by Dr. Deepak Chopra

public lecture in 1993

extracted from MATRIX IV

Spanish version

 

 

"What I would like to do, if I can, is give you an idea of who you are.

 

The usual idea of who we are conies from the superstition of materialism. We usually think of ourselves as a physical body that has learned how to think, and as some kind of skin-encapsulated ego that is confined in a bag of flesh and bone and lives the span of a lifetime squeezed into the volume of a body.

 

This idea of who we are comes to us because we interpret reality through our senses. Our senses, we think, gives us an accurate picture of the world. We have this idea that sensory experience is the crucial test of reality, that only if I can touch something, or see something does it really exist - otherwise it is "just in my imaginationíí.

 

Even from the viewpoint of "common sense", we know that this is not true. My senses tell me that the Earth is flat, and nobody believes that any more. My senses tell my that the ground I am standing on is stationary, but I know that it is moving through space at dizzying speeds. My senses tell me that certain things have a certain texture, color and smell - but it turns out that what I sense of these things is really not its intrinsic nature, it is the response of the observer. It is how my senses decode something which is much vaster, more abstract and quite ineffable.


An experiment was done at Harvard Medical School about twenty years ago where they took some kittens and brought them up in a room that had only horizontal stripes.

 

When these kittens grew up, they could see nothing other than a horizontal world. They took some other kittens and brought them up in a room that had only vertical stripes, and when these kittens grew up they could see nothing other than a vertical world. Of course, it had nothing to do with the belief system of these cats.

 

Their brains were examined and they did not have the inter-neuronal connections to see the "other type of world". In other words, the way these kittens experienced their senses when they were small programmed their nervous system in such a way that it served only one function - to keep reinforcing that initial interpretation. So what what they saw was ultimately an interpretation, which is what psychologists call premature cognitive commitment.

 

The perceptual apparatus is shaped through early experience that locks the neurological structure into a fixed perception of reality.


Right this moment, 99% of the people in this room are taking in less than one billionth of the stimuli that are present in this room. What stimuli that people do receive is governed by your concept of what you think exists "out there".

 

If you donít have the concept, you will not perceive it. In effect, it doesnít exist for you. What we call reality is really the result of a collection of our subjective experiences. If we happen to agree on those subjective experiences, we call it "objective science". But, "science" is nothing but a method of exploring our map of what we think the truth is.

 

Science is not a method for exploring the truth. Science is an extension of our reality map.

 

So far, our reality map (based on science for the past 300 years) described by sciences is entrenched in an obsolete mode. It is entrenched in the superstition of materialism. It looks at the human body as a physical machine that has learned how to think, if you believe in Communism. Capitalism, feelings, drives, God, Heaven, salvation or anything else, it is because of the dance of molecules.

 

According to "modern science", bio-chemical phenomenon somehow produces a phenomenon called consciousness, and thought is a by-product of matter.

 

This materialistic model leads to a host of strategies in science that are completely materialistic - "magic bullets" to cure illness - allopathic medicine, and taking external substances to do what the body can do anyway. As we look at how these "magic bullets" work, we find that most of these measures are symptomatic in nature, or at best they interfere with mechanisms of disease - mechanisms of disease are not origins of disease. The origins of disease have to do with life and how it expresses itself in terms of physiological processes.

 

Consciousness expresses these processes. One can effectively interfere with mechanisms of disease through the use of drugs, but usually the disease finds another way of expressing itself. So, in the case of antibiotics, we have the evolution of antibiotic resistant organisms which are acquired in hospitals.

 

According to one study, disease acquired from going to the hospital kills more than 100,000 people each year. The number one cause of drug addition in the world is not street drugs, but prescription drugs given out by doctors.

 

According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, it is estimated that 36% of hospital patients suffer front iatrogenic disease acquired as a direct result of bio-technical and medical intervention. Disease a person acquires because they happen to see a doctor. Although more people are doing research on cancer in the United States than have cancer, the incidence of cancer has increased over the last 30 years by as much as 300%.

 

More people live off cancer than the of it Eighty percent of the people in the United States swallow a medically prescribed chemical every 24 hours. Despite that, the overall incidence of disease increases. Bio-technical and medical intervention now rivals traffic accidents, industrial accidents and war-related activities as a cause of mortality.

 

Medical intervention is one of the most rapidly spreading epidemics of our time.


