menu/ AGEING: A NEW PERSPECTIVE

ten steps to reverse ageing

By Deepak Chopra

You have been living inside a prison that has no visible walls - the confines of your self derive entirely from the habits and conditioning of your mind. If you are committed to growing younger, you must escape this prison of conditioning. You are not to blame for living within unnecessary limitations.

If a rope is tied around the leg of a baby elephant and attached to a stake in the ground, it learns that it can only move within very narrow limits. Years later, as a powerful adult, it still remains within narrow confines when its leg is staked, even though it has the strength to uproot an entire tree. It has been conditioned to accept the limitations imposed upon it.

In a similar way, most people think and act within the narrow limitations of what they have been taught during childhood, without questioning the basic assumptions that structure their worldview. To live a healthier, richer, more creative life you need to recognize that most of what you hold to be true derives from habits of thought. We are born into a prevailing conversation about the world.

As soon as we are capable of speaking, we engage in this conversation, reinforcing with our own thoughts and actions the patterns of thinking and behavior that surround us. This is unmistakably true in regards to how we view the body and its aging.

Until recently, few have questioned the assumption that aging is irreversible, and therefore, for generation after generation, people have reinforced the habitual thinking that growing older meant a progressive decline in mental and physical capacity.

It is now time to change our habits of thinking and behaving and alter our experience of the body and the aging process.

the quantum possibilities

Drawing upon the wisdom traditions of the East, the dramatic new discoveries of modern quantum physics, and our own personal and professional experience, we invite you to change the way you think about and experience the world and your body.

Despite how radical some of these ideas may at first appear, we encourage you to try out the practical approaches we offer and experience for yourself how this program can revitalize your body and mind.

From the perspective of quantum physics, reality is a mysterious, magical place. While on the physical plane of everyday life, time and space predominate and entropy, decay, and aging are the normal course of events, these are not features of quantum reality.

The quantum realm is the fountainhead of pure potentiality, giving rise to the raw material of your body, your mind, and the physical universe. The quantum realm is the womb of creation, the invisible world where the visible is designed and assembled.

We can summarize the key principles of quantum physics in five main points:

1. In the quantum realm there are no fixed objects, only possibilities;

2. In the quantum realm, everything is interwoven and inseparably one;

3. Quantum leaps are a feature of the quantum realm. A quantum leap is the ability to move from one location in space or time to another without having to go through any place or time in between;

4. One of the laws of the quantum realm is the Uncertainty Principle, which states that an event is a particle (matter) and a wave (energy) simultaneously. Your intention determines whether you see a particle or a wave; and

5. In the quantum realm, an observer is needed to create an event. Before a subatomic particle is observed, it exists only as a virtual particle; all events are virtual events until the moment they are observed.

Your own bodymind system is also an expression of the same quantum field that underlies everything in the universe. Therefore, you can apply these quantum principles to the way you look at your body and aging.

Rephrased in terms of your biology, they would be:

- You are not merely the physical body that you identify with out of habit. Your essential state is a field of infinite possibilities;

- Your body is inseparably one with the whole universe. When you are perfectly healthy or whole, you feel expanded. You become constricted only when you have discomfort or dis-ease. This comes from a feeling of separation;

- You are capable of taking quantum leaps in perception and interpretation. With these quantum leaps you can alter not only the experience of the physical body but its very structure. Your physical body is capable of taking a quantum leap from one biological age to another without having to go through all the intervening ages in between;

- Your body is simultaneously material (particlelike) and non-material (wavelike). You can choose to experience your body as physical or as a network of energy, transformation, and intelligence; and

- Before you decide which biological age you choose to experience, you are all possible biological ages. It's up to you to decide what age you want to be.

If you choose to see yourself as a physical entity, separate from everything else, you discard the chance to reverse the aging process. If you are able to look at yourself as a field of possibilities, intimately interrelated to everything else, wonderful new opportunities emerge.

We encourage you to use these thoughts to trigger a paradigm shift in your awareness. With this shift you can gain a completely different understanding of the bodymind system you inhabit, the world you perceive, and the essence of your being.

Viewing your body from the perspective of quantum physics opens up new modes of understanding and experiencing the body and its aging.

