Timeless You: Changing Perceptions


Timeless You: Changing Perceptions

Each course (there are six courses in total) is divided into five parts. I’m advised that it should take me about 85 minutes to complete Course 1. Knowing that online learning takes more time to complete than traditional face-to-face learning, I’m prepared for the time commitment and feel excited about starting.

I’m one of 10,692 participants. What? No, correction: that was as of last night. This morning I’m one of 10,744 participants. What? That’s a first. I remember struggling to get students and teachers excited about using technology in a learning and teaching context. I guess Chopra figured it out!

As I prepare to click on the “Let’s get started” button, I’m flooded with anxiety. What if this won’t work? What if I won’t be able to shift my perspective to see the brighter side of things? You see, I feel I could really use a shift in my perception of the world right about now. I’m on the verge of finding out if a big change is coming my way, or if I’ll have to deal with a whole lot of disappointment. I’m trying not to be dramatic and immature about the prospect of not getting what I’m hoping is coming my way, but I definitely have moments of panic imagining my world will end if things don’t go my way. Taking a breath helps, but the panic is resurfacing more often as Decision Day approaches. If there’s a chance that I will have to deal with an outcome I desperately don’t want to face, I want help preparing. I hope this course is going to help me get to a place where I am able to accept either outcome without drama, devastation, or pain.

Shackles of conditioning. What shackles are imprisoning me in my invisible cell? Well, without going into a long story, one of the programs running on a loop in my mind since childhood is: “There’s always a better place out there to make your home, so keep looking because where you are now isn’t good enough.” You’d think that would open up the world of possibilities for a person, exposing them to the diverse beauty and magnitude of this life. But for me, it’s just meant not knowing how to be happy where I am.

How does this relate to aging? Well, for anyone who’s relocated to a different country, you know that a move can age you five years in the span of a few months. And for some reason, each move gets more arduous. It could be because I’m older with each move, but not that much older, so I’ve never really bought into that being the reason. I think relocation ages and weakens a person because of all the emotional baggage they bring along with them on each move. I lost so much hair from the stress of moving to California from England, and a lot of it had to do with worrying about the experience. Perhaps if I had just accepted the experience for what it was and stayed in the flow, I wouldn’t have had so much healing to do once we finally emptied the moving truck at our new address.

Could acceptance be the true fountain of youth?

After twenty-five minutes of reading through and responding to some of the comments pertaining to this first page of the course, I am reminded that the moderator in me loves learning and sharing in the online space. I have a feeling it’ll take me more than the suggested fifteen minutes to complete part one of Course 1. That’s definitely something I would change about this program: dividing participants into cohorts of around 15 (and no more than 30) would enrich the quality of the online discussions and allow for a less autonomous and a more community-based learning model. Otherwise, you might as well just be reading the contents of a website and not call it an online course.

I’m starting to feel a little too young to be taking this course. So far, the emphasis has been on shifting my perception to live a life in which I feel younger than my chronological age but I’m more interested in shifting my perception to be happier in my current reality, regardless of how old I am. Then again, Chopra outlines that if we perceive aging as a process of decay, that is the reality we’ll create for ourselves. Considering that I have worried about the health of my teeth for many years and just came back from a regular check-up with yet another cavity to fill, maybe I have a lot more to learn than I think.

I have to admit, I don’t agree at all with the statement above. And allow me to preface by saying that this may have more to do with my character than with esoteric mechanics, but it just doesn’t work for me to talk with others about a goal I’ve set for myself before I’ve achieved it. Talking about it before I accomplish it diffuses the energy I put behind it, making it feel so much more challenging to reach. As I grow older and develop my perceptions of life and how I fit into it, I find myself increasingly protective of the incubation period of thoughts and ideas I want to manifest; the less I talk about them, the more energy I can infuse into them.

I’m having a difficult time reconciling my thoughts on this idea of expectations. Perhaps they have a powerful impact on our physical state, but on mental and emotional levels, all they bring about is pain. Think about it: you expect something to happen but if it doesn’t, you’re disappointed. If, instead, you surrender to the experience and allow it to unfold before you, you won’t be disappointed by any way that it turns out because you aren’t dealing with an attachment to an outcome (i.e., expectation). But perhaps this is all an issue of semantics. I may not agree with the above statement, but I do agree with the following: “What we envision and fuel with our energy, in the form of our thoughts and intentions, is what will manifest.” Are we saying the same thing?

My perception of time is unlike that of those around me. I feel it passing by slow as a snail, dragging me along a path I don’t remember choosing. I think this is what it feels like to live sitting on the fence, being neither here nor there, taking no sides but feeling comfortable judging others’ choices. It was difficult realizing this about myself, but all I want to do now is speed up the hands of time so that I can start my journey on my terms. And yes, I do think about how being in limbo during the prime of my life (30s) is such an incredible shame, how this is when I should be preparing to achieve the heights of my accomplishments while young and vibrant. But the funny thing is that no matter your chronological age, if you don’t approach life with passion, you might as well be twenty years older because that’s how much older you probably feel.

Course 1 complete. Final thoughts: I thought I was aware of the concept of an energy body, but it was only once I connected that the word “body” is a verb—an ever-regenerating activity of being in the physical—that I began to truly shed the shackles of the flesh. It’s such a profound shift in my perception that I don’t even know if I’m making sense to you as you read this. All I’ll say is that I feel freer and much more confused then I did before I began this journey with Deepak.

2 Comments

  1. Rachel Castleberg says:

    I don’t care much for sharing my goals with others either–it creates too much pressure. Suddenly I find myself overwhelmed by their desire for me to succeed, and I crumple at the possibility of failing/disappointing them. If it’s a creative project, I’m also always tempted to change what I’m creating to please them, since I have a hard time telling the difference between genuine critique and personal opinion.

    In terms of expectation, I think abandoning it is in line with the Buddhist concept of relinquishing Desire (a kind of expectation) because it is the root of Suffering. I believe that to be true, but if expectation is the root of Suffering, it is also the root of Hope and Faith, major tenants of my religion. Faith is making ourselves vulnerable again after we have been hurt, even if that hurt left us permanently changed. Part of growth is allowing ourselves to be shaped by pain, to let it bloom into empathy and compassion.

    And don’t let other people (or that little voice of Doubt at the back of your mind) tell you that you aren’t doing enough with your life, that you are wasting time. Fear of failure and waste and past mistakes is a paralytic, not a motivator. Limbo is a necessary, though tedious, part of the journey.

  2. Teta Pisana says:

    I like the mentioned example of comparing “a baby elephant with adult elephant …” which strongly gives the idea.

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