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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Energy Healing Comes into the Light

hand-covering-flowers-at-the-garden-with-sunlight-picture-id492623216 Energy Healing Comes into the Light

When faced with traditional healing systems outside the Western tradition, science looks askance. That was true when traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, and Ayurveda from India began to be known a generation ago. Popular acceptance doesn’t budge these prejudices, but if there’s a crossover with accepted Western concepts, the chances improve.

 

This is currently happening with energy healing, because it has a crossover with a proven phenomenon, the human body’s faint electrical field, known as the biofield.  This field is composed of the emission of electricity and biophotons, which are the light naturally emitted by all living things, and yet no one has scientifically established the use of the biofield. Into this gap steps energy healing, which looks to the body’s subtle energy field as something both crucial and vital for balanced health and wellbeing. At its most basic, the notion behind energy healing is that the biofield of a sick person is out of balance, and balance can be restored by directly treating the biofield.

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Your Microbiome: The Most Promising Facts

bifidobacterium-bacterial-strain3d-illustration-picture-id1163670497 Your Microbiome: The Most Promising Facts

By Naveen Jain and Deepak Chopra™, MD

It is fair to say that the exploration of the microbiome has turned out to be the most exciting prospect in medicine since the discovery of DNA. Most people have at least heard the term “gut microbiome,” which applies to the trillions of microbes, chiefly bacteria, that live in the human digestive tract. Awareness has risen to the point that taking probiotics—over-the-counter additives of microbes to supplement and balance the gut microbiome—has become a global $5 billion-dollar market.

We’ve reached the point, after a decade of intense investigation, where the ABCs of the microbiome are known. These facts provide the groundwork for what you can do, or cannot do, to improve your own gut microbiome (the word “gut” is necessary because we have multiple microbiomes in our mouth, groin, and armpits as well as over the surface of our skin).

           

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The Surprising Connection between Well-Being and Living Indoors

chinese-coronavirus-2019ncov-dangerous-for-pets-picture-id1215567949 The Surprising Connection between Well-Being and Living Indoors

The lockdown that occurred in the face of COVID-19 brings to light something almost everyone overlooked in the past. We are now an indoor species.  This was already true before the lockdown. Outdoor work has declined radically since the Industrial Revolution. In the West today we spend on average over 90% of our lives inside, whether in our homes, offices, schools, hotels or restaurants.
 

This development is contrary to most of human history, which was spent primarily outdoors. Unknown to most people, the boxes we now occupy have a profound impact on our health and well-being.  Our physical and social environments conceivably have as much impact on our health as factors more widely recognized, such as genetics, lifestyle, and behavior patterns.  Indoors the elements of air and water quality, lighting, temperature, and acoustics can all have a direct impact on such diverse things as respiration, sleep, immunity, and cardiovascular health.

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If You Want to Change, Start from the Ground Up

meditation-on-earth-picture-id187047285 If You Want to Change, Start from the Ground Up

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Anoop Kumar, MD

When people seek personal change in their lives, they often don’t get very far. Even in this day when online advice is bewilderingly abundant and self-improvement books are at our fingertips, change eludes us. One way to remedy this is to start from the ground up. Normally, we feel compelled to start where we are right now, and that’s a tremendous problem.

No matter how different people are, each of us woke up this morning to the same situation. We are constantly involved in thinking, feeling, and doing. No one starts this activity afresh. Instead, we are heavily invested in habits, beliefs, opinions, hopes, dreams, and fears collected from the past. So our thinking, feeling, and doing is entangled with the past even when we want something new, better, fresh, and different.

You can’t always use will power or desire to cut the ties that bind you to the past, but you can do something that will lessen the influence of the past: You can start to see yourself clearly. With that one intention, you are starting from the ground up, because seeing yourself clearly happens here and now.  You detach yourself from your story, which is the accumulation of your past. You take a fresh look at what is generating all this thinking, feeling, and doing. The process has to have an origin, a source, a wellspring that sets the active mind going every minute of the day.

Normally, if we try to see ourselves clearly, we are actually looking through a lens. We filter and arrange our experiences. Some experiences we reject, ignore, judge against, or censor. Other experiences we encourage, value, appreciate, and allow to enter our minds. The lens you choose is critical, yet people often don’t realize they have a choice. It doesn’t strike them in the first place that they see themselves—and everything around them—through a lens.