All this is not necessarily because scientists have wrong intentions - it is because the model of who we think we are is frozen in an obsolete mode - mode that looks on the body as a frozen anatomical structure. In fact the human body (as well as everything else in creation) is a river of intelligence, energy and information that is constantly renewing itself during every second of its existence. The real you, which is permanent, cannot step into the same body twice.

 

Every second, you are renewing your body more easily than before.

 

The physical body you have now is not the same one you had twenty minutes ago. One can examine a number of physiological processes to see how literally this is true. Just the act of breathing, with each bream you inhale 1022 atoms from the universe. It is an astronomical amount of raw material that comes from everywhere and ends up as renewed cellular structure in the body.

 

With each exhalation you are breathing out 1022 atoms that have their origin from everywhere inside the body. You are literally breathing out pieces of your organs, tissue and DNA structure.

 

Technically speaking, we are intimately sharing our internal structure with each other all the time. You cannot claim exclusivity over your body. Right now, in your physical body, you have over a million atoms that were once in the body of Christ, Mohammed, George Bush, and everyone else. Anyone that has ever existed.

 

Parts of their raw material are in your body. In just the last three weeks 1 quadrillion atoms have gone through your body that have gone through the bodies of every other living species on the planet. According to radioactive isotope studies, you replace almost your entire body in one year. Ninety-eight percent of all the atoms in your body are replaced in less than one year.

 

You literally make a new liver every six weeks, a new skin once a month, a new stomach lining every five weeks, a new skeleton every three months, the brain cells every year and the DNA (which holds the memory of millions of years of evolution) comes and goes every six weeks. If you want to account for every atom in the body, it is all replaced in less than two years. If you think you are your physical body, you certainly have a problem. Which one are you talking about?


What happened to the body from last year? It went back to the dust from whence it came. Itís dead, and yet "I" havenít died.

 

This is the first major insight that science is beginning to understand. I am constantly outliving the physical death of the body. Right this moment. Perhaps the body is a place that my memories call "home" for the time being. In other words, it is not matter which produces consciousness - ifs the other way around It is consciousness which produces matter.

 

Consciousness which constructs and becomes physical matter. Is this just a philosophical Eastern speculation? I would like to say that this is a scientific insight. If you went to a physicist and asked "what is the true nature of physical reality?", the physicist might tell you that the true nature of physical reality is that it is not physical. If you look at anything "material" you will see that it is made up of atoms, which are made up of particles moving at high speed around huge empty spaces - these particles are not material objects at all, they are fluctuations of energy and information which lie in a huge Void of information and energy.

 

Seen through the eyes of a physicist, and not through the artifact of human sensory experience, the human body (or anything else physical) is proportionally as Void as inter-galactic space. If you could see anything as it really IS, you would see a huge empty Void with a few scattered dots (themselves being energy} and a few electrical discharges (more energy).

 

The fact is that 99.99999% of the human body or anything else is mostly empty space. The 0.00001% which appears material is also empty space.


The whole thing is made out of nothing. The essential material of the Universe is that it is not material at all The essential "stuff of the Universe is "non-stuff.

 

The most interesting aspect of it is that not only is it "non-stuff, but it is thinking "non-stuff", because our inner space is not just an empty Void - it is the womb of Creation - nature goes to the same place to create a galaxy or a human body that it does to create a thought, because what is a thought other than an impulse of energy and information coming out from the same Unified Field that structures and engenders all the forces of nature that are ultimately experienced as "material reality"?


We all come from the same place, and those quantum events - those basic vibrations of nature that structure the flowers, the trees and the stars appear in my own awareness as linguistically-structured verbally elite thought that speaks to me in the English language - and usually with an Indian accent.

 

In other words, thought is a quantum event. It is a fluctuation in that Unified Field, and it transforms itself (as all quantum events do} into sub-atomic reality, molecular reality and ultimately "the whole world". My physical body is part of that world. Itís recycled raw material.

 

If there is Intelligence in me then intelligence is pervasive everywhere - there are hierarchies of Intelligence, or levels of intensity of expression of that Intelligence. Itís everywhere and non-local. Thought is just an impulse in that field that creates reality. There is a lot of interesting work that shows that this is the case. When you think thoughts, you are actually practicing brain chemistry.

 

Every thought, feeling and emotion (no matter whether you are thinking in Danish or Sanskrit) translates into the same bio-chemical event These bio-chemical events are called neuro-peptides. They are "messengers from inner space".

 

There are receptors to neuro-peptides in every cell in the body. Every cell also generates neuro-peptides. The immune ceils, which protect you from degenerative disorders, are constantly eavesdropping on your internal dialogue. The question is, if there is an internal dialogue going on, who is having this internal dialog?

 

The immune cells make the same peptides that the brain makes when it processes thought In other words, the immune cells also process thought Ask a good neuro-biologist what the difference is between the immune system and the nervous system and they will tell you there isnít any difference.

 

The immune system is a "circulating" nervous system. To make matters more interesting, this is the case everywhere else in the body. When scientists look at stomach cells and colon cells, they find the same things going on now. When you say that you have a "gut feeling", you are not speaking metaphorically but literallyí, because your "gut" makes the same chemicals the brain makes. In fact, your "gut" feeling may be a little more accurate because gut cells havenít yet "evolved" to the stage of self-doubt.


The body and mind are connected in every aspect of physiology. When we experience quantum events (intelligence and information) "subjectively", we call it "the mind".

 

When we experience those same quantum events "objectively", we call it "the body". It all comes out of the same field of pure potentiality which engenders within itself all these information and energy stales that are experienced "subjectively" as the "mind" and "objectively" as "the body".

 

By itself, the field is beyond both "body" and "mind". The "thinker" is not in the realm of the body or the mind - the field is the "thinker" behind the thought, as well as the cause of mind and body.

 

A great Sufi thinker once said,

"Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field - I will meet you there".

Einstein talked about the field. He said that it is not an actual model for space-time í events we call "material reality*, but a field of potentiality. It is a continuum of all possibilities and energy-information states that subsequently manifest into space-time events.


Coming back to this idea that the physical body is nothing other than a field of ideas, we can extend this and see that even in the Universe that lives inside the body is created out of the same field of ideas. There is an interesting group of hormones called pheromones, which are messenger-molecules. If you infect a plant with a virus, the plant will release hormones into the atmosphere to let other plants of its own species that there is an infection going on.

 

The plant is a localized concentration of awareness in a much larger field of awareness. It knows how to share its awareness with other localized concentrations of awareness (other plants) which carry similar energy and information states (of the same species). Animals do this.

 

There was an experiment conducted at Stanford University in California where scientists gave some mice electrical shocks. They took the mice out of the area and brought in fresh mice, who panicked, because they picked up on the hormones emitted by the fear in the previous batch of mice.

 

Every emotional state that we have has a bio-chemical milieu which is released by the body through the skin, sweat and on the breath. Our minds extend outside the body, although the consciousness of the body is within that of the mind - the mind is within something much more pervasive, and we call (hat field the "Spirit", which creates the mind, the body and the objective Universe.


In the Vedic literature, the Rishis said,

"When I found out who I really was, I discovered that I am not in the Mind, but the Mind is me; Iím not in the body, but the body is me; Iím not in the World, but me World is me; curving back within myself I create again and again; in essence, I am That which creates all of That - I am That, you are That, All this is That, and Thatís All there Is; if you find That, then you have it All."

This is where everything comes from - not only energy and matter, but even space and time. We tend to think of time as something "external" and real but as one physicist said,

"there is no such thing as linear time. Linear time is a purely psychological event in a Universe where all time happens at once".

Another physicist said,

"time is just Natures way of preventing us from experiencing everything all at once".

Our senses decode that into "linear time". Time is something that we engender through our own self-interaction in exactly the same way as we engender the bio-chemistry of our bodies or the environment.


A few months ago I met a friend of mine on a flight to London, and we "had such a good time" that "time flew". We forgot to eat and go to the bathroom, and when we got there we didnít have the usual "jet lag". All the so-called "fixed biological cycles" were restructured as a result of a different internal dialog relative to psychological time.

 

Perhaps you know people who use the expression "Iím running out of time". When you look at these people, you find that they have accelerated biological clocks. They have faster heart rates, higher levels of insulin, growth hormones and glucose, etc. When they suddenly drop dead from a pre-mature coronary theyíve truly "run out of time". You may also know people who have another internal dialog that "have all the time in the world".

 

They have a different experience and a different physiological process.

 

Many people are familiar with the experience of being "in love" or walking on a beach and slipping "into the timeless", as has happened when we use the expression "the beauty of the mountain was breath-taking and time stood still.

 

Notice the expression. In the experience of unity consciousness (where the "observer" and the "observed", during the process of "observation", resolve into One unified wholeness of experience and there is no time) - there is only Eternityí. Time is a concept. The reality is Eternity.


