Deepak Chopra is a leader in the merging of mind/body and scientific/holistic medicine.
He has stated, “Your mind, your body and your consciousness – which is your spirit – and your social interactions, your personal relationships, your environment, how you deal with the environment, and your biology are all inextricably woven into a single process … By influencing one, you influence everything.”
His philosophies have been criticized, lauded, ignored, and attacked over the decades, but his words still offer food for thought.
Chopra’s Take on Happiness
The world’s wisdom traditions, from the Indian Vedas to Buddhism and Christianity, have examined human happiness and unhappiness in depth. The points these traditions make do not fit into our Westernized, capitalistic culture and are not what you’d expect:
1) Pleasure isn’t the same as happiness, and getting more pleasure isn’t what will make you happy.
2) Unhappiness is rooted in not knowing who you really are.
3) Relying on another person’s love to make you happy means that they also have the power to take your happiness away. Even the prospect of this is enough to make happiness feel insecure.
4) Eternal happiness isn’t a matter of finding your way to paradise, but of contacting the bliss that’s a fundamental aspect of pure consciousness. To capture such bliss personally requires some lifestyle adaptations.
Let’s expand on the last point, since the promise of happiness as an inner state — one that nobody can take away from you — depends on what you’re willing to do to realize it.
1) Live close to nature’s rhythms and cycles, especially with regard to getting good sleep and going out into natural beauty on a regular basis.
2) Reduce external stressors, making a serious effort to live and work in a positive environment.
3) Make time every day to relax. Make time every day to play.
4) Let your brain experience the quiet inner state that is the gateway to higher consciousness. Meditation takes you on the inward path, but there are similar traditions and techniques of prayer, contemplation, self-reflection and Hatha Yoga.
5) Limit the toxicity of alcohol, tobacco and adulterated food. Favor a natural, organic diet whenever possible. Drink pure water; breathe pure air.
6) Dedicate your primary relationship to mutual happiness. Work together so that your partner’s happiness feels as fulfilling as your own.
7) Avoid the daily temptations of negativity, such as gossip, dwelling on bad news, venting our anger and impatience and blaming others.
8) Take responsibility for your own happiness.
9) Aim at the highest kind of happiness, which is spiritual and devoid of ego.
10) Enjoy the lifelong project of building a self, because it is the prospect of a fulfilled self that brings satisfaction even in the face of resistance, obstacles and setbacks