If You Want to Change, Start from the Ground Up

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Anoop Kumar, MD

When people seek personal change in their lives, they often don’t get very far. Even in this day when online advice is bewilderingly abundant and self-improvement books are at our fingertips, change eludes us. One way to remedy this is to start from the ground up. Normally, we feel compelled to start where we are right now, and that’s a tremendous problem.

No matter how different people are, each of us woke up this morning to the same situation. We are constantly involved in thinking, feeling, and doing. No one starts this activity afresh. Instead, we are heavily invested in habits, beliefs, opinions, hopes, dreams, and fears collected from the past. So our thinking, feeling, and doing is entangled with the past even when we want something new, better, fresh, and different.

You can’t always use will power or desire to cut the ties that bind you to the past, but you can do something that will lessen the influence of the past: You can start to see yourself clearly. With that one intention, you are starting from the ground up, because seeing yourself clearly happens here and now. You detach yourself from your story, which is the accumulation of your past. You take a fresh look at what is generating all this thinking, feeling, and doing. The process has to have an origin, a source, a wellspring that sets the active mind going every minute of the day.

Normally, if we try to see ourselves clearly, we are actually looking through a lens. We filter and arrange our experiences. Some experiences we reject, ignore, judge against, or censor. Other experiences we encourage, value, appreciate, and allow to enter our minds. The lens you choose is critical, yet people often don’t realize they have a choice. It doesn’t strike them in the first place that they see themselves—and everything around them—through a lens.

The lens you see through can also be called your mindset, worldview, or simply your state of awareness. Your perspective, on life, family, relationships, work stem from it. Things become confusing because we are caught up in the conflicting stories, explanations, and belief systems that everyone gets exposed to. This confusion can be sorted out once you start to see yourself clearly. Cutting through all the clutter, you discover that you actually know what’s going on. Deep inside, you are fully aware already.

There are three lenses you can view life through, configured as Mind 1, 2, or 3 at this moment.

Mind 1

You view life as a separate individual. The leading indicator of Mind 1 is the sense of localization within the body. As a result of being limited by the body, Mind 1 can only detect a world of localized things. As we see ourselves, so we see the world. You localize yourself in your body, and as a result you see a world of separate things. Other people live inside their own bodies, which gives them their own sense of separation. In Mind 1 you provide fertile ground for the ego. “I, me, and mine” become all-important. This makes perfect sense, because your agenda as a separate person is all about the experiences of pleasure and pain that emanate from the body. Even a mental state like anxiety is rooted in the body, because what you fear comes down to a painful feeling “in here.” In every respect Mind 1 is dominated by yes and no to the experiences that come your way. To achieve peace, you must successfully compete in the arena of separate people and things, experiences and events.
Mind 1 seems totally right and natural in the modern secular world. Mind 1 is reflected in science’s total focus on physical things, from microbes and subatomic particles, from the Big Bang to the multiverse. A bestselling book from 1970, Our Bodies, Ourselves, applies to all of us in Mind 1.

Mind 2

Mind 2 is centered in the unity of mind and body. It isn’t necessary to see yourself confined to the physical package of a body. In fact, this mindset can be turned on its head. In place of isolation there is connection; in place of things there is process; in place of hard facts, there is an easy continuous flow. You relax into the flow of experience rather than slicing life into bits that must be judged, analyzed, accepted or rejected. Mind 2 lets you see yourself more clearly, because in reality the mind-body connection is a single continuity. Every thought and feeling creates an effect in every cell. You can consciously create change in the whole system through a switch in awareness. Mind 2 is subtler than Mind 1—you have moved deeper inside who you really are, and those aspects and abilities that were filtered out by Mind 1 begin to come into view. You are the one who experiences, observes, and knows.

For most people Mind 2 begins to dawn when they meditate or do Yoga, finding access to the quiet mind that lies beneath the surface of the restless active mind. With this discovery comes a way to see beyond the separate ego’s fruitless search for “perfect” pleasure, power, or success. As a deeper vision of self and life soaks through all experience, Mind 2 is established.

