What I Learned from Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra just released his new book, MetaHuman. Chopra challenges the mystery of being human. If you haven’t picked it up yet, go check it out. I attended his book launch and talk and learned all sorts of tips for better living – the trivialness of life, the release from limitations and labels, and the centrality of consciousness.
Here are 10 Things I Learned:
- The probability of our existence is less than a grain of sand in the entire universe.
- You are SIFT – sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts. You must learn how to identify, be aware, and react to them.
- Labels, pre-conditions, and identification are a function of our thoughts and do nothing but create harm. It creates the ego, the “I”
- Consciousness at each present moment is the platonic truth that creates unity in this diversity of human experience. Consciousness is a reality. Proceed with awareness and compassion and intervene against reactivity
- The key to overcoming our many existential crises is accessing collective consciousness.
- Suffering is rooted in our misconceptions that each of us is a person
- Stress is a perception of a threat. But fears are something we can dissipate with awareness.
- Keys to a good life are service, community, and spirituality
- The biggest problem in our schools today is depression www.neveralone.org
- Take it easy.
On Life: Not even a grain of sand
The universe is 13.8 billion years old and has birthed 2 trillion galaxies. Our home galaxy, the Milkyway hosts 700 billion stars and 60 billion inhabitable planets. Yet here we are, not even a grain of sand of all the world’s beaches. It’s by unfathomable chance that a random occurrence of conditions has seeded my and your existences. It’s led us to attach meaning to the question: why and how do we exist?
We are a unique source of creative novelty in the universe. We’ve been trying to write this story. First with mythology, next was religion, then philosophy, and now science. But why should we assume we’ve got it right, that we’ve reached creativity’s pinnacle of rationality and meaning? Why stop there?
Chopra teaches that the fundamental state of existence is consciousness and our journey in life should be about accessing it, this is really what the book is all about.
On Experiences & Constructs: They differ from all beings
We erroneously put labels to experiences. A butterfly experiences the same thing differently than a human. There is nothing to know without the knower. And the knowers define thier own constructs around those when in reality there are none. There is only SIFT (Sensations, Images, Feelings, & Thoughts). As Chopra explains, many will argue that food, stars, and galaxies pre-exist our experience of them, but without consciousness, there can be nothing real. The reality of everything depends on our ability to experience SIFT. And because experiences cannot precede consciousness, consciousness is probably innate in creation.
With this knowledge in hand, it’s critical not to confound experience with reality. All experiences are a human construct, and we can get trapped in them. We feel like we live trapped in a pre-determined and objective reality that we all have the drive to attach meaning. But we forget that anything that can be made can be unmade. Chopra referenced Byron Katie’s teachings on challenging one’s own beliefs. She instructs to take any belief, write it down, and ask yourself is this really true? Who would I believe without that belief? What’s the opposite of this? Why not that? This type of self-examination can help us detach from many of our labels and limitations that cause us to suffer. Chopra is helping me make sure I use my experiences to build but not let my experiences dictate what or how I build.
On Beliefs, Labels, Identities – It’s Only the Ego
Back to the mystery of me and you. We all lean on concepts for an explanation but in doing so we become the victim of our own labels, memories, prejudices, and beliefs. But we are none of these things. We are the pure, boundless consciousness that can birth and evolve this SIFT. We all reside in awareness. It’s a platonic truth that binds a great diversity of human experience, and there’s a peace in that.
Question your own identity: “Why are you in prison when door is wide open” – don’t be bound by a story! The story you’ve chosen to tell is one interpretation among infinite other stories that you could tell yourself or could be told by others. Ask yourself the question: who would I be without a story?
But, if consciousness is what makes us human, and so often we are unaware and removed from our consciousness, are we really alive? Chopra referenced Wittgenstein here, “We are asleep. Our life…” But we can wake up, “just enough to know that we were dreaming.” This is why we struggle with the question, “Who am I?” We’ve confused the ego with the true self. We think we are the summation of life’s experience because we’ve attached meaning to all of it. But that’s impermanent. It’s awareness that made that possible. Awareness is transcendent and innate. In order to live our best lives, we have to activate our consciousness.
On Stress & Happiness
What is stress? Stress is the perception of threat. Most of these are based on feelings, not logic. Most of the things we fear are completely irrational. We need to stand up against fear and instead surrender to uncertainty. Life is about change and if you cannot find peace with uncertainty, you will not be able to find it at all.
Key to happiness and stress reduction:
- Happy relationships – avoid toxic ones.
- Exercise and eat well
- Don’t be victimized by technology
- Create an ecosystem of joy
Creating your own ecosystem in the direction of joy is a combination of service, community, and spirituality. It’s important to lead with good intentions for a more peaceful, joyful and healthier world.
Existence and consciousness are one. There’s a great diversity in all of us, but consciousness is the common thread amongst all living creatures. This is the common accord that we may all use to progress towards collective outcomes we can all recognize as healthy.