Meditator - meditating on grass

Reprinted from SUPER GENES. Copyright © 2015 by Deepak Chopra, D.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

As a lifestyle choice, meditation appeals to people who want to see improvements in their health. As a spiritual choice, meditation appeals to people who want to reach a higher state of consciousness. It’s the second group, we strongly suspect, who keep meditating regularly for years and perhaps a lifetime. Their goal may be invisible, but it’s clear and creates a long-term motivation. On the other hand, if you take up meditation to feel better, there’s not a strong reason to do it on the days when you already feel good.

Our way to get past this problem is simple: Make meditation the centrepiece of your total well-being. Adopt it, not because you’re motivated to meditate, but because you’ll use it as a means to get something you want very badly. Only a need that is tied to desire will be fulfilled. Desire is the most powerful motivator, but in most people’s lives there’s no need to meditate the way there’s a need for food, shelter, companionship, money and sex. One strong desire, however, is general enough and long-lasting enough to fit the bill: success. If meditation can be linked to success, we feel that many more people would stick with it.

Making this connection requires a major shift, however. Both sides of the meditation divide—those who want better health and those who want higher consciousness—focus on a goal that is very different from worldly success. If you listed the most prominent traits of millionaires, entrepreneurs and CEOs of major corporations, their success wouldn’t be attributable to meditating. But the stereotype of the ambitious, competitive and ruthless climber doesn’t square with reality.

The bottom line is that success is a more potent word—and a stronger motivator—than prevention, wellness and well-being. The attributes of highly successful people can be linked with the benefits of meditation.

Elements of success

  • The ability to make good decisions
  • A strong sense of self
  • Being able to focus and concentrate
  • Not being easily distracted
  • Immune to the approval or disapproval of others
  • Sufficient energy for long workdays
  • Not easily discouraged
  • Emotional resilience, bouncing back after failure and setbacks
  • Intuition and insight, being able to read a situation ahead of others
  • A stream of new ideas and solutions
  • A cool head in a crisis
  • Strong coping skills in the face of high stress

If these aren’t yet considered the key traits associated with success, they should be. Each trait is strengthened through meditation. How many people realize that they can make better decisions if they meditate, or keep a cooler head in a crisis? The stereotype of the navel-gazing, self-absorbed meditator is just as false as the ruthless climber clawing his way to success. The main reason that meditation caught on for many people in the West was that doctors and psychologists found a way around the image of the world-renouncing yogi with a long beard isolated in his Himalayan cave. But only recently has research in altered gene activities proved that meditation created thousands of changes with holistic implications for mind and body.

That’s a great advance, but attitudes need to shift even more. When success is defined by externals—money, possessions, status and power—it’s granted to the few, who usually begin from a privileged background. But what if success is defined differently, as an inner state of fulfillment? If you turn within, you can be successful at this very moment, because success is a creative process. You are engaged in it already, because true success is something we live. It’s not an end state we arrive at. This is the message Deepak has been spreading for thirty years and exemplifying in his own life. It’s the message he takes to business schools every year, teaches to CEOs, and expands upon in books like this one—and Rudy found that even before they met, he and Deepak had been walking the same path.

Reprinted from SUPER GENES. Copyright © 2015 by Deepak Chopra, D.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Deepak Chopra M.D., co-author of Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being, is a pioneer of integrative medicine and the author of more than 80 books published in 43 languages. Many have been New York Times bestsellers in both the fiction and nonfiction categories.

Rudolph E. Tanzi Ph.D., co-author of Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being, is the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor at Harvard University and Mass. General Hospital. Dr. Tanzi is an internationally acclaimed expert on Alzheimer’s disease and was included in TIME magazine’s “TIME 100 Most Influential people in the World.”

For more information please visit http://www.chopra.com/book/super-genes, and follow the authors on Facebook and Twitter: @DeepakChopra and @RudyTanzi

image: Morning meditation via Shutterstock

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