Because 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of my entry as a doctor writing about mind-body medicine, I wanted to offer a special, personal message about this New Year. I hoped from the beginning that many doors would be opened—physically, mentally, and spiritually—by showing people that the mind-body connection was real.
Every experience in life is metabolized by the body. We literally turn into what we think, believe, and feel. From that seed idea, a total shift in how we view well-being is possible. But I never expected that the mind-body revolution would progress as far as it did, or that something as precious as the Chopra Center could grow out of that.
Therefore, my personal goal for 2016 is to live at the level of well-being that we now know is possible. Anything less would be stepping back into the past. Each of us now has the knowledge to make real transformation possible. Let me divide this goal into its separate parts for the purpose of showing the kinds of changes all of us can adopt in mind, body, and spirit.
Goals for My Spiritual Life
Spirit comes first. In the coming year, I have the intention to:
- Live at peace with myself and everyone in the world.
- Exhibit no form of anger, resentment, or violence even in its subtle form.
- Abide by the ancient Vedic ideal of Ahimsa, or harmlessness, which includes reverence for life as well as doing no harm to others.
- Accept that my true self is unbounded awareness, existing in the field of infinite possibilities. As much as I can, I will identify with my true self instead of the limited, ego-bound self we mistakenly identify with.
- Keep up my meditation practice as the best means for spiritual renewal and growth.
Goals for My Mental and Psychological Life
In my mental and psychological life, I have the intention to:
- Eliminate toxic emotions like anger, fear, and depression.
- Restore emotional balance by allowing more lightness and optimism into my daily experience.
- Practice gratitude and appreciation by expressing these feelings when they arise.
- Doing the loving thing in every situation, no matter how tempting it is to be unloving through blame and judgment.
Goals for My Physical Life
In my physical life, I have the intention to:
- Pay close attention to daily stresses and manage them better, despite the temptation to put too much stress on myself.
- Get enough sleep every night without excuses.
- Eat natural, organic foods only.
- Eliminate sources of toxins in my diet, even though fast food and junk food are all around us.
- Make sure I am active throughout my day, which includes standing up and moving around at least once every hour.
- Listen to my body’s signals of discomfort or dullness and providing what the body is asking for without avoidance or procrastination.
These aren’t surprising or revolutionary steps, and yet 30 years ago, most were ignored, argued against, or minimized. It wasn’t recognized that personal well-being is multi-dimensional. It goes far beyond an annual physical checkup with a good report card from your doctor. In the explosion of knowledge since 1986, lifestyle choices have become not just a hot topic but the main scientific focus in medicine, biology, and genetics. The mind-body connection opens the way for what I call radical well-being.
My goal is to reach and maintain that state of well-being in the coming year, not as an effortful project or a struggle but as a natural way of living. It would be a source of great fulfillment and personal joy if all of you joined me in the same goal. The awakening of each person has become a practical reality undreamed of in past centuries. We should celebrate that fact in the coming year and allow ourselves to wake up in body, mind, and spirit. What else are we possibly living for?