By Jamuna Rangachari January 2007 An encounter with Deepak Chopra A physician, endocrinologist, mystic and the best-selling author of many books, Deepak Chopra is almost synonymous with the major paradigm shift in the growing worldview of health as a product of body-mind-spirit interdependence. Instrumental in triggering many inquiries into the extent and nature of this Relationship by academics and enlightened medical professionals throughout the world, he lectures around the world, making presentations to major corporations and organizations such as the World Health Organization in Geneva, the United Nations, and London’s Royal Society of Medicine, as well as a number of major US medical institutions. He has also founded the Chopra Centre for Well Being in California, which offers instruction in yoga, Meditation, practical philosophy and a comprehensive system of Eastern and Western therapies. “We’re not human beings that have occasional spiritual experiences, but spiritual beings that have occasional human experiences,” says Dr Chopra, who continuously strives to raise the spiritual quotient of the world. Excerpts from an interview’s You have been responsible for a lot of interest in Eastern traditions. How much do you think the perception has changed since the time you started your journey?Since the last 30 years, there has been a major shift in science, looking at consciousness as the essential field from which reality emanates. Consciousness, being the ground of Being, differentiates into perception, cognition, moods and emotions, personal relationships, environmental situations, social interactions, behavior, biology, and nature’s forces. A number of Scientists are beginning to understand it; however, the majority still remains entrenched in the old paradigm. Was there any defining moment that led you to a holistic vision of health as opposed to the straitjacketed view that was then prevalent?Two insights led me to a holistic vision. (1) My own research into the molecules of emotions and (2) clinical insights from the fact that the host response to illness was variable. You have spoken about quantum Healing. Could you elaborate on it?Quantum healing is biological creativity – a shift in consciousness that results in the tangled hierarchical responses of perception, cognition, relationships, meanings, contexts, and creative biological responses. By changing one’s perception of aging, we can change our age, is something you believe in. Is it really possible to conquer the aging process?The biological markers of aging are reversible by about 15 years. Thesebiological markers include the following: blood pressure, body temperature regulation, bone density, metabolic rate, the fat content in the body, cardiovascular conditioning, cholesterol and lipid levels, blood sugar tolerance, sex Hormone level, hearing, vision, skin thickness, DHEA sulfate levels, immune function and aerobic capacity. The reversal of these biological markers is through changing perception of aging, of time, and of the physical body as a field of information. Other strategies include deep rest through restful sleep and meditation, nutritional strategies, nutritional supplements, mind-body coordination techniques, exercise, removal of toxins, flexibility in consciousness, the experience of love, time-centered present-moment awareness, and creativity and play. Do you think modern, ie, allopathic medicine, is more open to the principles of alternative systems of healing now?I think complementary approaches are slowly but surely being integrated into traditional scientific medicine. Ayurveda is essentially individual-based, driven by its understanding of the individual and his classification as vata, pitta and kapha, while allopathy has no such classification. Do you view this as a limitation of modern medicine? If so, how can it be addressed?The ayurvedic approach using vata, pitta, and kapha, while helpful, is limited. Modern medicine is also looking at individuality through bio-chemical response. At this moment there is no standardized method that can make an intervention or treatment unique to the individual. Would you agree that a focus on just the physical body has led to the neglect of mental and spiritual health?Yes. A purely physical approach makes one a superb technician, but not necessarily a good healer. In our current state of knowledge, it is not true that most diseases can be healed. Lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension are increasing rapidly. What would you attribute this to?I would attribute lifestyle diseases to: 1. Stress. 2. Poor nutrition. 3. Lack of exercise. 4. Obesity. You believe even cancer has its roots in one’s mental state. Does this mean we can stop or reduce the chances of its occurrence?I wish everything was so simplistic. The mental component is only one factor in a tangled hierarchy. One has to address everything else as in the answer to question. Is it true that most diseases can be healed?In our current state of knowledge, it is not true that most diseases can be healed. Do you see a holistic view of health as the way the world is heading?Hopefully. What are the stumbling blocks, if any, for a state of holistic health?The stumbling blocks are our own limited ways of thinking. What is the role that religion and spirituality play in helping us attain and maintain a better state of health?Religion is divisive, quarrelsome, and exclusive and is the major cause of all the problems in the world, including war and terrorism. Spirituality, when it comes of age as a domain of awareness where we experience our universality, will, hopefully, result not only in our personal well-being, but also the well-being of the planet. What would be a simple motto one can adopt for better health?Take it easy. What can we hope for in the new millennium?If the predications of global warming by Al Gore are true, unless we collectively do something to reverse it, we are all headed for disaster. Is perfect health really possible?It is our natural state unless we interfere with it. What are a few simple ways through which we can stay healthy?Meditate, sleep well, learn to handle stress and don’t eat anything that comes out of a can or has a label. Love with passion. Would you share your own health habits?Good sleep, daily exercise and meditation and not taking myself seriously. Deepak chopra, the doyen of alternative healing, author of several Best-selling books across the world, and one of India’s most recognized names in holistic circles, lays down the law.
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