On October 1, 1997, Deepak Chopra's SEVEN SPIRITUAL LAWS FOR PARENTS was featured --- in its entirety --- on AOL, the first time that a complete book has been presented on the service. On October 7, at the end of this week-long feature, Dr. Chopra joined The Book Report on AOL Live to discuss the book and its implications. Our interviewer was Jesse Kornbluth (BookpgJK). Our online host was Marlene Taylor (MarleneT). And, judging from the questions, our audience represented what is probably the largest assembly of parents in AOL history.
Bookpg JK: Good evening, Dr. Chopra.
Deepak Chopra: It's a great pleasure to be with you again.
Bookpg JK: Dr. Chopra, it's been a delight to have your book on AOL this past week --- it seems the right choice for the first book we have ever put up in its entirety. What gave you the idea of sharing it --- indeed, of GIVING it --- to us?
Deepak Chopra: My first thought was that for many institutions --- in particular, schools --- downloading the whole book would serve a purpose. Then I thought: This would be a way for people to start practicing the laws even if they never buy the book. And then it was a first --- why not?
Bookpg JK: As part of the presentation of your book, we've held an essay contest in which we ask our members to describe how they have applied these laws or laws of their own. It has been very interesting to read through the responses. The people who seem to understand your message best are those who have been to hell and back with their kids --- and have discovered that love is the most powerful motivator even for kids in trouble. Have you heard stories like this?
Deepak Chopra: Numerous times. There is nothing that love cannot accomplish. Children hate being told what to do. The best way we can set children on a visionary path is to be good examples ourselves, explaining the laws ourselves and not preaching. But example is the key. When children see a conflict between that they're told and what they see, they register the hypocrisy and what we get is resistance and rebellion.
BookpgJK: Indeed, many parents of "troubled" kids said they might have avoided some of the trouble if they had started giving unconditional love and acceptance much earlier.
Deepak Chopra: I agree. But it's never too late.
Bookpg JK: One thing that did surprise me....I fully expected church groups to say: What is this New Age Hindu spiritualist doing telling us how to raise our kids? In fact, there was NONE of that. Why do you think your message does not get easily dismissed even by people who have a devout sense of another tradition?
Deepak Chopra: Spirituality is a domain of awareness that is inclusive, not exclusive. Let's look at these laws in Christian terms --- especially in the light of St. John. The first law is, in effect, "The kingdom of heaven is inside you." John quotes Christ: "All things that I do, you shall do also, and more." The second law --- of giving --- is New Testament: "Do under others." Third law: As you sow, so shall you reap. Fourth law: Christ says, "Look at the lilies in the field, they toil not, nor do they sow, yet I say unto you that each is more gloriously arrayed than Solomon." Fifth law: the word made flesh. Sixth and seventh laws: Also Christian principles --- do things for their own sake. I just state these laws in a contemporary fashion.
Question: Good evening, Dr. Chopra. This is quite an honor for me. I've admired your work for some time now. I would like your philosophy on finding that median between spirituality and social doctrine (what society deems acceptable) for children.
Deepak Chopra: The main thing to understand: Society always measures success in materialistic terms. When that happens, we pay a high price. All our problems in society today --- like addictive behavior and stress disorders --- are a result of a lack of integration between body, mind and soul. There's a Bible saying: What good does it do a man to gain the world and lose his soul? So we need to redefine success. When we understand what TRUE success is, we can be sure that material success will be a spontaneous byproduct. My view of true success: 1) the ability to love and have compassion 2) capacity to experience joy and spread it to others 3) the security of knowing your life has meaning and purpose 4) a sense of connection to the creative power of the universe --- whatever you want to call it.
Bookpg JK: Along those lines, you seem to be saying something that stressful people will find very threatening --- namely, that the universe supports us and wants us to succeed and that, if we change our thinking, we might see that the world is a safer, more loving place than we imagined. Yes?
Deepak Chopra: Yes. And here are 3 "secrets" --- you don't even have to read anything else of mine...ever: 1) Change your worldview. Don't look at the world as made up of objects in a separate space and time. See it as one field of intelligence, with everything connected --- no matter how remote that seems. 2) Understand that the life force in this field is relationship. Make nurturing relationships the MOST important thing in your life. 3) Change your inner dialogue from "What's in it for me?" to "How can I help?" If you just do these three things, you will immediately notice an increase in synchronicity --- meaningful coincidences in your life. Good things will organize themselves around you. Your deepest desires will come true --- because that whole field will support you. But if you think ONLY of yourself, you separate yourself from that field of intelligence. We've been told this for thousands of years without realizing how PRACTICAL it is. The fact is, there's a conspiracy --- in
Question: I have a 13 year old son who is interested in anti-christ artist Marilyn Manson. Any advice??
