In his latest book, The Future of God, Deepak Chopra asks, Can God be revived in a skeptical age? What would it take to give people a spiritual life more powerful than anything in the past? He tackles these issues with eloquence and insight and proposes that God lies at the source of human awareness. Therefore, any person can find the God within that transforms everyday life.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re thrilled to share a series of spiritual practices from The Future of God. We’ll feature one exercise a week from November 11, 2014 to December 23, 2014. Be sure to come back every Tuesday for the next exercise!]
From The Future of God by Deepak Chopra
Below are seven strategies for processing the subtle world. Each one focuses on a different exercise to make you feel comfortable with your inner world. Be easy with each exercise, repeat them over a period of time, and you will witness a genuine and lasting change in your consciousness.
Day 1: Be Generous of Spirit
Day 2: Be Loving and Lovable
Day 3: Let Go (below)
Day 4: Find Your Fulfillment
Day 5: Enable Your Healing
Day 6: Raise Your Expectations (available on December 16, 2014)
Day 7: Let It Be (available on December 23, 2014)
Day 3: LET GO
Old pathway: Holding on to resistance
New pathway: Surrendering to what is
Exercise: Today you need to let go of something. Keep your attention on this, and when a moment arises when your inner voice says “I’m right, dammit” or “I’m not giving in,” just stop. You don’t have to do the opposite of anything. Merely pause and be self-aware. Notice that you are clinging, holding on, demanding that the situation change. How does this make you feel? Almost always, holding on feels tight, constricted, angry, and stressful. If you feel any of this, walk away and relax. Do deep breathing or meditation. Center yourself before you react.
Letting go is both emotional and physical. You are opening a pathway of acceptance. Whatever your inner voice says, reality is simply what is. You need to look at ‘what is,” which means dropping “what should be.” Don’t think of this as surrender in the sense of losing. Think of it as being more open, letting your brain gain more information. At a higher level, you are also calling upon the brain to deliver better responses to the situation.
Being self-aware will alert you to your negative reactions. In the past, the old pathways gave you two options when you felt negative: shut down or act out. Most people shut down, since they’ve learned from painful experience that acting out their judgment, anger, resentment, and ego gets poor responses from others. Yet this was never an either/or situation. Instead of shutting down or acting out, you can simply be aware. When you do that, you let in the light of consciousness. Your higher self is actually nothing more than expanded consciousness. By holding on to anything, you squeeze it into a narrow place in your mind – the mental equivalent of holding your arms tight across your chest. You can spend a lot of time with tight-folded arms, a clenched jaw, and beady eyes, or you can notice what you are doing and stop.
The mental equivalent works the same way. You can cast other people as wrong for a long time, or you can notice what you are doing and stop. The process of letting go begins here. In this case, once you stop clenching inside, your brain is automatically freed up. Over time openness becomes a habit. The new pathways replace the old by gaining fresh experiences. Once you actually look for proof that holding on isn’t working, it’s easy to find. What takes patience is to find the rewards in letting go. Life is hugely complicated; shutting yourself up into a small room delivers a safer reality. But once you let life flow in by no longer resisting, letting go becomes easier, and then you see that life is yours to experience as an individual. Bliss is universal; finding our own kind of bliss is a privilege that belongs only to you.
Excerpted from The Future of God by Deepak Chopra. Copyright © 2014 by Deepak Chopra. Excerpted by permission of Harmony, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.