Oprah and Deepak 21 Day Meditation Challenge – Perfect Health


My notes from the Perfect Health 21 Day Meditation with Oprah and Deepak Chopra

Day 1:  The Journey to Perfect Health

The Journey to Perfect Health “It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.  Mahatma Ghandi
“Perfect health is not only a possibility in our lives, but it is our natural state. As human beings, each aspect of our physiology seeks balance and optimal performance. Over the course of this meditation challenge, we’ll gain knowledge to enable us to assist our bodies in this amazing, natural process so that we can enjoy a lifetime of wellbeing and joy.”

Mindful Moment

“Set one intention for your journey toward perfect health. Remain open to all possibilities as you embrace the vision of your best self. If you wish, write a letter to your future self.”

Today‘s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  What does perfect health mean to you?
2.  As you seek perfect health, what would you most like to improve?
3.  How would your life transform if you felt completely vibrant and strong?

Today’s Centering Thought:  I commit to living perfect health.

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: Om Bhavam Namah – I am absolute existence.  I am a field of all possibilities

Oprah opens with welcome.  We’ll explore how we all can take control of creating perfect health in our lives.  During week one, we will prepare ourselves for creating a greater understanding of what our bodies and minds are capable of.   In our second week, we learn techniques to invite balance into our lives.  In week three, we’ll integrate all of these techniques so that we can truly begin to live perfect health.

Deepak Chopra:  There exists in every person a place that is free from disease, that never feels pain, that is ageless and never dies.  When we journey to this place, limitations that we commonly accept cease to exist, are not even a possibility.  This is the place called perfect health.  Stepping into this realm, no matter how brief these visits may be, can bring profound transformation and healing.  In this state of true mind, body, spirit connection, all previous assumptions about ordinary existence disappear and we experience a higher, truly ideal reality.

Sometimes our health is less than perfect but we need to understand that is not our permanent state.  It’s only a snapshot.  Think for a moment about a photo you have taken, perhaps on the beach.  In the picture there are particular elements arranged in a particular way – waves crashing at high tide, birds gliding through the air, a couple strolling side by side along the waters edge.  If you were to go back the next day, or even the next hour, the scene would be completely different.  It’s the same for our bodies.

Each moment is different from the last.  So while we can believe the diagnosis, we needn’t believe the prognosis.  We are the controllers of our own physiology and we can take steps to restore our health and vitality.  We can train our brain to think in new ways and choose nourishing habits that help us connect with perfect health more frequently in our lives.

The brain stores are beliefs and retrieves them as thoughts and can cause us to experience negative feelings.  To shift such views, we must invite our minds to be our allies.  As we do this, we’ll become more open to break-through thinking, raising our expectations higher than we ever thought possible, and finding creative solutions to make what we envision come true.  Embarking on our journey to perfect health, we begin by forming new pathways in the brain to move us from the level of the problem to that of the solution and by examining our current beliefs and creating fresh perceptions we can live more vibrant and rewarding lives.

As we settle in for meditation, lets consider our centering thought:  I commit to living perfect health.  I commit to living perfect health.  Let’s begin

Find a comfortable position.   Place your hands gently in your lap and close your eyes.  Begin to observe the inflow and outflow of breath.  With each inhalation and exhalation, allow yourself to become more relaxed, more comfortable, more at ease.

Gently introduce the mantra that allows you to connect to this memory of wholeness, repeating  the mantra mentally and allowing it to flow with effortless ease.  Om bhavam namah.  Om bhavam namah.  This means I am absolute existence.  I am a field of all possibilities.  Om bhavam namah.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, sensations in your body or noises in the environment, simply gently return your focus to mentally repeating the mantra, om, bhavam namah.  Continue this for about five minutes.

It’s time to release the mantra.  Take a moment to rest, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply.  When you feel ready, gently open your eyes.

As you continue with your day, carry with the knowledge that simply with a change of mind, you can change your life.  Contemplate the centering thought.  I commit to living perfect health.  I commit to living perfect health.  I commit to living perfect health.

Namaste

Day 2: The Nature of Perfect Health

The Nature of Perfect Health “To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”  Buddha
“Today, we discuss how it is our evolutionary impulse to progress in our lives, to seek and attain balance, and to be healthy and strong.While our bodies naturally move toward balance, there are things we can to do aid in this process. For instance, we can send our bodies messages of love and support by eating nourishing foods, getting proper rest, and engaging in activities that make us feel truly alive. So, as we begin to understand how our bodies take care of us, we also learn how we can better take care of our bodies.”

Mindful Moment

Consider an area in your life where your self-talk is not supporting your wellbeing. We invite you to replace that thought with a message that demonstrates self-love. Hold that thought as your affirmation for today.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  How does your body let you know when it is feeling stressed, tired, overworked?
2.  Describe how your body feels when you eat a non-healthy meal. What does it feel like when you have a healthy meal?
3.  What positive messages can you send your body today to demonstrate self-love and support?

Today’s Centering Thought: Balance is my true nature
Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: Yum, Yum, Yum – Repeating Yum enlivens the heart chakra

Oprah:  What does perfect health look like in our daily lives?  That’s a question you need to ask yourself.  Is it in our nature to become sick once in awhile or can we really always be well?  Our bodies are constantly providing messages to us to help us stay balanced and keep us healthy and intuitively we know that when we heed these signals, we thrive.  Deepak is going to introduce us to the ancient science of  Ayurveda, which is centered on longevity and well being.  He’ll give us steps to ensure that we experience good health throughout our lives.  We can work in concert with our bodies to achieve lifelong health and vitality.

Deepak:  Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old science that in Sanskrit means wisdom of life, or the science of longevity.  The ancient sages of Ayurveda boldly and wisely ask the ultimate question, Must we become sick and grow old?  Their answer was No.  We can be immune to illness and decline and disorders can be prevented or reversed as long as balance is maintained.  Balance of mind, body and spirit.  Perfect balance makes perfect health possible.

We are all governed by an evolutionary impulse, driving us to grow and progress, to expand beyond our own imagined limits.  This impulse directs our overall balance automatically and can be witnessed in every organ and cell in our bodies.  The most positive message we can send our body every day is to be aligned with balance in all things.  Taking time to enter the stillness each day and getting adequate rest help maintain the balance our bodies need.

We also need to move, both mentally and physically.  Exercise is one way to ward of f physical inertia.  Taking a passionate interest in life keeps mental inertia at bay.  Best of all, self-awareness allows the whole mind-body system to be dynamic  because self-awareness makes room for spontaneity, the exquisite freedom of the unexpected.

See if you can remain open to spontaneity in your own life each day.  Surprise yourself. Take an interest.  Find something to be passionate about.  These are all deep forms of healing and when you pursue them, you are truly experiencing perfect health.

As we prepare for our meditation, let’s consider our centering though: Balance is my true nature.  Balance is my true nature.  Balance is my true nature.

Find a comfortable position.   Place your hands gently in your lap and close your eyes.  Begin to observe the inflow and outflow of breath.  In this moment, go within.  Let go of all thoughts.   With each inhalation and exhalation, allow yourself to become more relaxed, more comfortable, more at ease.

Gently introduce the mantra that allows you to connect to this memory of wholeness, repeating  the mantra mentally and allowing it to flow with effortless ease.  Yum, Yum, Yum is associated with the heart chakra in the middle of the chest.  Repeat silently to yourself. Yum. Yum. Yum.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, sensations in your body or noises in the environment, simply gently return your focus to mentally repeating the mantra, Yum.  Yum.  Continue this for about five minutes.

It’s time to release the mantra.  Bring your awareness back into your body.  Take a moment to rest, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply.  When you feel ready, gently open your eyes.

Approach today with enthusiasm and contemplate the centering thought.   Balance is my true nature.  Balance is my true nature.  Balance is my true nature.

Namaste
Day 3  The Intuition of Your Body

The Intuition of Your Body “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
W.R. Yeats
“Today, we focus on the intuition of the body, that inner voice we each have, guiding us toward those choices and decisions that keep us balanced and thriving.As we’re learning, our bodies already know how to attain equilibrium, and we can enhance our physical state simply by listening to the clues our bodies give us. From Ayurveda, the world’s oldest health system, we learn today that our bodies have inherent tendencies, called doshas. The more deeply connected with our intuition we become, the more we grow in awareness of how best to keep our doshas—and our bodies—in balance.”

Mindful Moment

When faced with a choice today, close your eyes and place your hand on your heart. As you weigh your options in making your decision, pay attention to how your body feels. By listening to the body, the right answer will reveal itself to you.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:

1.  How does your body feel when you are faced with a
dilemma or important decision? Be specific; describe
the sensations in your body.
2.  How does your body reveal to you its intuition and inner guidance?
3.  Describe a time where you followed your intuition. What
was the outcome?

Today’s Centering Thought: “My mind and body are in perfect sync.”

The Sanskrit Mantra for Today: Sham, Sham, Sham

Oprah:  “Welcome to day 3, “The Intuition of our Body”.  I love that, knowing that my body has an intuition.  Most of us have been taught to take good care of our bodies but the messages usually from from the outside – teachers, doctors, the media or so-called experts.   Seldom do we hear that to take good care of our bodies that we need to listen to messages from the inside.  We are intuitive beings and listening to what our bodies are saying really can be the greatest gift that we can give ourselves.  Yesterday, Deepak introduced us to Ayurveda, the science of life.  Today, he takes us deeper into that journey and talks about body switching points, or doshas, where thought transfer to matter.  He explains that knowing our doshas helps us identify our personal needs and other entities and also about being aware about our predispositions.  That helps us with understanding of ourselves and other people.  That’s really what this journey is all about – understanding yourself and how that relates to others.  Lets relax and listen to Deepaks tell us how to pay attention to our inner body.”

Deepak: ” Noted physicist, Albert Einstein, once said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant”.   We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Each of us possesses an inner wisdom of knowingness, of intuition that can serve as our fail-safe guide.  Intuition is that inner voice that beckons to be heard as we engage in our daily activities.  Intuition can be trusted.  Because it doesn’t require processing by the higher brain, our inner wisdom can enable us to make snap, accurate judgements that yield positive results.

However, when we ignore our intuition, we lose our ability to “feel out”  situations which leads to decision making guided by over rationalization of our actions, even when we’re wrong.   And it’s not just the domain of the few, psychics and other so-called seers.  Instead, intuition is something that we all possess.  Intuition plays an important role in keeping our bodies balanced and helps lead us to perfect health.

In Ayurveda, the world’s most ancient health system, each person has a certain body type, a unique blue print that outlines innate tendencies that are build into our systems at birth.  These body types, Ayurveda affirms, originate at the meeting of mind and body, where thought turns into a matter.  A place that is occupied by operating principles built into our systems called doshas.

There are three doshas, vata controls movement, pitta oversees metabolism, and kapha governs structure.  All three are present tin everyone, however, some of us tend to exhibit tendencies of one dosha while others exhibit tendencies of two – or even three.  Overall, doshas facilitate the mind’s dialogue with the body and when they are in balance, they open up the possibility of a mind-body system that is always balanced, healthy ad evolving.

