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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How To Bring More Compassion Into The World

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A quality much needed in a divided world but not often encountered is compassion. Compassion is a way of connecting the love and self-awareness within yourself to another person. Compassion is more than kindness, then. It’s a natural expression of kindness and understanding when you love yourself. Without a sense of love inside, compassion has no foundation in consciousness.

There is a path to loving compassion, as with any spiritual quality.  The path has a beginning, middle, and end. Let me describe them to give you an idea of how the path unfolds.

Beginning: You see yourself as wanting and needing love, usually more than you are receiving. You may feel insecure about being lovable, and so you love others according to how much they love you or appeal to your sense of romance, sexuality, and compatibility. Relationships involve a constant negotiation between what you want and what your partner wants. The words that apply to love at this stage include passion, attachment, dependency, romance, mutual need, liking, and compatibility. The seed of compassion remains a seed.

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Brain Stuff, Mind Stuff, And You

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If you want to experience the highest values in life—love, compassion, beauty, creativity, joy, and higher consciousness—your brain isn’t the right place to turn. These experiences exist in your awareness, waiting to emerge. The brain cannot give you these experiences, because contrary to popular belief, the brain isn’t aware. It transmits thoughts the way a television transmits pictures on the screen. No one would say that TVs produce the shows they transmit, yet we say this about the brain all the time.

It is pure illusion to mistake the brain for the mind. The basic chemicals in a brain cell are the same as in the skin cells of your big toe, and the functioning of brain cells differs very little from the functions of every other cell in the body. A three-pound lump of gray matter cannot escape its status as a batch of chemicals, and we mustn’t attribute love, compassion creativity, etc. to a batch of chemicals, either. In fact, the brain isn’t even aware that it exists. Until the skull is opened to reveal it, there is no subjective experience that says, “Here I am. I am your brain.”

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How One Blind Spot Distorts Reality

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There’s an old joke about a man who falls off the Empire State Building. As he passes an office window on the way down, someone shouts, “How are you going?” and the man answers, “I’m okay so far.” I don’t know anyone who doesn’t laugh at the punchline the first time they hear the joke, but there’s also a wince thinking about the thud that awaits the man at the end.

Science has been okay—so far—in explaining how nature works, riding the crest of success for several centuries now. But the thud is near at hand, as outlined in a very readable, perceptive online article titled “The Blind Spot,” jointly written by two physicists, Adam Frank and Marcelo Gleiser, and a philosopher, Evan Thompson. The blind spot referred to in the title has been of tremendous but hidden importance in your life.

The blind spot refers to science’s rejection of consciousness as a key factor in describing reality. Rigidly adhering to a belief that it holds the key for explaining everything, science hasn’t seen its own blind spot—or taken it seriously, with a few exceptions—and therefore the vast majority of working scientists don’t hear the thud that awaits them. The authors of the article do, and they go right to the heart of the problem. As they view it, science has been wrong on two counts. The first is the belief that science can accurately and objectively describe the real world as it exists. The second is the belief that physical reality is all that must be accounted for.

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The Truth about Your Brain (You’ll Be Surprised)

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The notion that human beings walk, talk, think, and do things because our brains control us is an argument that has been around for decades. It replaced the religious argument that the soul is what drives us or some divine spark ignited by a divine creator.

Now the average person accepts that the brain is a machine analogous to a computer, and when we believe that we have free will, we are mistaken. This view suggests we are like brain puppets driven by the mechanical operation of neurons.  Robbed of free will, we only have to go a step further to see that even being conscious is an illusion. As long as the machine-brain is in charge, anything else we tell ourselves is just a story.

Yet the flaws in this argument have been pointed out many times.

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An Enlightening Minute

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When you look at the traditions of higher consciousness East and West, they all seem to have one thing in common: Arriving at higher consciousness takes time, perhaps a lifetime.  Along with this notion comes other, closely related ones. Higher consciousness is exceptional. It requires intense inner work. Only a select few ever reach the goal.

The overall effect of these ideas is to discourage the average person from even considering that higher consciousness is within reach. For all practical purposes, society sets those apart who have become enlightened, saintly, or spiritually advanced — choose whatever term you want. In an age of faith such figures were revered; today they are more likely to be viewed as beyond normal life, to be admired, shrugged off, or forgotten.

Much of this is a holdover from the merger of religion, spirituality, and consciousness. For centuries there was no separating the three. Most traditional societies developed a priestly class to guard the sanctity—and privileged status—of reaching near to God. But these trappings are now outdated and even work against the truth, which is that higher consciousness is as natural and effortless as consciousness itself. If you are aware, you can become more aware. There is nothing more to higher consciousness than this logical conclusion.

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Three Questions To Ask Yourself When Things Go Wrong

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Challenges are part of everyone’s life, but there are dark moments when a challenge turns into a crisis. The outcome of our lives depends on the choices we make at those moments. Will they be breakthroughs or setbacks?  The trait we call wisdom is a crucial tool here. Without it, people usually make their most important decisions based on impulse or its opposite, habit.

