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Deepak Chopra, M.D. on the Benefits of Meditation

"The most significant health benefits of meditation are stress reduction, better sleep, lower blood pressure, improved immunity, and the ability to stay centered in the midst of all the turmoil that's going on around you. Meditation helps you do less and accomplish more."

Deepak Chopra"If you were to ask me what was the most important experience of my life, I would say it was learning to meditate. Meditation has been the key to the creativity, success and happiness I have enjoyed in my own life and it continues to be the most powerful healing tool we offer here at the Chopra Center."

"If you were to ask me what was the most important experience of my life, I would say it was learning to meditate. Meditation has been the key to the creativity, success and happiness I have enjoyed in my own life and it continues to be the most powerful healing tool we offer here at the Chopra Center."

"Although, as I've said, meditation is a spiritual journey reconnecting us with our true essential nature, in the West it has come to be thought of as a technique for stress-management. We are constantly being bombarded with stress from work or family pressures, environmental conditions, poor diet and lifestyle choices and a variety of other distractions, therefore releasing stress is essential for a healthy life. Meditation takes us from activity into silence, giving our body a very deep level of rest. Rest is how the body heals itself, which it does by throwing off the stress, fatigue and the toxins accumulated during our life. Thus meditation serves a twofold purpose: it gives us direct experience of our Spirit and in the process dissolves the impurities which are preventing Spirit from shining forth in our lives."

As a young physician in the 1970's, I was attracted to meditation for two reasons, one personal, the other professional. The personal reason was the promise of inner growth, of reaching an expanded state of mental and spiritual development. The professional reason was the large body of research on meditation that established that this meditation was "real", that is, it produced tangible benefits.

Meditation is not forcing your mind to be quiet; it's finding the quiet that is already there. In fact, when you examine the background static of worry, resentment, wishful thinking, fantasy, unfulfilled hopes, and vague dreams in your head, it becomes clear that the internal dialogue going on inside is literally controlling us. Each of us is the victim of memory. That's how the Ayurvedic masters diagnosed it thousands of years ago.

Behind the screen of our internal dialogue, there is something entirely different: the silence of a mind that is not imprisoned by the past. That is the silence we want to bring into our awareness through meditation. Why is this important? Because silence is the birthplace of happiness. Silence is where we get out bursts of inspiration, our tender feelings of compassion and empathy, our sense of love. These are all delicate emotions and the chaotic roar of the internal dialogue easily drowns them out. But when you discover the silence in your mind, you no longer have to pay attention to all those random images that trigger worry, anger, and pain."

"The science of Yoga, in use for thousands of years in India, "unites the thinking mind with its source in pure awareness i.e., the quantum space, the silent, empty void that is the womb of all matter and energy that exists in the gap between thoughts; the unchanging background against which all mental activity takes place." Our minds are preoccupied with thoughts, wishes, dreams, fantasies, sensations and only Meditation "shows the mind its own origins in the quantum depths."

Dr Chopra claims that meditation lowers biological age. He writes, meditation is based on the silent repetition of a specific sanskrit word, or mantra, whose sound vibrations gradually lead the mind out of its normal thinking process and into the silence that underlies thought.

Time Magazine heralded Deepak Chopra as one of the 100 heroes and icons of the century, and credited him as the poet-prophet of alternative medicine. Entertainment Weekly described Deepak Chopra as q>Hollywood's man of the moment, one of publishing's best-selling and most prolific self-help authors. He is the author of more than 50 books and more than 100 audio, video and CD-Rom titles. He has been published on every continent and in dozens of languages. Over a dozen of his books have landed on the New York Times Best-seller list. Toastmaster International recognized him as one of the top five outstanding speakers in the world. Through his over two decades of work since leaving his medical practice, Deepak continues to revolutionize common wisdom about the crucial connection between body, mind, spirit, and healing. His mission ofbridging the technological miracles of the west with the wisdom of the eastremains his thrust and provides the basis for his recognition as one of India's historically greatest ambassadors to the west. Chopra has been a keynote speaker at several academic institutions including Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, Harvard Divinity School, Kellogg School of Management, Stanford Business School and Wharton.

Note: Transcendental Stress Management ® is a mantra based meditation program, a specific mantra meditation method that is taught by trained teachers. Learning how to meditate with a mantra also includes the most important component: Learning how to use that mantra. This requires several easy sessions. This enables every student to gain the ease and simplicity of meditation. There is the mantra and also how to use it properly, effortlessly.

The TSM technique allows your mind to settle inward, beyond thought, to experience the silent reservoir of energy, creativity and intelligence found within everyone—a natural state of restful alertness. During the practice, your brain functions with significantly greater coherence and your body gains deep rest.

Quotes by Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Just the slightest opening of awareness causes a reality shift. Meditation, because it opens more channels of awareness and opens them to a deeper level, causes a bigger shift.
By removing the distractions of stress, meditation renews the nervous system’s memory of balance.
The body at peace is stronger than the body at war. When you can free yourself of the random, uncontrollable stress that is always present, your body will start to be at peace.
Your body doesn't like holding on to stress; it does so essentially at the urging of the mind. Taking your mind off the situation and letting your body release its excess energies is a valuable step.
Learn to get in touch with the innermost essence of your being. This true essence is beyond the ego. It is fearless, it is free, it is immune to criticism, it does not fear any challenge. It is beneath no one, superior to no one, and full of magic, mystery and enchantment.

Below are 2 separate lists of tips from Deepak Chopra, M.D., entitled The 10 Secrets of Longevity and The Ten Keys to Happiness.

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:

  1. Intake fresh food, eat frugally, drink wholesome liquids, abstain from stimulants and sedatives, and have a bowel movement once a day.
  2. Maintain a high level of personal hygiene, get plenty of fresh air, sunlight and rest, have enjoyable leisure time, satisfying hobbies.
  3. Exercise, meditate, practice balanced refined breathing (pranayam) and yoga, listen to the body's signal of comfort and discomfort.
  4. Work for a happy marriage, long-term relationship, have ability to laugh easily and to make friends and keep close friends.
  5. Choose a congenial occupation, go on vacation every year, be optimistic about the future, feel financially secure and live within means.
  6. Develop an easygoing personality, cultivate nonviolent behavior, have reverence for life.
  7. Live in temperate climate, enjoy a reasonable sex life, and get proper medical attention in case of illness.
  8. 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.
  9. Relinquish external approval, avoid being judgmental, replace fear-motivated behavior with love-motivated one, nurture positive emotions and express them freely.
  10. Always know the world outside is a reflection of your deeper intelligence - the real "you" is within.

Read more by Dr. Chopra on Meditation: Why Meditate?