The lens you see through can also be called your mindset, worldview, or simply your state of awareness. Your perspective, on life, family, relationships, work stem from it.  Things become confusing because we are caught up in the conflicting stories, explanations, and belief systems that everyone gets exposed to. This confusion can be sorted out once you start to see yourself clearly. Cutting through all the clutter, you discover that you actually know what’s going on. Deep inside, you are fully aware already.

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The New American Dream? It’s Already Here

illuminated-skyscrapers-of-the-lower-manhattan-water-of-new-york-and-picture-id964900330 The New American Dream? It’s Already Here

Massive crises have one great advantage: They show you where you stand. The sight can be distressing and shocking. But it would be wrong to say “Who knew?” We all knew. In this country you’d have to be willfully ignorant to not know about racism, police brutality, income inequality, global warming, the staggering cost of medical care, and the rapacious activity of huge international corporations.

A secondary benefit of a massive crisis is that change can occur. People have waked up enough to protest racism and police brutality. COVID-19 deaths have waked up enough people that Medicare for all has a viable chance of happening. We cannot afford to keep recycling the same old story once things get back to normal. As overwhelming as a massive crisis is, the good news is that the solutions are just as well known as the problems.

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Nature’s Identity Crisis and Ours

global-children-picture-id483205433 Nature’s Identity Crisis and Ours

By Zach Bush MD, Paul J. Mills, PhD, Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD, Michelle A. Williams, ScD  and Deepak Chopra™ MD

As our nation dives into sorrow and outrage over another merciless killing of a black man without cause, we must take the opportunity to transform a deep mindset. To achieve this, we will have to collectively shake off deep patterns of subconscious and conscious beliefs and experiences. The frequency of these instances of wrongful deaths and centuries of racially motivated abuses throughout the world creates hopelessness in our minds.  For all of the rhetoric and grandstanding of our politicians and special interest groups, we do not see fundamental change happening. This hopelessness breeds violence, resignation, isolation, paranoia, and of course more fear.

Whatever the current crises happen to be—right now it is COVID, racial injustice, police brutality, and street demonstrations—a familiar pattern has been nearly impossible to break. The crisis generates a public outcry, humanitarians face off against reactionaries, and once the worst of the crisis simmers down, things go back to normal. The great hope now, however, is that “normal” will finally be seen for its distorted abnormality.


In our view, this abnormality runs deeper than a pandemic or heart-rending injustice and inequality. A much-needed shift cannot take place until humankind passes through an identity crisis. How we see ourselves is presently through a distorted lens, and our illusions extend to the very basis of Nature herself. Human activity has despoiled Nature without conscience because humans, at our core, feel that this is our right as the planet’s superior life form. The contradiction here is that a truly superior life form would respect all of life, seeing the wonder and fragility of the miracle known as biodiversity.

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A New World Needs a New Worldview

protecting-world-from-coronavirus-covid-19-novel-corona-outbreak-picture-id1212579812 A New World Needs a New Worldview

It is very rare that human beings have a chance to rethink our place in Nature. The modern world is the fruit of a worldview that has placed Homo sapiens reigning supreme over all other life forms.  This worldview seems only right and proper to the vast majority of people. In the course of just a few weeks, however, over seven billion people’s lives changed for the worse.  Economies were halted, global transportation and supply chains were shut down to a crawl, and hundreds of millions of jobs were lost. More money has been lost globally than in any other moment in history. Amid the shock and panic, the catastrophe of COVID-19 has prompted some radical rethinking. Can a new and better world emerge? Not unless our worldview changes, because in many ways the virus isn’t a mindless primitive life form ravaging us, “the most superior life form on the planet”. Nor did Nature strike back to punish us. Something deeper is going on. To see what it is, we need to consider a worldview based not on humans-as-supreme, but on life-as-supreme.

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Existence and the Virus: A Healing Solution

agoodlife Existence and the Virus: A Healing Solution

The COVID crisis is being fought on two fronts, medical and economic, but most people are suffering psychologically. The word “existential” rarely comes up in normal everyday life, but the crisis has created all the symptoms of existential dread: a sense of futility, anxiety about the human condition, and a deep fear of death. This comes as a shocking occurrence, and if there is such a thing as existential healing, now is the time for it.

