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First Person

The Experience Questionnaire: Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra, M.D., is an alternative medicine advocate, public speaker, and writer.

Where do you come up with your best ideas? 

I have a practice of sitting in stillness and asking questions to myself. I also do this sometimes before I go to sleep. The ideas come unpredictably and if they ring true, I write them down and expand on them through further reflection.

What is the best non-material gift you’ve received?
The best non-material gifts I have received were from my parents. They were: attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance.

What is the best non-material gift you’ve given?
I try always to be non-judgmental and look at the world from other people’s eyes. Empathy leads to compassion, which is the basis of love, and in turn the basis of all healing and self-regulation. Therefore, the best gift I can give is always empathy.

Being stuck is not an experience I have.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Not taking my public persona seriously.

If you had to choose a different profession, what would you do?
I would probably be a street poet.

What is the most useful mistake you’ve made? 
Trying to be an academic only to realize I am not cut out to be a conformist. 

What’s the strangest experience you’ve had?
Realizing that embodiment is a hallucination. We are not in the body; the body exists as an intermittent stream of perceptions in awareness. Now identifying with my body-mind persona seems to be, and continues to be, strange to me.

What opportunity do you regret passing up?
Every night I let go of any attachment to what I have experienced that day. I consider life to be a lucid dream in a vivid now. I therefore live without regrets.

How do you relax?
I am always relaxed.

If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
I would abandon the junkyard of infinity, a speck of dust in an infinite void called Planet Earth, and visit another planet in a different dimension of space and time.

What is your most indelible childhood memory?
The death of my grandfather, whom I was very close to, when I was 6. It started a lifelong quest to know how death makes life possible.

What’s the most valuable thing you learned in school?
Not to take education seriously. It bamboozles you into the rush to conform, compete, and pursue success instead of excellence.

When you’re stuck how do you get unstuck?
I live my life with no anticipation, no regrets and no resistance, and therefore in flow. Being stuck is not an experience I have.

What is your proudest moment?
I don’t think of pride as a virtue so I can’t think of an answer.

What would you like to experience before you die? 
A more peaceful, just, sustainable, healthier, and joyful world. 

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