Dr. Deepak Chopra is an American physician, author, educator, public speaker, and spiritual teacher who has been called “the world’s leading spokesman on consciousness.” So who is he exactly and what are the views of Deepak Chopra on meditation?
He is known for his books including Quantum Healing and Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. In addition to being a doctor and author, he also makes appearances on various TV shows talking about health and wellness topics. So who is he and what are the views of Deepak Chopra on meditation?
He is regarded as the world’s greatest authority on holistic health, spirituality, and personal transformation and one of the main proponents of new age philosophy and alternative medicines. He is also, therefore, a huge advocate of the transformational benefits of meditation.
Early Life and background:
Born on 22 October 1946 in New Delhi, India, and raised by his parents Krishan Chopra and Pushpa Chopra. His father, Krishan, was a cardiologist which led to Chopra being drawn to study medicine within the fields of endocrinology and neuroendocrinology. This would form the basis of his interests regarding how our biology influences our thoughts and emotions.
On completing his medical studies in India he got married and emigrated to the United States of America to continue his studies through a medical fellowship. In 1973 he earned his medical license and became board certified for internal medicine in Massachusetts. He then went on to teach at medical schools and universities for a couple of years after and established a private endocrinology practice in Boston.
Mind-Body Medicine vs Western medicine- Alternative Healing:
In the 1980s Chopra went back to India where he met many influential people who would propel his career into alternative medicine and healing modalities. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Ayurvedic physician Brihaspati Dev Triguna to mention a few.
During this time he took up Transcendental Meditation as a practice to quit smoking and caffeine addiction. Resulting in him becoming more involved with the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
In 1985 Maharishi and Chopra established an Ayurvedic health center together. The center was a huge success and hosted many well-known people from all around the world. Ayurvedic cleansing rituals, enemas, massages, oil baths, etc. were all included within the offerings at the center. In, 1989 Chopra was titled “Dhanvantari of Heaven and Earth” which relates to the Godly Hindu physician.
During these years as he became more involved within the alternative medicine realm, he openly advocated against “overuse of prescribed modern medicine” and “drug pushing” which was and still to an extent is very prevalent in America.
In 1993 Chopra left the Transcendental Meditation movement as the organization caused more stress and hindrance than benefits. He became aware that this movement might prevent the Ayurvedic concept from not being accepted within a conventional western world and the atmosphere surrounding Maharishi lost a lot of the authentic essence.
Chopra has since expanded his teachings all over the world and created a global brand surrounding consciousness, alternative medicine, spirituality, and meditation. He has written numerous books based on his philosophies and the knowledge gained. “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old”, “Quantum Healing”, to mention a few.
In 1996, he opened the Chopra Center where meditation and alternative healing retreats are hosted.
As of 2014, Deepak Chopra net worth is estimated to be over 80 million dollars.
Deepak Chopra on Meditation – his teachings and philosophies
Chopra believes that a person may attain “perfect health”, a condition “that is free from disease, that never feels pain”, and “that cannot age or die”.
Seeing the human body as being undergirded by a “quantum mechanical body” comprised not of matter but of energy and information, he believes that “human aging is fluid and changeable; it can speed up, slow down, stop for a time, and even reverse itself,” as determined by one’s state of mind.
He claims that his practices can also treat chronic diseases.
According to Chopra, everything that occurs in the mind and brain influences the physical world, including thoughts, emotions, and memories. These affect physiological systems through the action of neurotransmitters. Our minds also communicate with our bodies via the nervous system, and thus we can change our biology by changing our thought patterns.
In his book, Chopra claims that everything that happens mentally, emotionally, intellectually, or socially is “physically represented” somewhere else.
For instance, if someone is thinking about something during meditation for example, then his/her imagination will produce images in the visual cortex of the brain. Some neurotransmitters are released during meditation. These neurotransmitters affect the production of hormones—which affect the heart rate and blood pressure. Thus, there is a causal connection between thoughts and emotions and physical health.
Furthermore, the mind influences the body. For example, breathing exercises help regulate the autonomic nervous system. So by changing the mind we can even influence and reverse chronic disease.
“Your mind, your body and your consciousness – which is your spirit – and your social interactions, your personal relationships, your environment, how you deal with the environment, and your biology are all inextricably woven into a single process … By influencing one, you influence everything.”
Chopra along with other physicians practicing integrative medicine combine the medical model of conventional western medicine with alternative therapies such, including yoga, mindfulness meditation, Ayurveda.
According to Ayurvedic Medicine, illness is caused by an imbalance in the patient’s dosha and is treated with diet, exercise, and meditation. These are all concepts implemented at the Chopra Center.
In discussing health care and wellness, Dr. Deepak Chopra uses the term “quantum wellness” which he defines as “the ability of one mode of consciousness to spontaneously correct the mistakes of another mode of consciousness”.
Deepak Chopra on Consciousness:
Chopra states consciousness exists because of matter, not vice versa. Matter does not exist because of consciousness; consciousness exists because of matter. Mind, or dynamic, conscious activity, is fundamental and pervasive throughout the universe.
Consciousness creates reality by creating the universe and everything in it. We are conscious beings, but our mind is also part of what we are. Our minds are created by our brains. Our bodies are created by matter and energy. Our brains and bodies are created by our minds. And our minds are created by our consciousness.
Consciousness is both subject and object because consciousness creates reality. We are not physical machines that have somehow learned how to think. But rather our thoughts are what has made us into evolutionary physical beings. This is achieved by our internal dialogue which creates our external circumstances instead of the other way around.
In his book Quantum Healing, Deepak Chopra claimed that quantum entanglement creates consciousness in the entire universe. However, scientific evidence shows that quantum effects do not affect the macroscopic world. Therefore, there is no need to explain how consciousness arises from the microscopic level.
In response to critics of his claims, Chopra argued that consciousness was neither created nor destroyed but simply transformed in a different form, thus explaining why quantum mechanics could be applied to describe human consciousness.
We are conscious because we are connected to each other. Our thoughts affect others around us and vice versa.
“Everything that happens in the universe starts with intention.”Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra, therefore, has a wide variety of mediations that he works through, through his teachings for different types of intentions. For example, improving sleep quality and gaining restful sleep, building love and compassion towards self and others, connecting to your inner peace, healing physical conditions from the inside out, etc.
During most of our waking lives, our minds are engaged in a continuous internal dialogue in which the meaning and emotional associations of one thought trigger the next. We hear a snippet of music and suddenly we’re thinking about the first time we heard that song with an old boyfriend or girlfriend and how that relationship ended. If we’re still holding emotional pain over that ending, those feelings may bubble up and then our mind may veer into criticism, self-pity, or worries about the future.
All day long our mind spins stories about our work, our health, our finances, our family, or that funny look the store clerk gave us. Often we’re not even conscious of the internal soundtrack unspooling in our mind and yet it is the greatest source of stress in our lives. Although the mind is capable of creating life-affirming stories, it has what neuroscientists refer to as a negativity bias, a tendency to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones.
The negativity bias evolved as a survival instinct millions of years ago, as our ancestors focused much more attention on avoiding potential threats than on rewards. Stopping to savor a delicious meal or admire a Paleolithic sunset would have used valuable attentional resources, leaving our ancient ancestors more vulnerable to attack by a predator. Those who survived to pass on their genes paid a lot of attention to danger. Their legacy is a brain that is primed to focus on negative experiences and has a tendency to get stuck in conditioned patterns of thinking, returning again and again to thoughts of anxiety, depression, and limitation. (chopra.com)
The Deepak Chopra 21 day meditations
Deepak Chopra collaborates with many other prominent social figures to offer 21 day meditation experiences – mini-courses based on a followed-through theme.
Check this one below where Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra offer a 21 day meditation for “Creating Peace from the Inside Out”.