Once we understand our doshas, we often see that our intuition has been teaching us the right way to balance these tendencies and align with our bodies. Certain food choices, the type of exercise that feels just right for us, or how much we feel we need to sleep.  All of these are the intuition at work, telling our unique body how to stay healthy and balanced.

As we prepare for meditation, let’s consider today’s centering thought:  My mind and body are in perfect sync. My mind and body are in perfect sync.  My mind and body are in perfect sync.  Now let’s begin.

Sit comfortably, close your eyes and place your hands on your knees or in your lap.  Take a deep inhalation then let it go.  Do that several more times – inhale slowly and deeply and then release.  With each inhalation and exhalation, allow yourself to be more at peace.

Gently introduce the mantra.  It is the sound, sham which is associated with the third chakra, the site of intuition and inner wisdom.  Repeat the mantra silently to yourself.  Shum. Shum. Shum.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, sensations in your body, or noises in the environment, simply return to repeating your mantra.  Shum.  Shum.  Shum.  Continue with your meditation for about 5 minutes.

It is time to release the mantra.  Bring your awareness back into your body.  Take a moment to rest.  When you are ready, gently open your eyes.

As you continue with your day, listen for your intuition and contemplate the centering thought, My mid and body are in perfect sync.  My mind and body are in perfect sync.  My mind and body are in perfect sync.”

Namaste
Day 4  

The Wisdom of Your Body “The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”  Paulo Coelho
Yesterday, we learned how important it is that we pay attention to our bodies’ intuition—how our bodies speak to us. Today, we learn that how we speak to our bodies also plays a vital role in our health and wellbeing.Based on how we interpret what’s happening around us, the brain and central nervous system respond by sending our cells a constant stream of messages that directly impact our physical state. Positive messages draw healthy responses from our bodies in the form of stronger immune systems and healthier sleep patterns, among many other benefits that can last a lifetime.”

Mindful Moment

“Take a moment today to listen to a common message you send your body. Evaluate whether or not that message is one of kindness, respect, and love. If the message could be more loving, rephrase what you are telling your body and repeat that new message often throughout the day”

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:

1.  What messages do you tell yourself throughout the day?
2.  When faced with a difficult situation, what is one positive message you could tell yourself?
3.  How can you talk to yourself in more positive ways
each day to support optimal wellbeing?

Today’s Centering Thought:  I trust the wisdom of my body

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Om.  Om.  Om.  Repeating “Om” honors our connection to the universe

Oprah:  “Today, Deepak reinforces our vision of perfect health by discussing how we can tap into the self-regulating magnificence of our bodies.  I just love the thought of that.  In truth, the body really takes care of us by responding to the feedback loops or communication channels we create within ourselves.  For instance, have you ever noticed how when you are happy or sad, your brain sends corresponding chemicals everywhere in your body and your body reacts in kind to those chemical signals?  That is why it’s so important that we pay attention to the signals we are sending our bodies because those messages play a vital role in our good health.  Positive makes more positive.  Let’s listen as Deepak tells us about the brilliant organism that is the body and the co-creative power each of us has to optimize our health.”

Deepak:  There is a famous Vedic verse, “It is our duty to the rest of mankind to be perfectly healthy because we are ripples in the ocean of consciousness and when we are sick, we disrupt the cosmic harmony.”

Your body, a wondrous component of the universes cosmic dance, is an intelligent vehicle for the mind and spirit, always naturally and effortlessly working toward healing, operating optimally and restoring balance.  In Ayurveda, the science of life is always to return the body to the level of perfect balance that lies within each person, no matter how ill.

Conventional wisdom tells us that if we want to find this balance, and be healthy, we must take care of ourselves.  However, the real secret to lifelong good health is actually the opposite.  We must allow our bodies to take care of us.

The human body consists of 50 trillion cells that function perfectly under the same guiding principle and the organ that governs and regulates that intelligence is the brain.   The entire physical system has been designed to maintain life indefinitely.  Our cells have perfect specialized functions for each organ and tissue. They have learned to cooperate with one another, staying in constant communication.  Modern medicine, for all it’s medical advancements, knows one-tenth of what your body knows instinctively.

In reality, doctors don’t heal their patients.  They facilitate the body’s healing system, adding whatever is lacking when self-healing falters.  By the same logic, everything we do to take care of our bodies is just an adjunct to letting our bodies take care of us.  The brain and central nervous system send a constant stream of messages creating a feedback loop of information.  One side of the feedback loop runs automatically.  The other side is effected by free will and choice.

This is important to remember.  Our perception of experiences and our day-to-day choices enter our body’s feedback loop sending a chemical signal from our brain to our cells.  The entire feedback loop runs on that mechanism and as far as the cell is concerned, there is no difference in a message that began as an emotion or one that began as estrogen or adrenalin.

While exercising, getting proper nutrition, avoiding toxins and other physical measures play roles in our overall good health, more important are the messages our cells receive.  The body is an intelligent mechanism governed by a brain that will take care of us for life if we minimize negative messages and maximize those that are positive.

As we begin meditation, let’s contemplate our centering thought: I trust the wisdom of my body.  I trust the wisdom of my body.  I trust the wisdom of my body.

Sit comfortably, place your hands on your lap or maybe up or down on your knees.  Take some deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling for a few rounds.  Inhale slowly and deeply and then release.  With each inhalation and exhalation, allow yourself to feel more at ease.  Gently introduce the mantra.  It is the sound, “Om”, the universal sound which celebrates our connection with everything in the universe.  Repeat the mantra silently to yourself, Om, Om, Om.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by noises around you or thoughts, simply return your attention to silently repeating the mantra.  Om, Om, Om. Do this for about five minutes.

Release the mantra.  Bring your awareness back into your body.  Take a moment to rest.  Open your eyes only when you feel you are ready.  As you continue with your day, think about the dialogue you have with yourself and contemplate the centering thought, I trust the wisdom of my body.  I trust the wisdom of my body.  I trust the wisdom of my body.

Namaste

Day 5 – The Rhythm of Your Mind

The Rhythm of Your Mind-Body “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
Marcus Aurelius
As we’ve discussed earlier in our time together, our thoughts manifest as matter in our bodies, which is why it is so important that we send ourselves positive messages. Not only can we do this through loving self-talk, but we can also be kind to ourselves by going with the flow of our lives and accepting our circumstances in each moment.As we learn more about this mind-body connection and enter our meditation, commit to greeting every moment today with passion and joy.

Mindful Moment

Today, commit to staying grounded in the present. Whenever you find yourself worrying about the past or feeling fearful about the future, take three deep breaths to bring yourself back to the here and now.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  Our bodies constantly give us messages. How does your
body speak to you when you are in resistance to
something or someone?
2.  Recall a time when you decided to let life events unfold without trying to control the outcome.
What did  you learn from simply letting go?
3.  List the ways you can commit to living each day with greater passion and joy.

Today’s Centering Thought:  I flow in rhythm with my mind and body.

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Om Anandham Namah.  My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.

Oprah:  In every moment, we have the power to choose our attitudes and reaction to every person and every situation we encounter.  That is where our real power lies.   With every experience, we are painting our canvas – thought by thought, choice by choice.  And when we approach our lives with a sense of openness, we begin to embrace that co-creative power of mind and body and become more attuned to choices that nurture us, physically, mentally, spiritually.  So making the most nourishing choice is both a practice and an opportunity for us to grow and when you do that, you come closer to lifelong well-being and vitality.   Today, Deepak is going to tell us how a healthy mind creates a healthy body.  

Deepak:  As human beings with conscious awareness, we are the only creatures on the planet that can change our biology through our thoughts, feelings and intentions.  Our selves are constantly eavesdropping on our thoughts and being changed by them.  The slightest shift of mood is picked up by every cell which means we do not think with our brains alone, all 50 trillion cells happily share our thoughts.

As we discussed earlier in our journey, doshas serve as switching stations where thoughts turn into matter, where what we think catalyzes a change in our body.  Consider what would happen if, on your morning walk, you suddenly encountered a rather large snake slithering across your path.  If you were frightened, your heart would begin to pound, your throat would become dry, and your legs would feel like rubber.  The abstract mental image of seeing the snake would create a concrete reaction.  A rush of adrenalin.

Our thoughts work in the same way.  When we’re anxious, depressed, frightened about the future, or worried about the past, we send our body messages that cause it to transform in an instant, to help us react to the threat that faces us – even when no real threat exists.  However, if we face each moment with present moment awareness, enthusiasm, passion for life, optimism and openness to all of life’s surprises, then we send ourselves a completely different positive message.

Think again about your hypothetical morning walk.  If that same snake crossed your path but you happened to like snakes, your body would react completely differently with positive thoughts.  Instead of wanting to flee, you would likely want to stay and observe the snake, perhaps touch it or pick it up.  In this scenario, your body would undergo the opposite transformation; one that would support balance and healing.

Because we possess this subconscious ability to heal or create toxicity in our body through thought, our work is to mentally go with the flow, creating positive thought patterns that support our optimal health and well being.

Before our meditation, let’s consider our centering thought:  I flow in rhythm with my mind and body.  I flow in rhythm with my mind and body.  I flow in rhythm with my mind and body.  Let’s begin

Take a comfortable seat, place your hands in your lap or on your knees, and close your eyes.  Take some deep breaths. Inhale slowly and deeply and then release.  With each inhalation and exhalation, allow yourself to feel more at peace.  Gently introduce the mantra, repeating it silently to yourself.  Om Anandham Namah, Om Anandham Namah, Om Anandham Namah.  My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.

Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, noises, or physical sensations, simply return your attention to silently repeating the mantra, Om Anandham Namah.  Continue with your meditation for about 6 minutes.  Om Anandham Namah.  Om Anandham Namah.  Silently in the mind.

Release the mantra and bring your awareness back into your body.  Take a moment to rest, inhaling and exhaling slowly.  When you feel ready, gently open your eyes.

As you continue with your day, contemplate the centering thought, I flow in rhythm with my mind and body.  I flow in rhythm with my mind and body.  I flow in rhythm with my mind and body.

Namaste

Day 6:  The Perfection of Your Body

The Perfection of Your Body “Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
Eleanor Roosevelt
Today’s message and meditation center on our bodies, which are perfect in every moment.As we learn more about the messages we send our bodies, we also become more aware of how we talk to ourselves. When we have an ache, pain, sickness, or perceived imperfection, it’s important to pay attention to these signals from our body and mind and respond with compassion. In today’s visualization exercise, we’ll take a journey of self-awareness, traveling throughout the body and offering love, acceptance, and gratitude everywhere we go.

Mindful Moment

When you settle in for meditation, pay attention to how your body feels. If there are feelings of discomfort anywhere in the body, send that area messages of kindness and love.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  What are three aspects of your body that you love?
2..What are some of the messages your body is telling you
right now?
3.  Take a moment to list what your body has allowed you to
accomplish over the years.

Today’s Centering Thought:  “I am perfection. I am healthy. I am strong.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  So hum.  I am.

