How to End the Blame Game

By Deepak Chopra™ MD

It’s time to talk seriously about the blame game. In a divided nation everyone finds reasons to blame, and the only choice is who deserves the blame. Targets are easy to find, because they are everywhere. Somebody, somewhere is behaving in ways you disapprove of. When the situation is us-versus-them, has it ever been hard to name “them”?

That, in the simplest outline, is the blame game. Calls for unity have no chance for success as long as the blame game keeps going. It ruins the very basis of negotiation, which rests on mutual respect. The outcome of the blame game is always escalation: you find more reasons to attack “Them.” If you are lucky enough to gain more power than “they” have, you can turn your blame into domination—until the tables turn and your adversary is in power.

Yet the blame game isn’t innate in human nature. We are a species capable of imagination and choice. At any moment we can alter any mental construct, and the first step is to realize that the blame game is in fact just a mental construct. When you recognize this fact, you are beginning to see a way out. You can’t force or cajole someone else to stop playing the blame game, but you certainly can stop playing it yourself.

The most effective way to end your participation lies in the following realizations:

  • There is no “them,” meaning a class of people you can assign wholesale blame. Among “them” are reasonable people like “us.”
  • As long as you keep on blaming, you are stuck in the same behavior as the people you are blaming.
  • Since you are part of the game, it is your responsibility to end your participation. It is pure fantasy to believe that one day “they” will see the light of day and realize how right and virtuous you are and how wrong and bad they are.
  • The first thing to take responsibility for is your anger. Blame is anger directed at someone else. But it is you who are harboring the anger, and therefore you must own it.
  • Owning your anger is harder than attacking someone else, but who says that this means you shouldn’t try?
  • Blame feeds on self-righteousness. You hold yourself above those you choose to blame. But when you sit in judgment, you are blinded to an important truth, which is this: Everyone is doing the best they can at their level of awareness.
  • Blame is never part of the solution. It exists at the level of the problem, mixed in with anger, judgment, self-righteousness, and other psychological issues such as jealousy, resentment, and holding grudges. Stop and ask yourself how much happiness exists at this level.
  • At the level of the solution, answers can be found without blame. The level of the solution is a deeper awareness based on a quiet sense of personal peace, balance, optimism, and the absence of the every-demanding, judgmental ego. Learn to recognize this state of mind and cultivate it.

None of these points are arcane; they are basic psychology in many ways. What is required is something people are reluctant to do, to look in the mirror and honestly assess if they are part of the problem. At the present moment in these stressful times, the blame game seems to be everyone’s favorite. Turn on the cable network that spouts the ideas, beliefs, and opinions that are the opposite of your own. You will notice within a few minutes that instead of “us,” you are “them.”

Your first reaction will be to snort in disgust. How can these commentators be blaming you? You are absolutely in the right, and they are bad people for not recognizing this. Of course there are issues where it is totally justified to choose the side that is moral, just, equal, and solution-minded. People who put up stubborn, irrational, pointless resistance are not making the right choice.

But if you keep watching the cable channel that holds the opposite of your opinion, no matter what the issue is, you might be amazed to discover that your side is being labeled as stubborn, irrational, and the real cause of the problem.

If I’ve described the blame game accurately, there is a lot to think about. You cannot cry out for unity and the end of divisiveness while at the same time playing the blame game. In frustrating times, blame is tempting. It keeps the emotional pot on the simmer, which many people like to experience. Unfortunately, anger begets more anger, and eventually the pot boils over.

You can’t end the blame game all by yourself, but you can end the part you are playing. By backing out of the game, you will improve your own emotional life, and with clear eyes you might even become part of the solution. At the very least you will have discarded a mode of behavior that hasn’t worked up to now and never will.

 


DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest book, Total Meditation (Harmony Books, September 22, 2020) will help to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com

Why We Need the Divine Feminine

By Deepak Chopra™ MD

With the decline of organized religion and a decades-old drop in church attendance, people have largely made their spiritual life into something private and personal. The rise of meditation and yoga attests to this. But it is hard to fix your sight on a spiritual goal if you don’t believe in heaven from the Western perspective or enlightenment from the Eastern.

