It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Clinical Professor at UCSD...
Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Clinical Professor at UCSD Medical School, Researcher, Neurology and Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers.

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Global Well-Being Takes a Big Step Forward

deepak8.2 By Deepak Chopra™ MD, Gabriella Wright, Poonacha Machaiah and Michiel Rauws

Mixed in with its devastating negative effects, the COVID pandemic had at least one positive effect: The world felt united as never before. If this feeling of unity continues, huge challenges can be met together. One that touches me personally is the drive to democratize well-being—the gap between haves and have nots is physical, mental, and spiritual, not just economic.

A bit step in the direction of democratized well-being was taken by a unique program that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to rescue people at high risk for suicide. We’ve become huge, enthusiastic supporters of Piwi, a chatbot that anyone in crisis can have a conversation with (https://www.x2ai.com/piwi). Here’s how this breakthrough intervention works.

It has been shown repeatedly that when someone is having suicidal thoughts, the best way to rescue them is through personal contact, which usually is conducted with another person at the end of the line. But it is also essential to have a follow-up contact to make sure that the intervention has a lasting effect. Piwi accomplishes both goals with very impressive results at a uniquely low cost.

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Consciousness: Ten Questions, One Answer

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After decades spent ignoring the whole issue of consciousness, recent years have seen a boom, or at least a boomlet, of scientific interest. So it wasn’t entirely a breakthrough when the July 10 issue of the popular weekly New Scientist devoted its cover article to consciousness, posing “the ten biggest questions about the greatest mystery in the universe.”

The headline is meant to be provocative, but the vast majority of scientists won’t be interested in consciousness, and their indifference can be simply explained. When conducting an experiment in the laboratory, the air in the room is irrelevant (unless you are experimenting on air). Likewise, consciousness is just as irrelevant. Like air, it is necessary, but it is beside the point. Air and consciousness are just a given.

Ironically, this dismissal actually holds the answer to all ten questions posed by the New Scientist article.  First let me relate the ten question, which don’t have to be considered in detail, since one answer applies to all ten.

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Transformation Is Better Than Change

butterflies

Life is nothing but a series of choices, and if you make good choices, your life will improve. That’s a brief, rational statement that everyone lives by, since the opposite—improving your life by making bad choices—isn’t much of a plan. Making good choices should bring the good things in life—but what if it doesn’t?

This is actually one of the most profound questions posed over the centuries. The obstacles to achieving a good life turn out to be powerful. They include

  • Catastrophic accidents
  • Serious disease
  • Destructive mass events: war, famine, plague
  • Forces of nature: climate change, earthquakes, storms, fire, floods
  • Economic failures and reversals
  • Political upheaval
  • Prejudice and intolerance
  • Psychological problems like anxiety and depression
  • Old wounds, traumas, and humiliations from the past
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The Third (And Best) Way To Be Happy

beautiful-asian-woman

Because everyone has self-awareness, human beings know what it means to be happy or unhappy. This feeling is so basic that seeking happiness comes naturally. Yet for some reason happiness proves elusive, and feeling that you can find permanent happiness can seem futile.

If we look closely, however, there are three ways to be happy. The first two arise in everyone’s life; the third is rare. But the third way is the only one, after centuries of seeking, that has stood the test of time. Every age is challenged to rediscover the third way, including our own time.

The first way to be happy is to follow your impulses without judging them, taking life as it comes from moment to moment. This is the way of babies and small children. They are motivated by the next thing that occurs to them, and they have little ability to predict what will turn out to be a sad or glad experience. Impulsiveness lingers in many people after they become adults, but the vast majority of people move on to the second way of being happy.

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How To Make Peace In Your Life

peace

The balance of peace in the world can seem overwhelming, as if huge forces outside our control are in charge. But you can take a different perspective, setting yourself the goal of creating peace all around you. The source of violence, war, discontent, rebellion, and unrest lies inside each of us. When you become a unit of peace consciousness, exemplifying the quality known as Ahimsa (harmlessness) in Yoga, you have added in a unique way to bringing the world to a state of peace.

