Deepak Chopra: Make the journey joyful

Deepak Chopra chuckles when asked if he’s a man on a mission.
Deepak Chopra (photo provided)
Deepak Chopra (photo provided)

Deepak Chopra chuckles when asked if he’s a man on a mission.

“I don’t know if that’s the right word,” said Chopra, the Indian-born American, a leader in the holistic health movement. “I am reminded of missionaries and I grew up with them. I do have a vision, a vision for a more peaceful, just, sustainable, healthier and happier world. And I think it begins with us.”

Chopra will discuss his vision for a healthier world and healthier world population Tuesday during “The Future of Wellbeing,” his lecture at Proctors in Schenectady. The talk will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Deepak Chopra: The Future of Wellbeing

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady

HOW MUCH: $150-$40

MORE INFO: 346-6204,

From conscious evolution to self-awareness, experience to ultimate reality, Chopra is known for deep thoughts. He’s also known as the author of 80 books that have been translated into 43 languages, numbers that include 22 New York Times best-sellers.

He’s the founder of the Chopra Foundation, dedicated to health improvement and world peace, and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.

Some words of wisdom:

• “Being angry always comes with a price … look around and see if you are willing to pay it.”

• “When we are in touch with our true self, we become the authors of our own story.”

• “Each one of us is created with an inherent light within — a light made up of limitless spiritual power.”

• “In anger people shout, in love they whisper, in union they are silent.”

• “Understand Karma: No debt in the universe goes unpaid.”

• “Spirit is always there within you, shining with the brilliance of a thousand suns.”

‘Pretty disastrous’

Chopra, 68, has a playful side. On his web site, there are pictures of him wearing a “Spiritual Gangster” shirt. And he doesn’t mind snapping photos with people like former Mexican president Vicente Fox, actress Lucy Liu and rapper Mike D from the Beastie Boys. But seriously, Chopra is always willing to discuss his vision for a better world. Right now, he thinks the current model is a mess.

“Right now, we have a situation which is pretty disastrous,” Chopra said in a telephone interview. “Mechanized death has become the mission of every nation that is affluent. War, terrorism, climate change, extinction of species, eco-destruction, radical poverty — all things that actually have creative solutions.”

Both big and small thinkers talk about climate change. Chopra believes the issue is an urgent one.

“I think it’s an emergency when your house is burning. You have to do something,” he said. “The earth is in peril right now. I don’t think we have too long to see the disastrous effects, we’re already seeing them — all these floods in Houston and Bangladesh. You have a tornado in one place, a famine in the other. We’re going to start seeing climate refugees and new epidemics and all kinds of problems. I think we can mitigate the suffering, but I don’t think we can avoid it now.”

Plant a tree

Chopra said people don’t have to wait for their governments to come up with solutions. Individuals can take action right now — just by planting a single tree each month. More people means more trees and an improved ecosystem.

“Start participating in the carbon exchange programs,” Chopra said. “Every time you take a flight, contribute to some endeavor anywhere in the world.

“We have one biosphere,” he added. “It’s not American, it’s not the Amazon, it’s not India. We all breathe the same air. And cut down on your meat consumption, I could go on and on — optimize the use of your energy. If you’re in a city that offers wind energy or sun energy then opt for it, even if it’s a little more expensive.”

Chopra said he does not take questions during his “Wellbeing” lectures; he wants to cover as much ground as possible. The achievement of personal wellbeing is one subject on the schedule.

“Total wellbeing means good physical health,” Chopra said. “It also means social wellbeing, community wellbeing, financial wellbeing and ultimately, loss of the fear of death and getting in touch with your spirit.

“One knows what it takes to do that,” Chopra added. “Actually, the journey is very enjoyable. People have to understand you don’t achieve total wellbeing if you’re motivated by fear. You achieve total wellbeing because the journey is joyful. So the best I can do is share what I know.”

Take a walk

The journey can be made in steps — as in exercise. It may sound like low-tech advice from a man who has devoted great amounts of time to the understanding of consciousness, but Chopra said people who must sit for hours at a time simply must get up to stretch and walk around once an hour.

Five thousands steps a day is great. Ten thousand is even better.

“I travel all over the world,” Chopra said. “Every city I go, I make it a point to take a walk in the morning and just see the city. Also, after dinner, just see the city. I’ve learned so much about different places just doing that.”

Chopra understands his topics — like the concept of ultimate reality — can be complicated in explanation and understanding. That’s where being human becomes part of the wellbeing equation — being human is part of the pursuit of understanding.

“What is the value of being human?” he asked. “Otherwise, we’re just like any other species. Probably worse — going to war, engaging in terrorism and exploiting other people.”

Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at [email protected] or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter. His blog is at

Categories: Life and Arts

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