Last week, through a curious circumstance, I won a ticket to see Deepak Chopra speak here. It was a good seat too, up front and center. The talk was to cover the content of 2 recent books: Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul plus The Ultimate Happiness Prescription.
The first part of the talk was a massive amount of almost continual information. Physics, biology & philosophy. He used a set of slides that was obviously designed for a much longer talk, zooming through a little too quickly. He skipped past a bunch, including some charts titled “The future of God.”
He then showed over a half hour of older video clips from other sources including 2 clips from the What the Bleep film (Dr. Quantum) and Jill Bolte Taylors talk on TED. Notably, Deepak had a similar opinion as I on her interpretation of her experience and has had a couple of long conversations with her about it. (consciousness is not an effect of brain function)
After the break, he spoke of some things we could do, then zoomed even faster through some more slides. One of the more interesting things he did was to teach the entire audience how to meditate in a couple of minutes. I’ll explore than more in Chopra’s Meditation.
He also briefly mentioned his desire to create community through a new site called Well World. It’s also useful to notice they’re partnering with other spiritually oriented organizations. Thats a great trend.
That site is closely linked to site for taking a Buddhist style nonviolence vow.
He got a standing ovation from a few. Others were uncertain if they liked it, probably saturated. Some friends loved it. Another who had been to several prior ones said this one was disappointingly dated.
I think the evening would have been better served with a little less data and a more focused talk with the media edited to suit. He was clearly the messenger, gathering others discoveries and compiling them for our edification.
– Immune cells make choices, have awareness.
– Gut feeling – there are receptors on gut cells for neuropeptides, the chemicals of emotions. But the gut doesn’t doubt.
– Heart is different in different states of consciousness
– “your body is your subconscious mind”
– body is a consequence of mind
– “Mind isn’t in your body, body is in your mind.”
– “I thought I was an atheist until I realized I was God.”
– “Your body is a process not a structure.”
– You have stuff in your body that 3 weeks ago was in someones body on the other side of the world. (atoms)
– In a year, 92% of the body is recycled.
– It came from dust, circulated around me (as the body), then dissipated
– Don’t confuse the horse (body) with the rider
– Energy has information, information means consciousness.
– Colour is not a property of the bottle. What gives a bottle colour? Consciousness.
– Where do I experience it? nonlocal
– Experience appears local as the world out there
– Nothing happens outside consciousness
– Insects, snakes, bats see world very differently. There is no fixed universe.
Formulae E= h/t
Deepak made repeated reference to a scientist in the audience who had co-authored a theory of consciousness with the above formulae. E is Energy. He didn’t fully explain but had evidently met with him shortly before the talk. So that bit was brand new but less formed.
– Reality is the collapse of the superposition of possibility. He confirmed this with the above scientist. [I would replace ‘reality’ with ‘world’ or ‘experience’]
– 2.5 billion years of evolution is remembered in 9 months of fetal development.
– The way you look changes what you see
Qualia (quality of conscious experience)
Notice even internal experiences have qualities – hard/soft, dark/light, etc.
– children learn emotional response from family
there can be premature cognitive commitment
– Buddha: 4 divine qualities: Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy at others happiness, Equanimity [these are effects of Self realization]
– karma = past action leads to memory leads to desire leads to action…
In Vedanta – 7 states of consciousness
1-3: waking, dreaming, sleeping
4: Soul consciousness: who is listening? still presence
5: Cosmic con: both local and nonlocal, be in world but not of it.
6: Divine con: objects are local and nonlocal, God is impossible to avoid. Observer is in object.
7: Unity con: object and subject are one.
1- Happiness setpoint set around age 1-3 by circumstance/family.
Now know can change this setpoint with meditation, etc.
This determines 50% of our experience of happiness.
2- Conditions of living – money does make a difference. 10%
financial well being = sense of security, not affluence
giving leads to abundance
3- V = voluntary choices. Transient = pleasure.
Are we choosing pleasure or fulfillment?
fulfillment = meaning, purpose and creativity.
Fastest way to get happy – make someone else happy.
A happy friend = +15% to our happiness.
A happy friend of a friend = +10%
Friend of a friend of a friend happy = +10%
[see Hidden Influence of Social Networks]
But this is still about happier but not happy.
True happiness is existential happiness.
The solution is enlightenment.
– Not “6 degrees of separation” but 6 degrees of connection.
– New Gallup poll on well-being (
(Deepak involved w/Gallup, these are 2 of the slides from the presentation)
– Should be social 6 hrs a day.
Simran = spiritual practice
Satsang = spiritual community
Seva = service
Near the end he quickly went over 2 slides he’d mentioned several times prior. I didn’t get it all down but found it on-line. Wording in brackets is other words he used in the talk:
Five body breakthroughs:
Breakthrough #1 — Your Physical Body Is an Illusion (a process not a structure)
Breakthrough #2 — Your Real Body Is Energy (info field)
Breakthrough #3 — Awareness Has magic
Breakthrough #4 — You Can Improve Your Genes (not deterministic)
Breakthrough #5 — Time Isn’t Your enemy (can change relationship to)
Five soul breakthroughs are needed:
Breakthrough #6 — There’s an Easier Way to Live (spontaneity)
Breakthrough #7 — Love Awakens the Soul
Breakthrough #8 — Be as Boundless as Your Soul (imagination and creativity)
Breakthrough #9 — The Fruit of Surrender Is Grace
Breakthrough #10 — The Universe Evolves through You
Overall, I quite enjoyed the talk but it was much more focused on information than spirit. Still, it’s nice to see people coming and hearing these ideas.
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