Best-selling author Deepak Chopra explains how we can have it all. But,we have to change our thinking and our approach.
We're a goal-oriented society. For some it's a second beemer, a million dollar home, executive power or sending the kids to Harvard. Sadly, many never achieve these goals. Tragically, many do, only to find they've climbed the wrong mountain.
The reason, says new age guru Deepak Chopra, is we are feeding false appetites while our real hunger remains famished.Recognizing our core affinity as humans, that we all stem from the same collective energy or "quantum soup" and return to it upon death (a common notion in Hindu religion), gives us the confidence to be different while on earth. Instead, we struggle to meet advertisers' ever-escalating standards of success.
Understanding our universal connection, Chopra says, defeats all suffering. "The tradition I belong to says there are only four or five reasons that human beings suffer.
*First is, they don't know who they are.
*Secondly, they grasp and cling to that which is impermanent, and therefore illusory.
*The third is, they recoil and run away from and are afraid of that which is impermanent and illusory.
*The fourth is, that they identify themselves with their skin-encapsulated egos, which are total frauds.
*And the fifth is, they're afraid of death. And, in fact, all these five causes of suffering are contained in the first cause. You don't know who you are. If you find out who you are, it will be a ticket to freedom."
Beneath all of Chopra's language lies a simple concept, self-knowledge. It's a message we've heard from many great thinkers (remember Shakespeare's Polonius advising his son, "To thine own self be true"), but truly knowing who you are and what you want out of life requires us to shake off some deeply ingrained principles.
In words that would freeze the hearts of financial planners.
Chopra suggests we shift our focus from the long-term horizon. "I think if one is more process-oriented than outcome-oriented, you're likely to achieve a great deal of success. It meansI 'm walking this road because I want to get there. But if you really ask me why I'm walking this road, what the real reason for walking this road is, I really love walking this road. And, of course, if I do that, then I will get there, [but] my energy is not consumed by the anxiety of getting there."
How can we get more enjoyment out of the moment instead of banking on a utopian retirement? By simply doing what we love, Chopra says.
He urges us to ask the question: "If I had all the time in the world, and all the money in the world, what would I do? How would I express myself and how would I use that expression of myself to serve the needs of the web of life of which I'm a part?"
Start from, "What would I do if I had all the money and time in the world?" Do that, and you will have all the time and the money in the world."
Of course, there must be some element of pragmatism in your planning. Chances are surfing or golfing full-time won't put food on the table. The trick is to find a sustaining purpose that aligns your interests with your actions and the greater good of others.
"If you're enjoying what you do, if you're part of the ecosystem, if you provide a service that benefits people, then success is a byproduct, a reflection of your creativity, and your ease," Chopra says. "It's not dependent on hardwork and driving ambition and exacting plans. On the other hand, it's created by having truly a purpose in life, a vision, a commitment to the vision, the enjoyment of the journey and a connectedness with people."
If you can live this advice, you may find all those fruits you once longed for (the beemer, the house, etc.) within your reach. But now instead of being the sole objects of a misguided desire, they will be the fringe benefits of a live fully lived.