Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: Dr. Chopra: As I was meditating this morning, it occurred to me that I am afraid to be fully myself and reveal who I am. Part of me is holding back and is afraid to be successful and radiant. I'd like to know how someone, like you, is both humble and shining at the same time? How do I accept compliments without feeling like I am being boastful? I have breast cancer, which has led me to do some deep inner work. I have many selves that are buried and scared. I am afraid to live. Help me come out. Thank you and bless you for all your wisdom.
— Anastasia S., Portland, Oregon
I can't reveal the secrets of humility because that would hardly be humble. Thank you, though, for the compliment. The question you've asked is important. All the qualities we hope to attain spiritually—radiance, humility, joy, a sense of the soul and the presence of God—are not achieved piece-by-piece. They emerge when you are a complete person, which means becoming whole.
The reason you saw yourself with extra clarity while meditating is that in meditation you come closer to wholeness. Your mind isn't preoccupied with bits and pieces. The mind slices up life into manageable slices like a loaf of bread. This may be practical, but it deprives us of seeing life as a whole. You must be whole in yourself to see life as a whole.
If you want to know how to get to such a point, the first step is the most important: Know that your true self is already whole. You don't have to learn or acquire spiritual value. All spiritual value resides at the core of the self.
So the real question is how to contact your true self. The issue is complicated enough that I will refer you to two recent books in which I explore how to attain one's higher self. The shorter one is The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which talks about finding the kind of happiness that no one can take away from you. The longer one, which goes into much more detail, is Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul. I will say, however, that meditation is a good start. The path is open to everyone who is willing to seek the true self. To know that is itself one aspect of joy.