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 Live The Mystery Of Life

How To Live the Mystery of Life - Deepak Chopra By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

In a rational world, when a mystery presents itself, the mind goes to work to solve the mystery. This approach works very well when it comes to explaining the sudden extinction of the dinosaur or what is making a patient sick, but it works much less well when it comes to the mystery of the human body. All of us are in intimate contact with that mystery, and so we are presented with a choice.

The first choice is to follow the usual rational procedures to understand how the body works. A massive amount of information has been collected in this way. Measurements, data, and research studies pour in every day. But there is another choice that is not well known to most people, which is to live the mystery. There is a stark difference between these two paths, as we will show.

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Your Health Needs a New Map: Here It Is

Deepak 1.17.22 By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

It has been decades since a breakthrough idea changed people’s health and well-being. The last big ideas included risk prevention and “the new old age.” Risk prevention based a person’s health on avoiding specific threats like smoking, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and stress. The new old age was a change of mindset that opened the way for lifelong well-being and productive activity beyond the biblical threescore and ten.

But as useful as these breakthroughs were, they hit a dead end. Risk prevention suffers from noncompliance, the perverse habit we all indulge in of not doing what is good for us. In addition, risks are fearful, and fear is a poor motivator in the long run. The new old age ran into a different and even tougher obstacle. The aging process proceeds roughly at the rate of 1% a year after age 30, much too long a time to focus on old age, even though it has been well established that the afflictions of the elderly are chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and probably most cancers which begin to develop years or even decades before symptoms appear.

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A Stress Remedy That Works

deepak1.10.22 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Stress has been a familiar term for decades, and the problems caused by chronic stress are legion. There is no reason to continue to put up with the rush and pressure, the demands and crises of modern life, when toxic stress is involved in most lifestyle disorders. No one is immune to stress, and despite the claims of some high-powered, competitive people, no one thrives on stress. What, then, can be done?

First, we need to get beyond the popular use of the term. When people say that they are stressed out, they mean that undue pressure makes them feel exhausted or overwhelmed. Certainly, this can be true, but stress, medically speaking, is a pressure that pushes the body out of its normal state of balance (or allostasis, and eventually homeostasis), requiring various processes like heart rate, blood pressure, and hormonal balance to kick in so that the stressor, as it is called, can be overcome. For a long time, much emphasis was placed on the stress response in the form of fight-or-flight. The point was made that unlike our remote ancestors, who needed fight-or-flight as a mechanism when under threat from predators, in modern life fight-or-flight is an evolutionary holdover that long ago outlived its usefulness.

The greatest threat now is not from fighting predators, going to war, or facing bodily harm. The greatest threat is from low-level chronic stress, which causes a milder version of the stress response. The full-blown stress response is not sustainable past a brief period, counted in fractions of an hour, at which point a rebound effect automatically occurs, causing the stressed person to feel exhausted and drowsy. This automatic shut-off valve is not present in low-level chronic stress, which can be maintained for days, months, and years, as attested to by people who stay in toxic relationships or endure stressful job conditions.

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Your Brain’s Most Important Relationship Is Not With You.

deepak1.3.22 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

You can’t have a thought, feeling, sensation, or mental image without calling upon your brain, and this close relationship makes us human. Since 100 billion brain cells are constantly generating your mental life, no relationship seems more important, and everyone has a fear in the back of their mind about what might happen in old age if Alzheimer’s strikes, in essence destroying the mind-brain connection.

But as precious as this relationship is, your brain has a more important relationship that was hidden until about twenty years ago. This precious relationship is with bacteria, and even when you are asleep or thinking about nothing at all, the communication never ceases between the brain and bacteria, specifically the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract (the gut microbiota).

Between them the brain and your GI tract have created a real-life matrix, just like the one in science-fiction. You are alive and relate to your brain inside this tight structure of biochemicals that carry thousands of messages per second between microbiota and brain. At first sight this seems unbelievable, because few life forms have genetics as rudimentary as a bacterium, and no life form has a brain as complex as the human brain. An old proverb says that even a cat can look at a king. Biologically speaking, the lowly bacterium (along with viruses and microscopic fungi) does a lot more than look at your brain, more even than eavesdropping on it.

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Order Out of Chaos: Why You Aren’t a Hurricane

deepak12.27.21 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

One of the mysteries of human existence is the fact that you do not fly apart into a cloud of atoms and molecules but instead hold together as a living, breathing, thinking organism. It is said that we live on the edge of chaos, because the human body has adapted to counter an enormous range of accidents, mistakes, wounds, illnesses, and stresses that would cause a non-living system to be wrecked.

A simple example is your joints. You bend and unbend your fingers hundreds of times a day. Take a bar of steel and bend it hundreds of times. It will break, which your fingers don’t. In fact, they get better at whatever they are doing, such as practicing the piano, a repeated activity that creates more order even though playing the piano or violin demands unending movements that look random if you happen to be deaf.

