3 keys to happiness
Renowned spirituality and self-help guru Deepak Chopra reveals the secret to finding happiness and fulfillment
Your first and most reliable guide to happiness is your body. The body is designed to support the mind, and working together they create the state known as happiness. Together, mind and body form a single field. It is artificial to separate them as we usually do. You cannot have a single thought, sensation or feeling without your body responding.
Awareness leads to happiness
The first key to happiness tells us that by being aware of your body, you are connecting to the underlying field of infinite possibilities. Awareness has tremendous power. It tunes into every cell. It regulates the body’s countless interactions. Awareness is the invisible, silent agent that lets your body know what your mind is thinking, and at the same time it sends feedback from the body so that the mind feels supported and understood. Ideally, when you experience being loved, your mind will grasp that you are loved, your cells will be nourished by that love and your soul will rejoice that you have reached deep enough to find the source of love. Every good thing in life saturates your whole being.
When you withdraw awareness, disruptions occur on many levels at the same time. Feedback loops no longer operate as they should between mind and body. The flow of energy and nourishment needed by every cell begins to diminish. By not paying attention to your body, you are putting it in the same predicament as a neglected child. How can a child be expected to develop normally if the parents pay no attention, if they ignore its cries for help, and remain indifferent to whether their child is happy or unhappy? The same question applies to the body, and it leads to the same answer. The body doesn’t stop developing around age 20, an arbitrary time we call maturity. Constant change is always taking place, all the way down to the level of genes. Change is never neutral. Either it leads to growth, development and evolution or it leads in the opposite direction, toward decline, decay and disorder. The difference depends on how you pay attention, because attention is your connection to the field of infinite possibilities.
Three qualities that contribute to happiness:
The field has certain qualities or attributes that support mind, body, and spirit. There are three qualities that contribute to happiness most significantly. Intelligence is the first. When you listen to your body, you eavesdrop on the mind of the universe. This involves many tasks at once. A human body can think thoughts, play a piano, secrete hormones, regulate skin temperature, kill germs and remove toxins all at the same time. That is a miraculous display of intelligence. This intelligence also allows you to make choices that lead to fulfillment.
Fulfillment seems mysterious to many people, but we can break it down into its simplest parts. Fulfillment is the result of right thought, right feelings and right action. Each area involves the body. We don’t have to create artificial boundaries between a liver cell that makes a right choice and the mind making a right choice. Intelligence embraces both. If it makes a mistake at the chemical or genetic level, the cell dies or becomes malignant. The mind discriminates right from wrong at a different level, the level of ethics and morals. The emotions have their own level, discriminating between nourishing and toxic feelings, or between loving and harmful relationships. When you are consciously aware of your body and what it is telling you, the quality of intelligence is amplified. Its reach is infinite. While the human body performs countless physical processes, it tracks the movement of stars and planets, because your biological rhythms are actually the symphony of the whole universe.
The second attribute of the field is creativity. Creativity keeps the flow of life fresh and new. It prevents inertia; it dispels habit. Much of the time the body seems stuck in routine. Simply to process food and air, your cells must endlessly repeat the same chemical processes with tremendous accuracy; no improvisation is allowed. But miraculously, the body also has complete flexibility to adapt to new situations. When you decide to do something new’have a baby, run a marathon or climb a mountain’billions of cells adapt to your intention. This flexibility isn’t mechanical. It’s not like your car accelerating because you push down on the gas pedal. Rather, your body adapts creatively.
You can observe this in how creatively you can think and speak. No two thoughts are required to be exactly alike; no two sentences demand exactly the same words. The brain displays a pattern of neural activity to match any thought or sentence, even if that thought or sentence has never before appeared in the history of the universe. The ancient Vedic wisdom tradition in India identified creativity with Ananda, or bliss. Bliss is usually described as intense joy, but cells have their own bliss in the form of vitality, flow, and infinite dynamism.
To be most alive is to be in bliss. When you are in that state, everything feels possible. Your body is no longer a burden; you feel light as air. Nothing is old or stale. Instead, your creative potential is ignited. Creativity depends on the constant ability of life to refresh itself, and that ability is founded on bliss. You don’t have to force yourself to be blissful–you couldn’t if you tried–but only to be aware. Bliss is innate in awareness, which by its nature is lively, alert, effervescent and joyful. The absence of those things can be corrected simply by accessing deeper awareness.
The third attribute of the field is power. Power doesn’t mean aggression. The power you don’t see or feel is the greatest power of all. It organizes a thousand billion cells into one smoothly operating organism. It defends against every virus and germ that could harm the body, and monitors outbreaks of cancer inside the body itself.
Once again, it is entirely artificial to put boundaries around this quality of the field. Mind, body, and spirit express power in their own ways. The mind expresses power as attention and intention, turning wisps of thought into outward achievement. The body expresses power through physical strength and endurance, but also by organizing infinite processes into a coherent whole. Spirit expresses power by turning pure potential into reality. In the Indian tradition, spiritual power, called Shakti, is the most fundamental. When you possess Shakti, you can turn the invisible into the visible. Whatever you imagine manifests as reality. There are no obstacles between your desire and its fulfillment.
Excerpted from The Ultimate Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra Copyright © 2009 by Deepak Chopra. Excerpted by permission of Harmony. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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