Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: a personal interview with Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra - Truly Alive Magazineby Karen Larré with Robin Gardner

Deepak Chopra is a world-renowned authority in the field of mind-body healing; a best-selling author; and the founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. He has inspired millions with his profound teachings over the years. Heralded by Time Magazine as the “poet-prophet of alternative medicine,” Dr. Chopra is the prolific author of more than fifty-five books, including fourteen bestsellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. Dr. Chopra’s books have been published in more than thirty-five languages. His New York Times bestseller Peace Is the Way won a prestigious Quill Award, and The Book of Secrets was awarded the grand prize at the 2005 Nautilus Book Awards; his bestselling novel, Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment, was released in 2008. He is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and Washington Post On Faith and contributes regularly to Intent.com and the Huffington Post. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra is also the host of the popular weekly Wellness Radio program on Sirius/XM Stars.

Fifteen years after his #1 New York Times bestseller, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra revisits “the forgotten miracle”––the connection between health and consciousness; the body’s infinite capacity for change and renewal. “You cannot take advantage of this miracle” Chopra says, “unless you are willing to completely reinvent your body, transforming it from a material object to a dynamic, flowing process. Your physical body is a fiction. Every cell is made up of two invisible ingredients: awareness and energy.”

Filled with techniques and approaches based on the most up-to-date medical research, his latest book, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, Dr. Chopra shows how the body is actually a reflection of the mind, a symbol in flesh and blood of everything you think and feel. He invites you to experience with him the miracles that unfold when we connect the body directly to the awesome mysteries that give life meaning–directly to the soul. When you have completed this journey, after reinventing your body and resurrecting your soul, the ecstasy of true wholeness becomes possible for the very first time.

Deepak Chopra book cover - Truly Alive MagazineReinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul delivers ten breakthroughs–five for the body; five for the soul–that lead to self-transformation. In clear, accessible terms Chopra shows us how to commit ourselves to deeper awareness; focus on relationships instead of consumption; embrace every day as a new world; and transcend the obstacles that afflict body and mind.

“You can’t change the body without changing the self, and you can’t change the self without bringing in the soul.” Deepak Chopra

TA: With so many published works behind you, what was the inspiration for Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul?

DC: When I wrote Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, to which the response was huge, not so much was known about the connection between what happens in our core consciousness as it relates to our biology. That book was, in a way, a book that was a bit ahead of its time because it had not received scientific validation. Since then, we know so much more about how our biology responds to what happens in our consciousness. For example, we know about neuroplasticity; that our brains are not fixed organs – that our brains change with every experience. We know a lot about the up-regulation and down-regulation of genes. There are 300 genes that control the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, inflammation, cancer, etc., and we can modulate these genes by how we think, how we behave, how we feel, how we interact in our personal relationships, what we eat, how we move. So this information is very exciting in that our physical body is not a fixed structure – it’s a process in our own consciousness.

TA: What do you hope this book will accomplish for those who read it?

DC: I personally hope it will inspire people to, in fact, reinvent their bodies and resurrect their souls so that they can have a “real makeover” instead of what we currently understand as a makeover…so that there is real depth of change on many levels. One is really practical and physical. It is possible to have the wisdom of aging and the biology of youth at the same time. But the other is more practical in a larger sense. It is possible to get rid of the fear of death––to be comfortable with the reality that our physical body, no matter how great a shape it’s in, is still subject to decay and death, and to find that part of ourselves that is beyond time, beyond impermanence, beyond death.

TA: Please explain the purpose and significance of “The Quiz: Are you ready for change?”

Deepak Chopra - Truly Alive MagazineDC: The Quiz is specifically designed to see if people are ready for change. They get to question some long held beliefs that might be limiting them. By reflecting on those long held beliefs, they have the opportunity to go beyond them. In each of the Breakthrough sections, the theory is discussed, followed by an example which illustrates the theory showing how the person in the story dealt with a particular challenge. Each breakthrough closes with an “In Your Life” section, which shows how the theory applies to you. So there is a theoretical section, then an example, then how the theory applies in your life. The whole book is created in that format.

TA: I particularly enjoyed the “Love Awakens the Soul” breakthrough #2. Could you share a bit about the action of Love?

