In his PBS special What Are You Hungry For? which aired on WEDU, Tampa Florida, Deepak Chopra, Board Certified Physician, Mind-Body expert and teacher says the deepest hunger that we have is for happiness and spiritual fulfillment. Everything that you strive for in your life is for one goal, happiness. Happiness is the goal of all other goals. What does this have to do with physical health and weight loss? When we are not happy and spiritually fulfilled, we turn to food to fill the void which leads to over weight and obesity. Many social scientists have done research on happiness and have come up with what they call the happiness formula.
H = S + C + V
- H – Happiness
- S – Set point in the brain (how much happiness are we naturally born with – 40 – 50 %)
- C – Conditions of living (current material living conditions – 7 – 12%)
- V – Voluntary choices (how we choose to spend our time, our entertainment , how we choose to relate to other people , our choices about nutrition and exercise – 40 – 50%).
It seems that our level of happiness to some degree is naturally inherent, but fortunately we have the power to add to that happiness just by making the right choices!
Dr. Chopra referenced The Great American Psychologist Abraham Maslow and his “Hierarchy of Human Needs” to give us his “Seven levels of human emotional needs”…
- Comfort, security, safety
- Love and affection
- A sense of belonging
- Accomplishment, success, and achievement
- Self-esteem – allows you to pause before eating that second slice of cake and say “I am not doing that to myself.”
- Creative expression – this enables you to fill your day with enough creativity that you have no reason to snack out of boredom
- Have meaning and purpose in your life – this cancels out the empty feelings that people try to fill with food.
When we are hungry for emotional needs eating food will not make you happy! How do we empower ourselves to make the right choices to spiritually meet our emotional needs and feel happiness? Dr. Chopra says we need ”Spiritual Food…Soul Food!”
Dr. Chopra says your soul or your inner being is where the power of choice and intention reside. Through habit your mind may be conditioned to be predictable. But the concept of “what are you hungry for?” is like pressing the pause button and interrupting that pattern of conditioned habits in order to release your power of choice and creativity!
Dr. Chopra describes the Soul as the nonjudgmental awareness or observer of your body and mind and also of itself.
The unconditioned mind or soul has the following qualities:
- It is a field of infinite potential for possibilities. It is the immeasurable potential of all that was, all that is and all that will be. And we are all of that.
- Because it is a field of infinite possibility and potential, it is infinitely creative, because it has not been conditioned by limitations or limited beliefs.
- It is a field of correlation, it correlates everything in your body and mind system. We all start life as a single fertilized ovum. And this single cell divides approximately 50 times to become the 60 some trillion cells in our body. In our present body all these different cells and different organs are functioning effortlessly providing they are healthy. They correlate and synchronize with each other. Have you ever wondered how a body can think thoughts, play music, remove toxins, kill germs, digest and metabolizes food, pump blood, have emotions which experiences joys and the tragedies of life, and can make a baby all at the same time!
By remembering theses qualities of your soul and practicing the ‘What am I hungry for?’ technique, you will learn to anchor yourself in this deeper part of your being and return to good health. Health is the return to your essential state of wholeness or your pure being.
How can we become more in touch with our soul ? Dr. Chopra suggests…
- Meditate – Meditation allows you to experience the inner quiet behind the mind’s noisy internal dialogue. Meditation and Contemplative Prayer also includes self reflection and asking yourself meaningful questions such as “Who am I? What do I want? What is my life’s purpose? What am I grateful for?” You don’t need to know the answers. As stated in the Scriptures and in every ancient wisdom tradition it states “ask and you shall receive”. If you live the question life will move you to the answers.
- Enhance your experience of love – The best way to experience love is to give your love to everyone you encounter in the form of attention, appreciation and affection.
- Intellect – This is the scientific approach. Ask yourself “How does the universe work? How come everything is connected to everything else?” These questions lead to an understanding that we are all part of an interconnected universe. And that our mind and body is also an activity of the universe. There is great wonder in humility, gratitude, and reverence that comes from embracing the mystery of our existence. That we exist at all should be a source of perpetual wonder, gratitude, surprise, and these are the qualities to open the door to our spirit.
- Take meaningful action –In the Vedic Wisdom Traditions this is known as Karma Yoga. Meaningful action not only makes you happy but also benefits anyone who is affected by your actions.
Dr. Chopra tell us In this order we are….
first – Human Beings
second – Human Feelings
third – Human Thinkings
fourth – Human Doings
Dr. Chopra said observe the people in your surroundings. They seem to be doing just the opposite! Everyone seems to be doing doing doing. And when they are thinking it seems to be frenzied thinking. And when they are feeling it seems to be anxiety ridden emotions mostly about ‘me and mine’! In this type of existing we lose sight of our innermost being!
To cope with the daily stress of today’s modern society, The Chopra Center for Well-Being teaches Mindfulness techniques which help develop non-judgmental awareness of the body relationships, emotions, and environment.
Dr. Chopra offers other techniques and activities that can counter stress…..
- laughter – watching comedy TV shows can prove to be therapeutic
- visualization – imagine yourself at your best, living your best life, in the best body you can have.
- massage – can increase growth hormones levels
- physical activity
- restful sleep
- paying attention to your breathing – coming to the present moment by watching your breath is a very effective way to stop a stressful reaction.
- Be present – Remember that all the stress that we have is the result of our mind wandering into the past or into the future
To watch What Are You Hungry For? in full, contact your local Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) for scheduled times. You may also be able to obtain Donor Gift Packages from The Chopra Center For Well-being of DVDs of the show as well as books, informational materials, learning tools and memberships by contacting WEDU , Tampa, Fl 33607, 800-515-9810 or by contacting your local PBS Station.
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