Mastering the Forces That Shape Personal Reality
Here, Chopra (Perfect Healing, 1990; Return of the Rishi, 1988) laments that "our culture provides us with so little opportunity to confront the basic meaning of life that sickness and death have filled the void by becoming conversion experiences." Is there not a way, he asks, to find a transcendent meaning in life before a crisis, while there is still ample time to enjoy the life that suddenly seems so worthwhile? Chopra is an Indian-born-and-educated physician who emigrated to America as a young man and attained proficiency and respectability in Western medicine, then found himself drawn back to the ancient Ayurvedic healing arts of his native land. Drawing equally on the Indian sages of antiquity and the newest findings in biology and physics, he asserts that "any aspect of reality can be changed...by manipulating the fundamental layer of awareness that ties all of nature together. By a simple but breathtaking stroke, if I can change my mind...then I can change the world." But changing the mind is not a matter of positive thinking or affirmations or the like: "Thinking your way out of thought," as he puts it, "is like trying to get out of quicksand by picking yourself up by the hair." A deeper process of mental transformation must occur, and the agent of transformation he recommends is daily meditation--specifically, the technique of Transcendental Meditation as introduced to the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Moving anecdotes of remarkable recoveries enliven the theoretical discussions, and a poetic sense infuse the language. Few writers in the crowded new field of mind/body healing can match Chopra's combination of erudition, wit, and warmth of heart.