If You Only Listen to One Self-Discovery Podcast, Make It This One
Twelve reasons Deepak Chopra's new podcast on Audible will help change the way you view yourself and the world
Deepak Chopra is the preeminent thought leader in self-realization, and in his new podcast on Audible, Mind Body Zone, he’s bringing personal mindfulness to another level. The podcast, he says, is not about learning to live outside the box, but rather how to ditch the box altogether: “I wanted to reveal that there are people who are not burdened by this social conditioning, and they are the creative people who change the world.” Chopra’s guests—Oprah Winfrey, Jessamyn Stanley, Jon Batiste, and more—are those kinds of people. Their insightful conversations—coupled with Dr. Chopra’s guided meditations—might just hold the key to unlocking the creative potential in all of us. Intrigued? We boiled down each episode into a reason why you need to give this podcast a listen.
1. Learn Self-Acceptance
Jessamyn Stanley used to be afraid of her body—afraid of calling it what it is: fat. The world cringes at that adjective, loading it with negative connotations that render it an insult rather than a descriptor. Through yoga, Stanley, now a body-positivity advocate, writer, and yoga teacher, found deep acceptance of her body and her identity. Her biggest takeaway: the journey to self-acceptance often means traveling through—and embracing—discomfort.
2. Discover that Vulnerability Is Strength
In 1993, Dr. Chopra was a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s show and was impressed when he watched her come up against a moment that asked her to be vulnerable. She opened up to her audience, even though it was scary. “What I learned from speaking the truth about myself is fully understanding that my truth belongs to so many people,” says Winfrey. Many people hide behind a self-image, present it to the world, and then attempt the difficult task of trying to live up to the image, says Dr. Chopra. His advice: lean into your vulnerabilities—they’re among your greatest strengths.
3. Understand Trauma to Overcome It
Traditionally, addictions have been addressed through the treatment of symptoms. To Gabor Maté, a physician, author, and expert on trauma and addiction, this is wrong. “Addiction is always a response to pain,” he says. Addiction tries to get a person to feel normal experiences that all humans desire: control, pleasure, peace of mind. The real problem to focus on, he says, is how people lose their sense of pleasure and control in the first place, not the self-soothing behaviors they adopt afterward. “Let’s heal the pain, let’s heal the trauma, then the person won’t need to resort to addictive behaviors.” Dr. Chopra wonders, is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t have an addiction?
4. Find the Value of Interconnectedness
Professor, ecologist, and author Suzanne Simard compares human interconnectedness to a forest’s. “Networks link all the trees together in the forest. When we were ripping forests apart they were getting sick,” she says. In this underground web of fungi, the trees communicate with one another: their health, their stresses, etc. The connection and communication of the network are crucial to the health of each individual. Dr. Chopra points out that a person’s chance of surviving a heart attack is directly linked to the amount of support that person has in life. “Someone with little or none is much more likely not to survive,” he says. Life needs connection; it’s much harder to survive without it.
5. Grow Comfortable with Uncertainty
When ultrarunner Coree Woltering ran 1,200 miles in 21 days, he demonstrated how we all should be living our lives: “embracing the unknown, and in a slow but methodical manner looking at our habitual certainties and how they disappoint us,” says Dr. Chopra. How did Woltering do it? By mentally breaking down each day of his journey into digestible intervals. He counted to ten over and over again in order to stay present and in the moment and avoid giving in to the urge to try to control the future. “The unknown is our only reality,” says Dr. Chopra. “Human suffering comes from the need for predictability, but fundamental reality is unpredictable.”
6. Learn How to Practice Silence
After surviving a school shooting, X González led one of the largest single-day protests against gun violence. At the protest they stood silently on the podium for four minutes in front of a sweeping crowd. “You’re expecting something to take you away from your thoughts and now you have to be face-to-face with them,” says González. Many people in the audience started to cry. “Everyone in the crowd was feeling the same thing without discussion.” This is the power of silence: sometimes words can’t possibly say enough. “The journey to find out who you really are is a silent journey,” says Dr. Chopra. “The mind can only know itself in silent meditation and reflection.”
7. Make Contact with Your Creativity
“Life itself, including your life and mine, cannot exist without creativity,” says Dr. Chopra. Jon Batiste, a musician and the leader of the band Stay Human, is an expert at tapping into his. For Batiste, the creative process means making space. “Clearing the way for the subconscious mind…to speak…so I can have, from a divine source, the objective,” he says. We must clear the obstacles that keep us from feeling inspired in order to find our own creativity. And it’s not just painters and poets and writers who have intrinsic creativity: we are all creative and we can all have access to inspiration—we just have to figure out how to tap into it.
8. Start the Healing Process
If pain is inevitable, then we must figure out how to heal from our wounds in order to live a full life. Layla F. Saad, antiracism educator and author of Me and White Supremacy, finds healing in her work. “I see it as, ‘What is it that we don’t know that we need to learn so that we can have a light shone on the parts of ourselves and our lives that are causing harm to ourselves and to other people?’” she says. According to Dr. Chopra, there’s a secret about healing: “If you don’t feel inspired by your own healing you won’t start the process,” he says. Healing isn’t just for the sick; healing is for everyone, and it begins “with an honest look at the area that is wounded,” he says.
9. Get in Touch with Your Spirit
Joy Harjo, U.S. poet laureate and member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, says she’s still becoming a poet. “Poetry was a way to give voice to my experiences as a young Native woman,” she says. “The spirit of poetry looked at me and said, ‘You poor thing, you don’t know how to listen.’ I’m not the best listener, but I am still learning.” Dr. Chopra says that if you ask people if they’re spiritual, “almost always the answer is hesitant.” The word spiritual is difficult to define. “Joy Harjo’s journey makes it clear that spirituality isn’t static or fixed. Spirit is alive and it leads you on your own path.”
10. Recall Importance of Staying Curious
Astrophysicist and author Avi Loeb was once asked by the Harvard Gazette what the one thing is that he’d like to change about the world. “My reply was, I would like my colleagues in academia to behave more like kids,” he says. Why? Because wonder is crucial to life, and we benefit from exercising curiosity often. How can we use our innate curiosity to better our lives? Start by finding something that intrigues you and then explore it, says Dr. Chopra. “I make a point of learning one thing every day that I don’t know, and improving my physical capacity in one way every day.”
11. Overcome Shame
It’s hard to pursue meaning and happiness when you’re stressed about rent or food, says Wendy De La Rosa, professor at The Wharton School and co-founder of Common Cents Lab. But, more often than not, she says, people experiencing financial constraints hide that fact from others. “We’ve been taught to internalize the blame: part of the reason why I’m not financially successful is solely my fault. And that’s just not true,” she says. Ultimately, says Dr. Chopra, all shame stems from one false belief: that you’re not enough. You are enough. How can you get to a place where you believe it?
12. Discover How to Just Be
The first sentence of Jenny Odell’s book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, reads: Nothing is harder than doing nothing. “I think that some of the difficulty of ‘doing nothing’ has to do with conditioning, at least the conditioning that I know I was brought up with in terms of always feeling like you need to be producing something,” she says. She doesn’t mean literally nothing, but rather just what seems like nothing in our productivity-obsessed society. What is the nature of being and how can we learn how to just be?
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