Recently, I noticed that my kids are entering adulthood just as I’m leaving it. My friend Lisa asked me where I am going, and to tell her the truth, I’m not exactly sure. But what I do believe is something Deepak Chopra also believes: Change and transformation are your birth right. It was in this spirit of always “evolving and recycling,” that I entered the world of Deepak Chopra’s newest book (I think it is his 65th!) entitled Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life’s Greatest Challenges.
Chopra is all about showing you how to expand your awareness, which he says is the key to resolving the confusion and conflict we all face. “The secret is that the level of the problem is never the level of the solution,” he writes. “By rising to the level of the solution in your own awareness, you can transform obstacles into opportunities.”
Chopra wants to assist his readers to get out of their stuckness. And so many of us are stuck. Filled with numbness. Or even depressed. And his answer may be a challenging one for some people. He is asking us to wake up and take responsibility for our lives and be open to new perceptions. As he says so wisely: “You can only change what you are first able to see. What you are willing to be aware of?”
Now, this is a tough one for most of us. We don’t always want to see what is true. And as Deepak pointed out, we all see “true” through our own tinted glasses. No enemy is more dangerous than the one we are blind to.
Look, life can be viewed as a series of unpredictable weather patterns that we can either choose to struggle with or carry the right gear! Stuff happens. This book is a wonderful reminder that the most powerful way to change your life is to become self aware and to own your stuff. After reading Spiritual Solutions, I felt recommitted to living this second half of my life awake and viewing life’s challenges as creative opportunities. And of course, it can be difficult at times. Change and transformation are hardly ever completely comfortable.
As a sexuality, fertility and intimacy coach, I can tell you that most of life’s struggles arise when we somehow manage to go unconscious. It is a practice to always bring ourselves back to a place of self awareness. And that is what this book is encouraging us to do, in steps that are understandable and inspiring.
Chopra points out that struggles can sometimes be a gift and can arise to make you more aware of your life’s purpose. I believe that. I agree with Chopra when he says that nothing is random. Sure, life brings challenges. But how are you going to meet them? Are you willing to be conscious or will you simply blame and numb out? Cookies used to work for me. But I gave them up because I decided that I preferred feeling instead.
Take the Chopra approach, and think of life as something that is constantly recycling itself and evolving at the same time. Possibly my favorite quote from Spiritual Solutions is when Chopra says that “Life is like a river flowing between the two banks of pain and suffering. The more we let go, the more our true selves can evolve and transform.” Nothing is more real than change and evolution.
I want to live in the river…somewhere in the middle, and not need to grab onto the banks of pain and suffering. I have done enough of that. So many of us have. Instead, I want to consciously let go. With Deepak Chopra’s help, that is where I am right now in my life. I have stopped struggling. I am floating on my back. At least in this moment. In this moment, I am happy to look past the conflicts in my life. Let go of anxiety and fear. Now that is a gift.
Sometimes, I still contract at the beginning of something new and uncomfortable. Or if I am not getting my way, or having my own desires fulfilled. My contractions can look like tears, foot stamping, running away or shutting down. But if you allow yourself to stop struggling, and breathe, I have found, in this place you can expand.
Putting Chopra’s words into practice, I have found that if you can stop struggling, more people will connect with you. People will share more of themselves with you. You will begin to meet fear more realistically and with less anxiety. Things that you don’t expect sometimes show up to support you. By following Chopra’s solutions, I have come to believe that it is possible for this to be our default state. But it comes at a cost. We have to own our feelings rather than blaming them on someone else. Just this action is a tremendous sign of moving from contraction to opening. And even if you don’t think you can do it, if you can just try, you will find the bliss that may be missing in your life.
Leaning into fear, and taking on the point of view that every challenge is an opportunity has in some crazy way helped me stay connected to my purpose. You will find lots of wisdom in this book.
We all can get to this end-goal of being fully open, in a place where you will find no struggle, and perhaps desires can be reach more easily, as creativity begins to fire on all aspects of life. This is what practicing “expanded awareness” has brought me. The place between the river banks. I have to remind myself of these gifts when I fall into resistance and numbness. But if I can just let go, as Chopra says, “the next thing I want is the best thing that will happen.”
For me, the goal is to live in this place of self awareness. It is through this gateway, that all the pleasures of life can be truly tasted.