Let’s clarify that headline. New Age health guru Deepak Chopra didn’t actually “knock out” anyone at Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center on Monday.
He put them into a meditative state and disentangled them from their thoughts and memories, gently nudging them towards a collective consciousness that is “timeless, and not subject to birth and death.”
Chopra’s two-hour talk, You Are the Universe: The Future of Well Being, was pegged to his latest New York Times best-seller.
There were lots of lists and formulas, sprinkled with references to quantum physics and holistic medicine, delivered in mellifluous tones, punctuated by humorous asides.
Much of it went over my head. Non-Local Dormant Potentials? You probably have to buy the book for that.
Yet Chopra, 71, was introduced on Monday by the president of Morristown Medical Center, where Chopra helped launch the Chambers Center for Well Being in 2014.
New Jersey looms large in Chopra’s legend. Born in New Delhi, India, he started his U.S. career in 1970 at a now-defunct hospital in Plainfield.
He remembered causing double-takes when, after pronouncing a patient dead, he requested a torch. That’s British, he explained wryly, for “flashlight.”
Since then, Chopra has penned more than 85 books, of which 25 have landed on the Times’ best-seller list. A 1993 appearance on Oprah made him a star.
Board-certified in internal medicine, endocrinology and metabolism, he holds teaching positions at Northwestern University, Columbia and the University of California at San Diego, and is founder of the Chopra Foundation and the Chopra Center for Well Being.
A Huffington Post survey ranked him as the world’s 17th most influential thinker and No. 1 in Medicine.
He’s won awards from the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine… and a satirical Ig Nobel Prize for “his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness.”
If PBS had a Pledge Drive Hall of Fame, Chopra surely would rate an entire wing.
Chopra told the large Morristown audience that humans are universal, in terms of our metabolic components, bodily rhythms and electromagnetic fields.
We are stardust. We are golden.
Put another way: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
However, Chopra maintains, our consciousness creates stress … which throws us out of sync with the cosmos and makes us sick.
“There is no disease that can’t be related to stress,” Chopra asserted. Our “spark of divinity is overshadowed by experiences that cause us stress.”
Stress, he said, can be tamed via his Happiness Formula: H=S+C+V.
Happiness involves your Setpoint — how you are programmed as an infant for happiness or dysfunction, based on your parents’ treatment of you. It’s half of the equation.
Conditions of Living, such as poverty, account for about 10 percent. Voluntary Choices, which offer our best shot at improving our H, comprise the remainder.
Shopping, eating and sex are (usually) Voluntary Choices that make people H–for awhile. More lasting H comes from creativity, gratitude, serving others, and so forth.
We’re simplifying here, but Chopra’s prescription for H — his answer to Einstein’s maddening quest for a Unified Theory of Everything–goes something like this:
Get plenty of sleep. Meditate. Exercise. Love someone. Eat your veggies.
Who can argue with that?