The 4 Spiritual Intentions Deepak Chopra Lives By
When spiritual icon, best-selling author, and mbg collective member Deepak Chopra, M.D., stopped by our office to record the mindbodygreen podcast earlier this year, we knew we were in for a treat. What followed was over an hour of thought-provoking ideas on what makes a fulfilling, soulful life—the small steps we can take to become more present and at peace in our bodies, every day. Here, we recount one of the highlights from our conversation, when Chopra dived into the four intentions that guide his every action.
Over my life, I've figured out that these are the four intentions that I need to work toward. I guarantee that if you follow them, everything else will fall into place for you too:
1. Joyful, energetic body.
The first is joyful, energetic body, so I don't do anything to hurt my body. I'm doing yoga, eating a plant-based diet, and walking 10,000 steps a day. Avoid toxins: That means a toxic environment but also toxic people and toxic jobs—anything that brings illness into the body.
2. Loving, compassionate heart.
The second is a loving, compassionate heart. Everybody wants love. All you have to do is practice the four A's: attention (be a good listener), acceptance (don't try to change people unless they want advice from you), appreciation (notice others for the good that they do), affection (care for others). Doing these things will make those around you feel good, and it will make you feel good in your own body as well.
3. Quiet, alert mind.
The third is a reflective, quiet, alert mind. Notice I didn't say a positive mind. Positive minds can be very turbulent, and I know a lot of people who are exasperatingly positive. To me that's almost another kind of stress. But a quiet mind is very interesting: When your mind is reflective and alert, you have access to intuition, creativity, vision, and imagination. The right things come to you at the right moment without any anticipation or regrets. Your life is kind of in a state of flow because your mind is quiet.
4. Lightness of being.
The last step is lightness of being, which is really living with no resistance, no anticipation, no regrets, just this moment. It's alive. That's the highest experience you can have because with that lightness of being comes what people call flow, peak experiences, transcendence...a surrender to mystery. After all, it's all a mystery. There's no explanation for our existence or awareness of existence. There's no explanation for you and me being here right now because there's no explanation for the Universe. There's no within; there's no without. There's just you as being. The rest is a story.
By this logic, I define success first as the progressive realization of worthy goals—goals that will bring happiness and joy to you and others. Second, it's the ability to love and find compassion. Third, it's to discover who you really are. Most people can't answer the simple question, "Who am I?" They give you their name, which is another construct. Anybody can name you anything. But if you want more purpose, fulfillment, and optimal health, you need to live by these principles and tune into yourself on a deeper level.