If you read Stephen Hawkings book "A Brief History of Time", you will see that the introduction (by Carl Sagan) says,

"Stephen Hawkings set out to understand the Mind of God and came to the conclusion that we live in a Universe that has no beginning in time, no ending in time, no outer edges in space and nothing for a Creator to do." 1

Try and conceptualize this. Itís impossible.

 

 

1 Here, the third-brained rationalism of Carl Sagan is quite apparent.

 

 

How can you imagine something that never began? If you compromise and say, "perhaps there was a beginningíí, the immediate dilemma is "what was before the beginning?". If you say there is "an Ending", the immediate dilemma is "what is there after the Ending?".

 

If you say mere are "outer edges in Space", the dilemma is "what is there outside the outermost edge?".

 

In this sense, "the universe is stranger that we can think", because linguistically-structured verbally elite logical thought (called "rationality") is nothing other than a justification of a reality map. Itís a rationalization that attempts to justify a realty map that is built on a superstition of materialism. We are today in the midst of the overthrow of that materialism.

 

All of the technology around us attests to the materialistic approach to life. The telephone, fax machine, television, radio and everything else in technology is based on one premiseí ironically - the material world is not material at all. The "unit of matter" called an "atom" is not a solid entity -it is a hierarchy of states of information and energy within a huge Void of information and energy.

 

Each force of nature is not just a simple force, but a field of information and energy. Atomic "particles" are naves and fluctuations that define the statistical probability of "finding a particle" at a certain point during the "time of observation", which "freezes the continuum of reality" into the "frozen particle", which is a space-time event that we call physical matter.

 

We are neither the physical body or the mind - we are the Eternal Spirit, the Consciousness, the Unified Field that interacts with itself and creates everything. This has some great implications that can make the crucial difference between "survival" and "death" - the understanding that consciousness is fundamental to matter (and not the other way around).


There are some experiments that I would like to talk about because they are quite crucial to this understanding. One experiment was published by Dr. Herbert Specter at the National Institutes of Health, wherein he gave mice an injection of a chemical called "poly-IC" that stimulates the immune system. He had these mice smell camphor at the same time. After time had gone by, he discovered that whenever these mice smelted camphor, they would stimulate their own immune system.

 

Other scientists have verified this work. If you gave mice disease bacteria and had them smell camphor, they would not get sick. The crucial difference between life and death is the interpretation of the memory of the smell of camphor. The interpretation of memory. Does this have any meaning to us? You bet it does, because that is all we do. We are constantly interpreting our memories. The average human thinks about 60,000 thoughts a day. What is disconcerting is that about 95% of the thoughts you have today are the same ones you had yesterday.

 

Humans have become "bundles of conditioned reflexes" constantly re-stimulated and triggered by media, people and circumstances into the same quantum events, biochemical events, behavioral outcomes and life experiences. We become the "victims" of the same repetition of worn-out memories. The irony is that your tormentor today is yourself leftover from yesterday.


Imagine if the building we are in is made of brick, and you had the ability to change every brick in the building once a year - which is what we do with our physical bodies.

 

You ask,

"well, if I am really replacing my entire body every year or so. then why am I still stuck with this back problem and this arthritis?".

 The answer is that through conditioned response and bondage to the known, we engender the same quantum events through our own self-interaction that results in the same outcome.

 

If we read the ancient Vedic literature of India, in one place Lord Shiva says,

"see the world as if for the first time; see it through the eyes of a child and you suddenly find that you are free".

Bondage is none other than seeing the world through the camouflage of pre-conceived ideas, notions, expectations, interpretations, labels, descriptions, definitions, evaluations, analyses, and ultimately with judgment. If you could see the world without judgment, you would see it as a child - fresh, with infinite possibilities all contained in a Eternal continuum.

 

What you need to be free of is not the unknown - what you need to be free of is the Known. Freedom from the Known is what we need. We need to step into the Unknown during every second of our lives, because the Known is nothing other than the rigid patterns of past conditioning - the memories and burdens of the past.

 

The Known is within time-bound awareness. Time-bound awareness is the Awareness of the Self-Image. Thorough our own interpretation, we relinquish the Self for the Self-Image. The Self-Image is nothing other than the social mask, the protective veneer and the mask behind which we hide. The Self-image has only one goal: it wants to reinforce itself all the time.

 

The Self-image has a time-bound awareness, where every behavioral action is triggered in anticipation of a response or in pursuit of a memory.2

 

 

2 This is the state of social consciousness that the self-designated cultural elite would have you remain in so that they can pursue power-oriented goals and objectives.