Oprah:  Each one of us is a radiant, spiritual being.  Just think about that for a moment.  That alone is a powerful meditation.  Each one of us is a radiant, spiritual being.  Beautiful and perfect.  As we were created.  Exactly as we are.  Yet, how many times do you become overwhelmed by external messages that tell you to improve, you need to be more than you already are.  Every moment is offering each of us a fresh opportunity to see ourselves as were really are.  To see ourselves as sacred, created by something more powerful than we can ever know.  Right now, I want to encourage you to make the committment to get rid of any notion that you are less than the radiant, spiritual being in a human body.  Today, Deepak focuses on the body’s innate perfection and shares how important it is that we change the conversations we have with ourselves and then he is going to lead us in a very special guided meditation to help each of us foster greater self-acceptance of the fact that we are a radiant, spiritual being born of and through love. 

Deepak:  Our bodies are marvelous wonders of nature, flexible, dextrous and strong.  At every moment, each of our bodies is absolute perfection and loving our bodies nor matter how they appear or feel acknowledges our intrinsic belief that we exist without flaw.  The power of such a positive self image plays a vital role in experiencing perfect health.  

As we tell our bodies, I am whole, I am beautiful, I am perfect just as I am, we create feedback loops that nurture every cell, muscle and organ and supports health and vitality.

There are likely some days when it is challenging to send positive messages to the body.  Maybe you’re living with a difficult illness, or you feel tired all of the time.  Or your clothes fit too tightly.  When we perceive that our body is aged, unfit, flawed or diseased, we tend to focus on what we believe is wrong.  We tell ourselves, “I don’t like you, go away, I can’t stand looking at you.”.  Imagine though that this ache, sickness or condition were a friend sitting right before you sad and weeping.  We wouldn’t ignore her or express irritation.  Instead, we’d embrace and nurture her, offering words of encouragement and love.  It’s the same for our bodies.  When we have an ache, pain, sickness or perceived imperfection, it’s important that we acknowledge those areas and offer them love.

Today, we’ll spend our meditation doing just that, traveling throughout the body and offering love and gratitude everywhere we go.  Before we start, let’s consider our centering thought, “I am perfection.  I am healthy, I am strong.  I’m perfection, I’m healthy, I’m strong”.  So let’s begin

Ordinarily, we practice our meditations in the seated, upright position but today, unless you’re very tired, you may want to lie down.  Whichever position you choose, make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.  Feel the weight of your body against the floor or chair and just breathe – full, deep belly breathing.  Inhale and exhale.  Begin to focus your awareness on your body.  Bring your attention to your feet and consciously relax them, silently thanking them for all they do for you, enabling you to stand, walk, run, dance, practice yoga – all the wonderful things you enjoy.  Now turn your attention to the legs and relax the muscles in the lower legs.  Slowly moving up the body, feel your thighs.  The weight of them against the floor or chair.  Just invite them to relax.  Relax the buttocks and the hips, the abdomen and the lower back.  Bring your awareness to your chest and upper back.  Release any tension you may be feeling there.  Allow the sense of relaxation to travel along your arms and into your hands, relaxing every muscle to the finger tips.  Bring your attention to your neck and head.  One by one, relax every muscle in your neck, head and face.  Anywhere you feel tension, invite a sense of ease.  Let go of any negative self-talk.

Visualize your brain.   Silently thank it for working in concert with your body, enabling it  to be healthy and alive.  Keeping your eyes closed, begin to visualize each cell taking in the nourishment it needs and expelling that which doesn’t serve it.  See your bones, muscles and organs which are composed of these healthy, vibrant cells.  Silently acknowledge the miracle that they perform for yu in every moment and express your gratitude and love.

At this time, if there are places in your body that may be giving you discomfort, shower those areas with warmth and love as though acknowledging your beloved friend.  When you have completed your journey, rest.  As you relax further, mentally repeat the mantra, So Hum.  So on the inhale, Hum on the exhale.  So Hum.  So Hum.  This means I am.  So Hum.  The sound of the breath.  Continue with your meditation for about 6 minutes.  So Hum.

Release the mantra.  Take a moment to rest, inhaling and exhaling slowly.  When you feel ready, gently open your eyes.

As you continue with your day, remember to express gratitude to your body and surrender to the truth of the centering thought, “I am perfection, I am healthy, I am strong”.  “I am perfection.  I am healthy, I am strong.  I am perfection, I am healthy, I am strong.”

Namaste

Day 7 – Honoring Your Body

Honoring Your Body “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Congratulations on completing our first week together! Today, our discussion centers on honoring our bodies, the temples that are the vehicles for our souls.By keeping our bodies healthy and strong, we are better able to turn our energy toward deeply meaningful experiences, spending time with loved ones, enjoying the beauty of nature all around us, and pursuing our own spiritual paths. Because this body is the only one we have, we must treat it with great love and respect, so that it will, in turn, enable us to enjoy all those things we love.

Mindful Moment

As we prepare for meditation today, silently thank your body for all that it allows you to do and commit to making healthy choices that continue to nourish it.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  Over the first week of our Challenge, what points have
most resonated with you?
2.  When you hear the phrase, “the body is a temple,” what
comes to mind?
3.  What are three positive changes you can make today
to better nurture your body, mind, and spirit?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “My body is a magnificent vehicle that connects me to Spirit.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Lam, Lam, Lam – Lam opens the root chakra, allowing us to feel grounded.

Oprah:  So often, we hear that the body is a temple – I’m sure that you all have said it at some time – which I really believe is true.  It is the house where the soul resides, the vehicle that carries us through this life experience.  And as we have discussed, the body is perfect and sacred and therefore worthy of the best of our care.  So throughout our journey, we have found that our body reflects back to us what we offer it.   Today, Deepak emphasizes how important it is to honor our bodies as deeply sacred and encourages us to listen to our own inner intelligence.  Please settle into a comfortable, quiet place, take a deep breath,  and listen as Deepak reminds us of what we’ve learned to far and offers insight into balance, into well-being, into achieving perfect health.  Then we’ll go into the stillness of meditation together. 

Deepak:  Over the past week, we’ve taken the time to prepare ourselves for perfect health, gaining a better understanding of the mind-body connection and of the enormous role the brain plays in the body’s overall state of well-being.  On our first day together, we discussed how we play a pivotal role in maintaining our own good health and how training our brains can help us keep disease at bay.  We then explored the importance of  remaining more balance, yet inviting more passion into our lives.

On Day 3, we connected to our intuition, our inner knowingness that is our true and most trustworthy guide.  From there, we came to realize that our bodies really take care of us, responding to feedback loops that we create that are integral to health and well-being.  We spent time becoming familiar with the doshas, the point at which mind and body connect.  Just yesterday, we journeyed  through our bodies, stopping along the way to express gratitude and love.

The body is a gift, a vehicle through which we can obtain deeper spiritual wisdom and connect with our higher self.  Keeping the body healthy then, free from discomfort and disease, enables us to focus our energies on more meaningful experiences like building rich, loving relationships, serving the world with our unique gifts and talents, and exploring higher consciousness.

As we continue this week together, and look forward to the next, take this time to honor your body.  Pay attention to the feedback loops you are creating, and listen with openness to your body’s intuitive messages.  All will lead you on the path to perfect health.

Before we start, let’s consider our centering thought, “My body is a magnificent vehicle that connects me to Spirit”.  “My body is a magnificent vehicle that connects me to Spirit.”  Now lets prepare for our meditation.

Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.  Begin to be aware of your breath and just breathe slowly and deeply.  With each breath, allow yourself to become more deeply relaxed.  Now, gently introduce the mantra that will help you connect more deeply with the body.  It is the sound association with the root chakra which helps us feel grounded and truly in the body.

Lam – repeat it silently to yourself.  Lam.  Lam.  Lam.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, noises or physical sensations, simply return your attention to silently repeating the mantra.  Lam.  Lam.  Lam.  Continue with your meditation for about 6 minutes.  Lam.  Lam.  Lam.  Just mentally.  Lam.  Lam.  Lam.

Release the mantra.  Take some time to rest, inhaling and exhaling slowly.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.  As you continue with your day, contemplate the centering thought, “My body is a magnificent vehicle that connects me to Spirit”.  “My body is a magnificent vehicle that connects me to Spirit.  My body is a magnificent vehicle that connects me to Spirit.”

Namaste

Day 8: Restoring Balance

Restoring Balance “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
C.G. Jung
This week, we have even more transformational information to share with you, and it all has to do with cultivating greater balance in our lives.Today’s discussion and meditation focus on restoring balance and how we can become more self-aware. Throughout our days, we tend to repeat the same activities without thinking much about them. At some point, though, we become aware of these habits and, later, we may even become self-aware, wondering why these habits are part of our lives and deciding whether they benefit us.Our entire journey together over these three weeks is one that will lead us to greater self-understanding.

Mindful Moment

Examine your habits today. Ask yourself, “Why did I begin doing this?” and “Does this benefit my body, mind, and spirit?” If you find yourself habitually engaging in activities that do not support your healthy lifestyle, begin taking steps to change those habits that do not serve you.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  Take a moment to reflect on your daily patterns and
habits. Which behaviors would you like to change?
2.  How would your life improve if you changed these current
patterns and habits?
3.  When you review your habits and routines, what can
learn about yourself?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “With awareness, I create healthy habits.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: Om Kriyam Namah – My actions are aligned with cosmic law.

Oprah:  Restoring balance.  I hope you’re feeling a sense of well-being, a sense of  completing the whole in just this week.   So far, we’ve learned valuable techniques that help invite balance into our lives.  So before we begin today’s meditation, Deepak leads us in a discussion about our habits and the essential role that the mind plays in sustaining habits.  As we’re all busy, we can sometimes do things unconsciously without thinking and those things then become habits.  Many times, our habits are not in line with what we say or our goals.  But they are so much a part of us that sometimes we don’t even realize that they’re standing in the way of what we want.  In today’s talk, Deepak explains the vital role that self-awareness plays in changing habits that no longer serve us, and offers us some simple steps to help make changes so that we can feel and be our very best.  Ok, you know the routine.  Let’s get comfortable as we listen to Deepak explain how we create new ways of thinking to improve our lives.  Then we’ll meditate together.

Deepak:  Whenever we have an experience, the mind is in one of three states – unconscious, aware or self-aware.  The mind’s two main modes of operation, unconscious and aware, are highly developed.  When we act in the unconscious mode, the brain is able to take care of the body without needing specific detailed instructions, processing the five sense to keep us aware of our outer and inner world.  However, in the unconscious state, health and well-being are generally left to chance and the critical mind-body feedback loop operates automatically without any awareness.

Consider this example.  If you light your fifth cigarette of the day without thinking,  you are doing something unconsciously, which is the mode of operation that underlies habits.  If you see yourself lighting the cigarette, then you are aware.  As you light that cigarette, self-awareness can also step in.  For instance, in that moment, you may ask, “What am I getting out of this?”.  When we begin to ask ourselves questions, reflect on our behaviors, look on the larger picture, and invite the answers to come to us, we move into the place of self-awareness.  When we are self-aware, we begin to pay attention to the one who is aware – the true self.  The true self is where values, meaning, purpose and answers come from.

