Deepak Chopra is one of the people I follow. The American doctor from an Indian origin is one of the most prominent figures in the field of Alternative medicine, self-help, and new age. He has written dozens of books, and he also speaks publicly and conduct lectures. He is currently doing a tour of lectures and promoting his new book “you are the universe“.
Naturally, the lecture speaks about what does the title of the book mean, and about
Chopra’s philosophy. In his lecture, he spoke about the nature of the universe and our place in it.
I attended one of his lectures a few days ago. And decided I would try to sum up what he tried to convey on that lecture.
Before we start a short disclaimer. I sat through the one hour lecture and really listened to everything he had to say. When the lecture ended I understood that much of what he said I still don’t exactly fully understand. This means that below is an interpretation of how I understood what Chopra said. It may not be exactly what he means, though.So if it doesn’t make sense or sounds a bit weird, I totally understand that feeling!
The hard problem of consciousness
Deepak opens its lecture by asking the question of what is the universe consists of? Science today tells us that the universe is made of 73% dark energy 23% dark matter and only 4% of matter. Of that 4%, 3.6% is Nonluminous (meaning gas and black holes.) This leaves us with 0.4% of real matter, the stuff we see and feel,
Yes, our world and all the matter we see in the visible universe (planets, stars etc) is 0.4% of the universe. Gives some perspective, right?
If we can explain only 0.4% of the universe, what is the rest of the universe made of?
Deepak claims that the universe is made of a field endless possibilities and potential. Every moment is a new one and has the potential to turn into anything. The universe is not made of something we can see but rather from human constructs such as experiences and sensations.
But what is a sensation? How do you define an experience? How can we explain the fact that we even have such a thing called experience, sensation, or thoughts? How can we explain why there is something like entertaining a mental image?
These questions are all part of the hard the problem of consciousness. And we have yet to find an answer to them. Some say we might never will.
So where is the universe?
A good example of how we define our world is by thinking of the question “Who am I?”.
Am I my name?
– our name is something that was given to us and is a quality we have. People can change their names simply by deciding to do so. Does that change the entity that experiences the reality? If you were to wake one day and decide that your name is “George” would that change how you feel towards your job/friends/parents? I bet the answer is no. So this means that we are not our names.
Am I my body?
– The cells of our body keep regenerating and changing. Some die, and new ones come up. It’s true that some cells don’t regenerate (brain cells for example) but the fact is that we don’t have the exact same body that we were born with.
If we are simply our bodies, then how can we explain where our feelings come from? or where does a thought come from? We know we have them, but they don’t originate in the body.
Note also that we don’t say “I am hand” we say “my hand”. A hand is something we have, it’s not us.
Am I my mind?
– We are also not our minds since our mind is an object of the sum of our experiences. Our mind is capable of having thoughts and mental images, but we are not a thought and we are also not a mental image.
Our name, our body, and our mind are all human constructs that we built. The instant we built these constructs, we immediately defined something and that in turn created that thing to be.
Think about that for a second. Where is your name located? is it in your body? if so, where? Can you physically hold it (I know it’s possible to hold representations of it, but can you hold your name?). Could you physically hold a thought that you originated? or an experience you had?
A feeling or a name is something (a construct) that we as humans defined. We gave it
meaning and certain qualities. And since we gave it meaning, that is the meaning that it got.
Deepak claims that what we are really is the sum of our sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts, or SIFT for short.
So if we define our world as the sum of our SIFT and the universe is nothing more than a collection of endless possibilities, or fields of possibilities, then we are in fact the universe since we are the ones that actually define and create the possibilities that are potentially available in each moment.
We are not in our body, our body is within us (as a collection of sensations). We are not in our mind, the mind is in us. We are not in the universe, the universe is in us
Read the book for more
The above is just what I managed to pick up from the lecturer. There were, of course,
other points of the lecture, but I spared these since this is a complicated message as it is.
If you want to know more about what Deepak has to say regarding this than get his book “you are the universe”
I’m sure I haven’t really transferred all of the depth and meaning that Deepak had during the lectures, but I hope this will at the very least give you another perspective on life
Photo credit: bjmccray via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND