So, how have you managed to navigate through the last three months?
Your answer to that question may not receive the same kind of broad exposure that the Wall Street Journal gave to Deepak Chopra over the weekend. In the post-religion era, he’s the most accomplished guru of the spirituality movement that offers mystical creativity without the boundaries of historic faith systems. How would such an expert get through these challenging times?
He’s been binge-watching Candid Camera on Netflix, his taste for Nespresso (“I believe coffee is good for you”), his Yeti microphone for Zooming, and: “I carry around a Divine Feminine coin and several talismans in my coat pocket at all times. In my tradition, there are three aspects of the Divine Feminine: the Goddess of Wisdom, the Goddess of Abundance and the Goddess that Destroys Ignorance. So I use them to ground me and remind me of what I’m doing and where I’m going…”
Chopra is not a poor, superstitious beggar. He serves as an adjunct professor in the marketing division at Columbia Business School as well as adjunct professor of executive programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He participates annually as a lecturer at the Update in Internal Medicine event sponsored by Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Robert Carroll writes of Chopra charging $25,000 per lecture, “giving spiritual advice while warning against the ill effects of materialism.” He believes that a person may attain “perfect health, free from disease, never feeling pain, able to never age or die.”
In 1996 he set up the Chopra Center for Wellbeing with neurologist David Simon in Carlsbad, California. In his 2013 book, Do You Believe in Magic?, Paul Offit writes that Chopra’s business grosses approximately $20 million annually, and is built on the sale of various alternative medicine products such as herbal supplements, massage oils, books, videos and courses. A year’s worth of products for “anti-ageing” can cost up to $10,000, Offit wrote. In 2014, Chopra’s net worth was estimated to be over $80 million.
Chopra has found a market pocket for his brand of spirituality; his specialty may be mysticism, but his roles in the academic community recognize his expertise in marketing and building a business. His breakthrough happened in July of 1993 when Oprah Winfrey’s afternoon program first exposed him and his philosophy. Now the author of 90 books, he’s presumed to have the secrets needed to discover greatness. Maybe he should get an Oprah coin for his pocket…?
In all of that hocus-pocus, he does have a compelling promise: is it possible for someone to achieve “perfect health, free from disease, never feeling pain, able to never age or die?” The answer: absolutely “yes.” Will they find it from Deepak? Absolutely “no.” In a world running from CV-19, where is that ultimate solution?
For that discovery, it isn’t Oprah or Deepak who reveals the secret. Paul the Apostle discloses the mystery: “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:9-11).
According to Paul, it isn’t the Goddess coin in your pocket that unlocks your potential: it’s the Spirit in you who does that. Paul and Deepak, logically: they could both be wrong… but they cannot both be right.
Where will you place your trust: the coin in your pocket, or the Spirit in your body?