Self-awareness moves us beyond the old well-worn pathways in the brain that support unconscious habits.  Imagine a situation in which you are angry.  In that instance, when you recognize “I am angry”, you are having an aware thought.  But knowing where your anger comes from invites a component of self-awareness into the situation, allowing you to recognize a pattern of behavior.  You realize that old habits, outbursts for example, have not served you very well and you begin to take steps to transcend those habitual responses.

Reality shifts when self-awareness enters and we start to take control with the help of our spirit.  Becoming self-aware opens the door to lasting change and empowers us to make lasting changes in every moment.

Before we begin our meditation, let’s consider our centering thought, “With awareness, I create healthy habits”.  “With awareness, I create healthy habits.”

Let’s prepare for our meditation.  Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.  Begin to be aware of your breath and just breathe slowly and deeply.  With each breath, allow yourself to become more at peace.  Now, gently introduce the mantra, repeating it silently to yourself.  Om Kriyam Namah.  Om Kriyam Namah.  My actions are aligned with cosmic law.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, noises or physical sensations, simply return your attention to silently repeating the mantra – Om Kriyam Namah.  Continue with your meditation for about 6 minutes.  Om Kriyam Namah.  Om Kriyam Namah.

Release the mantra.  Take some time to rest, inhaling and exhaling slowly.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.  As you continue with your day, contemplate the centering thought, “With awareness, I create healthy habits”.  “With awareness, I create healthy habits.  With awareness, I create healthy habits.”

Namaste

Day 9: Creating Balance

My notes from Day 9 Perfect Health

Creating Balance “Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”
Lao Tzu
“Today, we spend time thinking about our environments—at home and away—and find ways to make them more nourishing and peaceful.Consider those things that you enjoy—the scents, sights, sounds—that bring calm to your mind and spirit, and warm your heart. With just a little bit of thought and effort, we can create environments that support our success and enable us to feel positive and alive. So, as you enjoy your home and work in your professional space, we encourage you to make those small, simple changes that will allow your environment to enhance your life.

Mindful Moment

Take some time to examine your environment and consider those things you’d like to change. Perhaps it’s time to sweep away some clutter, add fresh flowers, turn on some soothing music, or light a stick of incense. Remind yourself that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world and invite those elements into your environment that truly make you feel good inside.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  How do the environments where you spend the most time impact your goals of perfect health? Do you feel that these spaces support your goals or take you farther away from
them?
2. What can you change in your current environment to create
a more nurturing space?
3.  In detail, describe your ideal living or working space.
How does it differ from where you are now?

Today’s Centering Thought:  My outer world reflects my inner world

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: Sat Chit Ananda, Existence, Consciousness, Bliss

Oprah: Creating balance – don’t we all want more of that!  So, we’re going to delve into the importance of being in a nurturing environment.  Everything we surround ourselves with impacts our well-being, you know that already.  It’s so often said that our homes and places we work are an outer reflection of our inner state.  So we all feel better in a space that makes us happier and calmer.  Even one small change – lighting a candle, a vase of flowers, can bring about a sense of transformation so that not only do you feel good, but you’re also nourishing the brain which, we know, plays a vital role in creating and sustaining good health.  So pay attention to your environment – how are you surrounding your space. Find how you can bring your inner and outer spaces into balance to cultivate greater harmony in your life.  Settle in and listen as Deepak tells how changing our environment can enhance our daily life.  

Deepak:  In many healing traditions it is said that the perfect medicine for us is often blooming right outside our front doors.  Every day, nature offers us it’s healing bounty.  With that in mind, we can begin to explore ways to create balance in our lives using simple things already available in our environments to bring us feelings of comfort and ease.

If you think about it we’re already attracted to particular experiences that make us happy.  For instance, we may have certain scents that we enjoy more than others.  Every time you go to an aromatherapy or candle shop, you’re probably drawn to an aisle or table showcasing a fragrance that brings an immediate feeling of calm and joy.  For some, just the first few measures of a Bach concerto can send the heart sailing.  For others, it may be rock, jazz, opera or hip hop that does the trick.

As we learned in our exploration of doshas in week 1, each of us is unique and we each respond to a different palette of environmental offering – scents, spices, music, paintings which can bring peace and comfort to us throughout our day.   Living and working in such an environment nourishes the brain which, in turn, takes care of us so that we can better take care of our bodies.

A positive outer environment plays an important role in a positive lifestyle, allowing us to make choices that are easy, natural and enjoyable.  This fosters the best inner environment for the brain which processes each experience we have and must function well for the mind to makes it’s best intentions known.  It’s important, then, that we be good to ourselves and create an environment that brings us peace, joy and ever closer to perfect health.

It’s not selfish to want a happy, harmonious life.  It’s your birthright and the true foundation for optimal mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

Let’s prepare for our meditation and consider our centering thought: “My outer world reflects my inner world”.  “My outer world reflects my inner world.”

Now let’s prepare for our meditation.  Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.  Begin to be aware of your breath and just breathe, slowly and deeply.  With each breath, allow yourself to become more at peace.  Gently introduce the mantra, Sat Chit Ananda which means existence, consciousness, bliss.  Sat Chit Ananda.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, noises or physical sensations, simply return your attention to silently repeating the mantra.  Sat Chit Ananda.  Continue with your meditation for about 8 minutes.  Sat Chit Ananda.  Just mentally.  Sat Chit Ananda

It’s time to release the mantra.  Inhale and exhale slowly and allow some time to rest.  When you feel ready, you can open your eyes.  As you continue with your day, contemplate the centering thought, “My outer world reflects my inner world”.  “My outer world reflects my inner world.  My outer world reflects my inner world.”

Namaste

Day 10: Breathing For Balance

Breathing For Balance “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”Thich Nhat Hanh
Today, we take a closer look at something we all do every day—breathing. Everything that is alive is energized by a force called prana. Prana means energy or life force and, in humans, that life force is the breath.Whereas most of our breathing is regulated automatically, conscious breathing can completely shift our perception. When we close our eyes and simply witness the breath as it flows in and out of our nostrils, we invite peace and balance into our lives, bathing our brains and every cell of our bodies in energy and vitality.

Mindful Moment

Spend some time practicing a more advanced form of conscious breathing. Get comfortable and close your eyes. Begin to imagine the breath as it flows in and out of the nostrils. After a few rounds of inhalations and exhalations, count to five on the inhale, hold the breath for five, and then exhale for a count of five. Do this several times for just a few minutes. After you’ve completed the exercise, rest for a minute or two, and then return to activity.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  Close your eyes for a moment and allow yourself to enjoy
three deep breaths, gently and slowly inhaling and exhaling.
Notice and describe how your body feels afterward.
2. How would a few minutes of conscious breathing benefit
you throughout the day?
3.  Identify situations in your life where you could restore
a sense of calm by practicing conscious breathing
techniques.

Today’s Centering Thought:  “I am one with the breath of life.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: So Hum.  I am.

Oprah:  Breathing for balance.  We’ve all found ourselves in stressful situations when someone might say something and we need to take a deep breath.  Focusing on our breath immediately takes us to the here and now as a true calming affect.  Today, Deepak shares how conscious breathing benefits all of us, greatly contributing to our health and well-being.  So, if you find yourself worrying or anxious, just breathe.  Remember, take a deep breath.  Remind yourself that this very moment is the only one that you know you have – for sure.  Invite yourself into the present moment, knowing right here, right now, all is well.  As we prepare to meditate, get comfortable and listen as Deepak offers us new insights into the wonders of the breath.  

Deepak:  All living things are enlivened by energy called prana, a force that pulses through each of us and gives us life.  In Sanskrit, prana simply means breath.  While prana energizes us in the form of breath, any form of energy – light, heat, and electricity is also considered prana.

Prana catalyzes all activity.  It is consciousness, the connection to the true self.  Cultivating prana in our lives can bring us greater energy and mental clarity.  Practicing many of the techniques we have been discussing such as meditation, enjoying our favorite activities and spending time in nature, enlivens our prana and makes us feel whole.  There are also easy conscious breathing techniques known as pranayama which will bring greater vigor into our lives and improve mental and physical states.  Just a few minutes of conscious breathing, especially when we are feeling stressed or anxious, can improve and shift our mood and perspective and bring us a sense of calm.

The more we practice connecting with our breath, our life force energy, our prana, the more spontaneously we will find that we move from our current state of awareness into one that allows us a more extended understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

As we move into our meditation practice, let’s consider our centering though, “I am one with the breath of life”.  “I am one with the breath of life.  I am one with the breath of life.”

Sitting comfortably, close your eyes.  Begin breathing through the nostrils, inhaling and exhaling slowly.  As you continue, imagine the breath as it flows in and out.  In… and out.  You may have heard someone say, “watch the breath” and this is all that means – envisioning the breath flowing through the nostrils.   Now gently, mentally introduce the mantra, So Hum, which means, I am.  So Hum.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, sensations or noises, just go back to repeating the mantra.  So Hum.  Continue with your meditation for about 8 minutes.  So Hum.  Just in the mind.

Please stop repeating the mantra.  Inhale and exhale slowly and allow some time to rest.  When you feel ready, you can open your eyes.  Throughout your day, contemplate the centering thought, “I am one with the breath of life”.  “I am one with the breath of life.  I am one with the breath of life.”

Namaste

Day 11:  Eating For Balance

Eating for Balance “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
While we often learn about food from external sources, Ayurveda teaches us to trust the inner wisdom of our bodies, which insightfully guides us to make the correct food choices. Eating an array of colorful foods, rich in nutrients, that also provides the six tastes—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent—helps us align our doshas and keeps us balanced.Just as conscious breathing invites greater prana, or energy, into our lives, so, too, do nutritious foods and fresh, clean water. It’s important, then, to make choices that are in tune with our bodies and eat with awareness in order to stay healthy and thrive.

Mindful Moment

Prepare one meal today that includes a full range of colors. Try to also use all six tastes. Savor each bite, eating with awareness, and witness how your body feels after your meal.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  What are some foods your body often craves? Are they
healthy and supportive to your wellbeing? Is your body
speaking to you about something it requires for balance?
2.  How do you feel when you eat fresh, healthy food?
3.  What changes can you make today to plan more nutritious
meals and eat with more awareness?

Today’s Centering Thought: “I choose foods that help me thrive.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: Om Vardhanam Namah – “I nourish the universe and the universe nourishes me.”

Oprah:  Eating for Balance.  Many of us learn about good nutrition by gathering good information from so many external sources – food labels, food classes, recipes and articles, but today, Deepak offers a different way to view food that is more in harmony with our bodies and our unique needs.  As we’ve been learning, the science of Ayurveda, though ancient in it’s existence, provides us with profound yet simple insights that, for many people may sound brand new.  In today’s discussion, Deepak shares with us how, by listening to our bodies, we can choose the best foods to help us feel energized, balanced, vital and whole.  So take a moment, settle in, and listen as Deepak tells us how we can truly start to nourish ourselves by following the guidance of our intuitive bodies.  Then we’ll meditate together.

