Deepak Chopra was born and raised in New Delhi, India.
The crux of Chopra’s secular spiritual philosophy is that we should seek happiness and spirituality within ourselves, and not look for external guidance from organized religion. He wrote,
God is not an external deity but the inner intelligence within you that mirrors the wisdom of the cosmos.
In bringing elements of eastern philosophy to the western world, he intends to help people become happier, healthier, and more peaceful. In his view, organized religion is just a relic of the past, and is irrelevant in the face of modernity and science.
We have a completely different understanding of the world today than we get from religious scriptures. In my view, religion is just cultural mythology. . . . I think we are at a particular phase of evolution in our understanding both of the cosmos and ourselves that we need to step into a new evolution of spirituality.
While we can pull good things from the teachings of religious leaders, from Jesus to the Buddha, he believes it is the dogma and ideology of religion that is dangerous and divisive.
Chopra grew up in a religious pastiche that included a Hindu mother, a Hindu and Sikh father, and a Catholic Jesuit education. After becoming a doctor and moving to the U.S., he started into your average Western lifestyle rich in cigarettes, coffee, and stress–and low in introspection. But after he discovered the practice of transcendental meditation–from which he eventually departed–he started on the journey that would turn him into the best-selling spiritual guru he is today.
Just follow his Twitter feed if you’re interested in discovering more about Chopra’s spiritual beliefs. You’ll get a daily dose, and more.
Chopra may be a spiritual teacher, but he doesn’t shy away from politics. Now an American citizen, he frequently enters the debate as a liberal and a Democrat. He was an ardent supporter of Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, despite feeling a bit disillusioned during his first term. He sees the president, through his calls for us all to be our better selves, as the path to American self-awareness.
And he is particularly critical of Republicans for refusing to cooperate with Democrats and pandering to extremists. He said the right needs to stop its political posturing, abandon “its rigid, stupid, selfish, xenophobic ideology,” and join the Democrats in addressing our most serious problems, most importantly, climate change.
He even called for liberals to stop criticizing Obama and rally behind the president despite disagreements, in order to fight the threat that conservatives pose to the progressive, liberal vision of the country. Referring to the president, he wrote,
If ever there was a time to stand behind the captain, this is it. Not because pluralism and free expression are wrong. They aren’t and never will be. But like Churchill calling upon a coalition cabinet in the depth of the war years, it’s paramount that we see the greater danger for what it is.
Looks like he takes this stuff pretty seriously. What do you think? Is there some truth to what Chopra is saying? Let us know what you think in the comments.