Looking around at the tone of modern life, I think an important goal is worth seizing on: the divine feminine. Being scientific, rational, and technical, secular society seems to have less time for values that Carl Jung would have included in the feminine archetype, that religions cast as goddesses or a motherly figure like the Virgin Mary, and which most of us identify with our mothers growing up.
But at a deeper level, the divine feminine represents certain values that human beings have long cherished. Half of human nature is represented by the feminine in both sexes, as reflected in the qualities of the ancient Greek and Roman goddesses.

  • Ceres – procreation, abundance
  • Aphrodite – sensuality, love, beauty
  • Athena – wisdom, culture, art, science
  • Artemis – Nature, connection with animals and plants
  • Persephone – alchemy, magic, transformation, healing, unconscious mind
  • Hestia – homemaker

Even though these are innate qualities in the psyche, there are times when feminine values decline, and then the resulting imbalance brings problems. Global warming is the imbalance that resulted from too much devotion to science, technology, and progress and too little devotion to nurturing the environment. The extinction of species comes about when the human drive to treat Nature exactly as we want obscures the larger picture, which is that we belong in the total scheme of nature, or Mother Nature as tradition called it.

The age of world wars is past us for the moment, but the same thirst for power and authority drives nations, and war is visited on the innocent no matter how many widows and grieving mothers appear on the news. The dreadful Syrian devastation is the rank product of masculine tolerance for utter violent annihilation without check. It would be heartbreaking to continue such a list—simply the fact that the world has lived under nuclear threat for seventy years is evidence enough that life has gone seriously out of balance.

It is up to us individually to look inside and see where we can allow feminine qualities to correct a personal imbalance. The adjectives that apply to the personal feminine are love, affection, forgiveness, compassion, allowing, nurturing, and creative. They need to be present in everyone’s life, whether you are a man or woman, and every child needs to be exposed to them.

As things stand, children hardly have a choice to find the right balance of masculine and feminine in themselves. The two halves are not rivals; One doesn’t succeed by overwhelming the other. Yet this seems to be the ethos children absorb when they look around a see a world that exults in forceful power, domination, flagrant abuse of minority rights, corporate greed without regard for human consequences, violent videos games, and online pornography.

Morality cannot be legislated, and if you tell people they are supporting the wrong values, the most likely result is that they will entrench themselves in those values even more stubbornly. The shift has to begin inside with a sense that something is missing, and that this something is connected to the feminine energy that has been allowed to dwindle almost to the vanishing point.

One now commonly hears the opinion that the world would be better off if women were heads of state instead of men. It’s hard to disagree, but at the very least this country needs more than Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris as admired role models. We also need a shift in attitude, as evidenced by the cruelty, unfairness, anti-feminine prejudice, and spite directed at Hilary Clinton in the 2016 election. It would be bad enough if she became a sacrificial lamb in the eyes of history, the victim who showed people how much they needed to wake up and reflect on their appetite for injustice and inequality.

It would be even worse if the 2016 fiasco became the model for treating women candidates in the future. The prevailing notion is that this is a man’s world, and if a woman wants to succeed in it, she deserves all the knocks that would be given to a man. Only a society blind to the value of the divine feminine thinks that way. Everyone should do everything in good conscience to overturn such an ugly, harsh, unforgiving attitude.

 


DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest book, Total Meditation (Harmony Books, September 22, 2020) will help to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com

Coming to Peace with the World Is Coming to Peace with Yourself

By Deepak Chopra, ™ MD

No one fails to react when public violence is flagrantly incited, which happened at the Capitol this week. As a political philosophy, or a way of life, disorder doesn’t work. Violence might not be inevitable, but chaos is.

But in the face of chaos, some facts remain constant and stable:

  • Peace is a state of awareness.
  • To advance the cause of peace, you must be at peace.
  • External conflict reflects the inner conflicts of human nature.
  • No dispute is ever settled unless both sides achieve a level of mutual satisfaction.

When politics comes down to rigidly opposing views, all of these facts are being ignored. Nothing gets resolved so that all sides achieve mutual satisfaction, and therefore grudges simmer, awaiting sudden eruptions and the pot boils over.

