Photo: Jeremiah Sullivan
Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: I have had a tough road bring me to where I am. I have buried most of my family, dealt with domestic violence, have two amazing kids and multiple sclerosis. When will I connect with my center and truly live my desires? Why have there been so many struggles, and when will I feel peace? I give and try to help people and have good thoughts in my head and heart. Why do I feel struggle at times when I try to remain so positive?
— Corrine G., Andover, Massachusetts
I feel great sympathy for your situation, as anyone must. We look around and see suffering, both our own and others', that cannot be explained. Let's leave aside the kind of troubles that are self-inflicted, although these aren't minor. The undeserved accidents, disasters, disease and sorrow of life have no reason behind them. In the East, the doctrine of karma declares that there is a cause for every event, good or bad, but since these karmic causes are invisible, they don't need to concern us.
The best spiritual life is one that is practical and that has a vision you can live by. I think that being positive is well and good, but often it's not realistic, and besides, where is the vision? For someone leading a difficult life, the traps are victimization, depression, loneliness and self-doubt. These are the practical matters to be faced. I think it is best to write down your particular issues, one by one, and then write down how you want to resolve them, one by one.
Once you've done that, find a vision. By that, I mean a goal in life that will bring fulfillment. Think about your deepest yearnings, because they point the way. The purpose of a vision is to lift you above your present circumstances, giving a basis for the future that isn't rooted in present obstacles. Learning from adversity is a cliché, but the truth is that nobody moves forward without falling down. It's how you pick yourself up that makes the difference.
Should I feel guilty for the things I have?
Every week, Deepak will be answering questions from readers just like you—ask your question now!
Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.
Published on January 27, 2010