A Day With Deepak


The sage of Carlsbad holds a “Sages & Scientists” symposium, and I spend a day filled with insights, technology, and new friendships.

Just over a month ago, I drove up the interstate from San Diego to the city of Carlsbad, home of The Chopra Center for Well Being

It’s a short drive of about 45 minutes to the Center, which is on the grounds of the OMNI La Costa Resort & Spa, and the road follows the ups and downs of San Diego’s beautiful coastline: one minute you’re descending to cross a coastal tidal lagoon, lush with reeds and birdlife, and the next you’re climbing slightly to the top of a hill or coastal mesa, often with views out to sea. As you drive in and out of these lagoon “windows”—each the mouth of a river—the ups and downs of the trip become a fine metaphor for the moods of a day...the periods of a life.

The journey helped set the stage for my day at the Chopra Center’s symposium, “Sages & Scientists” at which we’d been promised that we’d hear about “some of the most urgent questions facing our future evolution” and “...a contemporary synthesis where science and soul coexist comfortably.”

“This isn’t a rebirth of mysticism,” the program syllabus promised, “but a modern way to merge ancient insights with modern scientific theory.”

I loved it.

Deepak Chopra’s and my own paths have crossed a few times in the past, and I find him warm, insightful, and the very embodiment of what he himself urges individuals to strive for: self awareness.

“It’s not self-help. I dislike the word self-help,” he said recently in an interview with writer Marianne Schnall in TheHuffingtonPost.com. [For the full interview, see “Deepak Chopra Talks About Awakening the World and His “Sages and Scientists” Symposium.”]

Self-awareness, yes, but not self-help. People need to know that they have all the tools within themselves. Self-awareness, which means awareness of their body, awareness of their mental space, awareness of their relationships—not only with each other, but with life and the ecosystem. Self-reflection, asking questions like ‘Who am I? What’s the meaning and purpose of my existence? Who’s asking the question?’ etc. etc. Transcendence, which is where meditation comes in. A more conscious, awakened world would require a tipping point or critical mass, where technology will come in. What can we do to accelerate it? I don’t know – it’s probably part of our evolution and even technology is part of that evolution.”

As the day progressed, I particularly enjoyed Eric J. Topol’s talk on individualized medicine “...from Prewomb to Tomb.” He prefers the term “individualized medicine” because “...it relates not only to medicine that is particularized to a human being but also the future impact of digital technology on individuals driving their own health care.” Dr. Topol is the director of The Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla.

He likens this digital impact to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) such as Google maps, “...which provide a layered approach to data visualization, such as viewing a location via satellite overlaid with street names, landmarks, and real-time traffic data.” So, picture something similar for an individual that includes “data from biosensors, scanners, electronic medical records, social media, and the various omics that include DNA sequence, transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, epigenome, microbiome, and expsome.”

Whether or not you or I understand all that Dr. Topol is referring to, think panoramic.

One of the great take-aways from the conference was a single sheet of paper holding Deepak’s own “Ten Keys to Happiness.” Here they are in brief...but for the full text, see Deepak’s own website. 

  1. Listen to your body’s wisdom, which expresses itself through signals of comfort and discomfort...
  2. Live in the present, for it is the only moment you have. Keep your attention on what is here and now; look for the fullness in every moment...
  3. Take time to be silent, to meditate, to quiet the internal dialogue...
  4. Reliquish your need for external approval...
  5. When you find yourself reacting with anger or opposition to any person or circumstance, realize that you are only struggling with yourself...
  6. Know that the world “out there” reflects your reality “in here...”
  7. Shed the burden of judgement—you will feel much lighter...
  8. Don’t contaminate your body with toxins, either through food, drink, or toxic emotions...
  9. Replace fear-motivated behavior with love-motivated behavior...
  10. Understand that the physical world is just a mirror of a deeper intelligence. Intelligence is the invisible organizer of all matter and energy, and since a portion of this intelligence resides in you, you share in the organizing power of the cosmos...

Thank you, Deepak, for a day during which all of us there...were here...and now

PHOTO: Dr. Deepak Chopra and Wellness Warrior Founder, Deborah Szekely at the "Sages and Scientists Symposium" held in Carlsbad, California in August of 2014



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