The study of chaos has progressed far enough that you can take any phenomenon, from the weather to a beating heart, traffic patterns to brain waves, and study it as the contest between order and chaos. Your life depends on the predictable (orderly) sequence of events that produces a healthy heartbeat, and if the sequence gets out of sync, the heart can go into irregular activity anywhere from a benign irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) to a random convulsion (fibrillation) that proves fatal.

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“You Are What You Eat” Should Be “You Are What You Ate”

deepak12.20 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

There have been exciting discoveries about the microbiome that lead to a radical change in how we view the human body. “Microbiome” is a new name for something long known about, the teeming colonies of bacteria and fungi that exist all around the body. We need these micro-organisms in order to digest food, but the existence of so-called “intestinal flora” isn’t news either. So why did the microbiome become exciting?

The biggest reason can be summarized as “The microbiome is us.” Instead of being invaders or microscopic hitchhikers, the microbiome represents the continuity of life itself. Microbial DNA is woven into human DNA, which immediately tells us that far from being enemy germs, thousands of species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi brought our ancestors the news of the world as it applies to the evolution of life. A world cloud of DNA moves in, around, and through every living thing.

In natural history museums our hominid ancestors look small and primitive, but there is an invisible link that binds us to them, the microbiome. There are other microbiome locations in the mouth, on the skin, and in the armpits and groin, but let’s limit ourselves to the gut microbiome, since it is incredibly complex, with an estimated 2,000 species of microbial life, and it is life-giving.

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What If Everything Is Alive?

deepak12.13 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

One of the great failures in science is still haunting us, the failure to discover why living things are alive. One of the most promising theories was known as vitalism, which held that some undiscovered “life force” or “spark of life” is what separates living things like trees, cats, and amoebas from non-living things like rocks, water, and salt. Vitalism was once so promising that the Nobel Prize was given to a champion of vitalism, the French philosopher Henri Bergson, in 1927. But significantly, the prize was in literature, since no one, however enamored of vitalism, could provide scientific evidence for any kind of life force.

The tables were decisively turned to the opposite of vitalism, known as functionalism, which breaks life down into processes like metabolism, growth, reproduction, adaptation, evolution and extinction.. That’s where we find ourselves today, which poses a huge problem. Vitalism and functionalism are opposites, which implies that in the game of either/or, if one is false, the other must be true. But unfortunately, functionalism doesn’t explain life, either. It explains how life behaves, which isn’t the same thing.

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An Improbable Mystery: Who’s Minding The Store?

deepak12.6.21 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.
One of the strangest mysteries in everyday life is that it is much easier to stay alive than to be alive in the first place. There’s a cascade of processes inside us that is perfectly synchronized—a body remains alive as long as its organs are alive, organs remain alive as long as tissues are alive, and tissues remain alive as long as cells are alive. This cascade has been understood for centuries, and yet no one knows why cells are alive to begin with. They don’t deserve to be, because the teeming chemical reactions inside a heart, liver, or brain cell can easily be reproduced in a test tube without showing any signs of life.

Science is far more comfortable asking “how” than “why,” and if you ask how cells operate, the picture is fairly clear once each microscopic process inside a cell is analyzed as biochemistry. The bottom line is that 99% of biology centers on the “how” of living things. The nagging question of “why?” is ignored as basically unscientific. Unfortunately, there is no “how” without “why.” If two cars collide, the physics of one machine crashing into another is cut and dried, but to really explain what happens, you have to determine if one driver was distracted by a phone call, drunk, or something else.

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How To Write Your Memories In Air

deepak11.29 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Memories are cherished or feared, depending on whether they are good or bad memories, so it makes sense to have as many happy experiences as possible. We can call this sound psychological advice, but spirituality is different. From the ancient Indian tradition comes a saying: “First experiences are written in stone, then in sand, then in water, and finally in air.”

In this one sentence the path of enlightenment has been encapsulated, once you unravel what the sentence means. It concerns the ability of experiences to stick with us as memories. If a memory is so strong that it makes a deep, even lifelong impression, it is like words engraved in stone. To find freedom, to live in the present moment, you can’t be bound up in the past, which is what strong, sticky, stubborn memories do. Therefore, the spiritual path isn’t about getting as many positive memories as you can. It’s about whether your memories are holding you back, overshadowing the present with ghosts from the past.

The past is a mental illusion created by memories. The present moment is free from the past, and as we live in the moment more and more, our memories loosen their grip. As the Indian axiom says, they are no longer engraved in stone but are like writing in sand, then water, and finally air. If this sequence sounds mysterious, that’s chiefly because modern Western science hasn’t solved the mystery of memory in the first place.

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The Remarkable Importance of the Goldilocks Zone

deepak11.22 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

In the search for life on other planets, a concept known as the Goldilocks zone is critical. This is the region, not too close to a star but also not too far away, that makes the development of life possible. The critical factor is heat, since being too close to a star, as Mercury and Venus are in our solar system, is intolerably hot while being too far away, as Saturn and Jupiter are, is intolerably cold. The Goldilocks zone makes sense, although there has to be a fudge factor, since large enough planets and moons can generate their own heat.