Mind 3

Mind 3 expands awareness beyond all particulars. It is a radical redefining of what we mean when we use the indicator “I.” It places you in an infinite field of pure awareness, where all things exist as possibilities. This is not only a clear view, it is clarity itself, because there is no thing or process to obstruct your vision. Boundaries don’t exist. There is no past or future. Even the idea of a present vanishes. the clearest view you can possibly have, because there are no boundaries to limit your vision. You are awake, you see things without any filter, your past no longer holds you captive, and therefore you are free, which is why Mind 3 has been known for centuries as liberation. There are no more “mind-forged manacles,” as the poet William Blake memorably called our self-imposed limitations.

Mind 3 is open to everyone, but there is a large obstacle that must be overcome, which is this: We are convinced by the lens we see things through already. Each mindset feels real and complete. You identify with physical things in Mind 1, the most important thing being your body. In Mind 2 you identify with your field of awareness as it brings experiences and sensations that rise and fall. Because it takes an inner journey to reach, Mind 2 isn’t where the mass of humankind is, yet without a doubt anyone can go there. Mind 2 is a more natural fit than Mind 1, in fact, because if you see yourself clearly, you cannot doubt that thinking, feeling, and doing is constantly on the move, ever-changing, ever renewing itself.

But Mind 2 has its own peculiar limitation. “I” lingers and holds its own by experiencing “my” thinking, feeling, and doing. There is no need for this. Everyone alive, with the fewest exceptions, has been indoctrinated into Mind 1. In Mind 2 you escape this crude, second-hand, socially approved indoctrination. But there is a subtle indoctrination that replaces it, which sees the spiritual life as higher, better, and more valuable than ordinary life. This leads to a subtle clinging, a desire to keep the spiritual goodies coming your way and a self-image superior to those people who have not yet seen the light.

The subtle tendency to possess any idea, however fine that idea is, keeps the ego going. Letting it go entirely feels threatening. Who will I be if there is no I anymore? But if you stand back, this fearful worry only exists because the ego is asking it. Of course “I” will never agree to its own demotion. “I” is about self-preservation. The shift into Mind 3 occurs when you see that there are countless moments when you did without your ego.

Every experience of joy, love, compassion, beauty, peace, and service sets the ego aside. You go beyond “I” in a simple, natural glimpse of who you really are. You are the field of awareness itself, unbounded and free. Every possible experience originates here, before the whole interference of ego, society, family, school, and painful memories even begins.

That’s why Mind 3 has been dubbed the first and last freedom. It is the freedom you attain when you realize that you had it all along. Clear away the clutter, and it is simply there. Mind 1 and Mind 2 are creations, while Mind 3 is uncreated. It is the womb of creation, and when we arrive there, the inevitable feeling is that we’ve returned home at last. NOTE: For a visual journey through these Three Minds, visit anoopkumar.com/mind.


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 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 89 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”
Anoop Kumar, MD, MMgt is a Mind-Body Strategist who is Board-Certified in Emergency Medicine and holds a Master’s degree in Management with a focus in Health Leadership. He is a keynote speaker and author who enjoys bringing clarity to the intersection of consciousness and everything else. Anoop is the author of numerous articles as well as two books—Michelangelo’s Medicine and Is This a Dream? In addition to speaking and writing services, he offers consultations with individuals, teams, and organizations interested in deepening their understanding and experience of human potential, mind-body systems, and consciousness. Visit Anoop at anoopkumar.com and @dranoopkumar.

Elite Task Force Assembles to Urge Addition of Meditation and Yoga to Help Fight COVID-19

The Safe and Proven Practices Have Anti-Inflammatory, Immunity-Boosting and Anti-Stress Benefits, Even for Beginners, Says the World-Class Team Led by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Top Scientists

By Maureen Seaberg

At a time when every hospital bed counts, experts led by Dr. Deepak Chopra including Michelle Williams, S.D., dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health; noted biophysical anthropologist William Bushell, Ph.D., Paul Mills, Ph.D., chief of behavioral medicine at the University of California, San Diego; Ryan Castle, executive director of the Chopra Library; and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Harvard professor of neurology, have joined forces to make the public aware of the many disease-fighting benefits of meditation and yoga.

They point out that these complimentary traditions can be added to our self-care and medical regimens and are safe, effective and easily done at home by the more than one billion people sheltering in place around the globe.