Questions about existence baffle people, and there seems to be no reason to confront them until the last moment. One of the reasons that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s 1969 book, On Death and Dying, was seized upon by millions is that she drew a map of grief that showed dying patients that the inevitability of death wasn’t terrifying in the end. The five stages of grief outlined by Kübler-Ross—denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance—coincides with what is seen in hospice care. The prospect of death for most people leads to acceptance.

But there is a sixth stage of grieving that applies right now: meaning. The most fortunate patients go beyond acceptance to see that their lives had purpose, that existence is meaningful, and therefore that death lost its final power, which is fear and dread. This is the healing that I think should be embraced now. The actual deaths caused by COVID-19 are outnumbered by the cases of fear and dread being experienced on a mass scale. One way or another, we have all entered the grieving process.

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Finding Your Inner Strength: Never Alone Summit - A Free Global Mental Health Event

youarenotalone_deepak Finding Your Inner Strength: Never Alone Summit - A Free Global Mental Health Event
By Deepak Chopra™Cassandra VietenPoonacha Machaiah, and Gabriella Wright


In the face of the pandemic crisis, there is a great opportunity. It is open to everyone, and it is free. We invite you, your family, and friends to this healing experience. If you want to find your inner strength, peace, and the end of anxiety, please sign up here Never Alone Summit, a global mental health event.

In the 3-day summit you will discover the inner breakthroughs that we all need to get past the mental pain and suffering that the pandemic brings in its wake.

At this moment some people have already found a creative way to move forward. They do not feel trapped, because they welcome the chance to put their everyday life on pause. Small opportunities are all around us, to bake bread from sourdough starter, finally build that raised garden bed, meditate, walk and do yoga, and work in pajamas.

For so many others, however, it is a time of depression, uncertainty, and anxiety. Some are lonely in isolation; some feel pressure from being crowded with others for extended periods.

Between the good and bad, for most of us it’s a little bit of both, depending on the day.

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Self-Care, the Vagus Nerve, and COVID-19

grasp-the-summer-picture-id541122522 Self-Care, the Vagus Nerve, and COVID-19

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Gustaf Kranck, M.Sc.

There is widespread awareness of the wellness movement in this country, and the term “self-care” is being more and more recognized. Since advice has existed for decades on proper diet, exercise, sleep, and the avoidance of alcohol and tobacco, in what way is self-care an advance? This seems like a critical question during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Self-care is an advance over the usual well-known preventive measures if it can do more, in other words, if there are choices that improve the whole mind-body system. Increasingly the key to self-care seems to be the vagus nerve. The general public awaits a silver-bullet treatment and a future vaccine, but the benefits associated with the vagus nerve are accessible by anyone right now.

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The Key to Handling Stress and COVID-19

frustrated-latinx-woman-feeling-loser-standing-at-the-office-picture-id1132977608 The Key to Handling Stress and COVID-19

Although COVID-19 is very easily transmitted from person to person, the risk of subsequent hospitalization and death primarily affects people who are already at risk because of old age, infirmity and/or chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, autoimmune illness, obesity, and heart disease.  All of these chronic illnesses are associated with measurable low-grade inflammation in the body.  The chronic low-grade inflammation that develops with advanced age has become known as “inflammaging”. Most people with chronic illness unknowingly have low-grade inflammation. Recent research points to a second finding: these same disorders are often accompanied by persistent low-grade anxiety and depression.

All of this as a background increases the danger for a person when acute illness strikes. In addition to the elderly and chronically ill, COVID-19 is causing acute respiratory illness and stroke sometimes leading to death in seemingly otherwise healthy younger individuals.  The transition from SARS-CoV-2 infection to diagnosed COVID-19 is typically accompanied by a “cytokine storm.” Cytokines are proteins that are major drivers of inflammation, and their rapid increase, or "storm” is one of the body’s immune responses to acute threat.

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How to Settle the Mind During a Crisis

settlemind How to Settle the Mind During a Crisis

At first only a few voices spoke of positive change after the COVID crisis ends, or at least becomes livable once again. Now one hears a chorus calling for change, much of it from younger people. The main message is about global cooperation and preparing better for the next pandemic. But I think people are pondering personal change, too. In the midst of widespread trepidation, what are the new goals that each of us might start pursuing right now?

