Deepak Chopra and Intent

Deepak Chopra and Intent

The Economics of Sin and Virtue

posted by dchopra

An article in the Washington Post On Faith section in response to their question: Are the economy’s recent financial failures also moral failures? Are credit and debt religious issues? Do you have faith in the economy?
Money lies closer to people’s souls than they like to admit. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. destroyed other men’s fortunes as he ruthlessly built his own, but he assuaged his conscience by believing that God gave him every penny. Call it the Protestant work ethic gone berserk or hypocritical denial, the mechanism works. We manipulate our image of God to justify how the world is treating us. This is very far from Christ’s essential teaching that God abides in a higher world, but he left enough room for Christianity to believe that sin is punished by depriving the sinner of money while virtue is rewarded with a full bank account. Actually, Jesus went out of his way to warn his followers, in the Sermon on the Mount, not to store up riches on earth but in Heaven. The message has largely been ignored.
The great change today is that people expect sin to bring the greatest rewards. Who doesn’t feel at least a slight pang of envy to learn that Yasser Arafat, while ostensibly acting as a freedom fighter, secretly amassed billions in Swiss bank accounts, a pattern followed successfully by Saddam Hussein and the Iranian mullahs? The pious can point out that neither Arafat nor Saddam lived to profit from their stashed billions, but plenty of Mafia bosses died in bed after a lifetime of ill-gotten gains. Lest we limit this to the nefarious, almost every congressman expects to raise millions in re-election funds and earmarks once elected. This money may not go directly into their pockets — an open question these days — but they feel virtuous taking it.
On Wall Street we are told that the current domino effect of collapsing firms is the result of unbridled greed, a Christian sin, but not sinning meant a lower paycheck, if not getting fired. Traders are expected to maximize returns for their clients. The real problem was irresponsibility, lack of repercussions, and speed. Traders could move millions of dollars with the push of a button, no one cared if the institution they worked for was being pushed to extremes of risk, and now that Lehman Brothers has collapsed, the executives who skimmed millions off the top in bonuses will walk away whistling. At least they weren’t as bad as Enron. In this climate, it’s not how much you sinned but how much you took away before the bubble burst. None of this behavior reflects on God, however, or sin for that matter. As in Abu Ghraib, a climate of wrongdoing was created, morality became numb, and peer pressure did the rest.
We are divided about money because we are divided in ourselves. We hate Exxon for exploiting the general population as oil prices soar, but given the means, we’d buy their stock. The urge to covet wealth is shadowed by a rage that would tear the rich down. In India I was taught as a child that the deciding factor is Karma. Earn your money by good and virtuous means if you want your life to be good and virtuous. This is a reformulation of the biblical “as you sow, so shall you reap.” In our fantasies we hope that bad people suffer for their bad money, but the law of Karma — or Jesus’s sowing and reaping — doesn’t work that simply. To be honest, I have no confirmed idea how good is finally balanced with bad, or how karmic repercussions are timed. So I prefer to stick with what my mother told me and try to keep my gains as well-gotten as I can.
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Deepak Chopra: What is Time?

posted by akornfeld

“Running out of time,” “losing track of time”–we talk about time as if it were a finite object. But time is a psychological event. What do you think?


Obama and the Palin Effect (Part 2)

posted by dchopra

My post a few weeks ago on Sarah Palin acting as Barack Obama’s psychological shadow triggered a lot of people. I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about how one deals with the shadow once it breaks out and begins to disrupt things. But first a short recap: The emergence of Gov. Palin wasn’t simply startling — it was inexplicable. How could 20% of women voters suddenly turn toward her when Palin stands for erasing forty years of feminism? How could the mentality of a small-town mayor morph into a potential President making global decisions? To explain her meteoric rise, I offered the idea that each of us harbors a shadow, a place where our hidden impulses live. By appealing to fear, resentment, hostility to change, suspicion of “the other,” and similar dark impulses, the Republicans have been the shadow’s party for a long time. Sarah Palin put a smiling face on feelings that normally we feel ashamed of.
The shadow is irrational; it thrives on gut emotions. (A recent Fox News poll ran with the headline, “In their gut, independents choose McCain.”) Bringing the 2008 campaign down to the gut level means bringing it down to the level of the shadow. Instead of listening to an intelligent, persuasive, charismatic man with one African-American parent, people get to say, “I just don’t like blacks. They’re scary; they’re not like me. It’s a gut thing.” Only it’s not. It’s a shadow thing that each of us, not just the right wing, must deal with. Reacting to Palin with fear, confusion, panic, and lashing out also comes from the shadow.
People who were shocked and dismayed by the Palin effect generally don’t know how to handle shadow energies. Here are a few salient points:
1. Don’t panic — The shadow is built into your psyche, and when it brings fear, hostility, and resentment to the surface, those feelings want to get out. They cause disruption, but your panic only makes them stick around longer.
2. Try not to be overwhelmed — Eruptions from the shadow are transitory. If you don’t encourage them, these energies dissipate naturally. If you are overwhelmed, however, the net result is exhaustion and loss of energy.
3. Remind yourself who you really are — You are much more than your shadow, because your aspirations, hopes, and dreams keep advancing despite the shadow’s apparent power. Pay the least attention to these disruptions as you need to calm down and no more.
4. Keep a clear focus — The shadow creates disorder and runaway emotions. If you focus on your purpose and remain rational, you will anchor yourself to a more stable reality.
5. Don’t fight fire with fire — If you sink to the level of dark energies, you will be fighting on their terms, and the likelihood is that you will lose.
If we translate these points into current politics, they are clearly applicable. The Democrats were triggered by Palin because they fear losing and that fear runs deep. The bogeymen that frighten us the most come from a primitive level; they stir a sense of childish helplessness. But your mature self, like Obama’s campaign organization, is coherent and knows how to carry out its purpose. Realize that American politics has been dominated by shadow issues for decades, so it’s only natural they still have claws and teeth. But their game has gotten old and tired. If you are able to see past the appeal to fear and resentment, have trust that other people can, too.
The bottom line is that the 2008 election isn’t about change versus experience or a noble candidate who may lose to one who plays dirty. This election is about consciousness. Since the Reagan revolution, consciousness has been sleepy and dull in politics; ideals have been tarnished by cynicism; inner decay has sapped the party in power of its original purpose, leaving only a pointless morass of defensiveness that expresses itself in negativity. If the majority of the electorate wakes up and feels inspired to turn the page, that will happen. Obama has sounded the call; few people missed the message. Now it’s a matter of dealing with a phase of fear and resistance before we discover if stuck consciousness is ready to move ahead.
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9/11 A Moment of Silence (by Mallika Chopra)

posted by Mallika Chopra

I was just watching a report about the children of the victims on 9/11 reading the names of those who died on that terrible day. I was so impressed that they were so poignant – a boy who looked about 8 years old, saying that even though my father is gone, he is ever present with me.
I remember my own emotions that day when our family thought for about 1 hour that my brother could be on the first plane, and watching the second, third and fourth ones fall. I remember being 5 months pregnant and feeling the light movements of my daughter inside me. Thinking about the world she would enter and fearing what the future held for her and those like her.
The children I watched today reminded me that the future is bright, and hopeful, and poised, and confident, and capable. They are truly a light in the darkness of the past.
Several moments of silence were observed today: 8:46 am, 9:30am, 9:59 am, 10:29 am. To honor those who died and the loved ones they left behind, I ask you to take a moment just now and tap into that silence.
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