BY GRETCHEN BLEILER
|(L-R) Dr. David Simon, Dr. Deepak Chopra
Right now I’m in the middle of studying to get my teacher’s certification in meditation through the Chopra Center. The Chopra Center is a wellness center in Carlsbad, Calif. where people can go to learn practices and techniques for a healthier, richer lifestyle. The founders of the Chopra Center are Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon.
I was first introduced to Deepak Chopra, the Chopra Center, and, really, meditation as a whole through an amazing woman I was working with before the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. At the time, I was working with her in order to be the most prepared and best version of myself leading into the Olympic season. But the techniques and practices she taught me went far beyond my snowboard and the results. This knowledge was going to help me be the best snowboarder that I could be — but perhaps more excitingly — this knowledge was going to help me become a better person in my everyday life. I was opened up to a different world that I always sensed and knew was there but the way the Chopra Center dissected and clearly made sense of it completely resonated with me. It was a road map for living (and I love a good road map) and I was left craving more. Four years later, I’m learning more, and learning it in a way that allows me to turn around and help teach it to others so that they too can take the journey of realizing the best versions of themselves.
So as I’m in the process of learning, I thought I would share each month with you one principle from one of my favorite books, Deepak Chopra’s “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success.” Out of all of the things I choose to travel with around the world, this book always makes it into my bag so that I can always have it close by. There are seven principles and they always seem to take on a different meaning or have a different importance to me depending on where I am. This monthly blog I’m doing for the United States Olympic Committee is to document my journey of the Olympic process, so I thought, “What better way to describe what I’m going through right now than to connect my experiences with these laws?”
Each law corresponds with a different day of the week. And the first day of the week starts with Sunday, which is the Law of Pure Potentiality. And as I’m starting my journey into this Olympic qualifying season this is the perfect law to begin this inward and outward journey.
The Law of Pure Potentiality is sometimes one of the more complex to understand out of the seven laws, but at the same time at its core it’s very simple. I like to think of an onion when I’m breaking down this concept. Basically we are all onions with layers and layers and layers that can all be peeled back and away, and what’s left once all of the layers have been peeled away is our spirit. And our spirit is pure potentiality.
These layers that we peel back to get to our spirit are the roles we play, our titles, our relationships, our possessions, our results, our jobs, etc. Even our bodies and minds that feel and think, our intellect that appraises and discriminates between our thoughts and feelings, and our egos (which is our self image) are all layers of the onion that we can peel back to get to our source of power and creativity and pure potential.
So much of our lives are spent looking outward believing that things external to ourselves will bring us happiness, peace and fulfillment. The problem with living a life where we are influenced by objects outside of ourselves is that these external things are forever changing. This “change” can lead us to live life out of fear; the fear of loosing our job, fear of losing a relationship, fear of loosing our money, security, or fear of loosing a certain status. In this life of “object referral” we are constantly being thrown off by circumstances, people, situations and things. And because of this, we are constantly seeking approval or feeling the need to control and crave external power. These are all symptoms of living in fear.
The opposite of object referral is “self referral.” Self referral is living with your spirit as your internal reference point (the heart of the onion). And that is what the LAW OF PURE POTENTIALITY is here to remind us of each week. That behind the commotion of the outside world and its objects — and even behind the screen of our internal dialogue — lies a witnessing awareness that is unchanging and eternal. This essence is unconcerned of thoughts of the past or concerns of the future. When we are living from this place of self referral, we are experiencing the power of ourselves. A sense of wholeness and contentment, no matter what may be going on around us, resides and because of this we no longer feel the need for approval or control. Things seem to slow down and the things that really matter in our lives are clear and shift to our foreground. We are now living from a place of love and respect. We are now in harmony with everyone and everything because we can see that everyone and everything contains this same SELF we are living from, but in different disguises.
So how do we get to this place? Well it is a journey and a process. But one of the most effective things you can do each day to step towards this way of living is to take time to meditate. The process of meditation is the process of peeling back the layers of the onion. Meditating is a way to turn the chatter of our daily lives down, so that we can make more room for that spirit that lies within. And once we understand this about ourselves and spend more time experiencing this spirit, then we are closer to this field of infinite possibilities and have access to fulfilling any dream that we have.
When we are living with our spirit as our reference point, we are able to enjoy. We’ll just say it in very black and white terms for now; our world of objects is that much fuller because it’s coming from a place of love and contentment rather than attachment and fear. We’re able to love more in our relationships; we’re able to enjoy and therefore perform our jobs to their fullest; we’re able to see and feel and touch and smell the things in our daily lives and appreciate their little miracles.
We are no longer fearful of any challenge or anything at all. We possess this energy and this synchronicity that draws people, circumstances, situations, creativity and things to us that we desire. This is a life of effortless ease. This is a life where you will achieve the success and creativity and desires you are looking for, but from a place of love and sustainable even-keeled contentment. Life now seems to be a perfect contrast of stillness that is unchanging and eternal, combined with an individual mind that is creative and dynamic with constant movement and exciting energy. How exciting to not only be successful and creative and dynamic, but to also be still and quiet and unchanging all at once?!
So to bring this concept together in tangible terms here is an example in my life and more specifically in my career. When I was younger and just coming up in snowboarding, I was heavily motivated by results. I looked to my results to give me my self worth. If I did well, I felt great. If I did poorly, I felt badly about myself. It was that terrible feeling of not doing well that motivated me to work harder and do better. This way of competing may have led me to accomplish a lot of my goals, but it has a short shelf life. It is not sustainable. And that is where my journey began. The ups and downs and fears of that world that had always motivated me before were now wearing me down and draining me (which can be common with people who have been living this way for too long!). I knew that there had to be a reason for this change, and I knew that there was more and so I started searching. The journey began when I was introduced to the Chopra Center techniques and principles through the woman who was mentoring me before the 2010 Games. Since then I’ve been reading, studying, attending programs and practicing, and what I’ve found along the way is that “the more” existed within ME, and the reference point I was living from, all along.
Again this is a journey and a process and at times I may stray from what I’ve learned and what I know, but what I’m finding is that consistent effort in this direction is brining about more love, happiness, beauty and meaning to every day of my life.
A great quote that I like to keep in mind is this one from "The Bhagavad Gita"...
“On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear.”
This is what I’m aspiring for as I head into this incredibly exciting time before me. Enjoying the movement and creativity of snowboarding, competition and the lifestyle from the pure witnessing awareness of my spirit!