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Blue-shirtDear Deepak,

Some people have said to me that meditation isn’t necessary for spiritual growth. I have hear you say that meditation, purification & attention are the main ingredients for obtaining enlightenment. Isn’t there something that meditation can do that purification & attention “alone”  can not?

Deepak’s answer:
Meditation isn’t necessary if one’s awareness is permanently established in self-referral consciousness. If the silent witness is fully awake to every experience night and day and all aspects of life are fully supported by the infinite energy and intelligence of the cosmos, then a spiritual practice isn’t required.

What an effective meditation practice can offer that attention and purification techniques can’t is the ability to take you out of the mental process itself. The unique importance of meditation is in its paradoxical function of using the mind to transcend the mind. For it is only by stepping outside of the activity of thinking and doing that we know our Self, our true essential nature beyond time, space and causality. That experience is the sine qua non of spiritual growth. This direct contact with one’s inner nature is more important than all the spiritual conceptualizing, philosophizing or beliefs we may focus on. With the experience of the Self, the practices of attention and purification become truly effective.


Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Deepak Chopra, M.D.

One of the most common – and most destructive – pitfalls in any relationship is the phenomenon known as projection. Projection occurs when  we attach a quality, belief, motive, or feeling that we have disowned in ourselves onto another person. For example, to avoid feeling that we’re not good enough, we judge others as inadequate.

Projection is destructive to relationships for two major reasons: 1.) It prevents us from truly knowing and accepting ourselves, and 2.) It prevents us from truly knowing and accepting others.  In addition, the traits or feelings we have denied in  ourselves have an unexpressed energy acts like a magnet, repeatedly attracting the “wrong” people into our lives until we’re willing to accept both the light and dark sides of ourselves.

Frequently, we are unaware that we are projecting and are unaware that the very trait we are projecting is our own. A man who secretly thinks that his boss secretly hates him may actually be projecting his own hidden rage against authority. Or a woman who is feeling tempted to have an extramarital affair may project her desires onto her husband and become obsessed with the idea that he is being unfaithful. At one point or another, we have all used projection as an unconscious defense to avoid looking inward.

Embracing Your Wholeness

The essential nature of the universe is the coexistence of opposites. You cannot be virtuous if you do not have the capacity for evil. You cannot be wise if you do not have an inner fool. And you cannot be generous if you do not have a stingy person inside you. In fact, the most enlightened people are those who accept their own ambiguity and full potential for light and dark. As the ancient Vedic sages observed, “The measure of your enlightenment is your level of comfort with your own paradoxes.”

The first step to stop projecting is to see when you’re doing it. Negativity is a major clue that you are projecting, for projection is never neutral. It expresses itself as negative energy because what it’s disguising is negative.

emotionsContact your hidden feelings. The moment that you realize you may be projecting a hidden feeling, tune into what that feeling is. Don’t delay because the opportunity will quickly evaporate. Just before you deploy your defense, you actually feel that which you don’t want to feel. Ask yourself, What am I feeling right now? and notice the sensations in your body. Feelings are so named because we feel them in our body. Our mind may try to rationalize or dismiss feelings, but the body never lies.  To connect with your feelings, you will need to be alert, wiling, open, honest, and courageous.

Make peace with your feelings. Once you are in touch with your feelings, acknowledge them. Don’t attack them, bemoan them, attempt to change them, or even try to feel “fine” about your unwanted feelings.  All of these strategies reinforce denial of your authentic inner life. Feelings have feelings, and they know when they are unwanted and will cooperate by going underground.  Fear cooperates by trying to hide. Anger cooperates by pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s impossible to accept an unwanted feeling, and until you simply allow and acknowledge a feeling, it will persist. That is all you need to do. Tell your feeling, “I see you. You belong to me.”

happy childrenAs you practice acknowledging your feelings, they will start to feel less unwanted and then they will begin to tell you their story. Every feeling contains a story: “I am this way for a reason.” Be receptive to the story that emerges, no matter what it is. Most painful stories of guilt, shame, resentment, inferiority, and other primal negativity are rooted in childhood. Imagine the small child that you were and, as best you can, be gentle and accepting. Remind yourself that you had a valid reason for denying or rejecting a feeling or aspect of yourself.