Most people know about the relaxation effects of the modalities, but not the many positive physiological changes they can create.

Many are also unaware that much of the damage done by infectious diseases, including even the most virulent ones, is the result of the person’s own immune or inflammatory response “over-reacting” to the infecting organism, says MIT-affiliated biophysical anthropologist William C. Bushell, who is the director of research and academic liaison for Chopra Library for Integrative Studies & Whole Health. Bushell is the original developer of this model based on work he has been doing for a decade in collaboration with Dr. Neil Theise and other scientists.

“There is also an extensive lack of knowledge that meditation and yoga possess significant anti-inflammatory properties, as well as anti-stress, and quite possibly anti-infectious properties as well,” he adds. “These positive properties of meditation and yoga result from directly influencing nervous system pathways, and also from stimulating circulating substances, which according to a small but impressive body of preliminary evidence, appears to include melatonin. Melatonin is another relative enigma to both the popular and scientific communities, but it has a wide range of powerful health-enhancing effects, including antiviral ones, and is actually now being intensively investigated by leading researchers as one medicine for COVID-19.”

Executive Director of the Chopra Library Ryan Castle explains that while meditation is widely considered to be an overall healthy activity, “its role in combating systemic inflammation is unique and powerful.” And that’s not all. He adds:

  • Meditation lowers levels of inflammatory markers, interrupting the vicious cycle of inflammation and allowing the body to down-regulate to stability.
  • Meditation has clinical efficacy at lowering the duration and/or severity of diseases.
  • Though any meditation is beneficial, active meditation that involves visualizations or guided imagery has significantly greater impact than simple mindfulness practice.
  • Meditation has beneficial effects on multiple immune functions and inflammatory processes, suggesting a truly systemic effect.
  • Meditation, especially when incorporating visualization and compassion components, has clinically significant effects on reducing the physiological and psychological damage of isolation and loneliness.
  • Visualization meditation has also been shown to improve production of the powerful immune modulator melatonin.

Bushell says that inflammation is the primary way COVID-19 kills. “Spread of the virus through the body leads to widespread and intensive activation of the inflammatory defenses throughout the body, though originally intended to combat the pathogen, but at this point instead resulting in widespread tissue damage, and fatally, to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), in which the lungs become flooded and respiratory failure ensues; the viral toxins themselves play a much lesser role in the tissue damage that ultimately can produce extreme critical disease states (pulmonary aspiration, septic shock), and potentially death (egs, Fu et al, 2020; Qin et al, 2020).”

For this reason, these experts say, meditation and yoga can provide a needed edge. At a time when people are experiencing extra time in isolation, the modalities have never been more needed or more easily done, says the team.

“In addition to its significant benefits of reducing inflammation and improving autonomic regulation, numerous scientific studies also demonstrate that regular meditation practice reduces stress and promotes the practitioner’s sense of equanimity, or centeredness,” says Paul Mills, Ph.D., of UCSD. “At these times of such heightened individual and social disruption, these psychosocial and spiritual benefits of meditation are invaluable.”

In coming days, the task force will make the practices even easier with free how-tos and guided videos. Check their website here.

Originally published by Medium

Only a Silent Mind Can Be a Healing Mind

By Deepak Chopra™, MD

Crises call for action, and the COVID-19 crisis has triggered global action, much of it motivated by alarm, fear, and the dread of uncertainty. But what about the individual person who feels afraid and uncertain? I’d like to propose an answer based on the silent mind. I realize that this approach might sound a bit alien and “spiritual” in the wrong way, but building castles in the air or retreating into yourself isn’t what silent mind is about.

Silent mind is about reconnecting to your source. Everyone relies on the top layer of the mind, which is active, constantly thinking and feeling. But when these feelings get fixated on anxiety, alarm, dread, and uncertainty, the active mind cannot pull itself out of its own spiral. Mental activity becomes useless to heal itself, just as a runaway car cannot apply its own brakes.

What is needed is a reset. The reset isn’t just mental. Your thoughts are received by every cell in your body, and in turn all kinds of processes are affected—the immune response, hormonal cycles, sleep, and overall mind-body balance, or homeostasis. If the active mind becomes confused and chaotic, balance is disrupted everywhere. What to do?

