definition for success.

You’re a Unique Snowflake

Like I mentioned before, it’s supremely important that you don’t compare yourself to friends and coworkers.  Seeing the accomplishments of others and trying to measure up to their standards makes it nearly impossible to be satisfied with yourself. This is especially true in regards to social media. As enjoyable as it can be, social media provides people the opportunity to show only a “highlight reel” of their best moments. This is often self-deflating as you and I only see our bloopers.

The thing is is that there’s no traditional finish line in life, because life isn’t a race. There’s no timer telling you that you have to have a college education by the age of 23, be married by 28 and start having children by 30. At least, I hope there’s not, or someone’s going to have to take back the degree I finally earned at the ripe old age of 33.

Look in the Mirror

It may be hard to admit, but if you look hard enough, you’ll most likely find someone in the world that is better than you at something. For example, I like to think I’m the best video game player on earth. I try and remind my 10-year-old boy of that “fact” every day. Nevertheless, I think we could both agree that it’s not entirely true.

That’s why it’s so important to set realistic goals that are both manageable end enjoyable. There’s no goal in the world that’s too large if you set your mind to it; you just have to take the right path to get there.

A good metric to determine your own success is to simply compare what you’ve done in the past with what you’re doing right now. What have you accomplished in the last year? Are you happier now than you were six months ago? What have you done to improve yourself?

You might surprise yourself and realize that maybe you’ve done more than you thought. You might even decide that it’s time to make a change. Either way, never forget that it’s never too late to do something big.

Start With What You Know

Here are some of the questions I asked myself. Your questions and answers may vary:

  • Was I a successful writer five years ago? Nope. Am I now? I’d like to think so!
  • Are you more fit than you were last year? Not even close. This is something I need to work on.
  • Am I happier now than when I first separated from the Army? Infinitely!
  • Have I become a more well-rounded person in the last two years? I can honestly say, yes!
  • Did I own a house 10 years ago? No. Do I now? Yes!

It’s not a foolproof plan, nor does it fix every problem, but it’s a start. Ask yourself, and you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.

Take hold of your life today and make the changes that will ultimately make you happier, more successful and lead you to your dreams. Only you can determine if you’re successful, so make sure it happens.

Photo courtesy of Johnson Cameraface.

Do You Fall Prey to These 4 Types of Impulse Purchases?

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When we’re trying to change our buying  habits, one challenge is that marketers are so clever at enticing us into making impulse purchases.

In David Lewis’s book Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It, he provides a list of the four main types of impulse buys, developed by industrial economist Hawkins Stern in 1962.

Do you recognize any of these categories in your own purchasing patterns?

1. Pure impulse buying — you make a true novelty purchase, or escape purchase, that’s very different from your typical purchasing pattern

2. Reminder impulse buying — you see an item or remember something that reminds you that you need an item

3. Suggestion impulse buying– you see a product for the first time and imagine a need for it

4. Planned impulse buying — (isn’t this label an oxymoron? oh well) you make a purchase based on price specials, coupons, etc.

Now, I know that some folks out there are my fellow under-buyers, and we have to force ourselves to make impulse purchases of the #2 sort. Even when I know I need something, I hate to buy it!

Interestingly, Lewis notes that people generally don’t consider it a mistake to make impulse purchases. Research suggests that only about 1 in 5 people regret it, and 2 out of 5 say they feel good about it. (If you don’t feel good about it, here are 5 tips to resist impulse shopping.)

If you battle impulse purchasing, what category gives you the most trouble? How do you combat it? Of course, we’re always told to shop with a list–and seeing these four categories makes it clear why that’s helpful in fighting impulsive spending.

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  • If you’re a fan of good order, you’ll be so satisfied by a visit to Things Organized Neatly on Tumblr.  Beautiful, beautiful order. One thing that has surprised me about happiness: the extent to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm.
  •  I’ve heard from many real-estate agents who are giving Happier at Home to their clients. If you’d like personalized, signed “Tips for Happiness in Your New Home” cards to go with the books, or signed, personalized bookplates, request them here. But you don’t have to be a real-estate agent to ask! Ask one for yourself or for friends. (I can mail to U.S. and Canada only, alas).

Thinking Outside the (Skull) Box (Part 12)

University of Maryland Brain Cap Technology Turns Thought into MotionClick here to read part 11!

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Neil Theise, MD

In our prior post we reconstructed the concept of “you”, which we all typically, think of as bounded by the skin and the body it encloses.  But a hallmark of 21st-century science is to tear down boundaries.  A limitless universe that springs from the quantum vacuum, (along with possibly multiple universes) is the setting for an unbounded “you” – a self that merges with creation. The bond that unites you with the universe isn’t simply physical, although every atom in your body comes from stardust, much of it the residue of exploding supernovas in intergalactic space.  Far more importantly, “you” are a mental construct, and therefore the bond that weaves your life into cosmic life is invisible.

