Fifteen-minute guru

A very short talk with alternative-health icon Deepak Chopra

THE DR. IS IN <br> Deepak Chopra will discuss “Reinventing the Body and Resurrecting the Soul” during his Laxson appearance.

Deepak Chopra will discuss “Reinventing the Body and Resurrecting the Soul” during his Laxson appearance.

Photo courtesy of Chico performances

Dr. Deepak Chopra was described in a Publishers Weekly review of his 1993 book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old as “one of our perennial gurus, appealing to millions but offering them a suspect brew of panacea and escapism.”

Late into the 15 minutes I was allotted for a phone interview, I asked Chopra what he had to say in response to the reviewer’s charge. After asking me to repeat the phrase, and taking a short moment to think, Chopra—speaking from his Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, gave what in hindsight is an utterly obvious, Chopraesque answer: “That’s probably his reality—we see the world as we are.”

Chopra, for the uninitiated, is a 62-year-old Indian physician, philosopher, writer and public speaker who gets up at 4 a.m. every day to meditate for two hours before going to the gym for an hour, and has written more than 50 books, including Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment; Perfect Health; The Complete Mind/Body Guide; Overcoming Addictions: The Spiritual Solution; and the immensely popular The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams. Chopra was a longtime, close friend of the late pop singer Michael Jackson, and has himself become somewhat of a pop-culture icon as one of the forerunners in bringing alternative health ideas to the mainstream in the West.

Chopra is one of the leading proponents of the idea that health and well-being depend upon a balance between body and mind (and soul) and that we do indeed create our own reality. He comes to Laxson Auditorium Sept. 12 to share his holistic wisdom in a talk that he said will be mostly improvised: “I feel the energy of the audience, and I go with that.”

In my short time with Chopra, there were a few things I wanted to know:

CN&R: What are the most important things anyone can do to live a happy life?

Chopra: Question your limiting beliefs, meditate regularly, make other people happy, and find a creative outlet for your mind.

What do you recommend for people who cannot spend two hours in daily meditation?

People should sit quietly for about five or 10 minutes a day, and reflect on who they are, what they want, what is the meaning of their life, and start to live those questions. Once they do that, they will start to see a shift [in their reality].

What progress do you see in the coming together of science and spirituality?

I think the meeting of science and spirituality is a slow process, an evolutionary process. Religion has been largely left behind by science as “cultural mythology” because it doesn’t explain questions like, “Do we have a soul? Is there a God?” Science is beginning to get a glimpse that there is infinite intelligence in the universe. Very slowly we will see the meeting of science and spirituality.

All right then, what is your top-five, desert-island list of books?

Good question. Of Human Bondage and The Razor’s Edge, both by Somerset Maugham; Kim, by Rudyard Kipling; Freedom From the Known, by Krishnamurti; and The Story of My Experiments with Truth, by Gandhi.

What about your top-five, desert-island music list? (Chopra, incidentally, has recorded a spoken-word/music CD with Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart.)

Everything by The Beatles; my entire Michael Jackson collection; Beethoven’s 5th [Symphony in C Minor]; [the music of] late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; and [the music of] Pakistani woman singer Abida Parveen.

You pretty much have the status of a prophet to many people—how do you maintain your humility?

I don’t take myself seriously. My family doesn’t, either.