I knew about this man, I followed him on Twitter and liked his page on Facebook; I invited him into my life when I decided to pay attention to my spiritual self and redirect my dharma. It was at a yoga class given by my amazing teacher Jacqueline Quesnel that I first got wind of the fact that he was going to be paying us a visit – here – in Trinidad. I wasn’t even aware that he had already been to our shores, but I knew that I had to be part of this audience.
Elder Associates Limited – a private service firm that offers specialised counselling and psychological services to both organisations and individuals – were celebrating their 20th anniversary. Founder and Executive Director Dr. Patricia Elder decided that bringing Dr. Chopra down would be the most fitting way to do this. In her words, she wanted to give the attendees a ‘wow’ experience – and to also help them realise their full potential as human beings. Makes perfect sense to me, and being given the chance to sit and listen to him speak was an opportunity that I would always be grateful for.
For newbies: Dr. Deepak Chopra is a bestselling author and founder of the Chopra Centre for Wellbeing in California, and a guru of sorts for many of us on the path to enlightenment and contentment.
After an opening prayer by Dr. Clive Harvey, we got down to business and Dr. Chopra took centre stage. Our first exercise was to turn to the person next to us and look deep into their eyes – and for this I am very grateful that I was sitting next to my dear friend Paige – and take turns in asking each other intermittently ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What do you want?’ These simple questions resurrected some very deep and largely ignored feelings and issues in me. And so we began.
We learnt that our mind is actually our spirit localised by conditioning. Factors that shape this conditioning would be: politics, religion, childhood memories, friends, neighbourhoods etc. One of my most favourite quotes from Rumi was repeated by Dr. Chopra throughout his entire presentation: ‘You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean, in a drop’. This means that the universe exists inside of each and every one of us – not just spiritually, but very much scientifically as well.
He went on to explain that all the atoms in our bodies are recycled from all other life forms on the planet – so each and every one of us is unquestionably connected in some way.
Lots of people look towards having an out of body experience to convince them of their spirituality. Dr. Chopra suggests having an in-body experience. Contemplate these words:
You are not in your body – your body is in you. The universe is in you…you exist everywhere. The mind is in me. This is infinite consciousness. To connect to your infinite consciousness you need to go deep within yourself. You are a reflection of the universe. When you look at the universe the universe is looking at itself through you. The observer then becomes the observed. Be still and know that I am God.
Almost makes you want to cry…
The total of all that we experience would be:
There is no other experience that activates the brain as totally and as profoundly as love. And now…Now is the only moment there is – now never ends. That is the power of now.
Out of 180 countries polled on the Gallup Wellbeing Poll, Trinidad was ranked 31st, which isn’t really that bad – it shows that 44% of our population is thriving, 51% is struggling, and 5% is suffering. We would do well to show some love to that 5%.
There are five aspects to wellbeing:
- Career Wellbeing
- Social Wellbeing
- Physical Wellbeing
- Community Wellbeing
- Financial Wellbeing
You can give yourself a simple quiz to see the state of your wellbeing in these critical areas – the answers to these questions will indicate to you which areas need some more attention.
1. Career Wellbeing
Do you enjoy your work? Look forward to it? Are you treated with respect? And are your suggestions welcomed and implemented?
2. Social Wellbeing
Do you have friends? Do you feel a sense of the three A’s when around them – Attention, Affection, Appreciation? It won’t hurt sometimes to expand your social circle.
3. Physical Wellbeing
Does your food groups include these six tastes every day? Sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent and astringent? (By the way – coffee has all kinds of benefits – yayyy!) Are you getting eight hours of sleep a day? Exercise daily?
4. Community Wellbeing
Do you invest at least four hours a week of your time on a worthy cause? Do you attend organised community events? Do you pray and meditate?
5. Financial Wellbeing
Happy employees lead to happy customers that lead to happy investors. As an employer, do you ensure that your employees are happy? Save – but spend on experiences rather than possessions. Learn to give.
There are five Kleshas that affect your spiritual wellbeing:
(1) Not knowing the true nature of reality
(2) Clinging or holding on to that which is transitory, illusory and therefore not real i.e. change
(3) Fear from, aversion to that which is transitory, illusory and therefore not real
(4) Identification with a false, constricted and habitual self – your ego
(5) The fear of death
There was so much more to these five hours spent, which can’t really be detailed in one blog to any large extent. We ended the day with a 15-minute guided mediation which – when done properly – would prove to be an invaluable tool to us in combating stress and negative forces and bringing a sense of calm and inner peace.
Should you decide to embark on a path to spiritual wellbeing, it won’t happen overnight. It’s a process. And it will take time. But do you know what you’ll find along the way? That the big things became the little things. That the negative forces and dark energies became easier to recognise and to disallow from your life. That everything you needed was inside of you. And that you learned to love.
Don’t allow your past to torture you. Do some yoga. And honour your journey. Namaste.
Should you be interested in Dr. Chopra’s guided meditation you can visit the website at chopracentermeditation.com or check out youtube.com/thechoprawell.