Deepak:  Food is consciousness.  It is concentrated, intelligent energy that nourishes the body, mind and spirit.  When we eat natural, whole foods, and drink an abundance of clean, fresh water, we enhance our prana, the life-giving energy that enlivens our entire beings.

In Ayurveda, a balanced diet does not revolve around fats, carbohydrates, proteins, calories and vitamins.  Many of us know these aspects of what we eat through our intellects, not thru direct experience.  Ayurvedic nutrition origins are in nature and doshas.  Our body compositions play an important role.

When we take the first bite of food, for example, the doshas receive a great deal of information, primarily through taste.  We find ourselves instinctively drawn to those foods that incorporate a mixture of six essential tastes – sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent and astringent; favoring some tastes more than others to align with, and balance, our doshas.  In this way, we learn to follow our innate intelligence and intuitively eat a balanced diet.   It’s important that we appreciate and celebrate food and all that it does for our bodies.  Eating with awareness, taking our time as we chew our food, and sitting at a beautifully set dinner table with our loved ones, rather than in front of the television, are habits that create an ideal metabolic environment for both our mind and body.

Opting for fresh, organic produce ensures our bodies get the maximum nutrients nature has to offer.  Choosing foods that offer a variety of color helps keep our meals balanced and phytochemical rich by pleasing our sense of sight, smell and taste.  Consider how wonderful it is to enjoy a visually pleasing plate, abounding with fresh, nutritious food.  We feel energized and alive.

As we learn to eat in harmony with our bodies, we begin to eat in ways that truly benefit us.  Choosing foods intuitively, using nature’s cues, helps prevent and heal us from illness and enables us to feel balanced, vital and whole.

Let’s prepare for our meditation and consider our centering thought: “I choose foods that help me thrive”.  “I choose foods that help me thrive.  I choose foods that help me thrive.”

Now let’s prepare for our meditation.  Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.  Begin to be aware of your breath and just breathe, slowly and deeply.  With each breath, allow yourself to become more at peace.  Now gently introduce the mantra silently to yourself.  Om Vardhanam Namah.  Om Vardhanam Namah  means I nourish the universe and the universe nourishes me.  Om Vardhanam Namah.

Whenever you find yourself distracted by thought, noises or physical sensations, simply return your thought to silently repeating the mantra, Om Vardhanam Namah.  Please continue meditating for about 7 minutes.  Om Vardhanam Namah. Om Vardhanam Namah.

Release the mantra and give yourself time to rest.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.

Throughout your day, focus in this centering thought, “I choose foods that help me thrive”.  “I choose foods that help me thrive.  I choose foods that help me thrive.”

Namaste

Day 12:  Connecting For Balance

Connecting for Balance “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin
We are social creatures, who thrive in community. Connecting with one another allows us to express our most heartfelt hopes and dreams and be of service to one another. Our supportive relationships enhance the positive messages we send our bodies each day and invite better health and wellbeing into our lives.As we prepare for meditation today, take a moment to be grateful for the many individuals who contribute to your life and in whose lives you make a difference.

Mindful Moment

Make a point today of spending time with friends. Have lunch with colleagues or take a long walk with a group. Notice how you feel after sharing thoughts and laughter with others.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  How much time do you spend each day connecting
with loved ones, whether in person or through social media?
2.  How do you feel after you’ve spent time with good friends?
3.  What are the unique qualities and talents that you
can offer your community?

Today’s Centering Thought: “I cherish my every connection.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: Tat Tvam Asi

Oprah: “Welcome to Day 12 – Connecting for balance.  As social beings, which we all are, we need to feel deeply connected with others to thrive.  That means spending time with your loved ones and friends and colleagues.  We co-create communities that open us up and fill up our lives with purpose.  In communities, we’re able to express ourselves, to serve others and enjoy the rewards of generosity and sharing.  We’re all seeking a spirit-to-spirit connection.  That’s one of the things I learned in all the years of the Oprah show.  That is #1 common communicator in the human experience.  We all want to know that we are seen and heard.  That opens the door for us to share our truest natures, to share our vulnerabilities, to share our unique thoughts, our talents, our gifts.  So before we meditate today, Deepak delves into a truth that I believe we all know intuitively – that connection in it’s many forms, is essential for our overall well-being.  

Deepak:  To maintain optimal health, we need to connect with one another.  In general, when we socialize, chatting in line at the grocery store, engaging in family activities, taking an exercise class, or sharing a delicious meal with friends, we’re doing wonderful things for our brains and cardiovascular systems.

In years past, this type of face-to-face socialization dominated our existence.  But the world has changed.  Because of time and geographical constraints, occasions when we would leisurely visit in person with family and friends have increasingly been replaced by digital forms of staying in touch.

Social networking represents a new kind of shared mind.  A global brain with activity that connects hundreds of millions of people.  When we instantly tweet our thoughts, for example, there is an immediate and real sense of connection, of belonging to something bigger than just ourselves.

Clearly, through these meditations, we are benefiting from a form of social networking, virtually tapping into the collective consciousness from the comfort of our own spaces; yet, we are together.  In such ways, social networking can play an important role in improving our world.

As we embrace these new technologies, remember that while they are a wonderful enhancement of our lives, they can’t completely replace physical contact.  As humans, we need and enjoy connecting the old fashioned way – through eye contact, hugs and kisses.

Regardless of how we stay in touch, what matters most is that we cherish our loved ones, offering them appreciation, affection and a helping hand when they need it.  Through isolation, we wither but in community, we collectively experience a deep sense of  belonging, purpose and joy.

Before we meditate together, let’s contemplate our centering thought, “I cherish my every connection”  “I cherish my every connection.”

Let’s begin.  Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.  Be aware of your breath and inhale and exhale slowly and deeply.  With each breath, allow yourself to feel more at ease.  Now, gently introduce the mantra, Tat Tvam Asi  which means “I see the other in myself and myself in others”.  Tat Tvam Asi.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by  noise, thoughts or physical sensations, go back to silently repeating the mantra, Tat Tvam Asi.  Continue meditating for about 6 minutes.  Tat Tvam Asi mentally.  Tat Tvam Asi.  Tat Tvam Asi.

Release the mantra.  Take some long, deep breaths and give yourself some time to rest.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.

Throughout your day, be sincere and kind in your communications with others and focus on the centering thought, “I cherish my every connection”.  “I cherish my every connection.  I cherish my every connection.”

Namaste

Day 13: Moving For Balance

Moving For Balance “Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.” Aldous Huxley
Yoga means “union,” the union of mind, body, and spirit. There is far more to yoga than the beneficial practice of postures, or asanas.Yoga is finding balance, and union, in all aspects of our lives. Moving our bodies in ways that help us feel peaceful and connected with everything around us—whether it’s a brisk walk, a focused run, or an hour of yoga—can shift our awareness. Exercise can help us feel open and alive, rebalance our perspective, improve our physiology, and help us experience all aspects of ourselves, in harmony.

Mindful Moment

Create a schedule so that you engage in the exercise you enjoy the most on a regular basis. Commit to keeping with your schedule and journal how you feel each time you practice that activity.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  List the types of movement and exercise that make you
the happiest.
2.  How does your body and mind feel when you engage in
those activities?
3.  How can you bring that good feeling you enjoy during your exercise back with you into your interaction with others?

Today’s Centering Thought: “I am flexible, powerful, and balanced.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: “Om Varunam Namah” – My life is in harmony with cosmic law.

Oprah:  “Moving for balance.  We all know exercise is good for our bodies but it also does wonderful things for the mind and spirit.  At it’s best, exercise – whether it’s a brisk walk, a focused run or an hour of  yoga, can shift our awareness.  Exercise can also help us feel open and alive, rebalance our perspective, help us experience all aspects of ourselves in harmony.  Through exercise, we improve our mood, our self-image, enjoying greater health and well-being.  So today’s discussion from Deepak focuses on movement and brings us back to the concept we talked about earlier in our time together, how the body is our vehicle for our beautiful souls.  So, let’s get comfortable and listen to Deepak tell us how moving our body brings balance back into our lives.  Then he’ll lead us into our daily meditation.”

Deepak:   Originating in India about 5,000 years ago, Yoga is a science, a philosophy, and a way of life.  The word, Yoga, is Sanskrit for “unite”.  Yoga, then, means union – the union of mind, body and spirit, and a connection between individual and universal consciousness.

Yoga includes movements, meditation and an overall perspective on the world that emphasizes love, generosity, honesty and compassion.  In the West, however, the most commonly recognized way Yoga is practiced is through a series of  Asanas or poses.   Asana in Sanskrit means “seat” and the steady practice of asana not only helps us develop balance, strength and flexibility, but it ultimately offers a good “seat” for the soul within the vehicle of the human body.  From this prime position, we are then better poised for spiritual growth.

Beyond asana practice, today’s Yoga can encompass any activity that helps bring that sense of peace and union into our lives.  Dancing, swimming, cycling, walking in nature, can all be moving meditations that allow us to experience the richness of the outer world, strengthen our cardiovascular systems, release endorphins and clear our minds.

The ultimate purpose of Yoga, in all it’s forms, is to enliven awareness and expand our understanding of the true self.  Regular practice offers us opportunities to experience every part of ourselves with compassion and awareness.   When all aspects of our humanity, physical, intellectual and spiritual, work in union with one another, our lives, like our bodies, become balanced, vital and whole.

As we begin our meditation practice, let’s consider our centering thought, “I am flexible, powerful and balanced”.  “I am flexible, powerful and balanced.”

Now, let’s begin.  Get comfortable and close your eyes.  Become aware of your breath, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply.  With each breath, allow yourself to become more relaxed.  Introduce the mantra, Om Varunam Namah.  Om Varunam Namah.  My life is in harmony with cosmic law.

Whenever you find yourself distracted by noise, thoughts, or physical sensations, simply return your sensation to silently repeating the mantra, Om Varunam Namah.  Continue with your meditation for about 6 minutes.  Om Varunam Namah.  Om Varunam Namah.  Just silently in the mind.  Om Varunam Namah.

Release the mantra.  Inhale and exhale slowly and allow some time to rest.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.

Throughout your day, contemplate the centering though, “I am flexible, powerful and balanced”.  “I am flexible, powerful and balanced.  I am flexible, powerful and balanced.”

Namaste

Day 14:  The Balance in Silence

My notes from Day 14, The Balance in Silence, Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Perfect Health Meditation Challenge

The Balance in Silence “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Congratulations on completing two weeks of our Challenge and on all your achievements thus far!Over these past two weeks, we’ve enjoyed wonderful meditations together. It is in this stillness that we connect with the Highest Self, the field of pure potentiality, and plant the seeds of our dearest intentions for ourselves and others so that they flourish in our lives. In this stillness, we come to understand that we are indeed intrinsically part of the universe, connected with everyone and everything around us, and magnificently powerful beings who can manifest anything we desire.

