By Suma Varughese
Deepak Chopra has moved from influencing personal change to influencing social change. Excerpts from an email interview with him
You are on your 41st book. Can you trace the progression of thought that you have been pursuing through your books?
My 41st book is entitled The Soul of Leadership. Every single book of mine has been about understanding the primacy of consciousness as a field of all possibilities. My thought has progressed from understanding healing as biological creativity first in the individual, then in societies and communities and finally in the eco-system.
What are the subjects and issues that most engage you today?
Leadership, social justice, economic empowerment, ecological health and conflict resolution.
What are you doing about these?
I am Founding Director and Chairman of the Alliance for the New Humanity. The founders and the directors of the Alliance include Nobel prize winners, Oscar Arias and Betty Williams, former heads of state and leaders in the areas of economics and conflict resolution. The Alliance is engaged in creating a critical mass of consciousness in the world through media, entertainment, music, educational institutions, news networks and information technologies to address creative solutions to problems in the above mentioned areas. Please visit www.anhglobal.org and www.peacepractices.org.
How do you reconcile the depradation of the environment with support of the market forces?
Fear and greed in market forces are part of the tangled hierarchy that includes ecological degradation, depletion of timber forest, depletion of fossil fuels, famine, war, greed, consumption, drug wars, extinction of species, floods, nuclear waste, gun industry, poverty, crime, increased infant mortality, rising oceans, drug addiction, nuclear plants, destruction of topsoil, terrorism, hurricanes, depletion of fisheries in poor countries, etc.
Are there any assertions that you have made in your earlier books that you no longer identify with?
What would you say has been your most significant contribution to the raising of spiritual consciousness in the world?
I think it would be the integration of science with our current understanding of consciousness differentiating into cognition, perception, moods and emotions, behavior, social interactions, biological functioning, creativity, insight, choice, decision making and leadership.
When do you anticipate that the era of the enlightened scientist will occur?
Not in my lifetime.
What kind of science will come out of that?
A science that integrates the outer world with the inner world.
Is there anything you would like to change about your life?
Probably be less serious, otherwise, no.
All this fame, power and money that you wield is heady. How do you prevent it from strengthening your ego?
My wife and children make sure that I don’t.
What has been your personal path and has it changed over the years?
My personal path has always been healing; it has expanded over the years.
What kind of society do you dream of coming into fruition?
A society of social justice, of healed environment and ecology, economic parity and non-violent conflict resolution.
What would you say is the purpose of your existence in this lifetime?
Describe your daily schedule.
Two hours of meditation, one hour of exercise and otherwise, go with the flow.
How would you define yourself today?
To define oneself is to limit oneself, therefore I never define myself.
Where does Deepak Chopra see himself five years from now?
Life is a never-ending horizon full of surprises. I anticipate nothing.
What were the formative influences that brought you to this role of a new age guru and philosopher?
I am neither a New Age guru nor a philosopher, just an explorer of consciousness.
Right now who is your guru?
Every child is my guru.
Which Sufi influences affect you the most?
The poetry of Rumi and Hafiz.
How do you relate to your Indianness?
Mostly I like Indian food, otherwise I think that identifying with any form of nationalism is tribalism.
How do you view India’s role in the emerging century?
A cultural and economic leader.
How has India shaped your worldview?
My influences have been global; India’s spiritual past has certainly influenced my thinking.
Could you give a direct personal message to Life Positive readers on the most important thing on the path?
Be real. Never cultivate positive attitudes artificially, understand that true spirituality is understanding creativity.
Contact: www.chopra.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Affluence is a function of creativity. Creativity is an expression of consciousness, therefore affluence and spirituality should go together. Rich or poor, we are all caught up in the same system of greed. We have a relationship to money that mirrors our relationship to the material world. The way of peace would change this relationship in many ways. I can see different people doing the following things: Donating money to peace organisations. Giving money to the poor. Refusing to invest in corporations that manufacture arms or are directly involved in military contracts. Investing in companies that have the least attachment to destructive tendencies, such as harming the environment. Using one’s savings to pay for seasonal retreats and other spiritual work. This is how money might be well used. But such good actions do not settle the core issue of how you relate to money. The way of peace would be to use your money to further the real reason you are here. Having provided for basic comforts and needs, apply your money to serve the hierarchy of values to which you owe your allegiance. Peace values, as we have seen, are love, evolution, personal growth, discovery, wisdom, harmony, connectedness, and peace itself. If you are using money to further these, you have escaped the grip of one false god: Mammon.