January 2, 2023
SF Gate

For New Year’s, an All-Embracing Resolution.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

By Deepak Chopra, MD

New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep and usually fade away after a few weeks or even days. The reason isn’t hard to find. Habits are hard to break, and the pull of old habits is what a resolution is trying to break. But there’s a way around this obstacle, and it has to do with the nature of choice.

Every day we all make choices, big and small, and they change all the time. But surrounding these daily choices are decisions we’ve made about our lifestyle that play the major role in our well-being, and especially our health.

There’s enough information available to indicate what kinds of choices are positive—no one needs to be told about a healthy diet, exercise, and avoidance of toxins like alcohol and tobacco. Yet making piecemeal choices ranks with New Year’s resolutions for noncompliance. This is a case where a single, all-embracing choice actually works out better.

This all-embracing choice involves asking one crucial question, “What is the absolute best lifestyle?” The answer can be life-changing.

The reason that lifestyle recommendations are doled out a bit of information at a time is that we assume no one has found the best lifestyle as a whole. The statistics about the American lifestyle rise and fall, but statistics fail to reveal that modern secular society has some dominant trends that work against true, lasting well-being. These trends include the following—it’s a long list:

  • Ever-increasing stress
  • Faster and fast pace of living
  • A deluge of distractions including the Internet, social media and games
  • Increasing rates of ageing and dementia
  • Rampant consumerism and the debt this brings
  • Several decades of stagnant wages for the middle class
  • The collapse of major safety nets like pension funds
  • Uncontrolled rates of obesity
  • An epidemic of anxiety and depression
  • Global problems such as climate change, the COVID pandemic, and refugeeism
  • Collapse of trust in public institutions and politics
  • Runaway disparity between rich and poor

These challenges are persistent. You hear about them every day or actually experience them. They are inescapable, and the individual is basically powerless to solve them. Any single issue on this list is enough to overwhelm your life if you get too close to it. Dealing with malaria in Africa, opiate addiction in the Rust Belt, suicide among veterans, or the looming prospect of Alzheimer’s in an ageing population—take any one of these problems, and you can devote every waking hour to it.

For the average person, however, the real issue is that no one can block out or escape these trends. They provide a background of troubling chaos. You cannot put your head deep enough in the sand to be unaffected. The most enlightened diet, exercise, and meditation program do not provide a solution.

With that in mind, several years ago I wrote a book titled Metahuman, which takes its title from the Greek word “meta,” which means “beyond.” I set out to find the best lifestyle that brings lifelong well-being in the present chaotic condition of the modern world. You might be surprised to discover that this isn’t a spiritual lifestyle—I deliberately avoided even using the word spiritual in the book. The best lifestyle needs to include the spiritual and yet go beyond it—in other words, we need a “meta” lifestyle in order to have all-embracing change.

The best lifestyle can be described in a single phrase, waking up. When you lead such a lifestyle, you devote yourself to going beyond the everyday routines that people live by, the second-hand beliefs and opinions we have all adopted, the stories we continually cling to, and the agenda of the ego, which is basically “more for me.” Waking up is about personal evolution, higher consciousness, and the infinite potential that belongs to every human being.

Every problem listed above is mind-made. We find ourselves trapped at a level of consciousness that not only fuels chaos and confusion but which offers no way to stop. Unknown to ourselves, we inhabit a kind of virtual reality walled in by constricted consciousness. Literally, the reality we take for granted is a dream, spell, or illusion—choose any word for it you like. The “real” reality lies deeper inside us, at the source of pure consciousness, that is the field of infinite possibilities.

Modern secular society can be seen as the most perfected virtual reality ever devised—you can spend a lifetime on your computer if you want. Taking that perspective, modern life is the ultimate trap, and nothing on the list will be solved. But there is an alternative. Modern life is so open to freedom of choice that it provides the best setting ever devised for escaping the illusion.

In Metahuman I took the second perspective because each of us can clearly see that evolving to higher consciousness—in other words, waking up—is the only true solution. If you seek a solution to any problem, you can either struggle at the level of the problem, which is frustrating, or you can live from the level of awareness where solutions unfold through the infinite power of consciousness. This level is real, and it is accessible to all.

I am only offering the barest sketch of what waking up is all about, but I wanted to highlight that there is such a thing as the best lifestyle. Nothing that’s good in your present life has to be sacrificed—waking up expands every aspect of fulfilment. What’s really at stake is making the decision to wake up. That’s the first step in the direction of a future that works instead of a present that doesn’t.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudolph Tanzi, PhD  and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine.  www.deepakchopra.com

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