I got the rare opportunity to sit down with Dr. Deepak Chopra to talk about his new book, Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness and Spiritual Well-Being, which he co-wrote with Harvard Medical School Professor Rudolph E. Tanzi.
Major breakthroughs in neuroscience have all been indicating that the human brain can do far more than anyone ever thought. Chopra and Tanzi combined their wisdom and expertise to reveal that through increased self-awareness and conscious intention, you can actually train your brain to overcome everyday challenges such as memory loss, depression, anxiety, and weight gain.
I couldn’t wait to find out how we could all activate our “super brains” to achieve a more fulfilling life, find love and overcome self-induced obstacles. I also got the chance to ask a few questions for our eHarmony Facebook friends.
Q: Can you explain the difference between a baseline brain and the super brain — and how both impact your life and happiness?
Deepak: When you allow your brain to control you, that’s the baseline brain. It’s is the one that is functioning right now. Part of it is very useful because it is controlling your heart rate, your blood pressure, your immune function, and all of your subconscious impulses, but it’s also not creative. It can be very reactive. Super brain is when you start to understand that your brain actually is not you — you are the user of the brain. Furthermore, your brain is not a thing, it’s not a structure. This is very important to understand — your brain is not a noun, it’s a verb. It’s constantly changing. Your whole body is like that, it’s an activity. Your brain is the most active part of your entire body and it changes with every thought, with every feeling, with every encounter.
Super brain is when you realize that and you actually can influence any part of your brain. You don’t want to influence your reptilian brain, which gets you into trouble. You want a healthy, emotional brain so you enjoy love, joy, compassion, kindness, empathy and relationship. That is your limbic brain. There are three parts to your brain, your reptilian, limbic and corticol. Corticol we use when we express our creativity, inspiration, insight, intuition, higher consciousness and trying to figure out the mystery of the universe. So every single act in life changes your brain. As I am talking to you, I know which part of my brain is working and which part of your brain is working and which part of the brain we want to activate in the people who are reading this…that is a super brain.
Q: How does one take steps to be in that state of mind…or state of brain?
Deepak: If I was to summarize the whole book, these are the things you can do. First, practice self-awareness. Self-awareness means the following things: Awareness of the world, which we experience through the five senses (sound, touch, sight, taste and smell). Be aware of those five ways that the world comes to us. Next is awareness of our bodies: Women are actually better at being in touch with their bodies. Most people aren’t in touch with their bodies; they don’t know what is happening inside of their bodies, so be aware of your body. Then there is awareness of mental space, which is thoughts, feelings, energy and emotions. Finally, there is awareness of relationships. These are the different parts of self-awareness.
Practice self reflection and ask important questions of yourself like, “Who am I? What do I want? What’s the purpose and meaning of my life? How do I create a better world?” The more you reflect, the more your life will move into the answer. The reflection itself causes the rewiring of the brain. It’s very interesting, because just asking the question rewires the brain, you don’t have to know the answer. You just have to ask the question. Then there is meditation…silencing the brain. The next is conscious choice-making, making choices consciously, not robotically. The fifth is the difficult part, to understand that your perceptual experience of the world is just a projection of your brain. That’s the tough part, but it’s beautiful because once you understand that your perceptual experience of the brain is reflecting the brain. By changing the brain, you change the world.
Deepak: Absolutely…love, good relationships, health, even higher consciousness and understanding the mystery of our existence.
Q: So should we be looking for love with our brains rather than our hearts?
Deepak: It’s all the same thing really. The brain and the heart are totally connected. You cannot look for love through reason. When you look for love through your heart, there is a specific part of your brain that gets activated by the heart. You should listen to your heart always.
Q: How does one break old habits and patterns — things like negative thoughts and self-talk?
Deepak: It’s just awareness. Don’t try to get rid of the thought, because getting rid of a thought is also a thought, right?! But once you start to really watch it, it loses its power.
Q: I have a question from a woman named Florence, who would like to know how we go about finding our soul mate. And do you believe in a soul mate?
Deepak: Yes. But the soul mate could change, too, if you don’t evolve at the same rate. Here is how you get your soul mate: Ask yourself what the qualities are that you want in another person, and become those qualities yourself. Instead of looking for the right person, become the right person.
Q: Do you think we are all meant to have romantic love in our lives?
Deepak:Yes, I think so. It’s a really important part of our existence. Romantic love is, in a way, the doorway to divine love. It’s intoxicating.
Q: But it’s tough for some people to stay balanced in that state …
Deepak: That’s because people become addicts. That can happen with any experience. Addiction is not getting enough of what you don’t want anymore.
Q: Laura would like to know how you can change your experience in a long-term relationship where mind traps and negativity have taken over…
Deepak: Self-awareness, but also, non-violent communication. This means (asking yourself), “What am I observing? What am I feeling? What do I need in this relationship and how do I go about this in a non-threatening manner?” (Gives examples of how to speak to a partner:) “I am observing that you don’t take any time off. I am feeling lonely. I would love if you could take Saturday off so we could go to the movies together. Will you please do it for me?” That’s non-violent communication, instead of, “If you don’t take time off on Saturday, I am going to leave you!”
Q: What advice would you have for people who are feeling very lonely out there?
Deepak: Take time to engage in activity that will put you in a relationship. Whether it’s volunteering in a school, or a hospital or community center, or go online and talk to people. It’s how you engage. Online these days, you have the ability to meet so many people who will resonate with you. Engage. People who are not lonely respond to gestures of love, they are present, and they are not distracted. They radiate warmth. Whoever you meet on the street or anywhere … radiate a little warmth. Be present with them and respond to a smile. The more you engage, the less lonely you will feel.
Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness and