Atoms are the smallest basic unit of matter and are like tiny solar systems with a nucleus instead of a central sun. The nucleus is actually a cluster of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons bound together by an extremely powerful nuclear force. Around the nucleus, whirling at fantastic speeds, is a cloud of negatively charged electrons held in place by electromagnetic force. Thus my soul is the nucleus of me, and all the events and circumstances of my life are the electrons
My interpretation of Chopra’s work is that we can choose to view life either from the perspective of the nucleus/soul - allowing life to spin around us trusting that everything is in perfect balance, or we can live from the ego’s perspective - jumping on any number of negatively charged electrons and getting caught in the cycle of worry and the need to control. He advocates the former and suggests adopting a type of “soft focus” awareness as the key to achieving it. An example:
- Your mind is calm and not overworked. You enjoy being in its presence.
- You don’t feel haunted by guilty and shameful thoughts.
- You don’t try to control your thoughts. The more freely they come, the better.
- When you make a mistake, you accept it and quickly move on.
- Not every idea can be perfect or brilliant, and mistakes are often the best teachers.
- There’s a contrast between good and bad impulses, but you take both in stride. (In fact, sometimes you take secret delight in so-called bad thoughts, knowing that they’re just another part of your experience.)
- Unpleasant mental images don’t make you afraid or disgusted. You can adapt to the mind’s darker side.
- You aren’t plagued by a judgmental voice telling you that you’re bad or unworthy.
- You aren’t braced for the next disaster around the corner.
Meditation is one way to cultivate this awareness, as it seems the brain instinctively goes to the default soul/nucleus position when given half a chance. Personally I don’t often sit still long enough to meditate. But when I find myself getting swept out into electron territory, it is often enough just to remind myself that life keeps spinning on and on whether I worry about it or not.
The beauty of this philosophy is that we learn to welcome all thoughts, and indeed all of life, with equanimity - no need to condemn negativity as is so popular in some circles. Besides, with its equal number of protons and neutrons, an atom is inherently neutral (as I believe the soul is) while an atom that is positively or negatively charged is not an atom at all, but an ion, which must go forth and find something to bond with to become balanced. It is a “quest-ion.” (Get it?)
The ego hates this type of thinking because it thrives on drama – it loves all the to-ing and fro-ing of electrons. But with the soul in the drivers seat instead of the ego, it’s a much smoother ride in the atom of life.