In the coming week, you can develop your peace consciousness by focusing on a different habit every day.

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Yoga, Covid, And The Wrong Path

body-mind-and-soul

The search for a higher reality has brought out the spiritual yearning of countless people. This was true many centuries ago and is true today. Following your own spiritual path amounts to a mass movement that grows one person at a time. Each seeker defines a personal goal reflecting deep wishes, dreams, and ideals.

But what happens when the path itself has lost its hold on reality? I’ve read scattered stories about the yoga community that links some members, the smallest of minorities, that resist being vaccinated against Covid-19 and buy into conspiracy theories like QAnon. If all it took was common sense to change their minds, they wouldn’t still be clinging to such strange examples of irrationality.

But if you cast your net farther, the same thread runs through the wellness community as well, particularly the anti-vaccination mindset. It’s mistaken and unfair to use a fringe group as the tar that stains everyone else. The yoga and wellness communities consist of people with higher sensitivity to health, self-care, and consciousness than the general public, and that’s the image we should keep in mind.

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The Mind-Body Connection Comes To Mental Health

mindbodyfood By Naveen Jain and Deepak Chopra™, MD

In very important ways mind and body are being connected as never before. The separate specialities that modern medicine is divided into are blurring around the edges. This is particularly true when it comes to mental health, which has long been outside the skill, or interest, of M.D.s who are not psychiatrists.

As mental health is increasingly connected to the body, it is becoming clear that a faraway region like the intestine, and its population of micro-organisms known as the microbiome, plays a major role in a person’s moods and general susceptibility to anxiety and depression, both of which rose alarmingly during the COVID crisis.

By now most people have learned at least the basics about the gut microbiome. Its teeming microbes are essential for digestion, and the proportions of thousands of species of bacteria are dynamically changing all the time. The advent of the microbiome is barely a decade old as a serious subject of study, but research has progressed rapidly.

You don’t really know your own body unless you have absorbed the following facts:

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How To Be Secure Instead Of Vulnerable

secure

In these difficult times the issue of vulnerability needs to be addressed directly, because so many people feel powerless and anxious, and the social trends that undermine personal power only seem to grow stronger.  It’s crucial to find a way to secure in your day-to-day life.

Let’s clarify what being secure isn’t. It isn’t achieving a confident self-image and suppressing what you feel inside.  Also, security isn’t something that can be created through externals like money, status, possessions, or any other material surrogate. There are countless people sitting in the lap of luxury who feel even more insecure than the average person. Overcoming vulnerability happens “in here,” where you relate to yourself.

Now we can address the five things that actually do create security as a personal quality in everyday life.

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One Thing Modern Medicine Got Wrong: The Human Body

human By Srinivasan S. Pillay, M.D. and Deepak Chopra™, M.D.

A strange fact that nobody seems to act upon is this: The body you see in the mirror isn’t your real body. The image you see is of a solid physical object, stable and fixed like a table or chair. But in reality your body is fluid, constantly changing, filled with numerous spaces, and the host of trillions of bacteria. All of this is more you than the you see in the mirror.

The old saying, “What you see is what you get” doesn’t fit our bodies. Consider the billions of cells that die and are replaced every day. They are like the bricks in a house that vanish while building remains intact. If you accept this as the truth, modern medicine is challenged at the core, because medical students are taught to treat the body they see. You might even say that in most cases they are taught to treat only the body they see.

The model taught in medical school is common to all the sciences. It is known as naïve realism. What makes it naïve is the assumption that the world delivered by the five senses, but especially the visible world of objects, is enough to describe reality. In other words, “What you see is what you get.” Develop the most powerful microscope you can imagine, and you will see what Nature is all about.