 

The first goal should be a settled mind. Fear is persuasive and panic easily goes viral. At the best of times most people turn their backs on worrisome problems rather than dealing with them directly. But unless you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you can settle your mind and go beyond fear. The first steps to gaining mastery over fear are open to everyone, as follows.

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Shakespeare, COVID, and the Plague

table-with-poems-by-shakespeare-picture-id534105229 Shakespeare, COVID, and the Plague

Social isolation gives us time to examine our lives in a new light, suddenly faced with economic collapse, empty streets, current panic and future uncertainty, and death appearing out of nowhere—in other words, the conditions that confronted every person on a daily basis during the lifetime of Shakespeare. What feels horribly abnormal to us was routinely normal for him and every member of the human race in the 16th century.

In statistical terms, Shakespeare is just another survivor. Unlike his son, Hamnet, who died at 11, Shakespeare didn’t die as a child, nor did his mother die giving birth to him. He also escaped the plague. Ever since the Black Death swept across the globe in the 14th century, bubonic plague remained a threat, killing on average one to three people in every house where it struck. In Shakespeare’s lifetime, there were four plague years, 1582, 1592, 1603, and 1607, when London, including its theaters, shut down because of the disease.

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Emotional Intelligence: Escaping the Matrix of Fear

Emotional Intelligence: Escaping the Matrix of Fear Emotional Intelligence: Escaping the Matrix of Fear

For many young people, the COVID virus outbreak will bring their first experience of fear and anxiety as a pervasive mood. As a society we are afraid of fear, and most of the time we can turn our backs on it. But this kind of denial is unworkable in a crisis. As bad news mounts daily and society becomes ever more anxious, countless people become enmeshed in the matrix of fear without knowing how to escape.

Social forces can drive you to participate in the matrix of fear, but society cannot get you out of it. Escape is something each person must confront on their own. I believe that freeing yourself from fear and anxiety is possible. More than that, you can learn how to be free of fear long after the COVID crisis has passed.

The key is to cultivate emotional intelligence. The term had a burst of attention some years ago, but the value of emotional intelligence never changes, and when you focus on it, you will achieve something worthwhile for life.  Here are six principles to guide you through the process.

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What Is the Best Self-Care during the COVID-19 Crisis?

healthy-lifestyles What Is the Best Self-Care during the COVID-19 Crisis?

Self-care should be uppermost in our minds during the COVID-19 crisis, for several urgent reasons. Self-care returns a sense of control over your own life. It gives you an integrative approach to mind and body. It aligns you with the best knowledge currently available about who is more at risk for developing acute symptoms after being infected.

Your immune status is complex, and in mainstream medicine the chief determining factor is traditionally considered to be genetic. However, there are strong links to underlying low-level chronic inflammation connected to lifestyle that is found in most if not all common disorders including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and even obesity. COVID-19 has a mortality rate that increases with age and pre-existing conditions, as we all know by now.

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Only a Silent Mind Can Be a Healing Mind

Only a Silent Mind Can Be a Healing Mind Only a Silent Mind Can Be a Healing Mind

Crises call for action, and the COVID-19 crisis has triggered global action, much of it motivated by alarm, fear, and the dread of uncertainty. But what about the individual person who feels afraid and uncertain? I’d like to propose an answer based on the silent mind. I realize that this approach might sound a bit alien and “spiritual” in the wrong way, but building castles in the air or retreating into yourself isn’t what silent mind is about.

Silent mind is about reconnecting to your source. Everyone relies on the top layer of the mind, which is active, constantly thinking and feeling. But when these feelings get fixated on anxiety, alarm, dread, and uncertainty, the active mind cannot pull itself out of its own spiral. Mental activity becomes useless to heal itself, just as a runaway car cannot apply its own brakes.

What is needed is a reset. The reset isn’t just mental. Your thoughts are received by every cell in your body, and in turn all kinds of processes are affected—the immune response, hormonal cycles, sleep, and overall mind-body balance, or homeostasis. If the active mind becomes confused and chaotic, balance is disrupted everywhere. What to do? 

Centuries ago, in every culture, a deeper level of mind was discovered, and the usual expression surrounding this level, which is silent, calm, and undisturbed, became religious, as in the Old Testament injunction, “Be still and know that I am God.” If we replace God with “your source,” the message comes through to modern ears: Be still and know that I am your source. The most direct result of heeding this message would be to meditate, because meditation gives direct access to silent mind.

