BIO: Deepak Chopra, MD, is a world renown expert in mind body medicine. Former Chief of Staff at New England Memorial Hospital , he is the author of the best-selling books Quantum Healing; Perfect Health and Ageless Body, Timeless Mind.
Life is a creative enterprise, as is health. There are many levels of creation and therefore many levels of possible mastery. To be completely loving, non-judgmental and self-accepting is an exalted goal, but the important thing is to work form a concept of wholeness. Because most of today's society lacks a vision of the road's end, the eminent psychiatrist Erik Erikson, MD laments, "Our civilization does not really harbor a concept of the whole life."
The new paradigm of holism provides us with such concept, knitting body, mind and spirit into unity. The later years should be a time when life becomes whole, the circle closes and life's purpose is fulfilled. In that regard, active mastery is not just a way to survive to extreme old age--it is also the road to freedom.
Here are ten simple keys to active mastery in life, leading not only to optimal health, but to bliss and longevity as well.
First, listen to your body's wisdom, which expresses itself through signals of comfort and discomfort. When choosing a certain behavior, ask your body, "How do you feel about this?" If your body sends a signal of physical or emotional distress, watch out. If it sends a signal of comfort and eagerness, proceed.
Next, live in the present. It is the only moment we have. Keep your attention on what is here and now; look for the fullness in every moment. Accept what comes to you totally and completely so that you can appreciate it. Learn from it, and then let go. The present is as it should be. It reflects infinite laws of Nature that have brought you this exact thought...this exact physical response. This moment is as it is because the universe is as it is. Don't struggle against the infinite scheme of things; instead, be at one with it.
Third, take time to be silent, to meditate, to quiet the internal; dialogue. In moments of silence, realize that you are reconnecting your source of pure awareness. Pay attention to your inner life so that you can be guided by intuition rather than externally imposed interpretations of what is or isn't good for you. Next, relinquish your need for external approval. You alone are the judge of your worth, and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks or says. There is great freedom in this simple realization.
Fifth, when you find yourself reacting with anger or opposition to any person or circumstance, realize that you are really struggling with yourself. Your resistance is the response of defenses created by old hurts. When you relinquish this anger, you will be healing yourself and cooperating with the flow of the universe.
Next, know that the world "out there" reflects your reality "in here." The people you react to most strongly, whether with love or hate, are projections of your inner world. What you most hate is what you most deny in yourself. What you most love is what you most wish for in yourself. Use the mirror of relationships to guide your evolution. Let your goal be total self-knowledge. When you achieve that, what you most want will automatically be there, and what you most dislike will disappear.
Seven, shed the burden of judgment--you will feel much lighter. Judgment imposes right and wrong on situations that simply are. Everything can be understood and forgiven, but when you judge, you cut off understanding and shut down the process of learning to love. In judging others, you reflect your lack of self-acceptance. Remember that every person you forgive adds to your self-love.
Eight, don't contaminate your body with toxins, either through food, drink, or toxic emotions. Your body is more than a life-support system. It is the vehicle that will carry you on the journey of your evolution. The health of every cell directly contributes to your state of well-being, because every cell is a point of awareness within the field of awareness that is you.
Next, replace fear-motivated behavior with love-motivated behavior. Fear is the product of memory, which dwells in the past. Remembering what it was that hurt us before, we direct our energies toward making certain that an old hurt will not repeat itself. But trying to impose the past on the present will never wipe out the threat of being hurt. That happens only when you find the security of your own being, which is love.
Motivated by the truth inside you, you can face any threat because your inner strength is invulnerable to fear.
Finally, understand that the physical world is just a mirror of deeper intelligence. Intelligence is the invisible organizer of all matter and energy, and since a portion of this intelligence resides in you, you share in the organizing power of the cosmos. Because you are inseparably linked to everything, you cannot afford to foul the planet's air and water. Cleaning up the environment and getting rid of toxic wastes and dumps that contaminate our earth, its rivers, and oceans is worthwhile, but even more important is flushing out the toxic wastes that contaminate the human mind.
At a deeper level, you cannot afford to live with a toxic mind, because every thought makes an impression on the whole field of intelligence. Living in balance and purity is the highest good for you and the Earth.
Copyright 1997, New Frontier Magazine. All rights reserved.