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3. How can I reach deeper into myself for solutions?

There is just no getting around that turning bad things into good things is up to you. No one can be there all the time, and like it or not, crises are all-consuming. You find yourself facing an inner world that is suddenly full of threats, fears, illusions, wishful thinking, denial, distractions and conflict. The world "out there" won't change until the world "in here" does.

There is a simple spiritual truth that I believe in deeply: The level of the solution is never found at the level of the problem. Knowing this, you can escape many traps that people fall into. What exists at the level of the problem? Repetitive thinking that gets nowhere. Old conditioning that keeps applying yesterday's outworn choices. Lots of obsessive thinking and stalled action. I could go on. But the relevant insight is that you have more than one level of awareness, and at a deeper level there is untapped creativity and insight.

Your higher self contains the potential for new solutions, but you must find it. Instead of "higher self," you can substitute any term that applies—soul, Atman, Holy Spirit, muse, inspiration—because linguistics are not nearly as important as the experience itself. You must experience the place inside where the light dawns and brings hope, where peace is possible and there is certainty about finding a viable path forward.

It's not a mystery that such a place can be reached, because even in the worst crisis we experience flashes of it. The trick is to be able to inhabit the level of awareness that brings solutions. First, know that this level exists. Second, make a plan to get there, through all the techniques open to everyone: meditation, reflection, contemplation, prayer. Reduce your stress by every means you can find. Seek others who understand consciousness. Read books that inspire you but also books that realistically describe what it means to go on the inward journey. I've given an abbreviated plan of action, but the important thing is that you take the first steps inside.

Of course, I can't know what bad things are happening to you specifically. I just urge you to quit the majority who live in confusion and conflict. Join the minority who see a clear path out of present darkness, who never submit to fear and despair and who in truth lead the world into a future full of light.

Deepak Chopra is the co-founder of the Chopra Foundation and author of Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life's Greatest Challenges.

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