Deepak Chopra is a man on a mission. Breezing into the TV studios at FOX on a warm Manhattan spring morning, the best-selling author, educator, lecturer and inspirational speaker appeared ready for whatever the day might deliver.
“I just walked twenty-five blocks to get here,” Dr. Chopra said when he arrived. “It is very important to stay fit. I feel great.”
Indeed, the plucky Chopra did look great too. The advisor – who has become a household name – was in the city on a promotional tour of his latest book, Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life’s Greatest Challenges. The premise of the book is that by engaging in life with a spiritual consciousness, one can much better address and deal with any and all of the circumstances, problems, and challenges of living in the modern world.
Drawing upon the wisdom from the great spiritual masters throughout history, Deepak addressed specifically how spiritual consciousness – an expanded state of awareness – can help us especially in the areas of our relationships with others, personal growth, health and overall wellbeing.
For Chopra, working with patients as a medical doctor provided him with valuable insights into the human condition.
“It began with people writing me with troubles on their minds,” Chopra said. “Their letters were sent from around the world. At one point I was answering questions daily or weekly from India, the United States, and many other locales, mostly through the Internet. Yet in a sense, everyone was writing from the same place inside, where confusion and darkness had overwhelmed them. These people were hurt, betrayed, abused, misunderstood, ill, worried, anxious, and at times desperate.”
The book Spiritual Solutions is not a call for readers to join a particular religion, adhere to a certain cult or follow any particular guru or figure. Instead, Chopra said we live in a modern time when the advice and guidance of all the great religions and wisdom traditions can be adopted in a free and secular manner.
“I wanted to give answers that were lasting enough so that when circumstances in people’s lives change, when crisis descends and a challenge must be faced, solid solutions were at hand,” Chopra said. “I call them spiritual solutions, but the term doesn’t mean religious solutions, prayer, or surrender to God. Instead I envision a secular spirituality. This is the only way modern people will ever reconnect with their souls, or, to remove all religious overtones, their true selves.”
According to Chopra, the first step in arriving at spiritual solutions is to recognize that life is not random, that challenges arise for each and every person regardless of their station in life, and that we can all summon a greater awareness to deal with whatever comes our way. He described human consciousness in three specific levels: contracted awareness, expanded awareness and pure awareness.
In a state of contracted awareness, we are absorbed with our problems, concentrated entirely inside, and struggling with circumstances. If we can shift to an expanded state, Chopak argued, we can let go of tensions and disturbances in our minds and hearts, experience ourselves within the greater context of living as a whole, and find ourselves better equipped to deal with whatever challenges we face. Cultivating a life habit of expanded awareness leads to a state of pure awareness, in which we are at peace in mind and heart, and move through life with ease and grace.
For Deepak Chopra, the spiritual life is not a condition impossible to attain – but a normal frame of mind. He said his intention with this latest book is to provide readers with the understanding and tools to live more spiritually and to be released from suffering. In a world in which stress, difficulty and trouble often seem to dominate, the advice offered in Spiritual Solutions is surely a welcome prescription.