As an adult, you no longer need to protect yourself from a childhood that is long past. You can now experience the full range of your emotions in complete safety, knowing that you aren’t a threatened child but a magnificent spirit. The more you practice allowing your feelings,  the more peace, love, and self-acceptance will expand in your experience.


FreeToLove-EmotionsPathHealing from Painful Relationships
If you are having a hard time letting go of emotional pain created from past or ongoing relationships, consider  joining us at the Chopra Center for the Healing the Heart workshop this June 1-3, 2012.

tim_headshotDeveloped by Chopra Center co-founder Dr. David Simon, this life-transforming workshop is based on a unique five-step process that integrates the wisdom of the Eastern healing arts with modern psychological principles. In our compassionate setting, you will be gently guided by Chopra Center master educators Dr. Tim Brieske and Trista Thorp to identify and release the emotional pain and limiting beliefs that contribute to anxiety, addictive behaviors, chronic pain, depression, obesity, chronic fatigue, and many other physical and emotional health problems.
Learn how to forgive yourself and others, and – most important – fill the newly opened space in your heart with love, strength, and trista_headshot_updatetrue fulfillment. Whether you’ve recently experienced an emotional upset  or you have been carrying the pain of old  wounds for a long time, Healing the Heart will help you rediscover joy and return to wholeness.

Learn more and enroll in Healing the Heart here.

For more than twenty yeaSoulCenteredBookCoverrs, Sarah McLean sought the secrets of meditation and world mystic traditions: she was a resident in an ashram in India, lived in a remote Zen Buddhist monastery, bicycled through countries Asia and the Middle East, and worked among some of the great teachers of our time.

In her new book, Soul-Centered, Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation, she presents a contemporary view of meditation, shares inspiring stories, and offers an effective meditation program

You will discover a variety of time-tested meditation techniques and self-awareness practices that will guide you towards a happy, fulfilling, and soul-centered life.

Visit to read a free excerpt of the new book.

“Soul-Centered is entertaining, informative, and inspiring for even the most experienced meditator.”  ~Deepak Chopra


Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey in India

This April 29 on a special, one-hour Super Soul Sunday, Oprah Winfrey sits down with world-renowned thought leader Dr. Deepak Chopra, who was the inspiration for her recent trip to India. Deepak joins Oprah for a revealing conversation about his ground-breaking work in the field of mind-body medicine, the life lessons he’s learned from his parents and family, and the influence that India’s rich cultural traditions have had on his journey. He also describes his recent life-changing experience as a Buddhist monk in Thailand. Click here to find the

Watch a sneak peak of the show here.



Two questions about meditation. First off, is there any differences between the types of meditations? Such as breath meditation, mantra meditation, heart meditation. I own a copy of your Secrets of Meditation audio, and it seems each session is something different. Do they all result in the same thing, or is the effect of each of them different? My second question is that recently it feels like my meditation practice isn’t as peaceful as it used to be. I can remember times when I would meditate and my whole body would feel calm, and when I would come out I would be peaceful and anywhere from just simple and happy to exuberantly happy (with the Chopra Center’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge). Now none of that is there really. It feels like I am just sitting there repeating the mantra, and it feels the same as when I went in, or sometimes more aggravated over some things or thoughts when I come out. It’s frustrating to say the least. Am I doing it wrong? I could use some advice.

Deepak’s Response:

There are many types of meditation practices, breath ones, silent ones, visual ones, guided ones, standing ones, etc. Your mantra meditation is designed to give you the experience of your true self and in the process clear away the old conditioning that inhibits you from having that self-awareness at all times. The phase you are at now is temporary and indicates that you are clearing away some blocks and once they have been released your experiences will again be more deep and peaceful.


So here we go…

I arrived in NYC a short time ago to start production on the our new YouTube channel, TheChopraWell.

Rewind…several months ago we signed a deal with the fine folks at YouTube to build out a premium channel in the health and wellness space that launches this July. Ever since, we’ve been think tanking on what that actually means. Is it daily yoga poses and meditation techniques? 7 steps to reversing your aging? 10 lessons for finding your soulmate?

Or maybe it’s really a spirituality channel. Less how to and more how come, you’know? Like, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” or “What happens to me when I die?”

What about tone? More Deepak and the nature of consciousness? Or more Gotham and the nature of cynicism? Or more Mallika and the nature of goodness?

