Deepak Chopra Interview September 21, 2007Posted by Dreamhealer in Articles.
DR: What led a western-trained medical physician such as yourself to pursue the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda?
DEEPAK CHOPRA: Just an unhappiness with the mechanical approach of contemporary medicine, which says that there is a magic bullet in the form of a pill for everything we have. And the fact remains that none of our medical interventions either get to the root cause of disease, or make a significant difference in mortality or morbidity. They just alter its expression.
It’s frustrating to see patients again and again, and to keep giving them sleeping pills, tranquilizers and antibiotics, for their hypertension or ulcers, when you know you’re not getting rid of the problem or disease. The word “cure” is not even used. You are just treating the patient. “Curing” is a term that all physicians avoid. Our training is not oriented toward that.
DR: Can you explain what you mean by “quantum healing?”
DEEPAK CHOPRA: Quantum healing is healing the bodymind from a quantum level. That means from a level which is not manifest at a sensory level. Our bodies ultimately are fields of information, intelligence and energy. Quantum healing involves a shift in the fields of energy information, so as to bring about a correction in an idea that has gone wrong. So quantum healing involves healing one mode of consciousness, mind, to bring about changes in another mode of consciousness, body.
DR: How important is meditation in achieving and maintaining health?
DEEPAK CHOPRA: Meditation is a very important aspect of all the approaches that one can use in quantum healing, because it allows you to experience your own source. When you experience your own source, you realize that you are not the patterns and eddies of desire and memory that flow and swirl in your consciousness. Although these patterns of desire and memory are the field of your manifestation, you are in fact not these swirling fluctuations of thought.
You are the thinker behind the thought, the observer behind the observation, the flow of attention, the flow of awareness, the unbounded ocean of consciousness. When you have that on the experiential level, you spontaneously realize that you have choices, and that you can exercise these choices, not through some sheer will power but spontaneously.
DR: What aspects of contemporary lifestyles do you feel are most harmful to people’s health?
DEEPAK CHOPRA: The most harmful is the loss of simplicity, and the loss of trust. The experience of alienation, fragmentation, isolation….this ultimately leads to all of the problems, like contamination of our environment, hostility towards each other, poor nutrition, and hard work, too much work . . . A work-oriented society, a success oriented society, in which we believe that somehow, material objects are the only source of our happiness.
DR: How do you find time for medical practice, writing, travel and family life, and still get to bed early, as you recommend in your books?
DEEPAK CHOPRA: That’s a good question. I in fact don’t believe in the existence of time. That’s one thing I have to tell you, and the other is that I don’t take myself or what I am doing seriously. I believe in the ancient saying that this is a recreational universe, for those who want to share God’s one great passion, beauty. I feel that I’m having a wonderful time. I don’t look upon any of this as work. It’s a source of great joy and happiness for me.
I experience beauty in everything I do, and when I experience it emotionally, then I know intellectually that it must be the truth. So if I don’t go to sleep by ten, it doesn’t bother me, because I’m not tired. Most of my writing I do in planes, when I have plenty of time. I meditate whenever I have a chance, and that is actually more frequently than most of my patients meditate. I see patients about 50% of my time at this clinic. That too is a source of great joy to me, talking to people and interacting with people. In fact, I have learned more from my patients than from anybody else.
DR: What has surprised you most in your practice of Ayurvedic medicine?
DEEPAK CHOPRA: What has surprised me most is that when given insight, even a little bit of insight, patients find themselves empowered to do the impossible.
DR: Your father is a medical physician in India. How did his values influence you with regard to your choice of a career, and also regarding your outlook on western and eastern healing methods?
DEEPAK CHOPRA: My father was a great source of inspiration for me, because he was such a wonderful father, who never in his life have I heard raise his voice. He brought up his two children as princes, told them that their birthright was to have all their desires fulfilled. He was a very strongly western-oriented doctor, however. He is a cardiologist, very well-known in India. But he is also a very fun-loving person. I still remember going on vacations and picnics together, going to Shakespearian dramas together.
I never wanted to be a doctor. I always wanted to be a writer and journalist, but when I got to college, I felt that I also had to be a doctor, because that was a very important part of my childhood experience, watching my father heal people. He has that ability. Not only as a great, great cardiologist, but also as someone who cares about his patients. Even when he is not in the hospital or office, he cares about them, he thinks about them, he talks about them to his children and his wife. Not giving away any confidential information, but just wondering how he can help them. He has always been a great source of inspiration.
He was not, however, inclined very favorably toward Ayurvedic medicine until I introduced him to it. Now he is the most enthusiastic researcher on Ayurveda in India.
DR: What current research on Ayurveda interests you most?
DEEPAK CHOPRA: The research that interests me most is the research on Panchakarma, which is the procedure for removing toxins from the body, and how it affects biological aging. And of course the research on the herbal preparations, which yield very interesting and previously unthought of ways of healing. Herbs don’t usually work the way pharmaceutical compounds do, binding to receptor sites. They seem to be evoking and amplifying the body’s own healing processes. They are much more gentle. That means they probably take longer. It’s a much more gentle, a much more holistic, and a much more complete effect.
DR: You said your father raised his sons to believe that their wishes could be granted. If you had one wish that you knew could be granted, what would it be?
DEEPAK CHOPRA: My wish would be for peace on the planet, and that we all fall in love with each other.
Daniel Redwood is a chiropractor, writer and musician who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is the author of A Time to Heal: How to Reap the Benefits of Holistic Health (A.R.E. Press), and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.