 


Go beyond time-bound awareness and you find the Self.

 

The Self is Timeless Awareness, because the Self is beyond the corridor of space-time, energy and matter. The Self has a timeless awareness in which Life is supremely concentrated in the Present.

 

In the Vedic literature, the Rishi says:

"I do not worry about the Past, I am not burdened by the Guilt and Memories of the Past, I do not anticipate the Future or Fear it, because my life is supremely concentrated in the Present - the right response to every situation happens to me as it occurs - because built into my Self is a process that is far more accurate than can be found within the boundaries of rational thought - there is no fate worse than to be caught in the clutches of rationality".

When one escapes the clutches of rationality, then one escapes the prison of conditioning, space-time and causation. You must go beyond the Intellect. Sensory experience is not the crucial test of reality.


Scientists at Ohio State University published a study of cholesterol metabolism in rabbits. They were giving rabbits diets high in cholesterol. To their amazement, they found one group of rabbits that did not manifest high levels in their bodies. After investigation, they discovered that the technician that was feeding this one group of rabbits was stroking them, singing to them and cuddling them.

 

As a result of that love (flow of information) these rabbits made a different set of neuro-peptides that transmuted the cholesterol into a completely different metabolic pathway, making the crucial difference between life and death from what is known as the number one killer condition in our culture. Perhaps the answer is cuddling and touching - strategies not employed in any hospital that we know of.


A few years ago, a study came from the Miami school of Medicine in which scientists took two groups of ore-mature infants and stimulated one by touching and caressing them. They called it "kinesthetic tactile stimulation". The other group received nothing. The first group receiving the attention gained an average of 49% more weight per day over the other group fed on the same formula.

 

Now we know that the procedure of touching resulted in the additional release of growth hormones.

 

The scientists had to conclude that "tactile kinesthetic stimulation" (touching) is a cost-effective strategy, because they could save $3000 per admission. You can bet that soon there will be a Blue Cross billing code for it. Finally, I want to draw you attention to something else. In Massachusetts, the Department of Health.

Education and Welfare published a study which looked at risk factors for heart disease. The study pointed out that the majority of people who have fatal heart attacks before the age of 50 do not manifest any of the standard risk factors. They found that the number one predictor of fatal-coronary events was that these people had no apparent purpose or meaning in their lives.

 

The number two factor was how happy the people were. One of the more interesting statistics was that more people in the United States the from heart attacks on Monday mornings around 9 am. It is a stunning accomplishment for which only the human species can take credit Presumably no other creature knows the difference between Monday and Tuesday.


So, if our bodies are self-engendered ideas, the question is, Who is having these ideas?

 

I would like to offer to you that this "choice-maker" is not local - you cannot pin it down anywhere, because it is everywhere and no where at the same time.

 

You cannot find the location of the One who decides to more your arm. You can find in the brain the execution of the command,3 but not the one who decides to move the arm.

 

 

3 And the "executor" of the command - the genetic entity, over which the consciousness of the "decision-maker" is imposed.

 

 

Where is me "choice-maker"? The choice-maker is in the gap between our thoughts. This gap contains infinite choices, and in every little gap between every thought there is me sitting there, as part of the "thinker behind the thought".

 

My individual soul is nothing but a continuum of probability amplitudes, because each gap is different from all other gaps by virtue of the quality of intention that engenders the next space-time event which constitutes the next thought. That gap is the window and transformational vortex through which the individual Mind communicates with the Cosmic Mind. This process is the restoration of the memory of wholeness - who we are. If you find this concept of the Cosmic Mind spiritual and funny, then you could call it "a non-local field of Information with self-referencing cybernetic feed-back loops".

 

If you find the word "Soul" uncomfortable, then you can call it "a continuum of probability distributions for possible measurement of functions of time" 4

 


4 Although the Soul, per se, is the container for experience, which gives rise to wisdom and personal truth.

 

 

But there is such a thing, and its dimension-less and time-less. It does not have any boundaries - it is Who we are.

 

Thatís a liberating piece of information, because it breaks us free. I AM the unbounded Spirit that is present in every bit of manifestation. I have Just chosen this one for the time being - a space-time event in the continuum of Eternity. To have the restoration of that memory, at the level of experience, is to be free and whole.

 

You can accomplish anything and everything, as Nature does, effortlessly, just by Being - the world will offer itself to you, for it has no choice.