DC: First of all, what do we mean by love? Most people experience love as a sentiment, an emotion, which are expressions of love. Love is the essence of our soul and our spirit; our soul is not a separate self. Our soul is intimately woven with every other soul that exists or has existed. When we get to that level of love, we also have kindness, compassion and empathy. We are happy with the success of other people and we have peace of mind. Love has to be a spiritual experience; where there is no experience of the separate self. When that happens, then your actions are motivated by love. Action without love is meaningless, and love without action is also irrelevant. Love in action transforms you and everyone else around you. So one of the best ways to resurrect your soul is to live from the place where your daily actions are motivated by love…then you have a true experience of that part of yourself, which is pure love.

TA: Please tell us how our bodies can tap “newfound energy”.

Deepak Chopra - Truly Alive MagazineDC: One of the things you’ll find in this book is that your body is in fact a field of energy, and that it is appropriate to look at your body that way. It’s also a part of a larger energy field, which is the universe. And when that universal energy field is flowing through your body with effortless spontaneity, without interference, everything should be regulating by itself. The body knows how to self regulate and self correct. There is a whole section in the book how to tap into that energy field by listening to your body; by making choices that maximize the experience of that energy in the body. It’s very simple. It’s actually mindfulness of what’s happening in your body and reminding yourself that it is in fact an energy field, and the level of energy that you are feeling is a direct indication of how connected you are to the larger energy field. It’s a self-referencing process. Feel the energy and make the choices that maximize the experience of that energy.

TA: In the chapter on “Awareness has Magic.” How do we increase our awareness most easily and effectively? Where do we start?

DC: There are so many ways to start. Meditation is one way – silencing the mind. Contemplation and reflection are other ways to start. Contemplation is when you hold an idea, an image in your awareness, in your consciousness and you consider that idea with continued attention. The idea then expands and it spontaneously gives you intuition and insight on the subject. Reflection is when you focus on what is preventing you from moving forward with the idea, or consider what choices are available regarding the idea. The mechanics for this whole reinvention is right there, in your own awareness. Awareness has two ingredients; attention and intention. So whatever you put your awareness on, expands and gets stronger. Whatever you draw your attention away starts to dissipate. Intention, which is a spiritual force, actually is the trigger for all transformation in the body. It’s the energy behind the transformation.

Deepak Chopra - Truly Alive MagazineTA: In breakthrough #4, you talk about how we can switch our genes, on and off, affecting our very DNA. Can you provide our readers an idea of the mechanisms involved and how to do this?

DC: Genes, like anything else in the body are not fixed structures. They are processes. In many ways, they are the processes that represent the experiences of your life, and the experiences of your ancestors, going all the way back (life) in evolutionary time. 60% of your DNA is the same as a banana. 80% of your DNA is the same as that of a mouse. 98.4% of your DNA is the same as a monkey or chimpanzee. But every step in evolution is a breakthrough. Now because we are aware of this and we have self-awareness, the next breakthrough is actually within our own awareness. Some genes turn on and off on a fixed schedule. Some genes turn on and off depending on your behavior and experiences and many genes are a combination of both. So if you have blue eyes, you have the gene for blue eyes and it’s unlikely that you will turn on the gene for brown eyes. But when people say, you know, “I have a gene for heart disease or alcoholism, a gene for diabetes, a gene for inflammation, a gene for cancer,” these are actually the genes that are more easily turned on and off. You can up-regulate and down-regulate these genes. This is as a result of how you think, how you feel, act, behave, what you expect, the threats that you fear, the objects of your desire, lifestyle decisions you make, the relationships you focus on, your immediate environment and also your habits and preferences. One simple rule to follow is that when you experience life from a place of love, compassion, connectivity, bonding, you up-regulate the good genes and down-regulate the bad genes. On the other hand, if you experience life from a place of fear and separation, then you up-regulate the bad genes and down-regulate the good genes. So are you connected or are you not? It’s that simple, in the choices that you make. So the very big breakthrough in science is that genes are not fixed.

TA: Do I understand you to say that some genes, such as eye color and height for example are fixed, whereas others are not?

DC: It’s turning out not to be true especially the ones regarding height. In the book, I talk about how east Asians who come to America actually start to get taller. The genes that regulate height respond to the environment and to nutrition. Eye color – we have thought to be fixed, but reports of multiple personalities where (when) people shift from one personality to another, have experienced eye color changes. So I guarantee you that in the future, we will see that hardly any genes are fixed.

