Deepak Chopra, M.D is the author of more than 80 books translated in over 43 languages, including 22 New York Times bestsellers and his latest release The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times.
Just for a moment, pause and consider all of the roles you have played so far in your life. For example, my life roles have included son, brother, husband, father, student, doctor, author, speaker, and teacher. These have all been fulfilling roles yet they are not who I really am. The real me—and the real you—is infinite and unbounded. Yet too often we identify ourselves with our roles, titles, personality, possessions, and other external attributes. This becomes a boundary that leads to a limited sense of self and closes off possibilities for creativity and new dreams.
If you want to create a compelling new chapter in your life, the first step is to do away with all boundaries. This means letting go of any labels you habitually use to identify yourself, for the moment you define yourself, you limit yourself. Instead of saying “I am this” or “I am that,” practice saying “I am everything” and “I am the universe.”
Here are a few specific exercises that will help you shift your perspective from identifying with the self-image to seeing your true self.
Almost everyone has limiting beliefs. In fact, all beliefs are limiting. If you have a limiting belief, it will become your reality. For example:
“I will never lose weight.”
“I will never be successful.”
“I will never attract love.”
Self-reflection on the illusory nature of limiting beliefs will set you free. Whatever your limiting belief is, ask yourself the following:
Is this belief true?
On what basis do I believe this to be true?
What makes me believe it is true?
How does this belief limit my potential?
How did I develop it?
Do I need it?
What would unfold if I were to let go of this belief?
Recognize the roles you play—parent, spouse, sibling, employee, sports fan, and so on—but understand that you are the underlying, eternal, role-player who wears different masks at different times. You can use the mantra I am or Ah hum to remind you of this permanent identify. I am is without labels and has the potential for infinite possibilities.
Quiet your mind by observing your breath for a few minutes. Now close your eyes and focus your attention in your body and feel all the sensations as they arise and subside. Slowly introduce the idea that your body is becoming lighter and more subtle. Instead of a material body, it is becoming a body of light. Keep your awareness in your body as you visualize the body of light with the same shape as your material body.
Every time you close your eyes for any reason, experience your light body. Soon you will find your material body actually becoming less heavy, more flexible, and more energized.
Keep in mind that hammering yourself with criticism and relying on sheer force of willpower will never lead to positive inner transformation. As you go about creating the next chapter in your life, be gentle and compassionate with yourself.
The following universal principles will help you become aware of how you create your reality, and will empower you to transform or let go of whatever is no longer serving you. Choose one principle to focus on each day and commit to applying it in your life:
The events in my life reflect who I am.
I will choose one thing that happens today and see how it mirrors my self. If I feel angry at someone, I will consider if what I dislike about that person actually exists in me. If an overheard conversation grabs my attention, I will take those worlds as a personal message. I want to look at the world that is inside me.
The people in my life reflect aspects of myself.
Today I will look at my friends, family, and everyone I meet as a group picture of me. Each person stands for a quality I want to see in myself or want to reject, yet in reality I am the whole picture. I learn the most from those I intensely love or intensely dislike.
Whatever I pay attention to will grow in my experience.
I will take an inventory of how I’m using my attention. I will keep a log of my activities to find out how much time I spend on television, the Internet, hobbies, gossip, work I love, work I dread, activities that fulfill me, or escapist fantasies. In tis way I will find out where I am focusing my time, attention, and energy. Then I will ask myself, “What do I want to grow in my life?” The answer will tell me how my attention needs to shift.
Nothing is random—my life is full of signs and symbols.
I will look for patterns in my life. They could be anywhere—in what others say to me, the way I react to situations, how I am treated. I will open my awareness to hidden beliefs that shape my reality. I am weaving the tapestry of my world every day and I need to know what designs I am making. Do I meet opportunities for success or failure? These are symbols for whether or not I believe I have personal power. I will discover my underlying beliefs about love, abundance, health, and every aspect of my life.
The universe always gives me the best possible results.
Today I will focus on the gifts in my life. I will show gratitude for what it working rather than dwelling on what is not. I will notice how my own level of awareness shapes my perception of the world I am co-creating.
My inner awareness is always evolving.
Today I will ask myself how far I’ve come on my chosen path. Where do I stand right now? Where am I going? Even if I don’t see immediate external results, do I feel that I am growing inside? I will set my intention on moving from constriction to expansion.
My true self is pure, unbounded consciousness.
I will remember that thoughts come and go, but the core of consciousness is forever. Today I will experience myself beyond limitations. I will set aside time to be present with myself in silence. I will experience myself as love, as a light that flows from my heart and spreads out into the universe as far as my awareness can reach.