By Deepak Chopra
Random House Group, 2009; 304 pages; ISBN-10: 0307452980
Reviewed by Elizabeth Marchetti
In ‘Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul’, Deepak Chopra, author of more than fifty books and hailed by The Guardian newspaper as ‘the rock star of the new spirituality’, elaborates on the notion that we humans are able to create a better and improved self.
By changing the way we think of our bodies, we can alter the structure of our brain and influence our genes. The body is not a material object, but a dynamic process made of pure energy, which needs reinventing. If we apply ourselves, we are able move stuck energy and lead a more meaningful life, with a stronger perception of our souls and ourselves. Essentially, we can learn to function better as a whole. As the author puts it, ‘There is constant feedback between the soul and the body. We invented the separation between the two, and then came to believe that separation was real’.
The human body, says Chopra, is an extension and a reflection of the mind. Our beliefs have shaped our bodies unconsciously from our early childhood, conditioning the way we react to everyday stress. These mental patterns can be harmful, as they create unhappiness and dissatisfaction in our lives, eventually causing aging and disease. Sometimes, they prevent us from reaching happiness and discovering our true potential. But there are three ways to end this conditioning: reflection, contemplation and meditation.
Everything is possible if we let go of negative judgments and get beyond the power of ‘no’. To do this, the following negative beliefs have to be erased: people don’t change; habits keep us trapped; obsessive thoughts are in control; cravings can never be appeased; fear keeps you from being free; bad thoughts are forbidden and dangerous; natural urges are illicit and dangerous.
Only by remaining centered, clear, by expecting the best and waiting patiently, the soul will open up to new possibilities. We need to understand that wanting causes grief, and we already have all we need. We are unique and should not fear ourselves; self-image is not as important as we make it to be, and giving is more important than winning. Once we learn to love ourselves, we can find love. And once we go with the flow (instead of interfering with it), and learn to accept every step as part of the process, we can be truly receptive of the universe’s flow of energy.
Chopra comes from a traditional Indian background of strong spiritual imprint, but migrated to the USA to pursue his studies and came in contact with the pragmatism of Western medicine. For this reason, his allure is credible to both worlds, and he merges these currents majestically. Skeptics need not steer clear from it: using his knowledge as a physician, the author implements scientific proof of what is being said, giving the text a substance and a tone that is often missing from the alternative self-help manuals.
The author’s style is simple: precise, concise and straight to the point, yet warm and amicable. Despite knowing the ABC of it all, Chopra doesn’t sound like a preacher, but more like the wisest friend you never had. ‘Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul’ is a future classic, a breathtaking read and as good as any self-help guide can get. Perfect to keep on your bedside table at all times for its illuminating and invaluable comforting power.