The practical essence of this new understanding is that human beings can reverse their aging.

in the language of spirit

Knowledge traditions seek to understand and explain the workings of the cosmos. The perspective of quantum physics offers a fascinating way to view life, the body, and aging. The perennial wisdom traditions of the East offer equally amazing insights into the nature of reality.

As explorers of both modern science and the ancient knowledge traditions, we are enthused and inspired by the closer and closer alignment between these different perspectives on life.

According to Ayurveda, the ancient healing tradition of India, aging is an illusion because your true self is neither your body nor your mind. Your essential nature, who you really are, is the domain of ever-present witnessing awareness that is beyond your physical and mental layers.

This field of consciousness gives rise to both the thoughts in your mind and the molecules in your body. Tapping into this realm of awareness where time and space have no meaning is the basis of emotional and physical renewal.

Accessing this field of pure potentiality has spiritual as well as physical consequences. Knowing your essential self as a nonlocal being, inextricably interrelated to everything else in the cosmos, awakens greater creativity, meaning, and purpose in life.

Although the most profound way to improve health and reverse aging is ultimately a spiritual one, not everyone is immediately ready to accept this approach.

One person may want to lose weight, another may need help to stop smoking, while a third may be seeking a more fulfilling love relationship. Each of these needs is important in its own right, but taking a spiritual approach opens the door to the evolution of consciousness, which can make all these things possible, and many more.

A spiritual approach means that we expand our awareness, even while focusing our attention and intention locally.

The reason we perform any action is in the hope that it will bring us satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. Embracing the spiritual domain, which is the source and goal of all desires in life, creates the possibility for satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment independent of the inevitably changing situations, circumstances, and people that surround us.

Those fortunate ones who dwell in this domain have achieved what is often called enlightenment.

Viewing your choices from a spiritual perspective means asking the big questions: Who are you? Why are you here? What do you really want? How can you best serve?

Although at first glance these questions may seem irrelevant to slowing the aging process, they are actually essential to renewal. Shifting your internal reference point from an egocentric being, whose sense of worth depends upon the positions and possessions one has accumulated, to a network of conscious energy, woven from the threads of universal intelligence, has a profound effect on your mind and body.

When you become clear that the reason you want to live to a hundred or more years is so you can express your full creative potential, you change your chemistry and physiology.

When you identify your unique talents and commit to using them in the service of others, you strengthen your immune system. When you decide that exercising regularly or preparing a balanced meal is an enjoyable experience, you improve your circulatory health and lower your blood pressure.

Your perceptions, interpretations, and expectations influence every aspect of your mental and physical health. Shifting your perspective and making new choices provide you with powerful tools to change your life.

the window to renewal

One of the ways science makes major advances is by studying situations, circumstances, and events that are the exception to the usual way things work. These are sometimes called anomalies, or exceptions to the rule. Most scientists ignore anomalies, but in fact, these are the very things we should be studying.

If something breaks the rule, no matter what it is, no matter how infrequent it is, no matter how remote the probability, it means that a new possibility has arisen. And if a new possibility has presented itself, there must be a mechanism. Even if only one person out of ten million cures himself of cancer or of AIDS, we have to pay attention.

Most scientists tend to disregard events that are so rare they do not regularly infringe upon the prevailing view of the world. They may dismiss an anomaly by saying that it is so rare-one in ten million-what's the point of investigating it?

The point is that it doesn't matter if something happens only once in ten million, because if it has happened even once, there must be some mechanism to account for its occurrence. And if there is a mechanism, then as scientists we want to know what that mechanism is, because once we understand the mechanism, we may be able to reproduce the phenomenon.

Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, and Einstein are examples of scientists who questioned the prevailing assumptions of their time and expanded their view to include phenomena that had previously been ignored.

These and other great scientists paid attention to anomalies and sought to understand the mechanism that explains them. When something doesn't fit the paradigm, doesn't fit the pattern, doesn't fit the theory, it forces us to examine the model we are using. It compels us to expand or change the theory to incorporate the exceptional situation.

A good example of this is a friend of ours who was diagnosed with AIDS over fifteen years ago. He was close to death when he made the choice to change his life. He started meditating, began eating a healthy diet, and made the commitment to eliminate toxins from his life. Fifteen years later he is feeling completely well and has undetectable levels of the HIV virus in his blood. When we first met him, he was an anomaly, but now we know many more people like him.

