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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.


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


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.


meditation-man's faceQuestion

I have been reading Deepak’s book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, where he talks about the “gap.”  I was wondering more about what it is and how I get there. Is there a special technique to meditating? I am enjoying the book so much. Each time I read it I learn something new. I hope you can help me out here.


The Chopra Center Responds:

Dear Curt,
Thank you for your note. We’re glad you are enjoying your reading. To answer your question, the term “gap” simply refers to a state of quiet, restful awareness in which you experience no thoughts about the past or future and are squarely in the present. Since there are no thoughts in the gap, as soon as you realize that you have been in this state of pure awareness, you have just drifted out of it, for the thought “I’m in the gap!” is the thought of the thinking mind. Most meditation techniques are focused on cultivating this state of expanded consciousness, whether through focusing on the breath, an object such as a candle, or a mantra.

The Primordial Sound Meditation technique taught by the Chopra Center is a mantra-based technique. A traditional mantra is a sound without a meaning, and silently repeating a mantra during meditation helps the mind move beyond its usual busy internal dialogue into an experience of the gap. The meditation practice is a continuous cycle of dipping into the gap, then drifting out when we experience a thought, sensation, or feeling . . . then moving back into the state of restful awareness.

Keep in mind that trying to stay in the gap will bring you out of it. The gap is a quiet, simple state of awareness, and mental effort is a more active, excited state of awareness. There’s no need to force or concentrate. When you meditate, let yourself gently cultivate familiarity with the gap. During the rest of the day, the silence you have experienced will naturally be present in your thoughts and actions.

With love,
The Chopra Center Staff

Happiness is living in the moment. I know happiness is within. I know I have the choice to choose how I feel at any given moment. But for some reason I cannot sustain that. I don’t have any real problems, just an inability to attract a sustained loving relationship. How do I attain happiness if at this moment I am unfulfilled? How does one focus and meditate on hopes and desires and let go of incessant thoughts about all the things that are absent and unfulfilled. You speak a lot about detaching from the outcomes of your desires . . . but how does one really let go?

First I’ll begin with the question of “How do I attain happiness if at this moment I am unfulfilled?” You need to recognize the false premise your unfulfillment is based on. You are assuming that you can’t be happy or fulfilled unless certain external conditions are met, such as a loving relationship. Yet above you said you understood that happiness is within and living in the moment. If you are simply in the moment, then you aren’t placing any demands on how things have to be – you are simply being there with it.

When you say you can’t be happy because you don’t have a partner, you are making your internal state conditional upon external circumstances. That isn’t living in the present. By orienting your perspective and sense of wellbeing to operate from the inside-out, instead of the reverse, you find perfection and fulfillment in the ever-changing moment. In this way your silent witness is not only detached, but at the same time your sense of purpose is also fully engaged in creating the life you want according to your life purpose.


Join Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center as we travel to Chicago on the pathway to happiness.

Seduction of Spirit: Pathway to Happiness
July 9–15, 2012
Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Chicago, Illinois

Are you seeking more joy and fulfillment in your life?

This July at Seduction of Spirit, the Chopra Center’s signature meditation and yoga retreat, Deepak Chopra, the Chopra Center’s master certified instructors, and special guest Mike Dooley will guide you in a week of timeless practices and wisdom for awakening to the happiness that lies
Seduction of Spirit: Pathway to Happiness features:

  • –Instruction by Deepak Chopra  in an advanced meditation sutra practice taught nowhere else
  • Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga classes led by Chopra Yoga Director Danielle Mika Nagel
  • –Instruction in Primordial Sound Meditation and your personal mantra
  • –Interactive sessions with Mike Dooley, a renowned spiritual teacher and author of Notes from the Universe
  • –Time for silent reflection and rejuvenation
  • –A warm community of like-minded people

Join us for a life-changing journey to the heart of happiness! Call 888.736.6895 or click here to learn more.

Lisa McCourt is a renowned speaker, teacher, and author of many best-selling books about unconditional love. In her new book, Juicy Joy, she offers a powerful guide to creating the life of your dreams – one filled with happiness, personal freedom, abundance, and true fulfillment.

Each page of Juicy Joy resonates with Lisa’s authenticity, warmth, and wisdom.  Filled with  practical tips and inspiring, heart-felt stories from Lisa’s own life and from the thousands of people she has coached, Juicy Joy will help you connect to the truth of who you are and share your own unique gifts and talents with the world.

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Lisa McCourt

Lisa McCourt

More about Lisa

Since Lisa McCourt’s bestselling books about unconditional love sold over five and a half million copies, were translated into 11 languages, and received multiple publishing industry awards and starred reviews . . . she thought she was a real smarty-pants on the subject of love. Then a lightning bolt of divine insight struck her and she realized, at last, that there’s one rare flavor of love that transforms everything and without it, no other flavor can exist. Self-love: it’s not just a cliché anymore! Once Lisa witnessed the miracles that are possible through true self-love, she made it her mission to perfect the art and science of achieving radical authenticity and outrageous self-adoration. She has taught her juicy-joyful, sometimes shocking, always delicious methods to thousands in her popular presentations and online trainings. Lisa lives in sunny South Florida with her two self-loving kids.