But the fact that is critical is the first one. You can’t help the cause of peace unless you are peaceful in yourself. This means several things on the personal level:

  • You sympathize with all suffering, no matter which side you take in a conflict.
  • You don’t see violence as the solution.
  • You can detach yourself from judgment and blame.
  • You don’t give in to us-versus-them thinking.

If you can achieve these things, you will stop being inflamed by constant streams of bad news that never gets resolved. You will be detached from partisanship, and you won’t buy into demagoguery. People who aren’t at peace are sucked in by the fascination and anguish of catastrophic events.

It’s sometimes hard to accept that being at peace is actually a form of “active detachment.” It’s active in that you want to help the situation. It’s detached in that you keep your head about you and see that the world doesn’t change from crisis to crisis–it changes when people’s awareness changes. To an outsider, religious disputes seem pointless and totally unnecessary. But if your worldview tells you that God is testing your faith every moment, detachment isn’t possible.

To be at peace doesn’t detach you from the values you want to uphold, but it guards you against the constricted awareness that fuels conflict. I think that Pope Francis understands active detachment. He stands above the fray to minister to humanity, but at the same time, unlike many of his predecessors, Francis doesn’t stand idly by. He offers practical proposals, deals justly with wrongdoing, and favors needed reforms. It’s totally worthwhile, and a moral obligation, to aid the programs that might heal divisions and ultimately the planet. But a viable action plan must come from peace or else it has no chance of succeeding.

 


DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest book, Total Meditation (Harmony Books, September 22, 2020) will help to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com

A Renewed Planet Starts with Food

By Deepak Chopra, ™ MD, FACP, Poonacha Machaiah, Rajnish Khanna, PhD

The way we eat has changed the planet. In this simple idea, which few of us consider when we go to the grocery store, lies immense hope for the future—if we pay attention. On the medical front a large number of people accept the notion, once thought of as a fringe belief, that “you are what you eat.” The decisions you make today about what you eat will have a huge impact in your future health. Food plays a decisive factor in modern lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and all the damaging side effects related to the epidemic of obesity in this country.

The next step in our growing awareness expands on the same idea. The next bite you take adds to the health of planet Earth or pushes it a tiny step toward deterioration. Unconscious eating is bad for the environment. Conscious eating puts the planet on the road to renewal and wellness.

We can heal the environment by thinking from the ground up, quite literally. The health of soils around the world is essential to keeping the entire planet in balance. This truth has dawned with the rise of the word “microbiome,” which is gaining wide circulation. The microbiome is comprised of the genetic material of all microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) in a specific place, such as the human gut, in the soil, in water, or on the skin. Each local microbiome is intricately connected to other microbiomes, thereby linking all living organisms together.

New ideas are a motivation for rethinking old ideas, and this happened with a vengeance when the microbiome idea emerged.

To give a shortlist of mental resets that have occurred:

Old idea: Germs are dangerous and exist to attack human beings to make them sick.
Rethink: The microbiome is hugely beneficial in keeping every living thing in a state of health and balance.

Old idea: Germs invade the body like enemies from without.
Rethink: Thousands of species of micro-organisms inhabit the body and work intimately to keep us healthy, beginning with the digestion of food.

Old idea: Humans are free to dominate and change Nature according to what we want to do.
Rethink: Human survival depends on remaining in balance with Nature, who is the great sustainer and healer.

That last rethink is the big one. Greenhouse gases told us that how we live has planetary consequences. The planetary biome tells us the same thing, and for much the same reason. The industrialization of human life gave rise to excess carbon dioxide in the air. The industrialization of food production, which has exponentially increased around the world, has proceeded with reckless disregard for the planetary biome, particularly the health of soils.

Here are the trends that pose the most worry, keeping in mind that we have the power to reverse them:

  • The wide use of antibiotics in farm animals.
  • Reducing a wide variety of plant life to a small handful of food crops, such as wheat, rice, and soybeans.
  • Contaminating the soil with a huge range of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Turning wildlands such as rain forests into cultivated land or stripping them bare for logging.

On the one hand these measures have produced an enormous quantity of food and established a food delivery chain capable of feeding 7 billion people and counting. But as with our carbon footprint, there are immense drawbacks at the same time.

