Tag Archives: Deepak Chopra

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra

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I needed a skinny book and Deepak Chopra’s distillation of his tome on Creating Abundance was sitting there just waiting to be read. Success and abundance are desirable commodities in the post-apocalyptic urban dystopia we inhabit so I settled in for a quick perusal of ancient teachings. Not that quick, actually. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is a pocket-size fusion of Eastern wisdom and Western affirmation. Chopra’s laws have been around for a while but he does have a knack for explaining the esoteric in accessible language and this book has plenty of both. So I contemplated it rather than plowed through it and it took longer to read. Which was okay as it was as calming as a meditation on intention and manifestation — a written guided meditation.

Here are the laws:

1. Pure Potentiality – we are pure consciousness and when we recognize this we can tap into the universal energy field and create anything. But, to reach that state of awareness, we have to transcend the ego, leaving behind fear, the need for external approval and personal control, and our “social masks”.  

2. Giving – in order to receive, give what you want to get–affection, support, money–life is about a dynamic exchange, the free flow of energy. 

 3. Karma, or Cause and Effect – every action generates an energetic response. You create your reality and your past shapes your present, your present designs your future. Tricky. But an optimistic way to view this is to find the opportunity in each challenge and transform your old, crummy karma into choices for positive–and rewarding–activity going forward. 

 4. Least Effort – don’t push the river. Put your intention out there and turn your attention to getting on with your life. The good stuff bubbles up in its own time. Type-A Westerners have a lot of trouble with this one.

 5. Intention and Desire – the quantum energy field is influenced by intention and desire. Yours, actually. Lavish your intention on something and it becomes more important in your life. Neglect it and the thing withers. Intention is pure desire without attachment and you can activate it to manifest whatever you want by stating an intention clearly and then infusing it with the stillness and pure potential you experience in meditation. Guaranteed to remove struggle. Someone should bottle this.

 6. Detachment – let go of your insecure, fear-based need to see the result you imagine. Note to control freaks: you will not be good at this. Attachment is scarcity-consciousness, implying no real belief in your own infinite self and your limitless potential to create. Detachment celebrates ambiguity and can tolerate insecurity. Detachment delivers, oh ye of little faith. 

 7.  Dharma, or Purpose in Life  – your talent is unique in all the world and no one but you can express it. Your purpose in life is not to run out of milk and socks; it is to soar. When you share what is yours to give, you are richly rewarded. The catch is, you don’t do it for the rewards. You do it to do it. The material rewards are a bonus.

I like these ideas. I suck at many of them. Probably why I am putting in so many hours as a hack writer that I have to find skinny books to read. Chopra adds step-by-step applications to each of the seven laws and, at the risk of spoiling things, I’ll share an observation. Meditation figures prominently in many of them. Clearing your cluttered mind on a daily basis makes space for what you imagine to live and breathe.  However you define success, you may get within striking distance of it by following the formula of these seven timeless spiritual laws. So, off to the meditation cushion and the world of infinite possibility I have yet to conquer.

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams   Deepak Chopra | New World Library   1994

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The Shadow Effect – Chopra, Ford, Williamson

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The Shadow Effect is an interesting examination of the hidden side of the persona–the part we wish wasn’t. But, as surely as day is followed by night, the imperfect, angry, selfish, lonely, depressed bits are there, just waiting for the exact moment to interject some drama into our act. Uh oh. Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson, all bestselling purveyors of self-help and well-known workshop leaders, teamed up on a book that is divided into three sections, one per guru. Some parts are better than others but I suspect that each style appeals to a different reader and what bored me might just save you. There’s plenty of good stuff to go around.

Chopra brings his signature mix of ayurvedics, Eastern mysticism, Western science and psychology to section 1. He preaches unity–of your conscious and subconscious for starters. By accepting the shadow side, we integrate all parts of ourselves and can then recognize that our preference for seeing ourselves as separate and disconnected from all of life is the root of the problem. Nation at war? All of its citizens contributed–not just the jingoistic nationalists. Unrequited love? Look for the ways in which you reject yourself and then stop doing that. You will make healthier choices and you can give up your subconscious need for rejection. I oversimplify–his argument is much more nuanced.

Ford tells her own anguished story of losing sight of herself as a young teen and suffering years of increasing acting out and alienation, addictions, drug problems and unhappiness before she finally began to get it. I found her crystal clear examples of how what we repress emerges to haunt us to be the most elucidating treatment of the three. Ford uses real people and their very public train wrecks to show the simple flip side of the facade. Her account provides a non-threatening way to examine your own shadows–you do have them, despite your nearly perfect life.

Williamson gets into the nitty gritty, with stories about how tough it can be to release shadow bahaviors just by recognizing that they exist. I thought that was a tad discouraging, probably because I don’t subscribe to her default problem-solving prescription: ask God for help. That’s not my m.o. and I always feel that religion-as-solution is disempowering–but it may be the right approach for a lot of people. In any case, the subject is a downer but the variety of viewpoints and the pragmatic advice offered is positive. The Shadow Effect makes excellent sense and doesn’t quit until it offers you a way to make peace with your unfavorite traits and behaviors.

The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self   Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson | HarperOne   2010

The Ultimate Happiness Prescription – Deepak Chopra

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The Ultimate Happiness Prescription was the thinnest book on the stack so it bumped the 400, 500 and 900+ page monsters aside. Deepak Chopra rides to the rescue on a day hijacked by too much real life. Good message for the frazzled, in any case. The book explores spiritual and neurological dispositions toward emotional equanimity and follows each of seven keys (Deepak Chopra likes to write self-help books in lists of seven) with some simple steps to move your happiness set point up on the scale.

It’s quite sensible, not very woo-woo at all. Body awareness provides clues to how you really feel about events, circumstances and decisions. Chopra examines the interrelatedness of matter, the energy field consisting of the entire universe and you in it, as he tells you to pay attention to what you feel and where in the body you feel it. Stress affects certain areas, anger and fear others—by bringing awareness to physical feelings you can mitigate and even heal what might be making you unhappy, or unwell.

There’s a very good section on being present in the moment. Nothing new about the teaching—it is thousands of years old—but it is a powerful catalyst for change. The point is that happiness can only exist in the moment because the past is over and the future does not yet exist. That seems obvious but we cart around so much baggage that we seldom devote full awareness and appreciation to the present. Chopra recommends a mindfulness practice to increase present-moment awareness. He emphasizes the benefits of meditation as well.

I tend to like Chopra’s audio and video lectures more than his books. Those events seem to treat subjects in greater depth than the slim, nicely laid-out books. But The Ultimate Happiness Prescription is worth the relatively short amount of time it takes to read it and probably worth a few re-reads, too. The activities Chopra suggests and the points he makes apply to every type of self-improvement effort. In the end, he delivers an introduction to the quest for enlightenment—not some exalted mystical state but a better, saner, more intelligent and, well, happier way to live in this world.

The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment   Deepak Chopra | Harmony Books 2009