Centuries ago, in every culture, a deeper level of mind was discovered, and the usual expression surrounding this level, which is silent, calm, and undisturbed, became religious, as in the Old Testament injunction, “Be still and know that I am God.” If we replace God with “your source,” the message comes through to modern ears: Be still and know that I am your source. The most direct result of heeding this message would be to meditate, because meditation gives direct access to silent mind.

But countless modern people have tried meditation, and they do not experience the kind of reset that is needed in a crisis. Partly this is due to lack of commitment; the average person has tried meditation and left it behind, or only meditates when a sort of psychological Band-Aid is needed. Let me look a bit deeper to show what has been missed, because silent mind is truly the only healer.

In medical school homeostasis is described as basically physical. If you go for a run, your heart rate, respiration, blood flow to muscles, digestive process, etc. are thrown out of balance, but once you stop running, homeostasis is restored. At the negative end of experience, if you experience a great shock, the fight-or-flight response throws you into extreme imbalance, but when the shock ends, balance is restored. Unfortunately, under a constant threat like COVID-19, the shock doesn’t end. The usual stress response is designed to last no more than a few minutes. Extended to days and weeks, it turns on itself and begins to create damage.

The damage first appears psychologically. Under constant stress, people feel tired, grumpy, depressed, anxious, irritable, impatient, and so on. Keep up the pressure, and the next stage is fatigue, lethargy, dullness, and depression. If the stress still doesn’t abate, physical symptoms start to develop, often beginning with insomnia as the result of hormonal interactions being thrown out of whack. There is a lot more to say about this, but the bottom line is that a holistic reset is needed.

Without noticing it, you have been holistically resetting yourself for your entire life. Homeostasis isn’t just physical; it involves the whole person. The command center for resetting the whole person isn’t found in our cells, not even our brain cells, and it isn’t found in the active mind, which is just the top layer. The command center for holistic resetting is at the source. Be still and know that I am your source. The evidence for this has existed for decades. Meditation affects heart rate, respiration, brain activity, inflammation markers, and stress levels. Medical science studies each of these factors individually, but we shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees. Everything comes back to the same source.

Your source is still and silent; you come closest to it in deep, dreamless sleep. But in a crisis, everything doesn’t automatically go back into balance the way your heart rate will return to normal after you quit running. It turns out that there is useful silence and not-so-useful silence. As consciousness starts to move from its silent source, different paths open up, and the paths you have favored become your unique way of turning silence into something else.

Nobody handed you a user’s manual, but in broad terms, silent mind takes a path that is either/or. Let me map how these pathways diverge:

Fear or love
Separation or unity
Suffering or bliss
Renewal or habit
Self-esteem or self–doubt
Security or insecurity
Comfort or stress
Acceptance or resistance
Awareness or unconsciousness

These choices arise from silence; they have the same source but travel in opposite directions. If a person is fully conscious or awake, the pathways are directed toward the desirable experiences of love, security, bliss, creativity, renewal, and so on. But as things stand, we are all entangled in a web of choices that are mixed. We suffer but also feel bliss; we love but also fear; we feel self-worth but also self-doubt.

A crisis throws us into deeper confusion as it entangles us in too many wrong responses. Healing consists of allowing the silence to go in the right pathways. In every spiritual or wisdom tradition, pure consciousness unfolds, if let alone, in the direction of love, creativity, renewal, and evolution. There is no injunction that says, “Be still and let’s see what happens” or “Be still and who knows how that will work out for you?
Instead, the mindbody balance we all have relied upon since infancy is directed positively. Health and wholeness are the norm; creativity and renewal are the norm.

This is why I believe that the COVID-19 crisis can lead to healing, because without a doubt everyone feels the need for a rest. Follow this need toward your source, and it will be fulfilled. This is a time when the rest brings into play the infinite power of consciousness. All we have to do is align ourselves with that power at the level of silent mind.


DEEPAK CHOPRATM MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. Chopra is the author of over 89 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. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”

COVID-19 and a New Way to Be Happy

By Deepak Chopra, MD

Diseases point the way to the future if we pay attention. This holds especially true of the global outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19. It is clear that some important lessons have emerged already. Some of these are obvious because they are so visible: Uncertainty is a major cause of panic. No one could miss that lesson. Economies reflect mass psychology. This lesson follows from the first, because the plunge in worldwide markets has been driven by uncertainty.