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How To Heal Psychological Lockdown

psychological lockdown By Uma Naidoo, MD and Deepak Chopra™ MD

While the physical pandemic has gained all the headlines, and people are coming out of lockdown with renewed optimism and energy, everyone needs to come out of the psychological pandemic that has gained much less publicity. What makes the emotional costs of this “parallel pandemic” worse is that it potentially affected everyone who was in lockdown.

Research shows that Americans have suffered emotionally during the pandemic, and you didn’t have to catch the virus to feel anxious or depressed. Both have dramatically increased around the world. No one can calculate the potential costs when mental health is so widely affected, but you can be part of the healing.

It’s an invaluable role for meeting an urgent need—needless to say, there aren’t enough professional therapists to fill the need, and there’s always the lingering hesitation even to admit that you or someone close to you is suffering emotionally.  Shame and the fear of being seen as “not normal” are powerful inhibitors.

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How Ayurvedic Herbs Work

herbal-treatment By Christine Tara Peterson, PhD AHP and Deepak Chopra, MD

From being unknown in the West, the past twenty years have seen a rise of popularity in the West for Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India. From an Ayurvedic perspective, disease originates in the digestive tract. A potential disorder is identified during the first stage of imbalance as it develops in the gut.  Considering the huge interest that has developed around the microbiome, Ayurveda has for centuries looked to the digestive tract as the root cause of disease, and the location of prevention and cure.

Medicinal herbs play a key role in the Ayurvedic treatment plan. They’ve now caught on throughout integrative medicine, but how do they work? Herbs might promote therapeutic benefits via a variety of mechanisms, not all of them known or even discovered yet. The known mechanisms are already quite intriguing. They include the direct absorption across the intestinal lining into the bloodstream, taste receptor signaling on both the tongue and intestinal walls, bacterial metabolism in the gut, and secretions of various health-promoting products called postbiotics by the intestinal microbes upon breaking down the herbs.

If you are attracted to the herbal applications of Ayurveda, looking into how they work is fascinating. It is also chemically complex, much more than the word “herb’ usually implies—Ayurvedic herbs potentially yield a host of medicinal properties with far-reaching effects on multiple targets and body systems. Their complexity stands in stark contrast to drugs that affect single targets. Therefore, many herbs commonly used in Ayurveda are adaptogens: they have the chemical“intelligence,” based on their complexity, to perform multiple services for the body.

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Never Alone Summit: The Emergence Of A New Mental Health Paradigm

friendship-picture-id168253265 By Cassandra Vieten, PhD, Gabriella Wright, Poonacha Machaiah and Deepak Chopra™ MD

No crisis in recent memory has shown us the urgent need for a new approach to mental health like the Covid pandemic. The post-pandemic future can be a transformation of humanity on a global scale. A new paradigm of mental health offers the possibility of an awakening of the human family.

The past year of pandemic has exacted deep emotional costs in the form of social isolation, anxiety, grief and fear of the unknown. It’s been tough for parents and children, for front-line workers and teachers, for each of us. Yet this very experience may turn out to be the opportunity we so often find in crisis – the emergence of a new mental health culture.

People are talking more openly about their feelings. Empathy has emerged out of distress, because no one has been immune from feeling anxious, depressed, and vulnerable. We know without a shadow of a doubt that we need each other. Self-care is expanding to embrace everyone.

If the pandemic offers a silver lining, it is this.

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A New Model Of Perception Is The Biggest Disruption Of The Twenty-First Century

OneWorld By James Arbib, Tony Seba and Deepak Chopra™ MD

2020, the year of the global pandemic, was in many ways an urgent wake-up call for humanity – demonstrating perhaps more clearly than ever that our conventional models of reality are deeply out of sync with the real world. The confused and incoherent responses to COVID-19 highlight the inadequacy of our collective sense-making and governance systems. But the pandemic might be just the catalyst for a profoundly disruptive and unstable decade. Driven, on one hand, by a convergence of complex global crises, from climate change to economic instability, from food scarcity to mental health as our current world order begins to fall apart; and on the other, by the cascading impacts of disruption to every sector of the economy as a new order emerges. Never has the need to understand the underlying processes of change that drive these extraordinary occurrences been more acute and consequential.

