Published by Santa Barbara News-Press.
Mind Your Health: Dr. Deepak Chopra to speak in Santa Barbara about his positive approach to medicine
As chaos surrounds you, stay calm.
Your health depends on it.
That's the word from Dr. Deepak Chopra, a New York Times best-selling author who contends negative attitudes weaken the partnership between the mind and body.
"When you experience stress, your body's inflamed. Your immune system is compromised. Stress is the No. 1 epidemic of our civilization," the 69-year-old La Jolla endocrinologist and internist told the News-Press by phone from a hotel in New York City, where he was visiting.
"You have to learn to quiet your mind through practices like meditation, self-reflection, mindfulness, being comfortable with your body and knowing what's happening in your mental space and web of relationships," the New Delhi native said. He practices integrative medicine, which combines lifestyle changes with conventional treatments.
Dr. Chopra will share his expertise Sept. 17 during World Business Academy programming in Santa Barbara.
He will be interviewed on stage in the morning at the New Vic and will receive the World Business Academy Award during its evening gala at the Belmond El Encanto.
"I feel honored," said Dr. Chopra, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad and the Chopra Foundation, a nonprofit promoting health and world peace. He's also a professor of medicine at the University of San Diego.
"I've been familiar with the World Business Academy for almost 25 years as a fellow and supporter," Dr. Chopra said.
Dr. Chopra praised the Santa Barbara-based academy for its work on behalf of renewable energy and efforts supporting the 2024 and 2025 closures of California's last two nuclear reactors at the Diablo Canyon facility in Avila Beach.
Dr. Chopra said his work for the World Business Academy includes writing essays about the nature of consciousness. There's a global angle.
"How do you know there is a planet? Because you experience it," Dr. Chopra said. "You, as a biological organism, cannot be separated from the planet."
"My main goal in life is to give people a deeper understanding of consciousness and how human constructs create everything we call reality," he said.
That goal led to his prolific writing career, which started in 1989 with "Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine" (Bantam Books).
It was the first of his 86 books.
"I'm neurotic, I guess. I'm compulsive about writing," said Dr. Chopra, who updated "Quantum Healing" in 2015.
Dr. Chopra said his latest book is always his favorite. For now, that's "You Are the Universe" (Harmony, $26), which he co-wrote with Menas C. Kafatos. After its release in February, the book immediately became a New York Times best seller.
"The book is challenging everything that scientists are telling us today," Dr. Chopra said. "Science is based on observing reality independently and says reality is independent of consciousness. But what we call reality is an exercise in consciousness.
"If there were no sentient beings, there were be no reality," he said. "The book is an extension of everything I've been writing for 30 years."
Before he became an author, Dr. Chopra focused on a conventional medical career. He earned his medical degree at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi in 1969.
He treated rural villagers in India before he and his new wife, Rita, moved to the U.S. in 1970. He worked at Plainfield, N.J., and Boston hospitals before becoming chief of staff in the 1980s at New England Memorial Hospital (now Boston Regional Medical Center) in Stoneham, Mass.
He turned to transcendental meditation to help him quit drinking and smoking and unwind in healthier ways.
In 1985, he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the TM (transcendental meditation) movement and spiritual adviser to The Beatles, and left traditional medicine to become Maharishi's corporate officer. At the same time, he operated a clinic emphasizing Ayurvedic (holistic) medicine in Lancaster, Mass.
In 1993, he left Maharishi and became executive director of the Sharp Institute for Human Potential and Mind Body Medicine in San Diego County.
Three years later, he departed the institute and opened the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in 1996.
Dr. Chopra said well-being boils down to one thing: self-awareness.
"If you nonjudgmentally observe yourself and your reaction to the world, you'll change your behavior. You don't have to think positive thoughts. Just be a witness of your own mind and body," he said. "The more self-aware you are, the less reactive you'll be."
Self-awareness includes gratitude. Dr. Chopra said a Columbia University journal published his center's study, which found people's blood pressure fell when they reflected on what made them thankful.
In fact, gratitude decreases inflammatory markers, said Dr. Chopra, who advises people to be thankful, even if it's simply for being alive. He said you don't need a more specific reason to be happy.
"Happiness for a reason is a problem because reasons come and go."
IF YOU GO
Dr. Deepak Chopra, integrative medicine expert and author, will appear during several World Business Academy presentations Sept. 17 in Santa Barbara.
Dr. Chopra will be at a meet-and-greet during a continental breakfast at 10 a.m. at the New Vic, 33 W. Victoria St.
He will be interviewed at 11 a.m. on the New Vic stage by Rinaldo Brutoco, the academy's founding president. Dr. Chopra will answer the audience's questions afterward.
The academy will honor him at its Awards Gala and Dinner, which begins with a cocktail party at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 at Belmond El Encanto, 800 Alvarado Place.
Tickets cost $50 for Dr. Chopra's 11 a.m. talk, $100 for the breakfast and talk, and $300 for the evening gala. VIP seats at the gala cost $1,000.
To purchase, go to https://worldbusiness.org/gala2017. For more information, contact the academy at 892-4600.