But if you look a bit deeper, COVID-19 exposes a need to take human well-being more seriously. The great push to create a welfare state is around a century old, and certain countries like Sweden and Denmark went much further than the United States. But even in places where democratic socialism won the day, true human welfare wasn’t addressed. The basic right to have guaranteed housing medicine, and education—the cornerstones of the modern welfare state—treat people as economic units.

Actual well-being looks very different. Its hallmarks are community and mutual support, valuing happiness as essential to human life, affording lifelong good health, living in an environment with pure air and water, a lack of violence with a necessary emphasis on peace, equal acceptance for all, and the abolition of us-versus-them thinking of the kind that builds barriers of every kind.

When you list these ingredients in one place, it becomes painfully clear that a welfare state is far from being a well-being state. COVID-19 exposed how insecure most people actually feel, to the point that the real pandemic is fear, not the virus. It has been largely futile to spread actual facts in the face of the mass fear that social media and 24/7 news incite so easily. The people who are chiefly at risk of dying from the virus as the elderly and disadvantaged, two groups likely to have compromised immune systems or underlying chronic medical conditions.

For everyone else, standard prevention is the best recourse, with the additional advice not to go on extended planes trips or a cruise ship if you are already at risk. But such sensible medical advice is being drowned out. Moreover, the recent tendency toward authoritarian reactionary leadership has exposed that such leaders have a shocking lack of interest in anyone’s welfare but their own and the privileged class they belong to and protect.

COVID-19 has made people aware at some level that that their well-being is of little interest to the leaders they elect. But the underlying issue is that the wellness movement hasn’t caught on even to the extent that the average person knows how to be well, secure, happy, and self-sufficient for life. I mean this in personal terms, not economic ones. The average person is so fixated on holding a job and the price of gas that it seems like fantasy to talk about a fulfilling job and the price of unhappiness.

We need a new way to be happy based on well-being. To instigate such a radical shift has already begun—the wellness movement is here to stay. Global warming, despite reactionary resistance, has already alerted the world that any solution must be global. Nationalism only makes the problem worse. Sectarian violence, terrorism, and civil unrest are pointless (as they always have been) if you and the person you hate are both under the same climate threat.

If the progressive wing in politics really values well-being, it should propose a secretary position in the cabinet to boost everything that well-being stands for. If that proposal sounds too ideal or even foolish, then you might look in the mirror and ask what your own happiness is based on. If it is based on money, status, possessions, and lifelong consumerism, you need to wake up. Those have been the normal standards of happiness for a long time, but they have led to gross income disparity, a huge carbon footprint, a pitiful level of well-being for the world’s under-privileged, an ingrained prejudice against the poor and anyone “not like us,” and a society in which, beyond our immediate family and friends, all of us feel like strangers in a strange land.

COVID-19 has brought the situation under a glaring spotlight. If the past is prologue, the immediate reflex will not be positive—stores will be cleaned out of essential products when the right thing to do is to share these products, not hoard them. Rumor, gossip, and absurd untruths will block sensible advice, correct facts, and a healthy caution toward the outbreak.

But for all that, COVID-19 implies a new future and makes it more urgent. Passivity and inertia are no longer affordable. We’ve all booked passage on cruise ship Earth. There’s nowhere anyone can disembark, and all the passengers, including the ones in first class, are literally in the same boat. Only a new way to find happiness, based on a global self-care movements and personal well-being to replace empty consumerism and mass distractions, has any hope of leading to a better future. Consider this as seriously as you can, and make your own well-being the start of global wellness.


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 health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. Chopra is the author of over 89 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. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”

Transformation Is Possible—It Is Already Here

By Deepak Chopra, MD

The one thing in life that never changes is change, or so people say. But in reality we all experience a struggle between accepting change and resisting it, trying to make things different and yet feeling an anxious need to keep things the same. This struggle is what makes personal change so difficult. We can’t make up our minds once and for all how we feel about changing.