This speaks to a much deeper problem than recognised by conventional analysts – that our underlying models of thought and reality are increasingly out of touch with the interconnected complexity of global systems. If we are to successfully navigate the coming decades of crisis and disruption, then, we require not merely technocratic external solutions applied as a kind of ‘band aid’ to these mounting challenges, but rather a fundamental reset of how we think and see these challenges in the first place.

The metaheuristic of reductionism

At the core of the problem is a reductionist model of the world that has outlived its usefulness. Although reductionism as reflected across society has indeed enabled huge progress such as enabling incredible medical advances, the model is not adequate to the current crises, and now has become our biggest impediment.

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To See The Future Of AI, Look Inside Yourself

artificial-intelligence

With the heightened promise and potential threats of artificial intelligence (AI) constantly in the news, people have become more deeply confused. Should they welcome the AI revolution or fear it? In either case, robotics and super-computers march ahead with inexorable momentum.

There are warnings from top-level scientists about a future in which computers become so advanced that they will leap into autonomy. Freed to make their own decisions the way humans do, AI machines conceivably might create catastrophes like starting a war. On a more mundane level, robotics has steadily replaced humans in many jobs.

Of course AI is also touted as a huge advance, yet the irony is that the direst perils of AI are already here, in the form of our own human intelligence. We feel intuitively that we have natural intelligence, not the artificial kind. After all, nobody built us from mechanical parts. We lead emotional lives; we are capable of insight and self-reflection. Despite these things, however, the human mind is deeply artificial in many ways, and the negative connotations of the word “artificial”—fake, lifeless, illusory, mechanical, arbitrary—apply to everyday life.

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Choosing A Better Path In Life

choosingpath

The word “path” has been adopted by people who are on an inner spiritual journey, but it has much wider implications. Everyone is on a path, even if they don’t always realize it.

There are two basic paths we take through life: thinking and feeling. To think your way through life appeals to rationalists, but they are fooling themselves. Feeling is always a part of every experience, every decision, and every life choice. Here are some examples of how the mixture of thought and feeling operates, often to our confusions.

  • Think of a food you hate (an American President made headlines by hating broccoli). See yourself putting a bite of this food in your mouth. It could be snails, a raw oyster, or boiled cabbage. Try to taste it as if you loved it instead. You can’t, because the taste is cemented with your feeling about it.
  • Put yourself in the place of a homeless person living with small children on the street. Visualize the situation; no doubt you’ve observed something similar in real life. Imagine that a stranger walks up to you and hands you $1,000 in cash. You thank him profusely, but then he laughs scornfully and snatches the money back. Can you see the situation without any emotion? This is a dramatic example of how everything we see comes with an interpretation at the level of feeling. 
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Psychological Immunity: An Essential Part Of Wellness Today

yoga By Deepak Chopra™ MD and Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

We all know the importance of physical immunity, the body’s ability to resist disease and ward off invaders. But what is psychological immunity? It is the ability of the mind to resist disease, ward off emotional toxins, and endure the pendulum swing of gain and loss, joy and sorrow, attraction and repulsion. If your psychological immunity is strong, you also have mental stamina, which is associated with steady concentration and having no memory loss with age.

Medicine has been slow to recognize that non-physical immunity exists.  The focus has been on the physical pathogens like bacteria and viruses that abound in the external world. But over a century ago Freud wrote about the “psychopathology of everyday life,” from which everyone needs protecting. Mental pathogens are invisible but potent, beginning with the universal experience of negative emotions like fear, anger, hatred, greed, and jealousy.

