Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a medical doctor, public speaker, and author of more than 80 books, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. He is regarded as a major advocate for the use of alternative medicine. Dr. Chopra is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Dr. Chopra’s books have been published in more than forty three languages. His New York Times bestseller Peace Is the Way received the Religion and Spirituality Quill Award in 2005, and The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life was awarded the Grand Prize in the 2005 Nautilus Awards. His latest New York Times bestsellers include What Are You Hungry For: The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of the Soul, Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well Being, War of the Worldviews, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and Spiritual Solutions - Answers To Life's Greatest Problems.
Deepak Chopra: Spirituality is to experience a domain of awareness which is universal. And when we experience that domain of awareness, which is beyond our personal skin encapsulated ego identities, then we have the spontaneous understanding of love, compassion. It becomes our nature, not as a moral dictate, but as something which is a natural expression of ourselves. It also gives us insight into the mechanics of how intention orchestrates its own fulfillment.
Spirituality is also a sense of connection with the creative power of the universe, the mystery that we call God. And by having a sense of connection to that creative power, we gain self-esteem and have the ability to create because we align ourselves with the elements and forces of the creative universe. We begin to realize that the universe is creative, that it is conscious, that is evolving; and our personal evolution is somehow linked to the evolution that we call God.
Question: Can spirituality be taught?
Deepak Chopra: Spirituality is experiential. And classically in India, it is taught through yoga. But most people have a misunderstanding of yoga. They equate it with the physical postures that they do in the yoga studio, which are one component of yoga. But yoga classically is divided into four types. And they have to do with four basic instincts that human beings have: being, feeling, thinking and doing.
So the yoga of being is meditation, self-reflection, the ability to shut off the world of the senses and go to the source of our own thought. It’s called raja yoga.
The second yoga is the yoga of love through relationship, and understanding that love is the ultimate truth at the heart of creation; and that through relationship we can move progressively from attraction, to infatuation, to communion, to intimacy, to passion, to detachment, to ecstasy – which is our ground state and the exaltation of our spirit.
So love and relationship is the second means of experiencing spirituality. If somebody doesn’t understand spirituality, ask them if they’ve ever been in love. That’s an experience of spirituality.
The third way of understanding yoga or having the experience of spirit is through service. When you perform service without any selfish motivation, it’s called karma yoga. Then you also get in touch with the same domain of awareness that we call spirit.
And the fourth way of understanding spirituality is through the intellect, through the mind, through signs, through understanding how the laws of nature work, because the laws of nature are, in fact, the mind of the universe.
Recorded on: Aug 17, 2007