Spirituality in a Material World

Awareness isn't something you achieve, says Deepak Chopra. It's what happens when you stop trying so hard.

Deepak ChopraCalled "the poet-prophet of alternative medicine" by Time magazine, Deepak Chopra, M.D., is the founder and CEO of the Chopra Center for Well Being in Carlsbad, California. Dr. Chopra was born and raised in India and came to the United States in 1970 to train and then practice internal medicine and endocrinology. He has since developed his own philosophy of wellness that combines Ayurvedic healing with Western medicine and focuses on a balance between mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Chopra is the author of more than 30 books on a variety of topics ranging from herbal medicine, aging, and meditation, to quantum mechanics, golf, and the poems of Rumi. He spoke with us about his latest work, "The Book of Secrets."

I was surprised by what you wrote about spiritual seeking. You say, "Seeking is doomed because it is a chase that takes you outside yourself." But it seems that some of your biggest fans are spiritual seekers.

You know, we all go through those phases at a certain point. The seeker will realize that what they're seeking is the one who's doing the seeking.

Seeking can become stressful when you apply the same laws that you apply in the material world—hard work, exacting plans, driving ambition, and attachment to outcome. Ultimately spiritual awareness unfolds when you're flexible, when you're spontaneous, when you're detached, when you're easy on yourself and easy on others.
(Read an excerpt about spiritual seeking from Deepak Chopra's book.)

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Are there practical steps that people can take to increase their awareness?

Yeah, in the Eastern traditions, those steps have been referred to as the different kinds of yoga. Yoga literally means union, so the yoga of knowledge, which is a scientific understanding of how the universe operates—the yoga of love, which is paying attention to the impulse of love, which is, after all, the impulse toward unity. The yoga of stillness or contemplation or meditation. And also, the yoga of action, the attitude you have when you perform action, when you do yoga in the spiritual worship or when you have the inner conviction that everything you do comes from God, belongs to God and that every breath of yours and every movement of yours is a divine movement of the eternal being, then those are the steps that bring you closer to the supreme intelligence that orchestrates the universe.

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Interview by Lisa Schneider
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