The speed and virulence of the spread of the novel coronavirus represents the kind of drastic disruption that can occur when one microbiome in Wuhan, China goes out of balance. There have been near-misses, too, notably the SARS outbreak in Asia in 2003 and the 2013 Ebola outbreak in Africa. Someone has grimly called COVID-19 a “starter pandemic.”

It is now being dealt with on an industrial level with a global vaccination program, but we can’t afford to slip back into two old outworn ideas, that microbes are our enemy and that we should fight them with all-out war. The planetary biome is what keeps microbial life in balance, and Nature is the only force large enough to do the job. For billions of years a biome consisting of billions of species at the microscopic level has existed in balance.

However long it takes, humans will learn to think about the planetary biome. It’s part of the same planetary thinking that climate change has motived. Awareness is the first step toward change, and here we are concerned with changing your awareness. But action follows. The individual consumer holds the levers of power, and if you eat consciously, you are nudging the food supply system in the right direction.

Conscious eating means whole organic foods, locally sourced and raised with consideration for healthy farming, healthy soils, and healthy livestock raised as close to Nature as possible. We know that this sounds like a dream. Groceries are dominated by processed food, chemical additives, and all manner of produce and meat that uses antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides in their production.

One might say, with some justification, that balance is what lies in the balance. There is no reason why Nature should be the source of balance while humans are the cause for imbalance. But that’s the present reality, just as willfully extracting natural resources is the prevailing mindset. Humans are brilliant at solving problems. We are also notorious for waiting until the last minute before facing a big problem.

What makes a planetary issue like the biome different this time around is that it is really an awareness issue. Nothing like the discovery of penicillin is going to work. Only a shift in awareness will work, and such a shift occurs one person at a time until a critical mass is reached and the whole population clamors for change. Consider this moment a tipping point in the making. Changing your eating habits looks like a small step, but the change in your awareness has momentous consequences.

 


DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest book, Total Meditation (Harmony Books, September 22, 2020) will help to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com
Rajnish Khanna, Ph.D., founder and Chief Executive Officer of i-Cultiver, Inc. and Global Food Scholar, Inc. Rajnish has served as a lead scientist in biotechnology industry and has worked at the University of California, Berkeley and Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University. Rajnish is a strategic biotechnology consultant, plant and soil health scientist applying multidisciplinary approaches for research and development. Known for empowering the industry through strategic partnerships with academic institutions to leverage advanced technologies, increase technology transfer and product impact. Rajnish is creating the online local food marketing platform, TerreLocal, to digitally map food supply with local demand. Rajnish is a photobiologist, interested in how information, such as light, is perceived and translated by organisms into biological responses. www.rajnishkhanna.com
Poonacha Machaiah is the CEO of The Chopra Foundation, a 501(c) (3) organization and co-founder of the Never Alone Movement for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health along with both world-renowned mind-body medicine pioneer and New York Times best-selling author Deepak Chopra, M.D, actress and humanitarian Gabriella Wright. Poonacha launched the Warrior Monk brand targeted at creating a positive societal shift through the compassionate transformation of humankind (www.thewarriormonk.com). He is the founder of Wellbeing Tech, a leading technology innovation company that has deployed transformative wellbeing solutions such as the hyper-local neighborhood app i.e. GABL (www.gabl.global) and Remote Assistance Management platform for providing assisted reality with Glass Enterprise Edition (www.wellbeingtech.com/ramp). He holds an MBA from the College of William and Mary, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering from the B.M.S. College of Engineering.

What Happened to Emotional Intelligence?

By Deepak Chopra, ™ MD

For many younger people, the COVID virus outbreak will bring their first experience of fear and anxiety as a pervasive mood. Anxiety is difficult for everyone, but in the larger scheme, we need to ask: What happened to emotional intelligence? The phrase became popular for a while, but that was almost a generation ago. Right now, emotional intelligence seems to be forgotten, or to put it another way, it is unknown to most people.

Social forces can drive you to feeling anxious; politics stokes anger; personal threats to your well-being can lead to worry and depression. But none of these forces has a positive effect in giving you tools to ward off anxiety, anger, and depression. Raising your emotional IQ is something each person must confront on their own. Let’s focus on anxiety, which the current crisis has stoked more than any other negative emotion (although anger over politics runs a close second).

I believe that freeing yourself from fear and anxiety is possible. More than that, you can learn how to be free of fear long after the COVID crisis has passed.
The key is to cultivate emotional intelligence. The term might go in and out of fashion, but the value of emotional intelligence never changes, and when you focus on it, you will achieve something worthwhile for life. Here are six principles to guide you through the process.

  • Commit to never complaining, criticizing, or playing the victim.
  • Imagine a creative, positive future for yourself.
  • Don’t regret the past. It no longer exists.
  • Be present in every situation as it occurs.
  • Be independent of other people’s criticism or approval.
  • Be responsive to feedback.

It is fair to say that hardly anyone hits upon these principles by trial and error or through experience of life. A person can live a long time without paying attention to emotional intelligence, and among men, the word “emotion” too often connotes something undesirable, as if showing emotional sensitivity is a sign of weakness.

But emotional intelligence is gender-neutral. The fact that humans can observe their emotions is a remarkable trait, and once you begin to observe your own emotions, you can counter the power of an unwanted emotion like fear and anxiety. Whether we admit it or not, emotions fascinate us, as Hollywood well knows. Empathizing with emotions onscreen is easy and pleasurable, but we are too attached to our own emotions, and it takes very little experience of anxiety, humiliation, rejection, and failure to train us to avoid the minefield of emotions in general.

So it’s worth saying that developing emotional intelligence isn’t scary or difficult. All you need to do is notice and pay attention. By pausing and standing back a little, you can observe how you are reacting at any given moment. You can even turn the six principles into questions posed to yourself.

  • Am I complaining, criticizing, or playing the victim?
  • Do I see my future in a creative, positive way?
  • Am I pointlessly reliving the past?
  • Do I see what’s going on right now?
  • Am I afraid of someone else’s criticism or craving their approval?
  • Am I listening to what other people are trying to tell me?

These are not mysterious or metaphysical questions. We can pause to ask them any time we want, and we should. But we are blocked by old conditioning and the habit of feeling uneasy about our emotions. There is a great deal of social pressure to behave with very low emotional intelligence, a kind of dumbing down on the feeling level. As a result, we act in self-defeating ways. To give a few examples,

  • We repeat the same reactions in most situations.
  • We imitate how others behave, starting with our family.
  • We act on impulse without a second thought.
  • We don’t really see how others are reacting to us.
  • We let negative emotions like fear, anger, envy, and resentment have their way.
  • We easily go into denial and seek outside distractions.

A whole way of life is implied in these examples, and when collective fear mounts, as it is right now, people often have little or no idea how to escape. Denial and distraction simply become more intensified, and playing the victim is more tempting than usual. Alternatively, we tell ourselves that we need to stay in control more than ever. But what is needed isn’t emotional self-control but emotional resilience.

Resilience is the most important single aspect of emotional intelligence. You allow your emotions to rise and fall naturally, without trying to stop or control them. Once an emotion has passed, you feel better, and you are able to return to a state of peace and calm. The opposite of emotional resilience is seen when people are stiff, reserved, bottled up inside, censorious, aloof, proud, or remote. In all of these cases past experience has made certain emotions unacceptable. The only way to deal with them is through avoidance. One is reminded of the adage that trees can be blown over by a storm while grasses bend without breaking.

Because the mind by nature is restful, alert, quiet, and at peace, that state of balance is the basis for developing emotional intelligence. You need the experience of balance in order to return to it at will. The experience comes naturally to everyone unless it is thrown off by stress and crisis. Then it takes a bit of intervention on our part, through meditation preferably. Meditation no only returns the mind to its balanced state, but it also allows you to observe what is happening, to experience it directly, and to identify with the quiet state of mind.

Ultimately, this is how fear can be escaped permanently. Meanwhile, everyone can benefit from lessening the anxiety being experienced all around us. Emotional intelligence goes a very long way to expanding your awareness and making you free of stress and anxiety right now.

 


DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest book, Total Meditation (Harmony Books) helps us to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and a joyful life. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his next book, TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com