Deepak Chopra – You Suffer Because You Don’t Know Who You Are (Amazing Speech)
Transcript Deepak Chopra Interview with Tom Bilyeu
So, suddenly I saw the connection between mind, body, and spirit. But then I was also actually intrigued by the fact that you can have two patients who had the same illness, saw the same doctor, got the same treatment, and had completely different outcomes. One could survive, one could die. And in between, there was a wide range of outcomes.
And it did give me the insight that our normal everyday experience or what we call reality is the hypnosis of social conditioning that actually in reality shifts as your consciousness shifts.
A correlation is not a causation as we know. If the rooster crows in the morning, and the sun rises at the same time, we don’t assume that the rooster cause the sun to rise, okay? But they’re correlated. So your mind, your brain, and the physical world are correlated experiences in a deeper realm of existence, which is not in space or time.
The purpose of all healers and ultimately, of all physicians should be to alleviate suffering. Now, we’ve done a pretty good job with alleviating what we call suffering that had cause acute illness. You break your leg, you get an orthopedic surgeon to fix it. You get pneumonia, you take an antibiotic. So we’ve done a good job on what we call the physicalist level for acute illness. But then there’s something called chronic illness diabetes type II, inflammation, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune illness, accelerated aging, propensity to infections, and we haven’t done a good job there.
Because what we are realizing right now that only 5% of disease-related gene mutations are fully penetrant, which means they guarantee the disease. 95% of gene mutations that cause illness are related to lifestyle. Sleep, managing stress, and whether you mediate or not, you exercise or not, maybe you do yoga or not, breathing techniques, the quality of your emotions, nutrition, personal relationships, social interactions, environment, connection with nature influence your gene activity. We call it epigenetics.
Let’s say you got rid of all chronic illness and acute illness. Would humans still suffer? And the answer is yes because unlike other species, we have something, which is actually quite bizarre, it’s called existential suffering.
We wonder why we exist. We wonder why we get old and can we prevent that? We wonder why we get infirm and lose our memories as we get old. Can we prevent that? But we also are afraid of death. Can we prevent that? And the answer is biological death is based on a false premise, which is you are your biology. And you are your body and your mind. You are not your body, you are not your mind, you are not the experience of the world.
You are the consciousness in which all this experience occurs. To observe a thought is to know that you are not a thought. To observe an emotion is to know that you are not the emotion. To observe the body is to know that you are not this bundle of sensations and perceptions.
So who are you? What is it that knows a thought? What is it that knows a perception, the color red? Is there a color red anywhere in the physical universe, or is it just an experience? I guarantee you no scientist can tell you that the color red exists as a physical entity in the universe. It’s an experience in human consciousness, not in the consciousness of a bat who doesn’t see colors but experiences the echo of ultrasound. So what is the color red to a bat?
When you realize that everything you thought was real is not real, when you also realize that who you think you are is not real, or when you realize that all your name, your form, and everything you see is provisional to things happen to some people they have immediate, what we could only metaphorically call, the dark night of the soul. They go into a deep depression because everything they thought was real is no longer real, including their own name, form, body, and mind. Some people cross that threshold and discover Nirvana or enlightenment. And they say, “Wow, I thought I was squeezed into the volume of a body in the span of a lifetime, but I’m a timeless being that can morph myself into any experience including the human experience, which is amazing.
But the human experience is also that which causes existential depression. So the causes of human suffering, since you brought it up, are brought up are brought up in Eastern wisdom traditions as, number one, you suffer because you don’t know who you are. You confuse yourself with your body, mind, experience.
Number two, you grasp and cling at experiences which are evanescent and transitory and dream-like. You say, what happened to your childhood? It’s over. What happened to yesterday? It’s over. What happened to five minutes ago? It’s over. What happens to these words by the time you hear them? They don’t exist. So Wittgenstein, the German philosopher said, “We are asleep, our life is a dream, but once in a while we wake up enough to know that we are dreaming.”
So what do you wake up to when you cross this threshold? You wake up to your true self, which is not body or mind but the awareness in which that experience is happening. So grasping and clinging at a dream is the second cause of human suffering.
The third is being afraid of anything that’s unpleasant. Pain, abandonment, being treated by someone not respectfully. So there’s a version to certain experiences. Third cause of suffering.
Fourth is identifying, which is related to your ego identity. And fifth is the fear of death. Now they’re all connected. They’re all the same fear and they are not knowing who you are. This is the biggest question that humans, or everybody should be asking. Who am I? What am I?
Am I the changing experience of this body, which is a perceptual activity. Am I the experience of the changing mind or the changing personality? But then you don’t have the same personality when you were a kid or maybe even 10 years ago. What is it at the basis of this? When you start that reflective self-inquiry, ask yourself: Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose? What am I grateful for? Going to the stillness of the meditation you have what wisdom traditions have called revelation. Revealed truth.
Now, that sounds very grand. I would say just call it insight. Meditation, mindfulness, awareness of body, awareness of mind, awareness of mental space. Awareness of the web of relationship, awareness of that which we call the universe. It leads you, ultimately, to the awareness of awareness. And when you discover that, that’s nirvana.
Is there anything behind consciousness? No. Now, everyday experience is modified consciousness. So right now what you’re experiencing is what we call the waking state of consciousness, okay. What do you mean by that? The awareness that I’m aware? No, the awareness that is experiencing a physical body and the physical world with eyes open is called waking state of consciousness. Okay. So awareness is modifying itself every time you open your eyes into this experience, right? And you call it the physical world. Now if you close your eyes, you have another state of consciousness where you don’t actually experience the physical world. You experience sensations, images, thoughts, emotions, stories. It’s like a dream.
As soon as you close your eyes, you’re experiencing, you might call it daydreaming. But there’s no difference between a daydream and what you dream at night. Now physical world has disappeared, there’s only a mental world. Then you go deeper at night, even the mental world disappears in what we call deep sleep. Now, that is the highest intelligence, by the way, because in deep sleep there’s unconscious processing going on, there’s creativity going on, there are correlations being made, there are toxins being removed, there’s a whole resetting of your memories and consolidation of that. So, in deep sleep, even though there’s no experience of a physical or a mental world, it’s a very intelligent, highly, highly correlated state in which unconscious processing is occurring.
Get rid of the idea that the world is physical. What we call of the world as physical, even your physical body, is a perceptual activity. And that perceptual activity for you and me is a human perceptual activity through human consciousness, not through bat consciousness, not through mosquito consciousness, not through plant consciousness. Go beyond that.
There’s only one consciousness that is differentiating. Undifferentiated consciousness differentiating into these different species of consciousness that form a matrix of conscious beings that are collectively projecting this universe.
If I ask you what is this? You’d say it’s a cup, right? Well, if you were a baby, you wouldn’t know this is a cup, this is a shape, this is a color, this is a form, this is sensation. This is a taste and it’s noise. The rest is a story. It’s a human story we created, just like we created money or Wall Street or nation states, or colonial empires. And we take that for reality. So when you have time to be still, question your habitual uncertainties, you’ll realize that, actually, we know nothing. Nothing!
Everything we know is made up. It’s a human construct and once we are embedded in that human concept, we call it reality.
We don’t question what is the source of this experience? So taking retreats, practicing mindful awareness of body, of mind, of mental space of the web of relationship, the mystery of existence, it takes you slowly, deeper to your true self. As Rumi said, “God’s language is silence, everything else is poor translation.”