I am totally new to daily meditation practice and I have really enjoyed participating in this Mind-Body Odyssey  21-Day Meditation Challenge. Thank you for sharing it with everyone! My question is related to something that happens with my body while meditating. During most meditations my right eye starts to water quite heavily. I cannot tell why this is happening. Perhaps I am squinting or doing something weird with it while I am trying to focus on the meditation. It’s not painful, just strange. Do you know why this might be happening and do you have any tips to help me prevent it? Thank you for your help.


***  ***

Dear Rachelle,
Thanks for your question.  First, we would like to reassure you that meditation is a profound practice for releasing accumulated stress in the body. This release can manifest in a variety of ways during a meditation session, including falling asleep, small muscle twitches, and other sensations.  As long as there are no other symptoms and the eye watering you’re experiencing  only happens during meditation, it’s not likely anything to worry about, and will probably decrease over time.

We recommend that you stay with the process and let the experience unfold.  During your meditations, if you notice your eye watering, simply observe that fact and return to the object or focus of your meditation without trying to figure out why it’s happening and without trying to stop it.  Treat it as you would any other thoughts or sensations that arise during meditation – when you become aware that your awareness has drifted to your eye (or anything else), gently return your attention to the meditation object, whether that is your breath, a mantra, or a something else.

If you feel inclined, outside of your meditation practice, to explore what message your watering eye is sending you (if any), you could try journaling on that question. Ask your inner wisdom, “What is the message my eye is wanting to share?” and let yourself write freely, without censoring yourself.  Given the common association of tears with sadness and release, it’s possible that you may be releasing some past grief or emotional upset, but without knowing your full story and health history, it’s not possible to say for sure. Just know that meditation is a valuable tool for releasing what no longer serves you.

With love,
The Chopra Center Staff

banners_113-__3_15_2012_102024_AMIf you missed the 21-Day Meditation Challenge Mind-Body Odyssey or any of our past challenges, you can experience them now! Listen anytime, anywhere from your computer or mobile device!
Download the 21-Day Meditation Challenge here>>


7 Steps to Awaken Your Creativity

Every creative act requires a leap in awareness – a quantum jump from one pattern of thinking to an entirely new one, without progressing through incremental steps. In one moment a creative idea doesn’t exist, and in the next, it is part of our conscious world. In between, where was the idea? It came from the field of pure potentiality, which gives rise to everything in the universe. Creativity is a process of transforming the raw energy, information, and material of the universe into something that has never before existed,

Whether you are creating a new business, an original piece of music, or a relationship, creativity requires a quantum leap in awareness. The ability to make this leap isn’t reserved only for the rare genius or lucky individual. We all have unlimited creative potential because our essential nature is pure consciousness. I have found the following seven steps for awakening the creative response invaluable in my own life. Become conscious of these steps and use the creative response whenever you are facing an issue or challenge in your life.

1. Intended Outcome
Develop a clear vision of what you want. State your intended outcome in positive language rather than in terms of what you don’t want. Instead of declaring, “I want to stop feeling so tired and run down,” say, “I have a healthy body with abundant energy.” Write down your intentions and review them regularly − the ideal time is just before you meditate.

2. Information Gathering
Learn everything you can about the challenge at hand, using as many sources as possible. Read books, use the Internet, go to workshops, and speak with friends, family, and new acquaintances. As you gather information and ideas, pay attention to the sensations in your body, noticing whether they generate feelings of comfort of discomfort.

3. Information Reshuffling and Analysis
As you cull information from various sources, your mind will reshuffle the data on both conscious and subconscious levels, formatting it in whatever ways are most useful to you. Your mind will automatically look for patterns to help you gain a new understanding of the issue.

4. Incubation and Meditation
Now that you have formed your intentions and gathered and reshuffled your information, now is the time to let go and allow something entirely new to arise in your awareness. In the incubation stage, you use meditation to go beyond the rational mind and access an expanded state of consciousness.

5. Insight
You will experience insight or a creative leap when the conditions are right. Your perception and interpretations completely shift and you have a new inner vision of whatever issue you are considering.

6. Inspiration
With insight comes the spontaneous generation of inspiration. Your entire mind-body becomes energized and you experience passion, exhilaration, excitement, joy, and enthusiasm. You know in your mind that your insight is true and you feel in your body that the insight is right.

7. Take Action on Your Insight
The next step is to translate your insight into action . . . to implement and integrate the insight into your thinking and behavior. You incarnate the change in your body and you are transformed into a new person.

Remember that the source of all creativity is consciousness. The more consciousness you have, the more potential you have to create. As you meditate, awaken to the present moment, and set up the conditions for taking a creative quantum leap, you will experience greater energy, love, and joy in your life.


Another Idea to Jump-Start Your Creativity

If you are seeking to awaken to higher levels of awareness, creativity, and intuition, join us for the Chopra Center’s Seduction of Spirit retreat.  Led by Deepak Chopra, this signature meditation and yoga retreat is a unique opportunity to step away from your daily routine and demands, giving yourself a dedicated time to connect to your deeper self and open to the gifts and true fulfillment in your life.

We are offering three Seduction of Spirit retreats in 2012. Learn more here.

We hope to see you soon!

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