Deepak Chopra: Give him your opinion. Tell him you really love him --- and that you will respect whatever choice he makes. At the same time, you will find that if you offer no resistance, he will --- after indulging a while longer --- spontaneously let it go.
Question: Please tell us if your philosophy is the one that you were raised by?
Deepak Chopra: I was. And I raised my children with the same philosophy. It is really important for children to be told at a very early age --- as soon as they can understand words --- that they are special, important and have unique gifts and will make a difference in the world. Children listen to that in their innocence. And this becomes part of their belief system and they can accomplish anything.
Bookpg JK: Interesting that this is so like a story told by basketball coach Pat Riley. When his father put him to bed each night, he asked the boy, "What are you made of?" Young Pat had to say "Special stuff" before his father would turn out the light. As his career has proved, he is indeed made of "special stuff." The point, very clearly, is that we have IMMENSE power to influence children, particularly if we do it CONSCIOUSLY.
Deepak Chopra: It is important to realize that conversations like that REPLAY in our awareness like tape loops --- for the rest of our lives. They motivate us... and inspire us to do great things. No amount of seminars you can attend as an adult, no books you can read, no workshops can ever come close to those simple messages you got through loving attention when you were innocent and little. It doesn't take much effort --- yet those who were lucky enough to get those messages will be the real achievers.
Question: How would you help to build the self-esteem of a very wimpy 8 year old girl?
Deepak Chopra: Stop calling her wimpy. Every time she complains, invite her to participate with you in seeing the situation from another perspective. Show her through example that what is considered a "problem" has the seed in it of an opportunity. By and by, without force, without any chastisement, show her the hidden possibilities in familiar situations. Tell her to set her heart on being all she can. Use phrases like "In your heart, anything is possible." "In your heart, you know it will work out for the best." "No matter what's going on around you, in your heart YOU know you can do it." And don't set yourself up as a punitive authority.
Question: Who were your teachers?
Deepak Chopra: Principally my parents. but as I grew up, I read Krishnamurti, Auribindo, Aldous Huxley --- and all the Western and great philosophers. Over the years, I have spent a great time of time in silent meditation. Even now, every three months, I go into the wilderness and sit in total silence. I find that --- in this stage of my life --- my greatest teacher is the field of pure silence.
Question: What are your feelings on human cloning?
Deepak Chopra: I think it's of no purpose. But it may have some application when we begin to clone --- as will surely will --- organs for transplantation.
Question: If you could offer only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Deepak Chopra: Try not to destroy the innocence and wonder and spontaneity of your children. If they can maintain their purity as they grow up, they'll be the most creative children on earth. Never motivate through fear or punishment. Only inspire --- that is, literally, be in spirit.
Question: I have 4 boys and I am thinking about going back to work. Will it be too hard for them and me to get used to? I haven't been away from them in years.
Deepak Chopra: As long as you stay connected with them emotionally and spiritually --- and let them know that --- then the time you spend together will become even more special.
Question: Do you think the year 2000 has any special significance?
Deepak Chopra: If we give it special significance --- as we are beginning to --- it definitely will. I see it as a good opportunity for a phased transition in our civilization. We can move from a predatory and violent past into a New Age of consciousness.
Bookpg JK: Dr. Chopra, we will have more than 800 questions unanswered here and there is such a hunger for the wisdom you want to share, do you use this form --- cyberspace --- to communicate?
Deepak Chopra: I do. My website address is www.chopra.com --- and people can ask questions and send email. We try our best to answer everyone. Additionally, you can have a virtual tour of where I work and can get a sense of what I'm doing at the moment.
Bookpg JK: Can you see where this interest in parenting will lead you next?
Deepak Chopra: I'd like to start a global network of parents communicating with each other. It would be a global support group of workshops led by parents themselves.
Bookpg JK: A good place to end, then --- with parents choosing to change.... just as you say in your book. Thank you so much.
Deepak Chopra: And thank you.
Copyright (c) 1997, The Book Report
Transmitted: 10/08/97 16:09 (au100797)