Part 1 - The Ten Keys to Happiness
Deepak Chopra - January 01, 2006
Physical well-being is inseparable from emotional well being. Happy people are healthy people. The wisdom traditions of the world tell us that happiness does not depend on what you have, but on who you are. As we begin the new year, it may be worthwhile to reflect on what really creates happiness in us. The following ten keys, gleaned from the wisdom traditions, may give us some insight.
1. 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 your body sends a signal of comfort and eagerness, proceed.
2. Live in the present, for it is the only moment you 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 it 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.
3. Take time to be silent, to meditate, to quiet the internal dialogue. In moments of silence, realize that you are recontacting 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.
4. 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. There is great freedom in this realization.
5. When you find yourself reacting with anger or opposition to any person or circumstance, realize that you are only struggling with yourself. Putting up 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.
6. 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. The goal is total self-knowledge. When you achieve that, what you most want will automatically be there, and what you most dislike will disappear.
7. Shed the burden of judgment - you will feel much lighter. Judgment imposes right and wrong on situations that just 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.
8. 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.
9. Replace fear-motivated behavior with love-motivated behavior. Fear is the product of memory, which dwells in the past. Remembering what 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.
10. Understand that the physical world is just a mirror of a 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. But 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.
Part 2 - 10 Secrets of Longevity
Dr Deepak Chopra prescribes 10 simple rules for ageing with health and happiness in his "most optimistic book" Ageless Body, Timeless Mind - A Quantum alternative to growing old. Here's an interpretation:
- Intake fresh food, eat frugally, drink wholesome liquids, abstain from stimulants and sedatives, and have a bowel movement once a day.
- Maintain a high level of personal hygiene, get plenty of fresh air, sunlight and rest, have enjoyable leisure time, satisfying hobbies.
- Exercise, meditate, practice balanced refined breathing (pranayam) and yoga, listen to the body's signal of comfort and discomfort.
- Work for a happy marriage, long-term relationship, have ability to laugh easily and to make friends and keep close friends.
- Choose a congenial occupation, go on vacation every year, be optimistic about the future, feel financially secure and live within means.
- Develop an easygoing personality, cultivate nonviolent behavior, have reverence for life.
- Live in temperate climate, enjoy a reasonable sex life, and get proper medical attention in case of illness.
- Live in the present - accept what comes your way, appreciate it, learn from it and let go. Resisting the natural flow of things causes negative emotions.
- Relinquish external approval, avoid being judgmental, replace fear-motivated behavior with love-motivated one, nurture positive emotions and express them freely.
- Always know the world outside is a reflection of your deeper intelligence - the real "you" is within.