TDeepak Chopra - Truly Alive MagazineA: In the 2nd part of the book, you write about the soul being a “step-down transformer.” Could you share a bit about this concept?

DC: Since the energy in the universe is infinite, and the information in the universe is also infinite, if it was downloaded into your nervous system and your physical body as it exists, it would result in a blowout – just as if I had a light bulb in my house and all of the energy from the place where it is coming from (the hydro electric plant) came into my bulb, without being stepped down, my bulb would blow out. My soul is that spec of consciousness in the universal domain of consciousness that acts as a step down transformer so that the energy I experience and the information I have access to is useful to me without blowing me out, literally speaking. The soul is that part of ourselves that regulates this. It means that you have access to unlimited energy and knowledge, which is information that is part of that non-local domain which we call the spirit.

TA: In the book you say that our purpose for being here is to “allow the universe to evolve”. Can you elaborate a bit on that for our readers?

DC: The universe, especially in its expressions of life is constantly evolving. We started off as microbes at the rims of volcanoes, almost 3 billion years ago; tiny organisms that later evolved to other microbial forms, which then became cells and multi-cellular cells, and then organs and tissues and plants and animals. As plants came first, they began to poison the earth with too much oxygen so animals evolved to save the earth from oxidative damage. The animals breathed in the oxygen and breathed out the carbon dioxide so that the plants could survive. It’s been a process of symbiotic relationships where we are part of a wholeness that is ongoing. There is a beautiful Rumi poem that says, “When I die, I will soar with angels. When I die to the angels, what I shall become, you cannot imagine.” Evolution is an unstoppable expression of consciousness, or the soul or the universe. And now because we are a species which is self-aware, which means we are able to get in touch with the ground of all existence, then we can consciously participate in the evolution of the universe itself.

TA: Can you elaborate on the value of “clear intent”?

DC: Clear intent means complete clarity of an intended outcome. Also, there is no doubt and no attachment. Intention is at the cusp of what I call choice-less awareness, which is pure consciousness or pure spirit. The cusp being the borderline between the unmanifest and the manifest, in the present moment. Then there is detachment from the outcome, which becomes the trigger for transformation because at that level, clear intent possesses the infinite organizing power of the universe.

TA: It seems that the material for timely, transformational, body-mind-spirit books, tapes, presentations, etc. just pour from you. Could you share something about what happens inside you and when information is coming through/to you for a new book – what that process feels like?

DC: The process is actually a process of letting go. When it starts to happen, in a way, I feel like I’m taking dictation, or downloading the information. It’s totally effortless, spontaneous and there is lots of joy in it.

TA: I’m sure that our readers could take that example and apply it to allowing whatever spirit wants to move through us.

Deepak Chopra - Truly Alive MagazineDC: Exactly. Once we understand that it’s a process of allowing and not trying, we can experience this flow anytime, all the time.

TA: Can you share with our readers a recap of the journey you’ve taken from becoming a medical doctor to becoming the most influential, world-renowned authority in the field of mind-body healing on the planet today?

DC: I began as a medical doctor, yes, and medical training is all about becoming a superb technician; one who knows everything mechanically about the human body. But typical physicians are lousy healers because they know nothing about the human soul or spirit or consciousness. So for me, it was a continued expansion and understanding of healing which began with physical healing, and moved on to mental, emotional, spiritual, and social healing…and now encompasses healing in the larger context; healing of the planet.

TA: Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know about, including websites they can refer to for more information?

DC: The newest best thing is that I Twitter 10-15 times a day. If an inspiring thought comes to me, there it goes, from my Blackberry to hundreds of thousands of people. So if you’re interested in receiving daily, ongoing inspiration from me, sign up on Twitter.com.

Check out Dr. Chopra’s website: www.deepakchopra.com, for more information on the new “Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul” book and audio book, which gives readers/listeners the tools to reconnect with their ideal selves, and guides them through a remarkable process of renewal. Chopra invites you to live from the soul: to satisfy your deepest desires in a life rich with joy and meaning. You’ll find a myriad of other inspiring books and products on the website as well.

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