And then: the revelation. It’s YouTube, people. The greatest incubator in the world. Just do it…and the will come. Or they won’t. Then just do something different …and they will come. Or they won’t. You see a pattern here? YouTube analytics will show us the way.

Which brings us to The Chopra Well: Manhattan Project. Here are the details:

This Thursday, April 19

Ask Deepak at 10 am, Meditation Flash Mob at 11am

Union Square (West Plaza) NYC

The idea? I’m bringing my dad off the mountaintop and putting him in the heart of Manhattan to see what happens when the rubber hits the road. Our conceit is that spirituality shouldn’t just be for the 1%, the folks willing to visit spas and ashrams and meditation retreats. On the contrary. We want to create a dialogue that engages normal people curious about the meaning of their lives and their connection to the cosmos around them. We want cultural conversations around purpose and significance. We want to plunge down the rabbit hole together and explore together this vast conspiracy of miracles that is the Universe around us.


Will it work? That depends on you. On who shows up. On the questions you ask and the conversations that ensue. We’re throwing in a flash mob meditation around lunchtime because, well, that just sounds cool.

Back to one: Please come and join us on Thursday morning if you are in and around the NYC region. You’ll get a chance to meet my dad and question and ask him your deepest questions about health, spirituality, and life in general. If it works, we’re taking this show on the road and maybe we’ll come to a location near you. Subscribe to our channel and become a part of our community. Join the conversation. Be a part of the critical mass that will change the conversation. Start by asking a question. And oh yeah, there are no stupid questions, just spiritual answers.

See you Thursday.

About Gotham Chopra

gothamGotham Chopra is a multi-media voice on issues of spirituality, culture, and news. As an anchor for Channel One News — an in-school educational news broadcast seen daily by upwards of 8 million American students — Gotham reported from Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, Egypt, China, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Colombia, Russia, Chechnya, Mexico, Honduras, all across Europe and the United States. He has interviewed a wide range of Global leaders — from President Bush to the Dalai Lama to associates and foot soldiers of Osama Bin Laden. He has hosted events as diverse as the Pope’s pep rally in St. Louis to the action at the fifty-yard line at the Superbowl. Gotham’s global assignments have sent him on patrol with anti-militant commando units in war torn Kashmir and had him detained by secret police in China, Iran, and Pakistan. Gotham is the author of Familiar Strangers (Random House 2002) — a non-fiction and spiritual chronicle of his travels and encounters at the frontlines of areas in conflict and transition. Gotham served as Story Editor on the Bulletproof Monk — a comic book about bullets, monks, gangs, and seekers. He also served as Executive Producer of the feature Film with John Woo’s Lion Rock Films and MGM Studios, which appeared in theaters in 2003. He is also author of Child of the Dawn, a novel published in 1996 and translated in 13 languages internationally. He recorded The Mythical Lover on A Gift of Love — a recording of sensual poetry by the 13th Century poet Rumi, and has served as researcher and lyrical advisor to Michael Jackson on the multi-platinum albums Dangerous and HIStory. He has also served as Producer on television specials for PBS. As co-founder of 5K Entertainment, Gotham wrote, is producing, and will direct the indy feature Swindle. He is also the co-creator of K Lounge — a Kama Sutra bar and lounge in New York City with more to launch internationally in 2005. As co-founder of Chopra Media and a partner in Intent Media (with Deepak Chopra and Shekhar Kapur), Gotham is involved in a wide-array of creative media ventures. He is the President of development for Gotham Studios Asia, the largest comic book studio in India. Currently Gotham is serving as creative consultant to Current TV, a new television network co-founded by former Vice-President Al Gore, and scheduled to launch in 20 million American households in August 2005. Identified by Newsweek Magazine (March 04) as one of the “most powerful and influential” South Asians worth watching, Gotham speaks nationally on issues of youth and spirituality, conflict resolution, and develops workshops to create a language for young people to bring out the internal and external issues that important to them.


Tonight (Monday, April 16) on OWN TV, Oprah is bringing the world’s biggest classroom to Toronto, where special guest teachers Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Tony Robbins, Bishop T.D. Jakes will discuss forgiveness, letting go of the past, and creating a compelling next chapter in your life.

Learn more and get ready for the class:

Tune in to OWN or log on to or at 8/7c. Find the OWN TV schedule in your area here.


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