By Nishtha Shukla
New Age guru Deepak Chopra speaks of the need for growth of the collective soul for good leadership to emerge and humanity to evolve
A motley group comprising the young and the old, professionals and homemakers, recently congregated at Delhi’s Chinmaya Mission to hear Deepak Chopra speak of consciousness, Brahman and leaders, in a seminar titled ‘The Soul of Leadership’. The cold winter air was abuzz with the anticipation of wisdom powerful enough to change lives and perhaps, create ageless bodies and timeless minds. And influential it was. Chopra, speaking of the global environment today, was by no means esoteric.
The doctor’s own life had changed beyond recognition when in 1980 he learnt TM. A chance meeting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1985 put him on a new path. Later, he turned author with bestsellers like The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (1995), The Return of Merlin (1995), The Way of the Wizard (1996), and The Path to Love (1997).
The dark side of the soul
Chopra’s talk began with a discussion of the ‘dark’ side of the soul. A genteel audience didn’t deter Chopra from being acerbic: “When someone looks at us from outside planet earth, the most dangerous species would be humans!” He qualified this by talking of the rift in the collective human soul that had led to the rise of terrorism, weapons of destruction and global wars. “We are probably the only species on the planet that kills its own kind… often for religious reasons,” he said. Humankind is devastating the earth’s ecological balance, not only by killing birds and animals for selfish purposes, but by destroying itself. We have tainted our essential goodness with ethnocentricity, bigotry, prejudice and violence, maintained Chopra.
Quoting an anthropologist, he said: “If all the ants of the world were to die, then the world would finish in a few weeks… But if all the humans die, we would be back to the state of Garden of Eden.” Chopra warned that if a species becomes too predatory, nature has its way of extinguishing it. A realistic picture of humankind can only be arrived at by the juxtaposition of sinner and saint, the divine and the devil, he said.
A brighter note
All is not lost, however, said Chopra. The bright side of being human is that we are the only species that contemplates issues like the purpose of life, consciousness, God and His existence, and the meaning of death. The human nervous system is probably the only one aware of its own existence and consciousness. Our measure of reality is based on our sensory apparatus and our ability to extend our range of senses in the material world. Also, the mind that understands things beyond the material is something only human beings possess.
Chopra wants us to be wary of the Newtonian model that claims consciousness to be a by-product of matter. This model started crumbling over 100 years ago and “overthrew the superstition of all physical beings as machines”. Human life in that sense is more evolutionary than any other. We are constantly looking for solutions to unending dilemmas of the physical world. Is it a void out there, or a womb of creation?
According to Chopra, the real crisis in the world is that of human perception. While the majority believes that we are human beings who have occasional spiritual experiences, “we are actually spiritual beings with occasional human experiences”. To support this, he said that the universe was now seen as a dance of photons (quantum units of light energy), which means that the experience of being the seer is not mere esoteric experimentation; it has a scientific basis. As one who has studied mainstream medicine, laid founding principles of mind-body unity and worked with quantum physics, Chopra’s words can’t be dismissed lightly.
Explaining the universality of humanity, Chopra said that space, time, energy and matter are parts of a non-local (transcendent) domain that is the field of all possibilities. That is, the pure potential of all that was, is and will be. According to Chopra’s seven spiritual laws of success, pure potential is unity with Brahman or ‘quantum soup’. In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, he says that not only can people channel the energy of the universe into fulfilling their desires, they should be able to do this with minimal effort.
Chopra refers to this ‘pure potential’ as the source of all creativity in the universe. Creativity, which all of us experience at some point or another, is orchestrated by conscious intent, but is prolific if riddled with uncertainty. “This omniscience converts to qualities of the soul as well—inspiration, intent, insight, meaning and purpose. It converts the unmanifest into the manifest… the aim of all existence.” Simply put, this is how we know that that yellow thing is a flower, he says.
Becoming a leader
According to what the New Age guru said, leadership is an experience, a play of the needs of a human being and his consequent responses. For great leadership, Deepak Chopra says, it is important to create a mind-body experience of the world. Following is the model of the hierarchy of human needs (an improvement on Maslow’s model) and responses according to Chopra:
First the needs, starting from the basic ones:
v Survival and safety
v Material and pleasure achievement
v Love, acceptance, nurturing
v Creativity, renewal
v Enlightenment and moksha
These are followed by seven basic responses, making different kinds of leaders like the nurturer, creator, inventor, missionary, saint, entrepreneur, politician.
These responses are:
v Fight and flight response
v Ego response
v Centred awareness (meditation)
v Intuitive response
v Creative response
v Visionary response
v Sacred response
While these ideas are found in ancient texts like the Upanishads and the Bible, Chopra’s contemporary understanding and application of these makes all the difference. Take the fight and flight ‘response’ of a leader. It stems from his ‘need’ to be a protector, said Chopra. The need met, he turns into an entrepreneur or a politician. If the dark side of the soul surfaces, the leader turns into a tyrant. Similarly, Chopra explained, when there is an imbalance in the collective field, the nurturer response arises.
Depending on needs and a leader’s personal responses, people like Margaret Thatcher (ego response), Mother Teresa (nurturing), Einstein and Walt Disney (creative), Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr (visionary), Christ and the Buddha (sacred) evolved.
A good leader, Chopra said, is able to invoke any kind of response depending on the situation. The seven chakras of the energy system of the human body are metaphors for these biological responses. According to him, it is tragic that this knowledge is now not available to the collective conscious.
The qualities of a good leader, Chopra said, are a lack of ego, being understated, building, empowering and transforming. He must also accept brutal reality, be aware of his strengths, and be passionate and disciplined. Importantly, he must know how to use technology selectively to advantage. Referring to phrases used to describe success such as ‘I was in luck’, ‘God was on my side’ and ‘I was at the right place at the right time’, Chopra said that these could be explained by ‘synchronicity’. The creative mind of the universe brings all creativity together for a unified, productive whole.
A non-linear understanding of the world is essential to tap into the local mind. It involves glimpsing the synchronicity of the non-local mind and turning it into the expanded self where there is simultaneity. “Great leaders tap into the domain of synchronicity,” Chopra concluded. If all leaders of the world believe in a bigger reality and use this understanding to empower everyone, it will lead to an expanded consciousness. This is bound to strengthen the collective soul—making great leaders of the future.
Contact: Dr H.K. Chopra, Ph: 9811090206
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