Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: Exactly how does one "go inside" oneself?
— Mary M., Wood Dale, Illinois
Thank you for an invaluable question. When you know exactly what it means to go inside, many riddles about personal growth begin to clear up. Actually, everyone is already going inside. If someone asks you how you feel or what you think or if you remembered to lock the back door, you automatically go inward for the answer. Your attention is no longer on the outside world but the inside world.
What do you find when you go inside? A rich world, streaming with thoughts, feelings, sensations, memories, hopes, wishes, dreams and fears. No one is immune to the allure of this world. We experience ourselves in here and everything we can possibly imagine. But for every experience that's pleasurable, there's another that is painful.
Here is the starting point of spiritual growth because human beings, seeing that their pain was centered inside—through painful thoughts, memories, foreboding and guilt—wanted a way out. Is it possible to go inside and not experience pain? Even when you feel happy and your day is going well, the shadow of bad things to come cannot be denied. So the level of thinking isn't where the cure for pain exists. No one can control painful thoughts.
Therefore, all the great spiritual guides have taught that there is another level of the mind where silence dominates. If you can experience this silence, your mind begins to shift. Instead of being dominated by fear, guilt and other forms of inner pain, it is dominated by a quiet, steady state. From this state blossoms a sense of well-being and a feeling that you are safe. If you remain on the path and keep experiencing inner silence, peace dawns and then joy and bliss.
This is the unfoldment of the true self. It's the whole meaning of "going inside."