If change is so difficult, how can there be personal transformation, upon which the whole movement of human potential is based? It takes vision and commitment to believe that such a thing is even possible. Most people have mixed feelings about how their lives are going. “Taking the bitter with the sweet” is an old saying in English dating back to the 13th century, but it expresses a universal experience in every society.

In the face of life’s mixed blessings there runs a contrary trend, however, based on a deep yearning for transformation. The yearning is expressed through visions of a heaven where eternal bliss is gained, in romantic literature where perfect love is found, and in imaginary utopias of every kind, including a lost Eden or Golden Age.

Is this yearning for transformation mere wish fulfillment, like dreaming of what you’d do if you won the lottery? If you are totally pragmatic, you abandon such fantasies so that you can productively direct your energies to becoming better off by inches and degrees. (There’s at least one bestseller promising how to get ten percent happier, for example, which sounds like opening a passbook savings account—better to get a small safe return than shoot for a higher but much riskier reward.) Even then, modest goals aren’t always achievable. We settle for half a loaf, or less, because common sense tells us to.

But the real issue runs deeper. Transformation exists throughout Nature. Consider the total change of state when two invisible combustible gases, oxygen and hydrogen, combine to form a liquid, water, which is so non-combustible that it puts out fires. Two poisons, sodium and chlorine, combine to make salt, which is necessary for life. The essential nature of the two ingredients give no hint that they could be transformed so completely. But that is what transformation means, as opposed to gradual stepwise change.

What would it mean to achieve personal transformation? Despite the stubborn way that people resist change, clinging to beliefs, fears, biases, and personal habits for no rational reason, we are transformative beings. This can be evidenced in everyday experience.

  • When you have a thought, mental silence is transformed into a voice in your head.
  • When you see an object, invisible electrical signals in your brain transform into color and shape.
  • The sense of sight works by taking minuscule snapshots that individually have no motion, but your mind transforms these into the moving world, the same way that a movie is created out of a series of still frames projected in rapid sequence.
  • In the presence of a sudden shock, the balanced state of your body at rest is transformed into the aroused state of fight or flight.
  • The words “I love you,” if spoken by the right person at the right time, creates a total psychological transformation known as falling in love.

None of these experiences happen through gradual or stepwise change. There is a sudden alteration by which one state turns into another completely different state. And as with water and salt, the first state gives no clue about what the new state will be like. That’s why someone falling in love for the first time often says in amazement, “I never knew such a thing ever existed.”

Obviously, the setup of society is drastically tilted toward conformity, routine, and conventionality. There is pressure not to be different. But none of this alters the fact that we are surrounded by transformation in Nature. Moreover, our brains couldn’t transform the raw signals received by the five senses into the image of a three-dimensional world without transforming them.

The lesson here is to accept that transformation is always within reach and requires no special effort or struggle to achieve. But to access any kind of personal transformation, you cannot rely on either your ego or your brain—both ae designed to keep doing what they are used to doing. Both are conditioned by the past. The source of transformation lies elsewhere, in consciousness.

What triggers transformation happens in consciousness; the intention to change registers in consciousness; and consciousness carries out the desired transformation. This isn’t mysticism. Your intention to lift your arm is a conscious trigger for the bodymind to go into action. Without conscious intention, nothing can happen in the direction you desire. What people find hard to accept is that consciousness is present not just as a trigger; it governs and creates change. Ultimately the entire experience occurs only in consciousness.

That’s why we refer to states of consciousness. Only consciousness can change the state you are in physically, mentally, or emotionally. Like a gas changing state into a liquid, the new state isn’t a matter of a little more or a little less. A change of state is a transformation. In childhood, most fairy tales are about transformation, like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. These tales linger our entire lives because deep down we know that transformation is real.

In adulthood, transformation becomes wishful thinking because we turn to the ego-personality to affect change, yet it always fails in the end, because of the inner conflict I began with, in which change is desired and feared at the same time. The key is to journey to the source of transformation, which is achieved through meditation. Only when you learn to identify with the inner level of yourself that creates transformation effortlessly can you master your own transformation. In effect, you stop trying to change and let consciousness do it for you. Discovering that this is possible brings fulfillment to our deep yearning to be transformed.

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 health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. Chopra is the author of over 89 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. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”