Our theory of consciousness predicts that if we reach a critical mass of people who have the same experience, then it will become true for everyone.

We believe that these same principles apply to human aging. If we look at recent historical times we see that the average life expectancy has shifted remarkably. The average life span of a human being during the Roman Empire was twenty-eight years.

The average life span of a human being born in the Western world at the beginning of the twentieth century was forty-nine years. Although in the past, high rates of infant mortality influenced human life expectancy, the fastest-growing segment of the American population today is over the age of ninety years.

A baby girl born in America today is expected to live just less than eighty years; an infant boy has a life expectancy of almost seventy-four. Historically, there are many people who have lived to ripe old ages and have made major contributions to civilization. Leonardo da Vinci was drawing sketches in his sixties, Leo Tolstoy was writing novels into his seventies, and Michelangelo was sculpting in his eighties. Winston Churchill, with his fondness for cigars and Scotch, was active and productive until his death at age ninety.

As our collective consciousness embraces the belief that we can have the biology of youth with the wisdom of experience, it will become the pervasive experience.

the science of aging

Recognizing that human beings do not age at the same rate, scientists have described three different ways to characterize a person's age. The first is chronological age, which is what your birth certificate says.

Your chronological age measures the number of rotations Earth has performed on its axis and around the sun since you left your mother's womb. Your chronological age cannot be altered through mindbody approaches, but it has the least relevance to how you feel or function.

Biological age is a measurement of how well your physiological systems are functioning. It is the most important component of the aging process. Your biological age is calculated in reference to an average population of people who have the same chronological age that you have.

Values for almost every biochemical and physiological process can be determined for different age groups. Known as the biological markers, or biomarkers, of aging, these include blood pressure, amount of body fat, auditory and visual thresholds, hormonal levels, immune function, temperature regulation, bone density, skin thickness, cholesterol levels, blood sugar tolerance, aerobic capacity, and metabolic rate.

Once you know your results, you can compare them with the group average and see if your biomarkers are older or younger than your chronological peers. Your biological age can be very different from your chronological age.

A fifty-year-old who takes good care of herself can have the biology of a thirty-five-year-old. Alternatively, a fifty-year-old who has not been attentive to his health may have the biology of men many years older. Whatever your biological age is today, we believe we can alter it by implementing the changes recommended in this book.

2006 Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D.

It is not some dark continental landmass or dangerous uncharted sea. It is our conditioning, our current collective worldview that we were taught by our parents, teachers, and society. The way of seeing things - the old paradigm - has aptly been called 'the hypnosis of social conditioning', an induced fiction in which we have collectively agreed to participate ...

The biochemistry of the body is a product of awareness. Beliefs, thoughts, and emotions create the chemical reactions that uphold life in every cell. An aging cell is the end product of awareness that has forgotten how to remain new ...

Perception appears to be automatic, but in fact it is a learned phenomenon. The world you live in, including the experience of your body, is completely dictated by how you learned to perceive it. If you change your perception, you change the experience of your body and your world ...

The world is a reflection of the sensory apparatus that registers it ...

A meticulous 1987 study from Yale, reported by MR Jensen, found that breast cancer spread fastest among women who had repressed personalities, felt hopeless, and were unable to express anger, fear, and other negative emotions. Similar findings have emerged for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, intractable pain, and other disorders ...

All my reactions are part and parcel of the time-bound self and its tendencies. In less than a 1000th of a second, its preprogrammed fear arouses the whole sequence of bodily messages that produce my actions ...

You can choose to see the rose bloom and die; you can choose to see the rose as a wave of life that never ends, for next year new roses will spring from the seeds of this one ... No two people experience their bodies in exactly the same way, because each of us interprets experience - including the experience of inhabiting a body - according to his own personal beliefs, values, assumptions, and memories. An aging body involves one style of interpretation; an ageless body involves an opposite style ...

No matter how separate anything appears to the senses, nothing is separate at the quantum level ... Reestablishing the memory of your connection with the quantum field will awaken the memory of renewal in your body ...

There is no normal curve of aging that applies to everyone. Some people entirely escape certain aging symptoms, while others are afflicted by them long before old age sets in ...