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The Virus Can Give Your Life More Meaning

breathe The Virus Can Give Your Life More Meaning

One way to respond in a crisis is to reduce its threat. The other way is to add to the threat. The coronavirus COVID-19 might be the first collective crisis that many people have faced, and it poses an uncertain future in every country that confronts it. But this doesn’t change the two choices just mentioned. Know that your individual actions will have an impact on countless other people.

 

No matter how the COVID-19 pandemic resolves itself—something no one can predict—you can personally choose right now to reduce its threat. If you consciously make that choice, three positive things will happen. You will feel more in control; you will be on the side of healing; and you will add to the meaning of your life.

 

How to be more in control:

This begins by acting responsibly, following what the experts in disease control advise. By now everyone is aware of the need to stay at home, self-quarantine if you show any symptoms, keep 6 to 10 ft. away from other people in public, don’t take long plane flights, and wash your hands frequently (the medical school routine for scrubbing up applies here: Wash your hands vigorously while singing “Happy birthday to you” twice—and don’t forget your thumbs and between your fingers). The active ingredient in effective hand sanitizers is isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, which you can also use by itself in at least a 60% solution with water.

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COVID-19 and a New Way to Be Happy

deckchair COVID-19 and a New Way to Be Happy

Diseases point the way to the future if we pay attention. This holds especially true of the global outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19. It is clear that some important lessons have emerged already.  Some of these are obvious because they are so visible: Uncertainty is a major cause of panic. No one could miss that lesson. Economies reflect mass psychology. This lesson follows from the first, because the plunge in worldwide markets has been driven by uncertainty.

But if you look a bit deeper, COVID-19 exposes a need to take human well-being more seriously. The great push to create a welfare state is around a century old, and certain countries like Sweden and Denmark went much further than the United States. But even in places where democratic socialism won the day, true human welfare wasn’t addressed. The basic right to have guaranteed housing medicine, and education—the cornerstones of the modern welfare state—treat people as economic units.

Actual well-being looks very different. Its hallmarks are community and mutual support, valuing happiness as essential to human life, affording lifelong good health, living in an environment with pure air and water, a lack of violence with a necessary emphasis on peace, equal acceptance for all, and the abolition of us-versus-them thinking of the kind that builds barriers of every kind.

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If You Aren’t You, Then Who Are You?

meditating If You Aren’t You, Then Who Are You?

Whether you call it your spiritual life, your inner journey, or a search for a higher power, there is a necessary process, known as waking up. It consists of no longer being unaware. By growing more conscious, you give up many things you once took for granted. You recognize that they were illusions, unproven assumptions, and second-hand opinions.
 

You can take a major step toward waking up right this minute. All you need to do is answer one questions: Who are you? This question is about your identity, which everyone takes for granted –so much so, in fact, that we lose ourselves in an illusion without ever realizing it.

Let’s start without any assumptions. Drop your assumption that you already know who you are, because what people really know is not who they really are but their story. Your story consists of everything you have amassed in the past through experience, belief, successes and failures, likes and dislikes. When you identify with these things, you mistake a dead relic of the past for who you really are. Your story might be good or bad, something to be proud of or not, filled with experiences you want to hold on to and others you would rather forget. None of this really matters when you want to know who you really are. You are more than your story.

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A Brave New World, and How to Get There

newworld

If you find yourself living in a troubled world, what should you do? The question is as old as recorded history, but over the millennia only three basic answers have emerged. If you find yourself living in a troubled world, you should A. Turn to God or the gods, B. Place your trust in science and rational thought, or C. Renounce the world and retreat inward.

These answers have practical outcomes, which is why we have cathedrals, space programs, and monasteries. But what if none of the three time-honored answers works anymore? That’s the general situation most modern people find themselves in, and so they retain a diluted loyalty to old answers in the absence of a better one.  For example, most Americans do not believe the creation story in the Book of Genesis, but neither do they completely believe Darwinism, telling pollsters that in some undefined way God enters into evolution despite the view among evolutionary scientists that Darwin’s theory is completely valid.

The third option, retreating from the world, is actually the one most of us have chosen more or less automatically. We lament the state of the world but spend every day occupied with our personal affairs. If you do nothing to improve the world, you are for all intents and purposes reliant on your own thoughts and actions. A higher authority or proven worldview is irrelevant.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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