Deepak Chopra speaking at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado.
Drawing from the Aspen Idea of nurturing body, mind, and spirit, Deepak Chopra introduced his Self-Directed Biological Transformation Initiative on January 19 at the Aspen Institute Doerr-Hosier Center in Aspen, Colorado.
The holistic health guru spoke to a rapt audience about the thinking behind his latest project — which he called “a new era in mind, body, and spirit healing” — co-founded with Harvard neurology professor Rudolph Tanzi and in partnership with five respected research and scientific institutions.
The initiative’s first phase involves studying 100 individuals for biological transformation, specifically on the genetic level, after they’ve followed a consciously positive lifestyle, including things like exercise, a healthy diet, meditation, and other consciousness-driven practices.
Given the success of previous (though less comprehensive) experiments, Chopra and his team hope to prove that one can influence one’s genetic makeup — and thus transform one’s biology, such as reversing the aging process and the effects of disease — through consciousness.
While it may sound radical, Chopra explained how we already know that our bodies are definitively tied in with our minds and spirits. When you’re sick, for example, the 500 genes that cause inflammation get “dialed up,” he said — and can be turned up or down depending on how you feel. When someone you’re in love with says, “I love you,” you create natural chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin that course through your body causing a physical reaction. But if, say, the person you’re in the process of divorcing says, “I love you,” it triggers a different set of chemicals and a different physical reaction. Even something as simple as watching a movie triggers certain neurons and thus, bodily reactions.
“Studies show that our entire cellular biology changes with the flicker of a thought,” Chopra said. “So if genes and neural networks are literally the metabolism of the experience, then we can metabolize the experience and turn it into our biology.”
He also discussed the impermanence of our physical beings and how much we share with all living creatures. Our skeletons, skin, and certain organs like the stomach recycle themselves on a regular basis, so we are literally not the same person we were last year. Meanwhile, 70 percent of our DNA is the same as a banana, 80 percent the same as a monkey — that is, most of our genetic makeup goes back to some of the first living organisms on Earth, 2.8 billion years ago.
“The ultimate truth of existence is we are the same being with different disguises,” Chopra said.