Yet simple as it sounds, the goldilocks zone determines in many ways how successful someone’s life will be and at the same time the likelihood of enjoying wellness to age 70 and beyond. The human Goldilocks zone begins with our physiology. The human body has a surprisingly narrow range of temperature for survival—it is life-threatening to have a fever over 105o F. or hypothermia below 95o F. for a sustained amount of time. Our Goldilocks zone for internal temperature is therefore only 10 degrees.

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Reversal Of Aging Is Here. How Far Can It Go?

deepak11.15a By Deepak Chopra, MD and Shai Efrati, MD

The ability to reverse aging is now in everyone’s hands, although they might not realize it. Aging is reversed anytime you experience the following:

Healing from an illness or wound. Healing restores the body to a state before the setback occurred.

Returning to the markers of youth: Youth is marked by energy, vitality, freedom of motion, normal blood pressure, physical strength, and other markers that can be restored at any time of life. Going to the gym, meditating to reduce your blood pressure, keeping up your support system of family and friends, and undertaking creative projects that bring you joy are just a few ways to reverse the tendencies of aging.

Having a positive mindset. We act out our beliefs, and when people believed that life after 65 should be spent in a rocking chair out of sight from younger people, that mindset made old age a penance. For several decades, however, the “new old age” has revolutionized our mindset, and people see old age as vigorous, creative, productive, and a source of contentment.

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Why Isn’t Your Body Perfect?

deepak11.8.21 Deepak Chopra, M.D., Brian J. Fertig, M.D. and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

There is no good reason, from everything science tells us, why the human body shouldn’t be perfect. The scientific model builds Nature up from the simplest, smallest components to the largest and most complex. There is no doubt that at the smallest scale subatomic particles, atoms and molecules, and are perfect, because they have endured without change for billions of years.

Did imperfections arise with the beginning of life on Earth? Single-cell microorganisms are thousands, perhaps millions, of times larger and more complex than the smallest molecules that they are built from. But one-celled creatures have endured for something like 3.5 billion years. Since they reproduce by cell division, the most ancient forms of amoebas, algae, protists, and so on are actually still with us–literally the first amoeba has never died or aged.  Life forms with complex structures constitute much less than one percent of living things; a bucket of ocean water is likely to contain hundreds of unknown variations on their DNA.

Imperfection gained the stage thanks to the same force that produced perfection: evolution. We suffer from disease, resist ageing, and fear death, but all of these are creative steps as far as evolution is concerned, since evolution triumphs through maximum diversity and an endless supply of new genes leading to improvements.

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What If Aging Is A Mistake?

deepak11.1 By Deepak Chopra™ MD, Brian J. Fertig, MD and Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Since no one wants to age, there is a tremendous incentive to prevent, slow down or even reverse it. But all these efforts run into the same obstacle. No one actually knows what aging is or precisely what causes it. On its face, this riddle shouldn’t exist. The universe is subject to entropy, which causes everything, including the universe itself, to run down like a child’s toy whose battery slowly runs down. Biology chimes in with the obvious fact that all higher living things grow old and die.

But reality changes depending on your viewpoint, and one viewpoint tells us that aging, especially human aging, could be a mistake. First, we need to counter the evidence that living things must grow old and die. This is more easily done than you might suppose. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of the counter-argument against aging.

  • Entropy refers to the dissipation of heat by which warm things grow colder. But those are inanimate things. Life preserves and increases energy. Putting on a coat in winter effectively defeats entropy, and so have all living forms for at least four billion years.
  • The universe may die a “heat death” as it approaches absolute zero, but in the meantime, complex forms keep arising and surviving. The force that creates them is evolution.
  • Unique among the living things yet discovered, Homo sapiens can consciously choose to evolve.
  • Long ago Homo sapiens escaped the prison of Darwinian survival of the fittest by moving in any direction that offers more complexity, creativity, and discovery.
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How Does The Spiritual Path Work?

deepak10.25

Right now and in the recent past I’ve encountered more people than ever before who have set out on their own spiritual path. They have become inspired by higher consciousness; they’ve gotten excited about “follow your bliss.” But a cynic would point out that we have been hearing about the emergence of higher consciousness for at least fifty years, and yet collective enlightenment isn’t in sight. The reason for being discouraged is that with the evolution of consciousness, a straight-line path isn’t feasible.

Instead, the evolution of consciousness works differently from any other project, if I may call it that. When you set out to accomplish something, what is your course of action? No matter whether it involves building a house, reaching a peace accord between nations, or making dinner, the steps involved include the following: deciding what your goal is, setting up a plan to achieve the goal, assessing how long it will take, what materials you need, and making sure that you are ready and able to get to work.

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How To Bring More Compassion Into The World

deepak10.18

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

deepak10.11

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

deepak10.4

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)

deepak9.29

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

deepak9.20

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

deepak9.13

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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