Dr. Deepak Chopra: Life, Career, and Universe

My name
is Deepak Chopra. Growing up, very early
in my life, when I was about
six years of age, my father was
in England. I was living
with my grandfather. And one day there was a telegram that came
from England that said that
my father had passed all his exams
as a cardiologist. He was now a fellow of the Royal College
of Physicians. My grandfather took me
and my brother out and we went to
the carnival. We saw a movie. I remember the movie Alibaba
and The 40 Thieves. And that night, after all
the festivities and celebrations, my grandfather
suddenly died and I was only
six years old.

But I started wondering
about the mystery of our existence, how why do we exist? What is the meaning and purpose
of our existence? What is the
meaning of death? And so I would say I had my first
existential crisis at the age of six, and then never
it never left me. So that that quest
never ended. Started
at the age of six. It's going on
right now. As a child,
I was brought up with mythical
stories of India's rich spiritual
heritage, but also
mythical stories from Greek
mythology. We read a lot of literature,
both Indian and mostly
English literature.

So at a certain time
in my childhood, I could recite almost all the plays
of Shakespeare. So that was the kind of education we got. I went to an Irish
Christian Brothers missionary
school, and our teachers
were very strict. We were disciplined, we played sports. Cricket was my
favorite sport and I was both the leg spinner
bowler and my father wanted me
to go into medicine. I wanted to be
a writer. So on
my 14th birthday, he gave me
a set of books where the protagonist in all the novels
was a doctor physician. So in a way, I was kind of
influenced to go to medical school
and to write. Because of the books
that I received. I had $8 when I left
India, $100 given to me by
an uncle in London. And that was $108 which I spent in one evening
at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. And so when I
arrived in New York, actually
I had no money. I made a collect
call, those days there weren't any cell phones,
to my hospital. And I called
the administrator and I said, I don't have any money
to come from JFK to New Jersey.

And so they picked me up
in a helicopter. Actually,
my first experience of the United States was lifting off
in an helicopter, looking through the window,
seeing Manhattan, and I
was totally dazzled by the experience. I had never seen
anything like this. And 20 minutes
later, I was in a small place
called Plainfield, New Jersey,
getting my feet wet as an emergency room
intern. After that, I became an instructor
in medicine at Boston University
Medical School. In 1993, I founded the Chopra Center
for Well-Being, along with
the neurologist Dr. David Simon, who
has since passed on. He had a brain
tumor. Unfortunately,
I have since then been invited by
many businesses to represent them in a way that I can lend
my name to them. And of course,
I vet them and make sure that they're in alignment
with my with my thinking and my goals. So whatever
has happened as a business
has happened very spontaneously. It wasn't
part of the plan. In fact, nothing in my life has been
a part of the plan. I came here as an
immigrant at a time when actually
the country was in great turmoil,
as it is now.

So when I came to
this country as an immigrant,
as an intern, there was
the Vietnam War, which was coming to an end, but there was
a lot of turmoil. There was Watergate
happening. There were riots in Boston
around bussing. There was
a lot of racism. And the civil rights movement was recent. I have been through
a period in this country
when I first came, which was almost as turbulent
as it is now.

So I'm not
a pessimist about how bad things seem to be at the moment. They are bad. We are in the midst
of racism and bigotry and
hatred and prejudice and all the things
that basically feel wrong and is being used. The immigration
experience is being used
as a weapon to create more fear and as a weapon
for power mongering
cronyism, influence peddling, corruption
and all of that. What I've learned is that in the absence
of self-awareness, there will never be
self-realization, and in the absence of self-realization,
there will never be joy, happiness, loss of fear and creativity
and imagination and meaning
and purpose. So the unexamined
life is not worth living..

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