Enlightenment, the Universe and the whole shebang?When Deepak Chopra comes to town, everything is possible,as Margaret Evans discovers.
On this weekend in mid February, most of us could beforgiven for feeling a bit down, vaguely aware thatour comfortable existence had been thrown a degree ortwo off kilter.
When we chose to think about it, the reasons were alltoo obvious - after all, we were still absorbing thegrim warnings of calamitous climate change from a UNreport which polled 2000 scientists, a report that camehot on the heels of An Inconvenient Truth; we'd barelyhad a drop of rain for months in any part of the countrythat needed it; our politicians and power brokers wereup to their usual tricks only now we were finding outabout them. Even our sporting heroes had temporarilydropped the ball!
Yet, by the end of the weekend, the 300 or so peoplewho'd filled a conference room in Sydney's ConventionCentre at Darling Harbour came away knowing that theirown personal world had changed - and perhaps much moreas well. The gloom had palpably evaporated as we gatheredin groups to share our thoughts and newfound hope andeven exhilaration. I can't speak for everyone, but everyoneI spoke to felt the same subtle transformation of hisor her life.
The capacity to bring about such change as this amongpeople who, in the main, are already thoughtful andinsightful, underlines the influence of Deepak Choprain our world today. Author of "over 49 books"that have sold 20 million copies in 35 languages andbeen "translated" into CDs for millions morelisteners, recipient of major awards in medicine andscience including the Einstein Award, keynote speakerat forums on health, spirituality and peace, one ofTime Magazine's 100 icons of the 20th century, "guru"to corporations and individual seekers of truth, Chopraleft us knowing that our destiny really is in our ownhands - and hearts. And along with the more complexabstractions - our focus for most of the time had beenon the discontinuity of the Universe - we came awaywith practical, achievable strategies, what Chopra callsrituals, to achieve at least some of our goals. As I'veoften thought in reading his books and listening tothat precise but intimate CD voice, Deepak Chopra, inperson too, has the enormous gift of understanding thehuman condition and allowing his compassion to washeffortlessly over us. It's something that can neverbe forced.
The theme for our weekend was nothing less than understandingthe Secrets of Enlightenment as conveyed in Chopra'slatest certain-to-be bestseller Power Freedom and Grace.*We could easily have been left floundering in a puddleof confused abstraction deprived of the oxygen of understanding.But our teacher was at pains, perhaps for an hour orso a little laboured, to make sure we got it! And Ithink we did.
Aware, of course, of the uncertainty we felt had intrudedinto our lives, Chopra began with the reassuring observationfrom the Vedas that "there is no creativity instability". In fact, the greater the instability,the better off we are because it requires that we becomemore flexible. And as the Vedas first taught thousandsof years ago, "Infinite flexibility is the secretof immortality". We felt better already.
Chopra soon warmed to perhaps his key message of theweekend that our path to enlightenment begins with liberatingand nurturing our soul. Human beings, he told us, reactin one of seven ways to any event or stimulus, the mostcommon being fear or the stress response - "responsiblefor all the major epidemics of our time like heart disease,cancer and degenerative disorders" - followed bythe reactive response in which we try to manipulatethe person or situation to our advantage. Sadly, accordingto Chopra, "99 per cent of people are frozen atthis stage and that's mostly true of men. Women do better".And in total synch with the angst of our times he joked"the average CEO or head of a nation is frozenemotionally at the age of eight." Maybe it wasn'ta joke.
The remaining five responses, though, all involvethe soul, our lifeforce, our chi. At the least evolvedlevel, that of restful or centred awareness, the veryact of centering yourself and "getting in touchwith your soul" is starting the movement to a higherlevel of consciousness. Intuition, says Chopra, is thenext step up the ladder, what he memorably calls "eavesdroppingon the intelligence of the Universe". In openingto an intuitive rather than clinically reasoned response,we are already going into the depth of our soul andcalling on the holistic nurturing wisdom of the Universe.This deepens further in the creative and then visionaryresponses where we tap into the wisdom of our spiritualancestors, the collective archetypal intelligence. Theseventh level of sacred response is the enlightenmentto which so many aspire. But as we detect within ourselvessome progress along this sevenfold path (surely we'veall felt that intuitive response even if we haven'tacted upon it) what once seemed the preserve of holymen sitting at the top of mountains seems at least withinour more down to earth realm.