Despite the evidence that aging is a shifting, fluid phenomenon, we still find ourselves operating under the belief that aging can be understood strictly as a biological process ...

I wasn't seeing old people at all; I was seeing sick people. All over America doctors were making the same mistake. Caught up in treating various diseases, we forgot what aging is like when disease is not present. Moreover, the few medical researchers who took an interest in the aging process tended to work in veterans hospitals like the one in which I worked.

By definition, the 'normal' aging they observed was abnormal, because a normal person isn't hospitalized. No one would dream of defining childhood by studying patients in a children's hospital ward, yet old age was largely defined that way. Across the general population, only 5% of people over 65 are institutionalized, in either hospitals, nursing homes, or mental institutions. Surprisingly, this figure is not significantly higher than for younger age groups ...

The three ways of measuring age:

- Chronological age; - Biological age; and- Psychological age.

Major factors that accelerate aging: depression, lack of daily routine, lack of regular work routine, job dissatisfaction. Minor: inability to express emotions ...

Larry Scherwitz, a University of California psychologist, taped the conversations of 600 men, a third of whom were suffering from heart disease, the rest of whom were healthy. Listening to the tapes, he counted how often each man used the words I, Me, and Mine. Comparing his results with the frequency of heart disease, Scherwitz found that men who used the first-person pronoun most often had the highest risk of heart trouble. In addition, by following his subjects for several years, he found that the more a man habitually talked about himself, the greater the chance that he would have a coronary ...

Valliant was among the first researchers to establish that depression often leads to premature aging, chronic illness, and early death. Generally, at the root of depression is a kind of emotional numbness ...

Being holistic, exercise sends chemical messages back and forth between the brain and various muscle groups; part of this flow of biochemical information stimulates the production of catecholamines. Thus, whenever a doctor writes a prescription for an antidepressant, Boritz declares, he is handing out a proxy for the body's own inner prescription, which is filled by exercise.

Although we are not ordinarily aware of it, the body is constantly regulating temperature, heart rate, and other automatic functions by listening to its own internal messages. The slightest change in any function registers, however faintly, in the awareness of the nervous system ...

The basic fuel of the body is glucose, or blood sugar, which is the brain's only food. Burning a sugar cube over a gas flame yields a flash of light and heat and a greasy lump of carbon, but the same sugar burned in the brain produces all the thoughts and emotions we have.

The Sistine Chapel and Beethoven's Ninth are accomplishments of burning sugar ... A message is not a thing, and yet your body turns it into a thing. This is how nature operates behind the illusion of physical reality ...

If you hear the words I love you and your heart starts to pound, an ... astonishing metamorphosis has taken place. An emotion in another person's mind has been transformed into molecules of adrenaline rushing through your bloodstream ...

Child psychologists have found that young children are much more deeply influenced by ascriptive statements from their parents than by prescriptive statements in other words, telling a child WHAT HE IS makes a much deeper impression than telling him WHAT TO DO ...

Pain in the present is experienced as hurt. Pain in the past is remembered as anger. Pain in the future is perceived as anxiety. Unexpressed anger, redirected against yourself and held within, is called guilt. The depletion of energy that occurs when anger is redirected inward creates depression ...

The emotions that frighten us are the complex ones, because they overwhelm the natural release mechanism. You cannot simply release guilt or depression. They are secondary formations that arose once you forgot how to release hurt

Music is metabolized in the same way as narcotics in that it creates the release of endogenous narcotics in the body. Exhilarating music creates natural anti-depressants in the body."

- from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: A Practical Alternative to Growing Old, by Deepak Chopra

Recently the term PLACEBO was inverted into a new term, NOCEBO, to describe the negative effects of a doctor's opinion ...

[Medical assistance should be associated with healing] If a patient regards any treatment as violence, then his body will be flooded with negative emotions and the chemicals associated with them. It is well documented that in a climate of negativity, the ability to heal is greatly reduced - depressed people not only lower their immune response, for example, but even weaken their DNA's ability to repair itself ...

Doctors push patients into predictable thinking all the time, because medical school training is focused entirely on the horizontal axis.

- from Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind / Body Medicine by Deepak Chopra

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