Make sure you give your body the maximum help to heal itself through stress management, meditation, diet, psycho-physiological techniques, and combine this with the best of modern medicine.
Chairman, director of education, and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, and the Chopra Center & Spa at Dream NY in Manhattan, Deepak Chopra, M.D., has changed the way the world views health and physical wellness. He started the movement that fused the best modern medicine of the West with the natural healing traditions of the East. Formerly the Chief of Staff at Boston Regional Medical Center, Dr. Chopra is widely credited with melding modern theories of quantum physics with the timeless wisdom of ancient cultures. Chopra continues to communicate his world-altering ideas through his center, workshops, books, and, of course, through this conversation with Haute Living.
HAUTE LIVING How has your Indian heritage shaped you throughout your life?
DEEPAK CHOPRA I was brought up on stories from Indian mythology, where gods and goddesses with supernormal abilities did extraordinary things, and nothing was impossible. As a child I believed that it was our destiny to realize every dream that we had and that we had the potential to transform not only ourselves but change the world. My mother taught me to woo the goddess of wisdom, and this would make the goddess of wealth jealous so she would start to chase me. In my innocence, I believed all this, and my life turned out to be a metaphor for these mythical stories.
HL What prompted you to expand your view of conventional medicine to embrace complementary treatments from around the world?
DC I found conventional medicine to be limited. They trained us to be super technicians. We knew everything about the human body, but we were incomplete healers because we knew nothing about the human spirit and the deeper domains of human consciousness. As I explored the wisdom traditions of the world I saw that there was a possibility of creating a new model for health that included physical, emotional, spiritual, and social and environmental wellbeing.
HL What is your prescription for happiness?
DC See opportunities where others see problems, express your creativity, find meaning and purpose in your life, and make other people happy. In addition, engage in reflective self-inquiry. Ask questions like: Who am I? What do I want? What’s my purpose? What’s my contribution? How do I feel when I have a peak experience? What are my unique talents, and how do I express them? What are the qualities that I look for in a friend, and how do I best express myself in my personal relationships? Live these questions, and you will move into the answers and find a good measure of happiness.
HL Your latest book is titled Why is God Laughing. So tell us: Why is God laughing?
DC God is laughing because we are constantly telling Her our plans!
HL What type of individual do you feel best benefits from the Chopra Center’s programs?
DC Anyone who is seeking to be healthy and seeking a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
HL What is one piece of advice you offer all of your patients?
DC Never doubt your potential. Believe in the diagnosis but never in the prognosis. Make sure you give your body the maximum help to heal itself through stress management, meditation, diet, psycho-physiological techniques, and combine this with the best of modern medicine.
HL How do you manage to balance the spiritual side of your many ventures with the business aspects?
DC I have handed over my business to my colleagues and do not participate in it. I exercise my mind and my body on a daily basis, meditate regularly, express my creativity through my writing, and don’t take myself seriously.
HL What can one expect to learn in one of your leadership workshops, which have been attended by many corporate and political leaders?
DC I teach leaders to express their full potential by creating a vision for themselves and for society; by learning the principles of emotional intelligence and bonding emotionally with their team; and by expanding awareness of the needs that people have and learning to fulfill them through various skills such as being a protector, entrepreneur, team builder, nurturer, innovator, and a guide for higher consciousness. I train corporate and political leaders to harness collective intelligence and collective creativity for both personal and social transformation. I also teach them how to remain centered, intuitive, and creative in the midst of any crisis. I also focus on how to be a role model for action orientation and to always take responsibility by being the first one to take initiative, take calculated risks, ask for feedback, and maintain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
HL What are you working on right now? What is the next big thing we can expect from Deepak Chopra’s corner?
DC I am the president of a non-profit called Alliance for a New Humanity (www.anhglobal.org). We are creating global communities of a) Be the change, b) Make a difference, c) Share your passion. We want to reach a critical mass of global consciousness that finds creative solutions to radical poverty, climate chaos, social injustice, and war and terrorism. I also have two new books coming out in the next 12 months: a novel called Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment and a non-fiction book called The Soul of Leadership.