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Look at the qualities of the true self: self-reliant, evolutionary, loving, creative, knowing, accepting and peaceful. Whenever anyone is in crisis, whether the problem is a troubled marriage or difficulties at work or over money, they will make the best decisions if they utilize these qualities.

Sadly, we are more likely to be driven by selfishness, panic, uncertainty, impulsiveness, survival instincts and other qualities associated with the ego-self. That's how society trained us. We measure our worth by our achievements and possession. Money and status feed the ego, and society rewards those who play the game of getting and spending with skill and drive.

But look at the faulty choices millions of people make. They choose material rewards in the hope that money can buy happiness, or at least all the nice trappings of a happy life. They plunge into careers that offer success but end up with little inner fulfillment. Doesn't it make sense instead that the foundation for every choice should be the true self? The true self understands what you really want and what you really need to be joyful. It creates a much stronger, more expansive foundation for your life than any the ego-self can provide, since that is rooted in fear and insecurity.

Once you begin to recognize and encourage the qualities of the true self, your life will begin to change. You'll make better choices. You'll expand your awareness. You'll discover and encourage your purpose. You'll challenge yourself to meet new goals.

The greatest spiritual secret in the world is that every problem has a spiritual solution, not because every prayer is answered by a higher power, but because the true self, once discovered, is the source of creativity, intelligence and personal growth. No external solution has such power. The true self is the basis for being deeply optimistic about how life turns out and who you really are, behind the screen of doubt and confusion. The path to it isn't simply inspiring; it's the source of solutions that emerge from within.

Deepak Chopra, MD, is the author of What Are You Hungry For?: The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of Soul, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center.

Learn more about Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience Series.

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