Photo by CATHY PHAM on Unsplash

A Strategy to Revolutionize Your Body

By Deepak Chopra, MD

Many situations can be changed one small step at a time, but others require a complete transformation. This arises when a total misconception or practice needs to be overturned. Imagine if you can that you visit a friend and find him lighting some kindling in a gas oven. When you ask what’s going on, he says that he needs to bake a loaf of bread. What has gone wrong is his concept of what a gas stove is. Likewise, something fundamental has gone wrong if you ask your smartphone who it would like to call next or your computer if it likes chocolate.

Without realizing it, almost everyone makes a similar drastic mistake regarding their bodies. As with a gas stove stoked with a wood fire, you can get some use even if you misunderstand what your body is. Because we get along well enough (barring serious illness, mental disorders, and aging), there isn’t enough incentive for people to realize that their bodies need to be totally transformed. Incremental change, after all, is hard enough.

Yet the total misconception we operate from has reached an extreme, which I’d like to explain. The wrong ideas we have about our bodies run from the simplest to the most complex. Here’s a sample:

The body is a physical object like a star, cloud, or mountain.

It operates like a machine, in this case a machine made of flesh and blood.

The operations inside this machine obey the law of cause-and-effect, as all mechanical tings must.

The machine has a super-computer to manage all its intricacies, which is the brain.

Each of these notions is dead wrong, but as working assumptions, the whole scheme has worked well enough to lead to the remarkable state of modern medicine. Who would sacrifice a quadruple bypass or refuse a COVID booster on rational grounds? No one says you must, and you shouldn’t. But back away a few steps, and there is no denying that the body is involved in all the following problems that are unsolved by modern medicine: allergies, depression, anxiety, general unhappiness, lack of emotional fulfillment, aging, and death. Since the brain is involved in everything we think, by extension the body is also involved in other unsolved problems stemming from prejudice, violence, toxic emotions, injustice, and all manner of inequality.

No thing and no machine suffers these problems or is conscious of them. Irrationality doesn’t proceed by cause and effect, so right away we can throw out the first three working assumptions that turn out to be poor descriptions of reality. What would be a good description? Every drawback and problem I’ve listed is a failure of intelligence. One major advantage of modern medicine is the recognition that the human body exhibits intelligence. Without using words and concepts, your immune system is as intelligent as your brain and in fact is often described as the body’s “floating brain,” since immune cells pervade your entire body.

Another advantage of modern medicine is the fine detail being achieved in such areas as genetics — the rapid development of COVID vaccines, in fact, brought together highly specialized breakthroughs in half a dozen fields. Without them, not to mention the mapping of the human genome in 2003, the enormous promise of epigenetics and messenger RNA would be impossible. Yet despite such advances, the underlying assumptions are mechanistic — it has taken my entire lifetime as a doctor for the concept of bodily intelligence to be accepted.

But once you see that the body’s ills, and most of humanity’s, are failures of intelligence, you recognize that what is at stake isn’t mental intelligence. Being a genius doesn’t save you from the misconception of what the human body really is, nor does it compensate — Einstein endured physical suffering beyond the usual, died at no great advanced age (76), and experienced great difficulties as a husband and father.

In this brief sketch I’ve suggested why the body needs to be transformed by rethinking our basic conceptions. A strategy has also emerged that would revolutionize the current situation: Prevent and repair all these failures of intelligence. But like deposing a ruthless monarch, the change needs to be complete and final, not a step-by-step process. The problems afflicting human beings are bewildering in their complexity, but we don’t have to prevent and repair one problem at a time, which is what we already attempt to do.

The solution is to find and use the source of intelligence from which all intelligence (intellectual, artistic, emotional, social, and bodily) emanates. By any measure there is a super-computer that governs the bodymind in thousands of interconnected ways, and besides pure computation, it feels, perceives, interprets, dreams, wishes, and loves. These are non-computational actions, so our super-computer cannot be the brain, whose entire working can be reduced to the chemical equivalent of computations, adding and subtracting charged ions that pass through the membrane of brain cells or jump the gap between two brain cells.

The transformative step that carries us to a solution is simple: recognize that all intelligence is conscious. There is no such thing as an intelligent atom or molecule. Nor is there a chemical process you can point to where atoms and molecules learn to think, much less dream and love. Other non-conscious explanations also fall short. Information is universal, and it is fashionable to trust in information theory to explain such mysteries as memory and genetic inheritance. But once again, all information is computational (an array of 0s and 1s), which make no sense until a conscious mind reads them and extracts their information.

As the source of creation, consciousness alone has the capacity to create a continuous thread that unites mind, body, matter, and energy, even extending to time and space. (In the end, the body is like a star or mountain or any so-called physical object. Because anything physical can only be known as transformations of consciousness.) That’s where the revolution leads us. Where is such cosmic intelligence operating? In its own version of space, which the ancient Vedic seers described as Chit Akash. A simple translation into “mind space” isn’t adequate, because the essence of Chit Akash is not like physical space. It is more like your vocabulary, which occupies its own space in your awareness.

Yet even this non-physical space needs a source, and the only viable candidate is pure awareness. This would be comparable to your ability to learn words. It is an ability different from the words stored in your vocabulary. You might not speak Hindi, French or Swahili, but you share with those speakers the same ability to learn words. The only difference — and it is huge — is that your source in pure consciousness gives you the ability to know, period. Knowing is an irreducible quality of consciousness. So are existence and Being.

Now we can say what revolutionizing your body involves. You see yourself as part of irreducible cosmic consciousness, whose life and everything in it depends on your connection to your source. This is the vision of consciousness as not only the source of creation but the ever-present collaborator in every event that has occurred or ever will. The promise of such a vision is unpredictable, but one thing is certain. It corrects our total misunderstanding of who we are, and at the same time it transforms what the human body is. How can we afford to keep living with such a fundamental mistake?

DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest book, Abundance: The Inner Path to Wealth (Harmony Books) offers the keys to a life of success, fulfilment, wholeness and plenty. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com

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