Mindful Moment

Commit to writing down your intentions. Before each meditation, review your list, and then release your intentions into the womb of creation. Then, watch how what you desire manifests in your life.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions
1.  What do you desire for your life and overall health?
What intentions can you set to help bring you the
wellbeing you envision?
2.  What intentions can you set to help bring you the
wellbeing you envision?
3.  How can you create time each day to continue building
a sustained meditation practice, long after our Challenge
has ended?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “I intend to take steps each day toward perfect health.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra: Om Ritam Namah – My actions and desires are supported by cosmic intelligence.

Oprah:  “Welcome to day 14, Balance in silence.  So, we’ve been doing this together for two weeks and opened our hearts and our minds to the concept of more perfect health, and the belief that it’s something we can all achieve.  We’ve also taken our first steps together to create balance and more alignment in our daily lives.  We have a new understanding of why it’s so important to take care of our bodies – the vehicles for our souls.  So, let’s give ourselves a high-five on remaining committed to our daily meditation practice.  Settle into a comfortable space as Deepak leads us into that space of silence, stillness, where we can connect with Spirit and our most heart-felt intentions and then take that connection and powerful still space back into our daily lives.” 

Deepak:  “We’ve spent this week talking about  ways in which we can bring balance into our lives.  So man of these paths to equilibrium involve changing habits.  Improving our eating, social,  and fitness habits, for example, helps us to achieve balance in our lives.  The sustained practice of meditation is certainly the staple of a balanced lifestyle.

Yesterday, we learned how Yoga asana practice helps us to achieve a good seat for the soul so that it’s better positioned for meditation and it’s ultimate goal of spiritual enlightenment.  If you practice Yoga, you likely know how wonderful you feel throughout the day after you practice – balanced in your body and in harmony with every thing and everyone around you.

Asana practice is the perfect preparation for meditation while the mind is calm and ready to enter even greater stillness.  Through meditation, we have a variety of experiences but one that offers the greatest benefit is that we find ourselves in that place between our thoughts called the gap, or pure consciousness.  In the gap, we can plant the seeds of our most heart-felt intentions and take from it the stillness of the true self back into our activity.  And, we do all of this without effort – simply by  closing our eyes and repeating our mantra.  So, today as we prepare to meditate, let’s set our own personal intention for perfect health.  It can be anything you want but make it as specific as possible.  For instance, if you want to incorporate more exercise into your life, your intention could be, “I intend to walk 20 minutes every day”.

Whatever is important to your well-being, create that intention and then release it into the womb of creation before you begin your meditation and watch how it manifests in your life.

Before we enter into silence, let’s consider our centering thought, “I intend to take steps each day toward perfect health”.  “I intend to take steps each day toward perfect health.”

Now let’s begin.  Find a comfortable position and close your eyes.  Take a few moments to breathe consciousness, inhaling and exhaling with awareness.  Start to repeat the mantra, Om Ritam Namah.  Om Ritam Namah.  My intentions and desires are supported by cosmic intelligence.  Om Ritam Namah.  If you find yourself distracted by thoughts, sensations or noises, just go back to mentally repeating Om Ritam Namah.  Continue with your meditation for about 6 minutes.  Om Ritam Namah. Silently now, Om Ritam Namah.

Please release the mantra.  Inhale and exhale slowly and allow some time to rest.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.  As you move throughout your day, take the experience of the silence into your activities and contemplate the centering thought, “I intend to take steps each day toward perfect health”.  “I intend to take steps each day toward perfect health.  I intend to take steps each day toward perfect health.

Namaste

Day 15: Living Well

My Notes from Day 15 Perfect Health 21 Day Meditation Challenge..

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Welcome to the final week of our Challenge! We commend you on your ongoing commitment to care for your body, mind, and spirit.In order to begin integrating all that we’re learning into our daily lives, it’s important to create a healthy lifestyle matrix to support our goals.

Mindful Moment

Take some time to analyze your current lifestyle. Ask yourself what changes you can make that can support your healthy goals. Then, one by one, begin to make those important changes to create a positive matrix to support your wellbeing.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:

1.   What does perfect health mean to you?
2.  How do you envision incorporating everything that you’re learning into your daily life?
3.  List the positive changes you have made during this Challenge.

Today’s Centering Thought:  “My little changes amount to big benefits.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Ram,Ram, Ram – Everything I desire is within me.

Oprah:  “Welcome to Day 15, Living Well.  So we’re now in the final week of our 21 day meditation challenge, Perfect Health.  Over the past two weeks, we’ve started to understand what it means to be and feel healthy and strong.  We now know that we’re the stewards of our own well-being, and perfect health is something we can all achieve.  In week one, we invited perfect health into our bodies, into our lives and last week, we learned how to find balance by exploring new techniques and making life-affirming, nourishing choices for ourselves.  Today, Deepak leads us into our final week as we explore how we now can integrate our perfect health concepts into a positive and sustainable lifestyle.  As we do that, we can experience greater joy, greater vitality and ultimately greater love.  Before we meditate together, lets get comfort and listen to Deepak as he shares how we can truly live well.”

Deepak:  An odyssey is a journey that offers new information at every turn and over the past two weeks, we’ve enjoyed a very fruitful odyssey together.   To create a positive lifestyle, we have to cultivate an environment that makes positive choices easy, natural  and fun.

Our first step is to stop thinking in terms of discipline and self-control.  Instead, we need to create a matrix, or an arrangement for daily living that will support healthy decision making.  Everyone has some type of matrix already in place and some of us live inside a set up that makes positive choices easier.  A bowl of beautiful ripe fruit on the counter top at arms reach, or a walking date with a friend afternoon, for example, are certainly part of such a matrix.  The real key is to live in an environment where the mind can consciously and freely choose beneficial things to restore and maintain balance.

A truly sustainable matrix is flexible to our individual needs, and celebrates a life well-lived.  Most importantly, a sustainable matrix is built by small gradual changes.  In our remaining days, we’ll explore new habits and lifestyle changes that you can begin to adopt as you build your own personal matrix.   With that in mind, let’s prepare to meditate together and   begin by considering today’s centering thought – “My little changes amount to big benefits”.  “My little changes amount to big benefits.”  Now let’s begin

Make sure you’re comfortable and close your eyes.  Begin to witness your breath, slowly and deeply.  Inhale and exhale.  Inhale and exhale.  Introduce the mantra, Ram, Ram, Ram.  Everything I desire is within me.  Whenever you find yourself distracted by noises, physical sensations or thoughts, simply return your attention to silently repeating the Mantra.  Ram, Ram, Ram.  Continue with your meditation for about 6 minutes.  Ram, Ram, Ram.  Just mentally, Ram, Ram, Ram.

Stop repeating the mantra.  Allow yourself some time to rest.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.  Throughout your day, contemplate the centering thought, “My little changes amount to big benefits”.  “My little changes amount to big benefits.  My little changes amount to big benefits.”

Day 16: Living Nature

Living Nature ““I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”   Walt Whitman.
As we’ve discussed, connecting with nature is a wonderful way for us to witness the dance of the universe and to see ourselves as part of this magnificent symphony. Today, we have a very special visualization exercise that takes us on a journey through nature, enabling us to enter the silence through the wonderland that is nature’s rich and limitless bounty.Let today’s experience remind you how important it is for our health and wellbeing to connect with nature and enjoy all that it generously offers us each day.

Mindful Moment

Commit to spending some time in nature today. Whether you choose to be active or simply gaze at the stars in the night sky, express your heartfelt gratitude for all that nature offers you and for your place in this beautiful cosmic dance.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  How do you feel when you’ve spent time outdoors?
2.  What special places make you feel most connected with
the beauty that surrounds you?
3.  How can you connect with nature each day no matter
where you are?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “I am an exquisite expression of nature.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Om Bhavam namah – I am absolute existence.  I am a field of all possibilities.

Oprah:  “Welcome to day 16, Living Nature.  Where ever we live, nature is all around us just waiting to be explored.  My goodness, I could not live without trees.  Even in a major city, we can visit parks and spaces to enjoy the scent of trees and flower gardens or just lie on our backs on our rooftops gazing up at the stars.  Connecting with nature allows us to enjoy and witness life as it effortlessly thrives and when we do that, we gain an even greater understanding of  how that same energy that enlivens all of creation flows with ease through each of us; it’s doing that all the time.  Spending time in nature is just such a wonderful way to bring peace and equanimity into all our lives.  Henry David Thoreau said it, “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day”.  Today, we focus on the important role nature plays in helping us understand our limitless potential as we live the concepts of perfect health.  Let’s get comfortable and get started.”

Deepak:  “Through our journey together, we now understand that our current state of health is but an impermanent snapshot.  A picture we can change at any time through conscious choice-making and meditation.  We also know that meditation connects us to who we really are, pure consciousness and unbounded potential.

Our unlimited potential is the field of pure potentiality, the very same field that nature uses to create our planets countless wonders.  Anything is possible in this unified field through Spirit because it is the source of all power, intelligence and infinite organizing ability.

To truly experience pure potentiality, it is important that we spend time in the splendor of nature.  By observing nature, we can witness the orchestration of it’s vibrant elements, the astounding forces of life and unity of all things.  So let’s take a trip into nature together and experience this feeling for ourselves.

Close your eyes and sitting comfortably, just breathe.  See, in your mind’s eye, a lush, verdant forest.  It’s very moist under the  shaded canopy, and you can smell the rich soil.  As you begin walking along the leaf-lined trail, you notice the dense ferns with glistening dewdrops on their fronds.  The tree bark is also damp with rain water and sap, flowing through it’s dark, textured ridges.  Touch the bark and feel it’s roughness.  Smell it’s pungent scent.

Overhead, there is an array of dazzling birds that call to one another and fly with ease.  For a moment, imagine yourself among them, soaring gracefully above the trees, feeling the warm breeze rushing over your wings.

Now, rejoin the earth beneath the trees and feel the warm rays of the sun as they stream through the upper canopy.  Acknowledge the energy-giving force of the sun, it’s prana, the source of all life on earth.  Quietly, in your mind, thank the sun for shining on our earth each day.

Back on the trail, continue walking until you reach a bubbling brook.  Dip your hand into the rushing water, allowing it pass through your fingers.  The water is fresh, clear and inviting.  Take a sip if you wish and enjoy the cool, refreshing gift the earth offers you.  Near the brook there is a shade tree with a patch of moss beneath it – just large enough for you to have a seat.  Rest there with your back against the tree and focus on the centering thought, “I am an exquisite expression of nature”.  “I am exquisite expression of nature.”

As you continue to rest beneath the tree, silently introduce today’s mantra, Om Bhavam Namah.  I am absolute existence.  I am a field of all possibilities.  Om Bhavam Namah.  Continue on your own, silently repeating the mantra, Om Bhavam Namah.  Just in the mind.  Om Bhavam Namah.

Stop the mantra, take some time to breathe and rest.  When you are ready, open your eyes.  Throughout your day, contemplate the centering thought, “I am an exquisite expression of nature”.  “I am exquisite expression of nature.  I am an exquisite expression of nature.”

Namaste

Day 17:  Living Creativity

Living Creativity “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato
Today, we explore our creative spirit. As long as we remain open to new possibilities and a willingness to escape our routines, we can enjoy lifelong creativity. Letting go opens the door to new discoveries and enables us to feel truly alive.Enjoy opportunities to explore without outside opinions or artificial boundaries. Do those things that make time disappear and witness the boundless joy that flows to you.

Mindful Moment

Set aside time today to be totally free to express yourself. Find a quiet space, gather the tools you need, and just enjoy what happens. Notice how you feel after you’ve spent some time doing what you love.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  How do you express yourself?
2.  What creative pursuits bring you the greatest joy?
3.  When you have free time, how do you spend it?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “Through rest and play, I open my creative channel.

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Om Anandham Namah – My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.

Oprah:  “Welcome to day 17 – Living Creativity.  In today’s world, we’re always tempted to stack more and more stuff – more activities, more experiences into our day.  But how many of those things are for fun.  It goes without saying that we  often neglect to schedule a little fun for ourselves.  I know I do.  My goodness.  Yet e very days bring a chance for us to draw in our breath, kick off our shoes and even dance a little.  Creative expression – meaning down time and play time, are essential to having a vibrant life and it’s important that we make time for the moments that bring real joy into our lives.  Today, Deepak talks to us about the importance of play time and how it opens our hearts and minds to limitless possibilities – to new discoveries, creative solutions and the richness of abundance – and love.  So relax while Deepak shares more about the benefits of truly having fun.  Then we’ll enjoy our meditation together.”  

Deepak:   How many of us really have fun?  Every day.  Time when we do nothing but relax, enjoy a good book or listen to great music.  Think back to when you were a child, perhaps exploring the environs of your block or neighborhood.  Every bug, plant, rock, songs you sang with your childhood friends – all of it was new.  And each activity brought with it a flood of ideas and creativity. 

Experiences like these offer glimpses of the soul.  They are rooted firmly in the present, impervious to time.  As adults, such experiences continue to be important.  Enjoying activities that have no external goals or milestones to reach, enable us to dig deep into our reservoirs of creativity and connected us more deeply with ourselves and others.  It is through play and experimentation that some of our best experiences arise spontaneously.  We make a bold discovery, have an AHA moment instantly, visualize a solution, or reconnect with our dharma – our true purpose in life.

Try to remain open to being your most creative.  Release your fears.  Follow your intuition.  Acknowledge the synchronicities that nudge us toward a new path, enter  in diverse perspectives and let go of rigid, fixed beliefs.  Allow the past to die so that you can live in this moment – today.  Just as your body is changing in every moment, give yourself permission to chose a different way.  Each new perspective, experience and insight fosters new brain patterns to support our desires and goals.  And such wondrous transformations can only happen when we allow ourselves the time to create, and recreate every day.

Let’s go now to the source of our creativity, our spirit. As we prepare to enter into silence, let’s consider our centering thought, “Through rest and play, I open my creative channel”.  “through rest and play, I open my creative channel.”

Now let’s prepare to meditate.  Close your eyes.  Take a few long, slow breaths and just relax.  Begin to introduce the mantra, saying it silently to yourself.  Om Anandham Namah.  Om Anandham Namah.  My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.  If you have thoughts, hear noises or feel sensations, just mentally repeat the mantra, Om Anandham Namah.  Continue meditating for about 5 minutes.  Om Anandham Namah.  Om Anandham Namah.  Now, just in the mind.

Let go of the mantra and allow yourself some time to rest.  Then, when you like, open your eyes.  Throughout your day, allow the mind to relax into the centering thought, “Through rest and play I open my creative channel”.  “Through rest and play, I open my creative channel.  Through rest and play, I open my creative channel.”

Namaste

Day 18:  Living Passion

Living Passion “Freedom lies in being bold.”   Robert Frost
Passion is energy. It’s the power that comes from focusing on what really excites you. When we live with enthusiasm, we fully engage our brains and bodies in our activities, building new pathways that foster health and wellbeing.One way to ensure that we live our lives with passion is to find our dharma, our life’s true purpose, through which we can serve our community and ourselves in deeply meaningful ways. Engaging in life in this way helps keep our minds active and sharp and strengthens our relationships with everyone we meet.

Mindful Moment

Begin to connect with your true life’s purpose. Before each meditation, ask yourself, “How can I help? How can I serve?” Then, listen to your heart for the answer.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  What are the things you are most passionate about?
2.  How do you feel when you engage in those activities that
truly excite you?
3.  Envision a day spent dedicated to living your passion.
What does that day look like, feel like?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “I live my life with passion and enthusiasm.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Om Varunam Namah – My life is in harmony with cosmic law

Oprah:  Welcome to day 18, living passion.  We all want to live our lives with more enthusiasm and passion and being excited about what we do every day, and sharing our gifts with the world – that’s how we cultivate joy and energy.  Passion is energy.  It is the power that comes from focusing on what excites us!  And when we find something that you are truly passionate about, it feels like breathing, it’s so natural.  We each have a calling – I know that for sure and that calling for everybody is as unique as a fingerprint and that calling is what leads you to your passions.  Discover what ignites your passion – that is is your real job here on earth.  Let it light you up and then find a way to share that with other people.  Honor your calling, your life’s true purpose and in this way you find happiness and success.  So get still, listen.  Deepak is going to guide us in the journey to discover our true purpose and live our lives with more passion and then we’ll meditate.

Deepak:   Everyone has a special purpose in life which in Sanskrit is called dharma.  And we each possess a unique talent with a unique way of expressing it.  For every unique talent and expression of that gift there are also unique needs just waiting for us to fulfill them.  When we offer our service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our spirit.  By asking ourselves “How can I help, how can I serve using my unique talents”, we are able to move beyond the ego and into the realm of true spirit – that part of our awareness in which we experience our connection with the whole universe.

Connecting with our dharma makes our heart sing and time fly.  We live our lives with passion and great enthusiasm.  A life lived with passion brings with it many benefits – a brain that builds new pathways toward better habits, a mind that remains sharp and active, and relationships that are rich and deeply rewarding.  When we are passionate about something, we have a positive attitude and embrace each day with a new outlook.  Finding our dharma and taking a passionate interest enables the whole mind-body system to be dynamic and rejuvenated. This level of self-awareness allows us to be spontaneous and free, open to surprise and more in step with the rhythm of the cosmos.

As we get ready for our meditation,  let’s contemplate our centering thought, “I live my life with passion and enthusiasm”.  “I live my life with passion and enthusiasm.”

Let’s begin.  Have a seat and close your eyes.  Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply.  Start to repeat today’s mantra silently to yourself, Om Varunam Namah, my life is in harmony with cosmic law.  Om Varunam Namah.  Continue repeating the mantra silently.  If you have thoughts, hear noises or have feelings in your body, just repeat the mantra, Om Varunam Namah.  Please continue meditating for about 5 minutes.  Om Varunam Namah.  Om Varunam Namah.  Just in the mind.

Release the mantra.  Allow yourself some time to rest.  When you feel ready, open your eyes.  Throughout your day, consider our centering thought, “I live my life with passion and enthusiasm”.  “I live my life with passion and enthusiasm.  I live my life with passion and enthusiasm.”

Namaste

Day 19: Living Optimism

Living Optimism “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”   Anne Frank
We become what we believe and, as we’ve learned, remaining positive sends our bodies loving messages that are crucial to maintaining good health. By being grateful for all that we have, we can move our egos aside and live the lives we were meant to live, full of enthusiasm for the present moment and confident about our futures.By fostering an inner dialogue that is most nurturing to us, we support the clear vision we have for ourselves and live our lives in alignment with our true purpose.

Mindful Moment

If you are not doing so already, begin to keep a gratitude journal. Each morning or evening, take stock of your life and write down those things for which you are truly thankful.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  What are 3-5 new messages that you can tell yourself each
day to support your path to perfect health?
2.  How often do you express gratitude for all that you have
in your life? What are you grateful for today?
3.  How do you know when you are living in or out of alignment with your purpose or dharma?

Today’s Centering Thought: “My life unfolds in divine order.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Om Daksham Namah – My efforts achieve maximal benefit with minimal effort.

Oprah:  Welcome to Day 19, Living Optimism.  I’ve often said,  “You do not become what you want, you don’t get what you wish for in life; you become what you believe”.  In this way, truly living with optimism embodying positivity, we manifest that which we project into the world.  During our time together, we have come to realize that our bodies do just that.  As a result of the messages we send ourselves, our bodies intelligently reflect back our current state of health and well-being.  In every moment, our bodies are clear examples of what we truly believe.  Today, Deepak delves more deeply into this concept and explains how living optimistically manifests for us physically.  Before we meditate, please listen how Deepak explains how our bodies relate to our thoughts and thrive through affirmative beliefs.  

Deepak:  As we’ve been discussing throughout our time together, what we think, do and say influences our bodies.  With each action, the brain sends messages to all the cells of our bodies, creating critical feedback loops that carry information for wellness or disease.

Living through a lens of optimism then, we can bring our bodies into balance and maintain optimal health.  When we operate from a positive perspective, we are motivated to live the life we envision and confidently take steps to make that happen.  Being grateful for who we are and what we have right now allows us to take stock of all the goodness in our lives.

We understand we are always learning lessons.  Therefore, we forgive ourselves and others because this moment is just a blink on our evolutionary path.  Living optimism invites us to reach higher and become the fullest expression of our intentions.

We can also make other positive changes to support our healthy goals – eating whole, nutritious foods, exercising regularly and managing stress all enhance our lives.  Additionally, building a sustained meditation practice, as we are doing during this challenge, may affect the production of the enzyme telomerase which in turn builds telomeres, the end points of each chromosome.  The freeing of telomerase is associated with aging and keeping telomeres intact is associated with the health and youthfulness of our genes.

It is important that we engage in a positive inner dialogue that supports the visions we hold for our lives and that we act in alignment with those messages.  In this way, we can establish a nourishing lifestyle that enables us to remain healthy, vibrant and strong for the rest of our lives.

Before we meditate, let’s contemplate our centering thought, “My life unfolds in divine order”.  “My life unfolds in divine order.”  Let’s begin

Have a seat and close your eyes.  Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply.  Start to repeat today’s mantra silently to yourself.  Om Daksham Namah.  Om Daksham Namah means my actions achieve maximal benefit with minimal effort.  If you have thoughts, hear noises or have feelings in your body, just repeat the mantra.  Om Daksham Namah.  Please continue meditation for about 5 minutes.  Om Daksham Namah.  Silently, in the mind.

Release the mantra.  Allow yourself some time to rest.  When you feel ready please open your eyes.  Throughout your day consider our centering thought, “My life unfolds in divine order”.  “My life unfolds in divine order.   My life unfolds in divine order.”

Namaste

Day 20: Living Agelessly

Living Agelessly “Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.”   Mark Twain
Today, we explore the concept of living agelessly. It may be challenging to see ourselves as ageless beings that grow in wisdom and spiritual fulfillment in each passing moment. Yet, living in the present enables us to literally stop time. Meditation helps ground us in the present and, physiologically, increases growth hormones, which slow down the external signs of aging.As we engage in activities that bring us joy and choose to live from an open-heart awareness, we approach our lives with a new, positive perspective and truly live agelessly.

