: Hello, everybody and welcome to our chat with acclaimed writer Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind" and most recently "How to Know God."
: It's great to be on Beliefnet today, and let's get going!
: You wrote that when one dies physically, memories of this life are lost. How is it that some people are able to remember past lives?
: No memory is ever lost. The memory goes into the virtual domain, where it exists as a potential memory. Just like a photon is not a photon until you observe it, a memory is not a memory until you actualize it. Memories of previous lifetimes remain in the virtual domain in seed form. They are actualized under special circumstances. Most people do not remember previous lifetimes, and that, of course, is in the interest of economy of expenditure of energy. It's not necessary.
: Andrew Weil says that our beliefs trigger metabolic systems, in his book "Spontaneous Remission." Do you believe in life after death and disincorporated beings, or do you think/believe that the miracles of the body are part of a complex physical system, as Dr. Weil and Crick believe? Thank you.
: Both schools of thought are correct. Our beliefs trigger biological responses. There is survival of consciousness after death and memories and contexts and relationships of previous lifetimes influence our biological patterns and our personalities today. At the same time, our biological responses are a result of what's contained in our DNA. The DNA, however, is not the source of information. It's what information comes through. Just like if you listen to Beethoven on the radio, the radio is not the source of Beethoven, he comes through the radio. When you read Shakespeare, he is not contained in the ink, even though he comes through it.
: Dr. Chopra, thank you for this opportunity. I've read "How to Know God," and I think I move between the first five levels, but do you think that we should expect to get to the sixth and seventh and stay there for more than brief periods of time?
: Yes. To get to the sixth level, study the life of enlightened beings, such as Christ, Buddha, the great saints of the Christian tradition, all the great avatars from the East, and then on the day-to-day level, ask yourself, "What would this being do in this situation?" In other words, try to see the world through the consciousness of your spiritual inheritance. Once you enter the sixth domain, you will start to have glimpses of the seventh level as well.
: Another difficult Eastern concept is the fundamental emptiness of God, that the divine is empty of any conceptual identity. How do you explain this to Westerners?
: As soon as you conceptualize something, you limit it. All concepts or definitions are therefore limiting. Divine intelligence, or God, is unbounded, eternal, ineffable, without any beginning or ending in time, and beyond the edges of space. Therefore, the emptiness that you speak of is not an emptiness. It is the fullness of infinite possibilities. It is the field of pure potentiality. It is the immeasurable source of all that was, all that is, and all that will be. God is therefore not conceptualizable, but definitely realizable.
: Do you think that the mapping of the DNA structure will help change mankind into the next evolution of man?
: Yes, the mapping of the DNA structure gives us a great insight into the physical machinery of the body. It does not, however, tell us anything about the source of free will, intention, imagination, insight, inspiration, creativity, knowingness, understanding, meaning, purpose, or decision making. Moreover, the very impulse to know the DNA is contained in the DNA! So while we must recognize the limitations of what we can learn from the DNA, we must also recognize that our knowledge of the DNA is the impulse of the universe to become self-conscious through us.
: Deepak, could you explain "born again," a Christian concept in light of your understanding of God.