Deepak Chopra’s Ideas on “The Future of God” – Part 3 of
In this third and last post I will discuss Deepak Chopra’s views of the three worlds of human experience: Material, Subtle, and Transcendent. As usual, I will paraphrase and add my own comments as appropriate. Belief in god or a higher power has no borders, neither formal national borders nor personal reality borders. Let’s explore the three human worlds, and how they relate to spiritual development and energies.
- The Material World – This world of human experience is based on pure duality as in happy-sad, good-evil, pleasure-pain, craving-avoidance, light-dark, etc. This is the world of ego and personality of the self. This is the conditioned world made up of atomic particles formed into materials and experiences we judge as good and not good. It all reflects what our brain’s neurons are doing within the experiences of life. It is the world of self-interest, self-aggrandizement, the self of I/Me/Mine. Even though we humans represent a very, very tiny insignificant speck in the universe, we somehow see ourselves as very important within the overall scheme of existence. Although we may someday destroy the world as we know it, we are – on the whole – quite unimportant in the infinite system of all things in all ten directions. We are driven by desire, and the basis for positive versus negative evaluations are based on the sense doors of our experience. If we judge our sensory experiences to be what WE WANT, they are good; if we judge our sensory experiences to be what WE DO NOT WANT, they are bad. We tend to be comfortable, even happy, if personal reality provides more of what we desire. We tend to be unhappy (even angry and sometimes dangerous) if personal reality fails to provide what we desire. This is the world of possible entitlement and narcissistic injury. We view and evaluate all worldly happenings as good or bad based on what our inner sensations and emotions (with thoughts and behaviors) “tell” us. It is an internal, evaluative part of being human. As the ever changing reality of experience continues (impermanence), we track it by how our emotions react to the changes. The world of samsara is a hopeless world, in which we cannot attain lasting satisfactions let alone lasting intrinsic happiness. Unless we grow via spiritual expansion, we remain trapped in day-to-day “I got what I wanted” or “I did not get what I wanted.” The ups and downs of this rollercoaster life tend to end in dissatisfaction (as The Buddha noted). We may learn to self-medicate (see earlier posts on this topic) to experience short-term pleasure or escape from suffering but it always ends with long-term pain.
- The Subtle World – If/when we grow spiritually, we may attain access to the subtle world. In this transitional and energetic space, we experience a bit more intuition, even deep insight about the true nature of things. Opposites tend to move toward the middle way, and our deep-rooted desires begin to move from material gain to finding more meaning and purpose in life (happiness). We may have more awareness of our own inner changes, enjoy the natural world and its wonders, and begin to think and act (thoughts, emotions, behaviors) in more compassionate ways. We may even care about the welfare of others more than our own personal self-cherishing. We encounter the awe and bliss of our “soul.” We use mindfulness skills to follow where I mind goes, and we may be able to set its direction on our own. We are far less dominated by automatic negative thinking. We become less fearful, more cooperative, and more hopeful. We recognize the core change rests in our willingness to hold a more flexible view of ourselves, other people, and the world as a whole. We experience and value inspiration and deeper insight into higher consciousness and the way things are. We have more radical acceptance of whatever comes to us, and find ways to be OK with it all.
- The Transcendent World – There are many great steps from material to subtle to transcendent worlds. They all begin with the first step. Here we seek the sources of perceived and experienced reality. We may even be with the ultimate oneness of all things. We may suffer less; this occurs because we are less conflicted and trapped by the I/Me/Mine expectations of the material world. It is NOT about competition for the good. Opposites tend to collapse into some form of non-duality and oneness. If we are fortunate, we experience true consciousness and discover the cosmic reality of boundlessness, egolessness and selflessness. We are more open to ultimate possibilities, even ultimate emptiness. We feel more connected to ourselves, other people, greater consciousness – perhaps even to god or some form of higher power.
- Creation of The Higher Self – The subtle and transcendent worlds provide us with experiences that open up our higher self. We may feel lighter, boundless and secure. We may enjoy life just as it is – without ego-based reactivity and aggressiveness. We feel a true calmness in our center. We accept and forgive without heroic effort. We find deep personal happiness in meaning and purpose in life. We attain a state of liberation from attachment, desire, craving, avoidance, etc. We thrive on curiosity, and we do seek higher wisdom even if it ends in emptiness (not-nihilism). We recognize that pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, satisfaction and dissatisfaction are simply the realities of being human. We feel more inspiration and bliss – sometimes even in simple day-to-day things we encounter. As we continue to grow, we realize that the true sources of creation, joy, bliss are within ourselves NOT out there somewhere far away. We seek higher truth. Vedanta and greater Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam ALL TEACH that the ultimate answer to our most meaningful questions and life experiences all are already within us. Now we may have the security, inner peace and deeper wisdom to discover our center and its meaning.
For more information refer to Chora, D, (2014). The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times. New York: Harmony Books, pp. 145-215.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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