Note: Thanks to Bob Clark, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Florida, for today’s blog.
Deepak Chopra has become a household name. Most people interested in spirituality and health have probably read one of his 65 books, 19 of them York Times best-sellers. Twenty-million copies in 35 languages are hard to miss.
His newest book, published last month, is Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life’s Greatest Challenges—compelling reading from a recognized leader in the rapidly merging fields of spirituality and health care.
According to Chopra, our greatest challenges fall into four categories: Relationships; Health and Well-Being; Success; Personal Growth. Most of us have challenges in at least one of those categories, if not all of them. Spiritual Solutions offers some practical answers which don’t require specialists or expensive therapies.
And what exactly is a “spiritual solution”? Let’s take a look at the book’s “Health and Well-Being” section for an example. Here Chopra tells us, “Most people define health solely in physical terms, by how good they feel and what they see when they look in the mirror. Medicine relies on drugs and surgery, which reinforces our fixation on the physical.”
This is a good example of what Chopra defines as “contracted awareness”. In this state of mind we are absorbed in our problems, stuck inside them and examining them only from that perspective.
“Expanded awareness” is our ability to look beyond the problem, let go of its immediate confines, and see infinite possibilities. As an example, Chopra cites “people whose memory has improved with age, others who have gotten stronger by taking up exercise in their eighties or nineties, and still others with organs that function like someone ten, twenty, or even thirty years younger”.
Finally Chopra explains “pure awareness” as the level of complete freedom, where “every challenge is a creative opportunity”. He explains, “What makes this possible is that awareness can expand without limits”.
In a previous bestseller from 2009, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, Chopra explains how to break through the limitations of “contracted awareness”:
• Instead of making do with the physical form you were given at birth, why not look for a breakthrough, a completely new way of approaching the body?
• Breakthroughs occur when you start thinking about a problem in a fresh new way. The biggest breakthroughs occur when you start thinking in an unbounded way. Take your eyes away from what you see in the mirror.
If allopathic medicine, with its deep dependence on expensive drug and surgery based treatment, were as successful as it should be after several centuries of continuous practice, there would perhaps not be such a growing interest in spiritual solutions to health challenges.
But with upward spiraling health care costs, soaring obesity rates and out of control prescription drug use, it does seem like a good time for a change of perspective—solutions from a different source. And this is exactly what Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life’s Greatest Challenges brings to the table. I predict it will be Chopra’s New York Times best-seller #20.