I recently had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet spiritual guide, alternative medicine expert, and bestselling author Deepak Chopra in New York City for a meditation and interview. Here, in his own words, Chopra talks about how you can cultivate a strong mind-body connection for healthier, happier, and fitter life.
Dynamic activity and stillness of the mind go together. Great athletes in peak performance, their mind is still. In fact, I’ve talked to great athletes—the superstars of sports—and they say, those peak moments, when they have the perfect score, the perfect hit, or the perfect whatever, their mind is totally silent—they can’t hear a thing, even though millions of people are screaming. Everything is slow motion. When the mind and the body are totally in alignment, that’s the meditation state. And for anyone who wants to be fit, to cultivate stillness in the mind is an amazing thing to do. Fitness should also mean mind-body coordination, which is what it is.
There are moments of “flow” that occur spontaneously. When you’re looking at a ballet dancer, they’re in flow; an acrobat, they’re in flow; a great musician, when they’re performing, they’re in flow; when Michael Jackson used to dance, that was flow. Artistic moments of excellence, sports moments of excellence, they are all moments of flow.
How you cultivate that is a whole other thing. It’s meditation. And the smallest first step you can take is to sit quietly for about 10 minutes and just observe your breathing. What you’re doing in meditation is actually cultivating that by just connecting your consciousness with that intention.
Ideally speaking, flow occurs when your mind is in the present. You make a commitment to be in the moment, which means that the most important thing is what you’re doing now. The most important thing you can do for the future is now. The most important person is the one in front of you right now. When you do this, you’re not anticipating anything, and you’re not burdened by memory, or failure, or whatever. It’s a state that you can cultivate.
You don’t need to go somewhere to “find yourself.” Wherever you go, there you are. You can go to, say, Tibet, and still have a terrible mind; it doesn’t make a bit of difference. On the other hand, you can be in the midst of chaos and you can be totally at peace. I take a week of silence once a year. It’s an excuse for me to go away from technology, from Internet, from e-mail, from any kind of distraction, and I’ve done that for 40 years. Even books, or television. It’s like having a shower; only it’s like having a shower of the soul.