Mindful Moment

Consider an activity that really excites you. Make the commitment to engage in that activity for some time every day. Witness how time stands still when you indulge your passion and you become firmly rooted in the present.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  How do you feel about aging?
2.  What wisdom has come to you with age?
3.  What activities can you enjoy to help you live agelessly
each day?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “I am ageless and timeless.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Aham Brahmasmi – The core of my being is the ultimate reality the root and ground of the universe, the source of all that exists.

Oprah:  Welcome to Day 20 – Living Agelessly.  While you’ve heard me say that I see every birthday as a blessing – and I do indeed”!  Owning our age helps us step into the fullness of our lives.  Don’t deny one single moment of your life and existence.  There is so much wisdom and beauty to be gained in experience by those that celebrate every moment with vibrancy and with vigor.  So today, Deepak explains what it means to live agelessly.  He helps us shift our perceptions and leads us to more deeply engage in our lives.  So please relax, listen as Deepak discusses the true reality of who we are – ageless really, perfect beings.  Then we’ll move into our meditation.

Deepak:  What is aging?  If you are truly engaged in the present moment awareness, age is nothing but a construct.  How can we age if in pure consciousness there is no time?  Yet, we mark years on the calendar or watch with worry as our bodies begin to change.

By focusing on these external milestones, we are missing the true point of our lives – that we are alive to love and be loved, live our highest calling, and to seek enlightenment.  Still, we live in a world that constantly bombards us with images of youth and beauty and the outer trappings of seemingly good health.

In fact, over time, many of us begin to associate good health with youth and start to believe that once be reach a particular age, good health becomes elusive, completely out of our reach.  What can we do about this?  How can we change our minds so that we’re impervious to the illusions of external messaging and false beliefs?

Throughout our challenge, we have regularly practiced meditation which, as we know, connects us to the true reality of who we really are.  Continuing with the practice, making it a habit, is an important way to live – free from any calendar or clock.  We can also change the way we talk to ourselves and alter the feedback loops originating in the brain so that positive messages resonate with the intelligent selves of our bodies.  Equally important is to engage in activities that ignite our passion, our fire for life.  Therefore, pursue your interests with abandon.  Spend time with good friends and people you really love.  Give generously of yourself to people in need and causes that excite you.  Celebrate every moment in your life by living with limitless joy.

When we do all these things, time stands still.  In this unbounded state of awareness, time and age are no longer concerns and we find ourselves without effort, living agelessly.

As we prepare to meditate, let’s consider our centering thought, “I am ageless and timeless”.  “I am ageless and timeless.  I am ageless and timeless.”

Let’s begin.  Have a seat and close your eyes.  Inhale and exhale, slowly and deeply.  Start to repeat today’s mantra silently to yourself.  Aham Brahmasmi.  Aham Brahmasmi.  The core of my being is the ultimate reality,  the root and ground of the universe, the source of all that exists.  If you find you are having thoughts, hearing noises or feeling sensations, just repeat the mantra, Aham Brahmasmi.  continue with your meditation for about 5 minutes.  Aham Brahmasmi.  Aham Brahmasmi. Now silently in the mind.

Release the mantra.  Allow yourself some time to rest, feeling the effects of the meditation.  When you’re ready, open your eyes.  Throughout your day, consider our centering thought, “I am ageless and timeless”.  “I am ageless and timeless. I am ageless and timeless.”

Namaste

Day 21: Living Perfect Health

Living Perfect Health “We must each lead a way of life with self-awareness and compassion, to do as much as we can. Then, whatever happens we will have no regrets.”   Dalai Lama
Congratulations! Today is the final day of our 21-Day Meditation Challenge™, and you now have all the tools to live perfect health!We hope that you share our deep appreciation for all that we’ve experienced through our discussions and daily meditations. Being thankful for what we have in our lives is an important part of our journey to perfect health. Gratitude helps clear away the noise of our egos and allows us to connect more deeply with our inner wisdom.As we move forward on our individual paths, remember how important it is to spend time with friends and family. Sharing what we learn also enables us to build a supportive community, which is essential to creating a positive lifestyle.Before we meditate today, consider all that we’ve discussed and commit to incorporating those tools that benefit you most into your daily routine. In this way, you are certain to enjoy perfect health.

Mindful Moment

Sustain the habit of writing in your gratitude journal and continue journaling all the things for which you’re thankful every day. Take time each week to review what you’ve written to truly appreciate the gifts your life offers you.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  What have you learned that you find most useful in living
perfect health?
2.  What new, positive messages are you telling your body
each day?
3.  How is your meditation practice aiding your health and wellbeing?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “I create my perfect health.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Sat Chit Ananda – Existence, Consciousness, Bliss

Oprah:  “Welcome to day 21.  Three weeks, we’ve been together!  Today is living perfect health.  I’ve loved experiencing this journey toward living perfect health altogether.  We’ve each gained new perspectives on our role as co-creators of our own well-being and our meditations help to deepen our connections with one another across this global community.  I hope you feel that – I surely do.  Deepak and I are so honored, and also grateful that you have allowed us into your lives, joining you on this experience of transformation. We commend you on the commitment you’ve made to live your lives with greater enthusiasm and joy in perfect health.  As we begin our final day together, I don’t even have to say it – you know.  Relax, listen as Deepak tells us how we can incorporate all that we’ve learned these last three weeks to continue this journey of happy, vital and healthy lives.”  

Deepak:  “Welcome to our final day of our mind-body odyssey, perfect health.  Congratulations!  You now have all the tools to live perfect health.  Throughout our time together, we’ve come to understand how to make conscious choices, find balance, form strong social bonds and live agelessly, among many other things.

As you look back on this journey and recapitulate all that you’ve learned, I’m sure that certain things stand out for you.  What topics have helped you tune into your body and mind?  Where do you notice shifts?  Where are you finding greater peace, joy and vitality in your life?

Gratitude is an important part of living perfect health.  When we’re grateful for everything we have in our lives, our ego steps out of the way and we’re completely open to the dynamic exchange of the universe.  If you’re not doing so already, begin keeping a gratitude journal and take note of everything you’re grateful for each day.  Take stock of how these perfect health concepts manifest in your life.  Ask  yourself how making conscious choices, for example, has made a difference.

Thank yourself for all the changes you’ve made, large and small, and appreciate  how they benefit you.  Remember, too, how  we thrive in communion with others, so share your knowledge, reach out to help others on their journeys, and reach out for support in yours.

As you meditate each day, remember that you’re part of the collective consciousness; a bubbling wave in a vast and beautiful ocean.  Acknowledge and celebrate your sacred connections.

As we prepare to meditate, let’s consider today’s centering thought, “I create my perfect health”.  “I create my perfect health.”

Let’s begin.  Sitting quietly, take a few conscious breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply.  Introduce today’s mantra, silently to yourself.  Sat Chit Ananda.  Existence, consciousness, bliss.  Sat Chit Ananda.  Please continue meditating for about 5 minutes.  Sat Chit Ananda.  Sat Chit Ananda.  Now silently in the mind.

Release the mantra.  Allow yourself some time to relax, feeling the effects of your meditation.  When you’re ready, please open your eyes.

Thank you for spending each day with us on our mind-body odyssey towards perfect health.  As we end our time together in this challenge, I leave you with our final centering thought.  Allow this intention to lead you toward greater well-being and a deep appreciation for your body, mind and spirit.  “I create my perfect health.  I create my perfect health.  I create my perfect health.”

Namaste

Day 22: Global Perfect Health

Global Perfect Health “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  Mother Teresa
Welcome to the bonus day of our 21-Day Meditation Challenge™. Today, we offer a special guided meditation to bring the gift of perfect health to our global community.So, as we prepare for our meditation, please envision a world in which everyone enjoys a lifetime of health, joy, and vitality. We are indeed divine beings—united as brothers and sisters around the world—and perfect health is truly our birthright.

Mindful Moment

As you enter into stillness, set the intention that everyone around the world receives the wonderful gift of perfect health.

Today’s Reflection/Journal Questions:
1.  What do you want to share from our journey with others?
2.  How can you radiate the message of perfect health within
your family, your community, and ultimately our global
community?
3.  How can you connect more deeply with others in all that
you do each day?

Today’s Centering Thought:  “All is perfect.  All is well.”

Today’s Sanskrit Mantra:  Om Bhavam Namah – I am absolute existence.  I am a field of all possibilities.

Oprah:  So we came back for an extra day and we have something very special to share.  Each experience we’ve enjoyed together has allowed us to expand in wisdom, peace, and love, and joy, and well-being as a meditating community.  While we’ve come together over these past few weeks, thanks to the convenience of the internet, there are still many individuals around the world who lack such technology and for many, even fresh food and water, safe shelter are not possible right now.  Today’s meditation we’ve created especially with global family members in mind, sending our purest intentions for perfect health to all people around the globe.  We want to activate a ripple of support, a ripple of love toward true global transformation.  This is how we do it.  So, make yourself comfortable for one last time in this loving community we’ve co-created, and listen to Deepak as he leads us all in this beautiful meditation – a shared journey to global perfect health.  Let’s lift each other up!

Deepak:  Welcome!  I’m so happy to have one more day to spend with everyone.  Today, we’re doing something a little different – a meditation that brings the spirit of perfect health to our global community, truly embracing everyone in the warmth of the collective consciousness.  So let’s begin

Take a comfortable seat and close your eyes.  Together let’s take some long, deep, conscious breaths, taking in the love of everyone around us, and exhaling that love out into the world.  Inhale and exhale, slowly and deeply.  In your mind’s eye, envision the faces of people around the world, on continents far away, in topography that may be new or different for us, in mountain villages, rain forests, high desert regions and cities we may have only seen in photos.

Bring into your awareness your highest vision of perfect health.  See it infusing your own body.  You, perfectly healthy, vibrant and full of joy.  Now reach out and take the hand of someone close to you and envision that person’s reaching out, in kind, to someone else.  In time, see the people in all the different places you can picture in your mind’s eye connected in this way.

Take that feeling of perfect health that surrounds you and send it along this network of unity so that everyone feels the nurturing sensations of your vibrant love.  Let’s form our intention that the vitality and joy we have experienced throughout this journey benefit the entire global community.

Now introduce the mantra silently to yourself, Om Bhavam Namah, Om Bhavam Namah.  I am absolute existence, I am a field of all possibilities.  Om Bhavam Namah.  Now, on your own, just mentally.  Om Bhavam Namah.  Continue this meditation for about 5 minutes.

Release the mantra.  Please open your eyes.  As you continue on your journey, celebrate your ever-expanding experience in well-being.  Please allow today’s centering thought to stay with you always.  “All is perfect.  All is well.  All is perfect.  All is well.  All is perfect.  All is well.

Namaste

Did you know that the 21 Day Meditation Challenge is free at https://www.chopracentermeditation.com? It started on 3/11/13 but you can sign up anytime during the 21 days. I think each days meditation is available for 20 days and then drops off so it helps to get started as soon as possible so that you don’t miss any.  These are my notes from the challenge.