by Deepak Chopra: Now is a good time to change your definition of a healthy mind, because the current definitions fall so short of what your mind can be…
Your mind was designed to give you the experience of bliss, not just in special moments of joy but any time you wish. I realize that this new standard comes as a surprise or even a shock.
This is because society has conditioned us to view our minds with doubt, suspicion, and fear. After all, isn’t the mind where anxiety and depression come from? If you feel negatively about the human mind, you have taken a wrong path, because the mind is the source of all the highest values in life: love, beauty, truth, inspiration, compassion, creativity, intelligence, empathy, and personal growth.
This is where the Vedic view of the mind changes everything because the Vedic view holds that all these values are different faces of one thing: bliss-consciousness. Immediately you can see that you have been following your bliss every time you get a glimpse of love, beauty, truth, inspiration, and everything else I just listed. This insight is enough to alter your entire view of your mind. All your life it has directed you toward bliss. When you experience negative mental states, something has happened to distort or block the flow of bliss.
Here again the Vedic view changes everything, because instead of struggling against these obstacles that keep bliss out of sight, you do two things that are easy and natural. First, you choose at least one activity or experience in your day that feels blissful. Take time to do this, because when you spend time consciously encouraging qualities of love, empathy, and inspiration, you are signaling the direction you want the brain to increasingly favor.
The second thing to do is to experience simple awareness. Simple awareness is meditative, but you don’t need a program of meditation to experience it. You simply sit alone in a quiet place, take a few deep breaths, and center your attention in your heart. This is the experience of centering, and it brings the mind back to its baseline, which is quiet and peaceful. It is a mistake to believe that the nature of your mind is noisy with constant thoughts and mental activity. That activity is like a machine chugging ahead, and of course it is useful. We all need thoughts and feelings.
But these thoughts and feelings need a foundation in simple awareness because simple awareness is the reality of the mind. It opens the way for bliss to bubble up in the mind from its source. I know this can sound a little idealistic, but this is the ultimate reality. Your source is bliss. It is a wonderful thing to “follow your bliss” in the sense of doing things that bring you joy. But far more profound is the experience of knowing that you are the bliss. It doesn’t come from doing something you love. That’s just the trigger. All experiences of bliss are experiences of the self.
In a nutshell I’ve described the Vedic view of mind, body, and spirit. All these things that we separate into neat categories have only one source, which is bliss consciousness, and when bliss flows from the source you achieve not simply a healthy mind but holistic health in the truest sense, a state of well-being at all levels.
A Vision of Life
But we give the mind priority in order to create a vision of life. The ideas in this article outline the highest vision that has motivated humankind for centuries. Only you, in your own mind, can adopt this vision, which says that you are the bliss. Visions shouldn’t be idealistic. They should fill reality with inspiration, changing how you see yourself and the world. Then you have purpose and meaning, a direction, and a path to follow every day.
A vision does another thing, too. It clears away illusions, mistakes, false beliefs, and old conditioning. A healthy mind is therefore a healing mind. It looks at itself and examines old habits, beliefs, and conditioning. All of these tend to be unconscious and automatic. You find yourself in a familiar situation, and what happens? You say and do today what you said and did yesterday. To break the chain of unconscious responses, simply pause, see what is happening, and stop doing the automatic thing.
Wait for a few seconds to let a new impulse comes up, an impulse that is closer to the real you, which is bliss. I don’t mean that if you feel angry with another person that you should pretend it’s all a joy. Not at all. Just pause, let the angry impulse fade, and wait to see if you feel something a bit deeper. If not, don’t return to your anger but walk away. Your true self is always sending you an impulse that is conscious, an alternative, no matter what it might be, that is better than the same old habits, conditioning, repetition, and automatic reflex.
I’ve covered a lot in a short space, but there is more impact when you can see the whole territory ahead, which is the return to your true nature, bliss consciousness. When your mind grasps this critical concept, your whole life can unfold in a better way. You will find more opportunities for health and healing at the level of the mind. This is the path that eventually unites mind, body, and spirit into the true self instead of the social self, which isn’t the right vehicle to find bliss.