How to live with certainty in uncertain times

How to Live with Certainty in Uncertain Times

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra reveals how to live more confidently.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/inspiration/how-to-go-from-hoping-to-knowing#ixzz6D5ixNr6a

What makes a relationship right, or an important decision? How can you tell if deep spiritual questions have an answer? As children, we all asked these questions. They came naturally. Is there a God? Do I have a soul? What happens after I die? Children are too young to understand that their parents are just as confused as they are. But the answers are given, and for a time they suffice. If Grandma went to heaven to be with Grandpa, a child will sleep better and feel less sad.

When you grow up, however, the same questions return. You can postpone the deeper ones, perhaps, but not in matters of love, relationships, and personal decisions. Everyone wants to know the answers to those kinds of dilemmas. And thus you discover that your parents, however well intentioned, never showed you the way (unless you happen to be one child in a million who had very mature parents who could truly love and understand you).

I know I seem to be painting a very large, open-ended picture. But getting into a healthy relationship, discovering whether you have a soul and even picking the right job have something in common.

In all these cases you either hope, believe or know what the answer is. “I hope he loves me enough.” “I believe my spouse is faithful.” “I know this marriage is solid.” These are very different statements, and we find ourselves awash in confusion because “I hope,” “I believe” and “I know” are never the same thing. We just wish they were.

If you will indulge me in sounding so abstract, there’s a useful lesson here. The spiritual path actually has only these three elements. You move from a state of uncertainty—”I hope?”—to a somewhat firmer state of security—”I believe”—and eventually end up with true understanding—”I know.” It doesn’t matter whether the specific issue is about relationships, God or the soul, about the higher self, heaven or the far reaches of the supernatural. Either you hope, you believe or you know.

You have already made that journey—many times, in fact. As a child, you hoped you would be a grown-up. In your 20s, you believed that it was possible. Now you know you are an adult. You hoped someone would love you; you believed in time that somebody did; and now you know that they do. If this natural progression hasn’t happened, something has gone wrong, because the unfoldment of life is designed to follow from wish to fulfillment. Of course, we all know the pitfalls. Divorce generally means you didn’t know if someone truly loved you. Children who grow up resenting their parents usually don’t know who to trust. A hundred other examples could be offered.

But the important thing is to get you back on the path.

Step 1: Realize that your life is meant to progress.

Step 2: Reflect on how good it is to truly know something rather than just hoping and believing. Don’t settle for less.

Step 3: Write down, on three separate lists, the things you hope are true, the things you believe are true and the things you know are true.

Step 4: Ask yourself why you know the things you know.

Step 5: Apply what you know to those areas where you have doubts, where only hope and belief exist today.

I believe that when you truly know something, the following things pertain:

You didn’t accept other people’s opinions. You found out on your own.

You didn’t give up too soon. You kept exploring despite blind alleys and false starts.

You trusted that you have the power, determination and curiosity to find out the real truth. Half-truths left you dissatisfied.

What you truly know grew from the inside. It made you a different person, as different as two people, one of whom has deeply loved and the other hasn’t.

You trusted the process of personal growth.

You aren’t afraid of your emotions. The truth always feels a certain way; uncertainty is queasy and gives off a bad smell.

You went beyond logic into those areas where intuition, insight and wisdom actually count. They became real for you.

I would say that these elements are universal. They apply to the Buddha but also any young person learning how to be in a relationship or finding the right purpose in life. By dividing the project into its components, the huge questions about life, love, God and the soul become manageable. You can work on each ingredient at a time. Are you prone to accepting secondhand opinions? Do you have a habit of distrusting your own decisions? Is love too painful and confusing to explore deeply? These aren’t impossible obstacles. They are part of you, and therefore nothing can be nearer or more intimate. Moving from “I hope” to “I believe” to “I know” is nothing less than the journey of life. You don’t have to buy a ticket. You were born with one in your hand.

Deepak Chopra, MD, is the author of Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/inspiration/how-to-go-from-hoping-to-knowing#ixzz6D5j4H1kr

 

Radical Compassion Challenge

Join Dr. Tara Brach, PhD psychologist and renowned Buddhist teacher and author, for a free on-line event starting January 21, 2020, “Radical Compassion. This ten-day journey into compassion for self and others will provide daily teachings, meditations and activities by Tara Brach and many other luminaries from around the world including Drs. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dan Seigel, Kristen Neff, and Dacher Keltner. Other notables include Maria Shriver, Sandra Oh, and Elizabeth Gilbert. Quite a line-up!

What a great way to start off the new year. This is a gift you can give yourself that is free, and does not involve dieting, denial or exercise!

Namaste!

A Beginner’s Guide to Walking Meditation

Many people have told Dr. John and me that “their” meditation is not sitting down “on the cushion” (as the saying goes) but rather engaging in activities that cultivate a mind that is relaxed and alert. This could include things like:

  • Washing dishes
  • Jogging
  • Vacuuming
  • Gardening
  • Walking

Whatever works for YOU is the main thing. As I like to say, there is no one meditation style that works fits all; if a body-centric meditation calls to you and encourages you to practice regularly, then that is what you should do!

For those of you who have heard about walking meditation, and are interested in trying it, here are some tips from the Chopra Centre that will help you get started.

The fall is a particularly beautiful time to do walking meditation. Enjoy the sunny days, the spectacular colour of the leaves, and the cooler temperatures. It is a wonderful time to go into the forest, without the bugs swarming around your head as you slowly walk and meditate!

Overcoming Chaos – A Free Workshop

At times it feels as though our minds are on auto-pilot and thoughts swirl in chaotic whirlwinds. Meditation can help us calm the storms, centering and connecting us with the present moment.

Deepak Chopra is currently offering a free, four-week workshop called, “Overcoming Chaos” starting in 21 days. In this programme, Dr. Chopra will show you how to reconnect with your essential self, melt away stress and anxiety, and learn how to navigate through the inner chaos of your mind.

Need a little shelter from the inner storms? Try “Overcoming Chaos” with Deepak Chopra!

 

Tai Chi QiGong video

Some of you have joined me at Port Perry Flow Yoga for our six-week “Movement and Meditation” classes. If you are interested in cultivating your home practice in Tai Chi QiGong, and would like a visual reference to some of the movements we have been practicing together, please enjoy this video. The lovely, flowing music and movements of Master Wing Cheung cultivate a sense of peace and relaxation in the practitioner.

Tai Chi Qigong is a gentle, accessible practice that can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age or existing health issues. It is a joy to do, and deeply relaxing. Enjoy!