“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.” ~William Blake
In his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes, Deepak Chopra describes transformation as the “true nature of every being and of the universe itself.” In every moment you are changing, no matter how imperceptibly, and the version of you who is reading these words right now is not the same version of you who opened this newsletter a few moments ago or who will finish reading and move on to your next activity. At the physical level, you are constantly reinventing yourself. Your body replaces your skin cells once a month, your skeleton every three months, and your liver and DNA every six weeks. Your emotions are also constantly shifting with every thought, interaction, and circumstance unfolding in your mind and environment.
Most of us are unaware that we are in a state of continual transformation, and unless we make a conscious choice to see ourselves anew, we will have a tendency to define ourselves from a limited, static perspective. We may tell ourselves, “I’ve never been spontaneous and I never will be” or “I’m too old to study for a new career,” or “I’m not good at communicating, managing my finances, playing sports, cooking, home repairs (or fill in the blank).”
To open ourselves to new possibilities and success in every aspect of our life, we must be willing to change the entrenched ways in which we perceive ourselves and act in the world. The first step is to change our limited sense of identity. To begin this shift, try this simple meditation:
Close your eyes and remember yourself as a little child. As you travel back in time and see this younger version of yourself, notice that at one point in the past, you identified with this person, yet today he or she is most likely no more familiar to you than a stranger. Keeping your eyes closed, envision yourself ten years from now with a different body and different personality . . . as someone who has grown in maturity and understanding beyond where you are today.
Now go outside of your own body and imagine that you are an eagle in the sky. See what the world might look like from that vantage point, soaring high above in the clouds. Or you can choose to take on the consciousness of another animal − a bear lumbering through the woods or a dolphin gliding through the waves. Or you might take on another human persona, such as an artist sculpting a statue, an athlete training for a match, or a pilot guiding a plane.
When you are ready, take a few deep breaths and open your eyes. You have just practiced the art of shape shifting, using the infinite power of your mind to go beyond the ego’s rigid definitions of who you are to explore new possibilities.
Practices for Transformation
Although we may consciously desire to change and evolve, the ego’s natural tendency is to resist and hold on to the way things are. The ego craves certainty and control and can easily become entrenched in a particular perspective, constricting our awareness of new possibilities. How can we move beyond the ego’s fears and resistance? Here are three practices that can help:
Meditate.Meditation is central to the ability to remain fresh and open to a reality that is not simply a replaying of past experience. Meditation is a powerful practice for cultivating witness consciousness – a state of silent awareness that transcends the mind. As you observe your thoughts arising and disappearing in the vastness of your awareness, you will become less and less identified with your conditioned mind and its creations. They will cease to define your reality as you begin to see that they are just one perspective in a universe filled with perspectives. With a regular daily meditation practice, the mind spontaneously begins to let go of old conditioning and rigid habits of thinking.
Allow. It is much easier to tolerate and ultimately embrace uncertainty when you don’t wage a battle against your fears, worries, and doubt. Doing so only causes the ego mind to cling more tightly to entrenched beliefs. Instead, focus your attention on the present moment and allow any feelings of discomfort to arise without giving them too much importance. Reassure yourself that everything is all right and will be all right even if you don't know what's going to happen.
Reframe. In every moment, we have the power to shift our interpretation of a situation and find new value and even enjoyment in something that previously frightened us. For example, the mind’s biochemical response to a roller-coaster ride varies radically depending on whether a person loves the ride or fears it. For someone who loves roller-coasters, the ride stimulates a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters that heightens the senses and creates a state of euphoria. For the fearful person, the ride elicits a series of responses that weakens the body and diminishes awareness. By gently encouraging yourself to embrace the unknown and enjoy the present, you help shift your interpretation of life towards empowerment and happiness.
When you find your core certainty within, you no longer look for certainty outside. You also spend more and more time in present moment awareness. The present moment is characterized by infinite flexibility and is the doorway to the field of all possibilities. Whenever you find yourself out of the present moment, shift your attention to your witnessing self. This is the self that observes you grasping or recoiling, anticipating or resisting. In this simple process of coming back to the self, you return to the present moment.
As you cultivate present moment awareness, you become alert to new possibilities and open to creative solutions that will lead you to the fulfillment of your goals – without all the frustration, struggle, and resistance that comes from relying on sheer willpower and relentless effort. This is the path of transformation.
The following video presents the transformational story of Michelle Cochran, one of our Chopra Center−certified instructors, who had the courage and the vision to become the best version of herself.
Starting a New Path
Your own transformational path can begin right now. Become a certified Chopra Center instructor. Whether you are looking to expand your horizons, deepen your knowledge, or transform your life, our teacher training programs offer the platform for you to soar. Explore our instructor certification programs:
Thousands from around the world have dedicated themselves to learning, sharing, teaching, and mastering the curricula created by Drs. Deepak Chopra and David Simon. And wherever you live, whatever you do – you can, too.
Cultivating a daily meditation practice is a foundational element of Chopra Center teachings, and advanced teacher instruction in Primordial Sound Meditation will take your own practice to a higher level while giving you the tools to help others find greater peace and fulfillment in their lives. Immersion in the Perfect Health Ayurvedic Lifestyle teachings has created certified teachers of mind-body balance who support the transformation of thousands around the globe. Our Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga teachers have touched tens of thousands of students on every continent, opening them to transformation and physical and emotional connection.