Easily, effortlessly, then we touch on the first ofDeepak Chopra's secrets of enlightenment - that thereare hidden dimensions to our existence. Beyond our personalsoul we tap into our archetypal inheritance and, beyondthat, into the universal domain. It's here that a lesscaring presenter could have lost us irretrievably inthe vastness of the firmament. But instead we find ourselvesengaging with the mystery of non-locality, that intriguingconcept of a discontinuous Universe.
As Chopra explains it, while everything we see appearsas a solid entity - ourselves included - in fact we'reall a constant energy pulse: "We're going on andoff at the speed of light and so is everything else."That beautiful red rose our lover gives us and whichheightens our senses is, just as our lover is, a vibration,much like a movie is a beam of hundreds of thousandsof separate images flying by so quickly as to appearseamless. But who are we to complain? Somebody's setus eternally vibrating too! It's this "on/off"signal that creates our physical world, every last bitof it. And, says Chopra, while science has got a handleon what's in the on signal, it's what's in the off partthat is truly exciting - "it's the most importantquestion in science today." This, then, is thediscontinuity of the Universe, the sense of a colourless,massless electrical field with the promise of "infinitepossibilities" in the pause between the energypulses that our unrefined senses fool us into believingis the sum total of reality.
And it's in the off signal - the infinitely mysteriouspause - where perhaps our highest Self resides and whoknows what else besides. Acclaimed English astronomerSir Arthur Eddington, director of the Cambridge Observatorywho earned high praise from Albert Einstein for hismathematical treatment of the Theory of Relativity,was one who sensed the mystery in his phrase: "Somethingunknown is doing we don't know what".
Suddenly all of the quantum universe, so familiar tous now from What the Bleep Do We Know? and Down theRabbit Hole opens up before us as this extraordinaryrealm of "infinite possibilities". DeepakChopra quickens his normally measured delivery as hereels off what could be there for those who seek beyondthe limitations of our social conditioning - in thepast, a coterie only of "sages/psychotics and geniuses".
Possibility waves allow the "immeasurable potential"for synchronicity - or to use Chopra's expression "non-localcorrelation" - meaning events that occur outsidethe space-time nexus as we currently understand it.They give credence to the idea of one domain of existence,the idea of the oneness of our Universe - and if weneed proof of this reality we need look no further thanthe human body, says Chopra. The one hundred trillioncells that compose each of us is proof positive of thesynchronicity within just a single living organism -we learn that it takes 100 cells in the heart to beatsynchronistically for a pacemaker to work. Other examplesof nature's non-local behaviour include crickets chirpingin unison, schools of fish and flocks of birds weavingand turning as one, several million horseshoe crabsemerging on the same full moon night to mate, even spermwagging their tails!
Deepak Chopra's second secret of enlightenment, "Theworld is within me; I am not in the world" suddenlyattains a crystal clarity! Others such as "Everylife is spiritual", " I live in multidimensions"and, most challenging perhaps, "Death offers opportunitiesfor quantum leaps in creativity and evolution"also seem attainable. Chopra's comments on death wereamong the most thought provoking of the weekend: essentially,he told us, death is quantum creativity and there isno creativity without death. In Power Freedom and Grace,for instance, we learn that the human body replaces98 per cent of its atoms in less than a year, we gaina new stomach lining every five days, a new skin everymonth! Cancer is the inability of cells to die! Butif we subscribe to this visionary thinking, physicaldeath is that period in the non-local (spiritual) domainbefore the next quantum leap of creativity which takesus to rebirth or reincarnation. And as we wait, coolingour heels, we're stored as possibility waves. I suspectthis is something those Eastern sages and certainlythose who wrote the Vedas intuited long ago!
A weekend in the stimulating presence of Deepak Choprais not something taken lightly, nor easily forgotten.How often to we get to share such insights into life,the universe and everything? Oh, and along the way,acquire strategies to raise our self esteem, releaseour soul, identify our life's purpose, improve our interpersonalrelationships, find the calm of a do-anywhere meditation,laugh, wiggle our hips and share experiences, and knowthat our lives have changed. In place of that out-of-kiltersensation, there is now the promise of a calm balanceand the freedom it brings.
To register as a participant in the Alliance for aNew Humanity inspired by Deepak visit www.anh.global.org
For more on PowerFreedom and Grace read NOVA's December 2006 issueVol 13 No 10 "Grace".