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It’s Time Reality Got a Makeover

blue-skies-reflected-after-the-rains

Reality, that most important concept about everything that exists, has gotten out of kilter, and yet very few people have noticed or are paying attention. The problem goes deep into the heart of things, however, so deep that future generations may look back and wonder why this generation didn’t wake up. The reason isn’t mysterious, actually. Modern secular society is based on materialism.

Materialism is a worldview based on physical objects as the stuff of creation. Worldview is a big concept that most people don’t bother to think about. As long as technology keeps progressing on all fronts, materialism seems workable. The only problem is that reality can’t be squeezed into a materialist framework. Materialism, it turns out, is just a plausible story, not a viable way to explain the world around us and certainly not the world “in here” where the mind operates.

Just last week physicists at Fermilab in Illinois announced that an obscure elementary particle, the muon, doesn’t behave the way it was supposed to. As a result, the standard model by which the universe is explained may totter. How can something infinitesimally tiny rock the cosmos? It didn’t. The muon rocked the story about reality we’ve been telling ourselves.

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How To Experience Renewal

purple-tulips-in-the-garden

Renewal holds an immediate appeal. In marketing, it is the magic word motivating buyers of vitamins, diets, skin creams, and exercise machines.  But in reality, your existence depends on every cell in your body knowing with perfect precision how to renew itself. There are hardly any cells in your body today that were there when you were born, and certain types of cells (skin, stomach lining, and red blood corpuscles) renew themselves very quickly, in a matter of weeks.

These well-known medical facts point to a hidden secret, for it isn’t physical renewal that holds the key. Imagine a house where the bricks fly in and out of the walls, yet the building is always standing. Its blueprint remains intact even as physical objects constantly change. Your body’s blueprint remains intact thanks to the invisible intelligence contained in every cell.

Instead of looking to DNA for the source of this intelligence—DNA is just another piece of the physical picture—the secret lies with how your body uses its intelligence. You can renew yourself by consciously using the same principles that keep your body in a natural state of renewal.

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As You Are, So Is The World

As You Are, So Is The World

An adage I first heard growing up in India goes, “As you are, so is the world.” At first glance these words are easy to agree with. Everyone has an impact on the world. You can’t expect to live in a clean town if you throw litter out of your car window. You can’t expect to live in a better world if you identify with the worst aspects of the world today.

Some people think the worst aspect of the world is that ice is melting at the poles and the whole climate crisis. But violence is worse when you consider the innocent casualties of war, and yet in the tradition of Yoga, worst of all is to be asleep. When horrible things are done by governments, the people tacitly give permission for those horrible things by self-blindness. I choose not to look’ therefore, nothing bad is happening. For all practicalities, identity involves a single choice. Either I am involved in everything around me, because everything is part of me, or I am alone and isolated.

Most people naturally want to be comfortable, and the easiest way to do that is to identify with “me” as a separate ego looking out for itself, although also including close family members. Your ego fools itself into believing that the rising oceans will never get to your doorstep, and dirty air will never reach suffocating levels where you live. More than that, the ego never believes that it could be held responsible for violence, war, racism, poverty, and famine. Those things exist somewhere else, caused by people unlike “me.”

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How AI Could Set Us Free

artificial-intelligence-systems

Various scientific fields over the course of history have hoped to master Nature for the benefit of humankind. At the top of the heap right now is artificial intelligence (AI), which has allied itself with the technology of robotics. Between them AI and robotics are having a sizable impact on the work force as more and more jobs get automated. Advocates of AI are both supremely optimistic and nervous. Both relate to the possibility of a super-intelligent machine that would far surpass human intelligence.

If you are an optimist, this so-called Singularity, as the hypothetical machine is called, would become self-improving. Its software would become free of human constraints, and in a “runaway reaction,” it would keep improving its knowledge and the technology that knowledge creates. The result would be a revolution in human civilization—or its demise. The worriers are nervous that the Singularity could initiate global war on its own, or perhaps turn on us as its inferior and deal us some other kind of fatal blow, for the good of life on Earth.

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