It might seem impossible to think that any three questions can—and should—be asked any time that things go wrong, but the sad truth is that millions of us dwell on the three questions we shouldn’t ask, questions such as: 1. What’s wrong with me? 2. Who can I blame? 3. What’s the worst-case scenario?

We all feel the urge to condemn ourselves out of guilt, to blame others for our misfortunes, and to fantasize about total disaster. But these three questions will haunt you and do untold harm, unless you consciously stop them, push them aside, and replace them with the right questions, leading to the right actions. Here are 3 positive, self-affirming ways to approach your next tough situation:

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Is Metabolism The Key To Disease And Aging?

deepak9.6 By Deepak Chopra™ MD, Brian J. Fertig, MD and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Medical research enjoyed a major breakthrough over the past decade when two factors were isolated that link almost every major disorder: inflammation and stress. Neither came as a total surprise. Inflammation was long known as a paradoxical process in the body. Disease and injured tissues need an added supply of oxygen and immune cells in order to heal, but taken too far, as in the case of severe burns, and inflammation can lead to shock and even death.

Stress is more clear-cut, since it has always been associated with harmful effects in the body and is linked to many disorders from depression and anxiety to hypertension and lowered immunity. But a breakthrough occurred when it was suddenly realized that the culprits in disease and aging were not acute, dramatic instances of inflammation and stress. Instead, the damage to the body is low-level and steady, a chronic condition that does its damage slowly at the cellular level. It turns out that aging and chronic disease actually begin almost invisibly at the cellular level long before any symptoms appear, over a span of years or most probably decades.

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Connecting With Abundance

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As society has just experienced on a massive scale, anxiety about loss of income is very damaging. Everyone can see the loss in economic terms, but at a deeper level something invisible is at work. People’s sense of abundance and fulfillment is undermined. When we worry about not having enough, we immediately think in terms of money, but what about a lack of emotional fulfillment, a lack of love, lack of creative solutions? Abundance needs to prevail in those areas first and foremost.

The most crucial thing to understand is that abundance begins in your awareness. Look at the by now familiar story of lottery winners who are worse off ten years after their sudden windfall. Why? Because they couldn’t adapt. They were used to processing their lives on a limited scale, and suddenly they were asked to process millions of dollars, massive attention, public exposure, and the demands of people all around them.

Unless you are prepared to adapt, abundance itself can turn into a burden on you. The secret is to constantly build an attitude of abundance in small steps leading to a big goal: a sense of self that can accept higher and higher levels of opportunity. Here are seven steps you can build on:

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7 Things To Do When You've Been Betrayed

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Everyone has had the bitter experience of being betrayed, when someone we trusted violated that trust. After being betrayed, most of us want two things, usually at the same time. We want to get even with the person who hurt us or we want to rise above the situation and offer that person forgiveness. But neither of these impulses usually helps. Getting even with someone usually boomerangs and makes you feel as bad as the person you wanted to hurt. Forgiveness, especially if half-hearted, tends to come off as condescension.

What is really needed is emotional intelligence, which works in two ways. First, you realize the probable outcome of what won’t work—as we just saw, the impulse to get even or to forgive predictably won’t work. It’s good to know this in advance, but emotional intelligence also has to tell you what will work, and why. That’s the second step if you want to recover emotionally after being betrayed.

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The Generosity of Spirit: A Breakthrough

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Everyone has experienced a shared moment, when two people are having the same experience. Expand the moment into something continuous, and you have the experience of being in love. But there is also sharing when you feel empathy with someone else, as when you feel sorry for a child in distress or the victims of violence.

Nothing seems strange about shared moments, yet nothing about the human brain can explain how it happens. In the mainstream view of the brain, a mechanical physical process is totally necessary in order for brain cells to “talk” to each other. A storm of electrical charges and chemical reactions fills our heads, which seems totally obvious. But when you share a moment with someone else, something is going on outside your head. This is a huge contradiction, because having a brain outside your head is impossible.

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Three Daily Remedies For Anxiety

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These difficult times bring increased stress, and a natural reaction to stress is anxiety. Far from being simple, anxiety is multi-dimensional, as symbolized in brain structure—the brain itself feels no emotions, because emotions occur in consciousness.  You are the product of the evolution of consciousness, and your anxiety has physical, emotional, and rational aspects.

Anxiety passes through each dimension in a sequence. What you need to know is that each dimension can generate fear, and yet in itself, consciousness isn’t fearful. Ancestrally, primitive fear originates in the lower brain, where the fight-or-flight response resides, an inheritance shared by almost all animals. Except in a sudden emergency or moment of alarm, modern humans have minimal need to this inheritance. But modern life generates low-level stress responses that we barely notice but which overload the nervous system, which needs the kind of stress relief few people find the time for.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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