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The Mythic Life & Times of
Deepak Chopra

by Andrew Cohen

Like millions of people around the world, I’m a fan of Deepak Chopra. But for me it wasn’t reading his books or hearing him speak or seeing him on Oprah that did it—it was getting to know the man himself. Over the last couple of years I’ve developed considerable respect for Deepak’s sheer creative capacity and seemingly boundless energy. I’m a bit awestruck by the amazing pace with which he lives his relentless globe-trotting life while writing bestseller after bestseller, giving lectures, teaching workshops, leading retreats, making movies, coordinating conferences, and, like a many-armed God from an Indian myth, keeping a hand in more projects than could be contained in most mortal minds at one time. If you get to know him, you’ll find him always on fire and full of passion, enthusiasm, and goodwill.

I must admit, however, that I didn’t always see Deepak in this light. Indeed, my original—and erroneous—impression from his public persona (and I hope he will forgive me for saying this!) was that he was kind of a lightweight salesman whose ambition superseded his spiritual depth. Ten years ago, we even did a mildly disparaging interview with him for WIE entitled “The Man with the Golden Tongue.” But after getting to know him over the past few years, spending some intimate time together, and even teaching together, I realized how wrong I had been. So the idea for this interview came up partly because I wanted to make up for my error in judgment, and partly because I hoped to be able to portray a side of him that most people never get to see.

On the day of our interview, Deepak was in the midst of taping his weekly three-hour show on Sirius Radio, so he invited me to come on as a guest before having lunch and then heading over to the Chopra Center in midtown Manhattan to conduct the interview. Only two days before, Deepak told me, he had flown to and from Bahrain, where he participated in a prestigious leadership conference. On his way back, he stopped in Boston, where he gave his annual talk at the Harvard Medical School. And the next day, back in New York, he addressed a packed house of delegates at the United Nations. As we walked together through the crowded streets, he was approached more than once by enthusiastic and grateful strangers thanking him effusively for changing their lives. As always, he remained gracious and took it all in stride.

As someone who at one time didn’t take Deepak very seriously, I have grown to appreciate what a significant figure he has become on the world stage as an advocate for consciousness and social transformation. He is passionate in his commitment to overturning the materialist worldview rampant in Western thinking, not only as it relates to medicine, his original profession, but as it affects our fundamental relationship to the universe we live in. His sheer omnipresence, whether—it be on Larry King, your local PBS channel, or the cover of Newsweek—represents a growing acceptance of his authority as a spokesperson for nondenominational East-meets-West spirituality able to comment on every subject under the sun. One doesn’t have to be in complete philosophical alignment with Deepak to appreciate and respect the positive significance of his influence on mainstream culture all over the world.

As we sat down for this interview in his tiny office at the Chopra Center, my personal curiosity was to find out how he does it all and what his inner life is really like. And while I can’t say I found the answers to all my questions, I did discover that the life that Deepak Chopra lives has always been of mythic proportions.

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This article is from
Welcome to the Center of the Universe


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