We’ve argued that human intelligence most plausibly arose from an intelligent universe. As the great physicist Erwin Schrödinger declared, “To divide or multiply consciousness is something meaningless.” In other words, consciousness is one. It only appears to be divided up into billions of human minds, and likely into uncountable forms of consciousness in other species. In the same way, you might see an aqua sweater as blue while I see it as green, but “color” itself is a single thing; two people can’t have their own separate definition of it.

There’s a telling metaphor in the Vedic tradition: When the sun shines on a perfectly still sea, there is one sun reflecting back. But when the sea is rippled and moving, there are millions of tiny suns shining back. This appearance doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t one. This insight comes very close to an ancient passage from one of the central texts in Indian spirituality, the Yoga Vasistha: “Cosmic consciousness alone exists, now and ever. In it there are no worlds, no created beings. That consciousness reflected in itself appears to be creation.”

In short, either consciousness is unbounded or you haven’t looked deep enough. The reason that Schrödinger felt competent to talk about unbounded consciousness was that physics had finally reached deep enough, to the most fundamental level of nature. In the quantum realm we know for certain that notions of “boundaries” evaporate: the wave functions that describe the locations and boundaries of “particles” extend in all directions to the borders of the universe itself.  Eventually the dissolution of boundaries became total. Einstein, who was a conservative in these matters compared to some of the other quantum pioneers, wrote a condolence letter to a friend who had just lost her husband. It contained the following famous passage: “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Quantum physics forced us to re-conceive ourselves as creatures who appear to be physical and bounded by time, even though our substance isn’t material and has no boundaries in time. Down further in scale, re-conceiving who we are becomes an ever greater imperative: gluons, quarks, neutrinos, mesons, bosons (including the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle”) all intimately overlap. The universe – and you – continually bubbles up from these shadowy subatomic entities, each sensing, reflecting, and interacting in a seamless whole. In the nanoseconds when these elusive entities escape their invisible domain, science touches on the same picture painted by the Yoga Vasistha, of a creation born of unseen activity beyond the reach of inner thought and probably beyond the reach of imagination as well.

What’s left is mathematics clinging to the edge of the cliff with clutched fingers, hoping not to fall.  But mathematics isn’t reality, while consciousness is. All of us, including scientists, protect our boundaries, finding it hard to join unbounded reality. But if consciousness is real, we don’t have to leap into an alien realm to reach the foundation of creation – it is inside ourselves. The limits of physicality have been reached. This is an area on which there is scientific consensus, thanks to quantum theory: There is a smallest level of scale beneath which one can go no further, at least in this “real” universe of four-dimensional spacetime, known as the Planck scale: 10-35 meters (-1 followed by 35 zeros).  Besides defining where physicality ends, the Planck scale also marks the end point of the environment that encloses material things, such as time, space, and the laws of nature.

We don’t know for sure what the smallest entities are like.  (The five senses don’t help at such an inconceivable scale.) Some think they are the “multidimensional strings” of string theory, but there are other theories as well each sorely lacking in evidence but backed up by various intricate and beautiful mathematical formulations – indeed, the real problem is that there are too many mathematical possibilities that all seem equally valid – or invalid. Whatever the smallest “stuff” is, it cannot be subdivided into smaller bits and pieces with known locations in time and space.  Instead, the universe emerges from the energetic void that is the foundational nature of creation. But even “void” is a tricky term, since the pre-creation state isn’t empty, a pure, empty, vacuum. There are huge amounts of energy linked to vast numbers of virtual particles that potentially manifest an observable reality. Emptiness is spontaneously and continuously giving rise to these tiniest entities, coming and going in a “quantum foam.”  Thus, from the smallest level of scale, the universe is not a place, an empty box in which we reside.  Creation is a process that brings existence out of non-existence. You are that process. You are seamlessly woven into a reality that is complete, whole, and perfect just as it is.

Surprisingly to some but not to all, the subjective experiences found in the Yoga Vasistha and many other ancient texts emphasize the unity of experience. These texts, as it turns out, precisely reflect our objective scientific understanding of how the universe arises. The usual terms attached to ancient texts (e.g., spiritual, religious, wise, intuitive, enlightened) send up red flags to scientists and their ingrained distrust of subjectivity. So let’s resort to a neutral term that links subject and object: observation. In a reality where artificial boundaries have collapsed, the “in here” of subjectivity is no longer walled off from the “out there” of objectivity. The seamless flow of creation expresses itself in both. An observer-based science can be founded on meditation or the Hubble telescope. In a dualistic framework these are opposite poles.  But they come together in an unbounded framework.

For a century quantum physics has wrestled with the so-called observer effect as it impinges on isolated waves and particles. It was mind-blowing enough to believe that the process of observation turned waves into particles.  But the logical extension is mind-expanding: Everything in the universe depends on the linkage between observer, observed, and the act of observation. If it is willing to adopt a touch of humility, science will see that ancient contemplative traditions arrived at conclusions that were not duplicated until “objective” methods acquired incredibly advanced, precise tools. The Higgs boson required billions of dollars in machinery, and countless hours of theorizing, in order to pry out a new piece of knowledge about how subatomic particles emerge from the void. The ancient wisdom traditions began with the big picture instead, and their descriptions of the big picture still outstrip ours. The ancient explorers of consciousness understood the nature of the void, encountered not through mathematical calculation but through direct experience. The void revealed itself to be none other than mind, usually written as Mind to signify that it lies beyond our small, personal minds.

