: "Born again" simply means relinquishing the past, and stepping into a fresh experience of life. All of life goes through certain phases: creation, maintenance, destruction of the old, a period of incubation, and then resurrection into a new expression of life. Therefore, somebody who is "born again" is expressing the eternal cycle of life within an accelerated time frame. The one who is "born again" has a new interpretation and a new cognitive and perceptual experience of reality.
: How can I see God as a friend or helpmate instead of a tyrant or dictator, someone to be feared?
: You can see God as a friend and a helpmate if your relationship with God is one of loving devotion. You must at a deep level begin to first experience love for yourself, just as you are. In fact, a good exercise would be to close your eyes and experience gratitude for all the wonderful things that God has given you, and at the end of the gratitude exercise, utter a silent prayer which says, "Thank you, God, for making me just as I am." Moreover, you might want to read the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, of the great Sufi poet Rumi, and of St. John of the Cross, to get deep insight into the loving relationship with God.
: Deepak, I am a great fan of your new book, "How to Know God." It is one of the few books I read which explains spirituality without a prerequisite of faith in any particular religion. It has an amazing collection of deep ideas. What led you to discover the idea of classification of stages of spiritual development? Have such ideas been discussed in previous religious literature?
: Yes, these ideas have been discussed in previous religious literature, and in fact the seven biological responses are contemporary and scientific explanations of the seven chakras frequently spoken about in Eastern traditions. Moreover, a conceptual framework for seven stages of consciousness is part of the teaching Vedanta, and you will also find the seven stages in the Judeo-Christian tradition. For example, the god of the "fight-flight" response is found in the Bible in the form of Jehovah. The reactive response is found in the books of Moses and Job. The restful awareness response is when the Bible talks about the peace that passes understanding, and in the Psalms, as in the phrase "Be still and know that I am God." The intuitive response is in the teachings of Jesus Christ, when he says, "Seek and ye shall find, ask and you shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you." The creative response is when God says to Moses, "I am that I am." And also in the Gospel of John, when Christ says, "Before Abraham was, I am." Therefore, you find them in all the great religions of the world.
: Lately, I have been in some fascinating discussions on the topic What is God? Since Dr. Chopra was bold enough to name his book "How to Know God," can he give a brief description of his definition of God?
: Yes. Look at the spelling of God: G stands for Generation; O stands for Organization; and D stands for Delivery. Therefore, GOD is the Generator, the Organizer, and the Deliverer of the Universe. God is the infinite, unbounded, eternal intelligence that constantly projects itself as the universe through the creation of space, time, matter, and infinite energy. But God is also infinite love, infinite compassion, infinite joy. God is also the source of the progressive expansion of happiness, God is the source of meaning and purpose in life, God is the source of that which is considered a miracle, God is the fulfillment of our deepest desire, and God is the source of the abolishment of all fears, including the fear of death.
: With all of the spiritual techniques available, how does one avoid becoming overly anxious and not try to force the process?
: Really be simple. There are four ways to access this divine intelligence we call God. Number one: The Way of Action. Whenever you do something, have the inner attitude that everything you do, your every thought and breath, comes from God and belongs to God. In other words, every movement of yours is of the divine eternal. Just having this attitude will give you a direct experience of the eternal mystery that we refer to as God. Number two: The Way of Love. Make love the most important reason for making every decision in life. Before you make a choice, ask yourself, Is this going to enhance the experience of love in my life, and all those in my life? Number three: The Way of Spiritual Discipline, which includes prayer and meditation and silence. And number four, The Way of Intellect and of Scientific Inquiry.