Deepak Chopra Ideas on “The Future of God” – Part 1
Deepak Chopra’s new book, The Future of God… (2014) presents some very challenging perspective on spirituality, atheism, and formal religion. Here I will simply present some paraphrased details and my own ideas on these topics.
Human beings have special talents for searching and finding spiritual systems to become part of. We crave the reality of some higher power to have faith in. Questions about: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my ultimate purpose in this life? Why do I suffer? Is there a GOD? Even an intelligent view of the tao of the universe suggests that there must be “something” higher out there if not within. Our primary search begins within – the god spot in the brain, the heart, the soul. We need to find something larger, greater than ourselves to believe in. We crave a spiritual awakening to find truth – our personal truth and a higher truth. The peak experience of being in spirit lies only in the present moment experience. Perhaps we are trying to fill a deep hole of inner emptiness, or just trying to make sense of the troubled world and the vast universe of all things in the Ten Directions. Ultimately we HOPE our beliefs and faith will lead to some form of salvation, liberation or true centering inside the core of our self. Mainly we seek safety, protection, security, inspiration happiness, and success within our own being and within our many groups (family, friends, partner/s, ethnic and racial group, nation, world beings). Ultimate we hope belief in something bigger will lead to less suffering, less boredom, and more happiness. We will stop at nothing – even cruel beheadings and the suffering of The Crusades – to validate that our belief (our god, gods, systems) are the true paths to salvation. In the end, however, we seek serious and complete transformation – transformation that leads to inner peace, fulfillment, soulful feelings, compassion, higher consciousness, and transcendence beyond the beyond. Beyond any ego-based self.
To be successful in the pathway we must have strong faith. Our faith is highly personal, often unjustified, and requires our complete attention and participation. Our faith sometimes lands us into spiritual places (inside, outside) where we hope to find deeper meaning. It requires NO scientific proof, just strong faith and regular practice. The “Dark Night of the Soul” has something to offer all of us. Perhaps The Bhagavad Gita is correct in noting that faith originates in perceptions of the mind – mental objects that place “I/Me” at the center of movement toward a more true and secure identity. Then we must pay attention to Mother Theresa’s questions. Agnus Bojaxhiu noted that although Jesus has special love for all people, she experienced only “silence and emptiness.” How did she go on and on to help others? What about wisdom? Wisdom often supports faith in that we learn knowledge and practice in the hopes of making things better for ourselves and for others. Our acts of goodness and compassion take root in the seeds of deep wisdom – wisdom pushed on through faith. From the Buddhist perspective, it has been noted that The Buddha was the master of afflictive spirituality, general dissatisfaction in life. Surely, meaningful life goes beyond simple pleasure and pain; surely, meaningful life includes detached attachment, acceptance of impermanence, no-self (aggrandizements), and the compassion of fearlessness in the vast emptiness. Whether it is through the teaching of Jesus or the Eightfold Path of The Buddha or other deeply spiritual teaching, we can achieve some level of spiritual satisfaction even in this materialistic, troubled life we live. Spiritual belief, faith, wisdom, regular practice, and compassionate actions – all lead us to deeper personal spiritual experience.
In the end of our energetic searching, let’s hope that spiritual faith and wisdom-like actions lead us to patience, kindness, generosity, humility, emotional regulation, sincere truth, and inner peace with joy. Yes, this would be great outcome for all our efforts. See part 2 coming soon.
For more information refer to Chopra, D. (2014). The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times. New York: Harmony Books, pp. 1-142.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
Author of Mindful Happiness
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