To be continued… 

* * *

Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 75 books translated into over 35 languages with over twenty New York Times bestsellers.  Chopra serves as Founder of The Chopra Foundation. Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Director of the Center of Excellence at Chapman University, co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, Who Made God and Other Cosmic Riddles. (Harmony) P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina and a leading physician scientist in the area of mental health, cognitive neuroscience and mind-body medicine. Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), co-author with Deepak Chopra of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony) Neil Theise, MD, Professor, Pathology and Medicine, (Division of Digestive Diseases) and Director of the Liver and Stem Cell Research Laboratory, Beth Israel Medical Center — Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.  www.neiltheise.com  neiltheise.wordpress.com

How Do We Become Strong And Confident From Within?

jana and the surf

First, be one with yourself. Accept yourself. Love yourself. Society conditions, educates, and “civilizes” each of us in such a way that we begin to condemn ourselves. For example, society states that you should not be sad. You should be happy. If your truth is that you are sad, you repress the truth, and become something you are not; you become phony. This phony side of you is what society accepts. A division is created within yourself.

Psychological pain exists because you are divided, at war within yourself. As a result, life becomes complicated. When you lose touch with your inner truth, and are living from a divided self, pulled this way and that, by your desire to please and be accepted by others, you find yourself  lost, isolated, and deeply unhappy. You create challenges, adversity, and difficulties to keep yourself distracted and to   prove to yourself that you are worthy.
If, however, you are able to live your sadness with total authenticity, the division disappears.

For example: you are sad; that is the truth of this moment. But your conditioned mind says: “You have to be happy. Smile! What will people think of you?”

Here is the problem: you pretend, you act, you repress the truth. The phony becomes the ideal. How can you know, and love yourself, if you don’t accept yourself?

Live your sadness in total authenticity, and you will be surprised. A miraculous door opens in your being, because the division disappears. Sadness is there and there is no question of any ideal to be anything else. There is no effort, no conflict, no war. “I am simply this” and there is relaxation. And in that relaxation is grace, and joy.

Psychological pain exists because you are divided. Pain means division, and joy means no-division. You might be thinking: how can feeling my sadness bring joy? It looks paradoxical, but it is true. Try it. However, please note: accepting your sadness with an agenda to feel joy, is not going to work. Joy arises through your authentic expression of sadness.

Joy is a by-product of being authentic. Joy is a natural consequence of being united with your sadness, because it is your truth, in this moment. In the next moment you may be angry: accept that too. And the next moment you may be something else: accept that too.

Live moment to moment, with acceptance, without any division, and self-love, self-worth, self-confidence arise within you, naturally, and automatically.

Drop all ideals of how you should be, and accept who you are, in each moment. The journey of self-acceptance starts with becoming aware of your feelings, and allowing yourself to feel your feelings. We are human. Feeling is a part of the human experience.

Get used to feeling because feeling is to LIVE, feeling is to be ALIVE. When  uncomfortable feelings arise: allow, experience and accept. On the other side of your sadness, hurt, and despair is your magnificent, brilliant, luminous spirit, which is not damaged. Your spirit is love, and when aligned with your authenticity, guides your life with grace, and ease.

Accepting yourself, warts an’ all,  helps you become strong and confident from within, so that no matter what other people think or say, you are deeply rooted in your own self-worth. Your feelings are the key. Love is always waiting on the other side. The only thing blocking you from receiving more love is your resistance to feeling your feelings.

Are you thinking: I don’t want to feel because I don’t want to be hurt any more?
 I understand. I went through this very same experience.  As I allowed myself to start feeling, something wonderful happened. I began to feel more love,  to laugh, and enjoy my life more. I was  liberated  from a prison of pain and opened up to more self-love, self-worth, and self-confidence, AND  to receiving more love from others.

Inner strength and confidence are an inside job. When you get to the point where you can accept yourself, the need for challenges, adversity, and complications, just falls away, because you don’t need to prove your worth any more to yourself.

Meditation: Accept Yourself– 4 minutes



Benefits: In the very experiencing of your feelings, a spaciousness is created, and miracles can occur. Trust that, even when you feel miserable, on the other side of the misery, is love. Our natural state is love. All we have to do is accept who we are, in any given moment, and love is there.

Start gently, with compassion for yourself.

Sit,or lie down, whichever is most comfortable for your body.

Breathe, relax your body, open your palms upwards, in a receptive posture.

Allow your feelings, whatever they are, without judging, condemning or criticizing yourself.

Accept what is happening, in each moment, without wanting it to be different. When you fight what is, you make it worse. You are the way you are: accept yourself with joy, with gratitude.

I look forward to your comments.

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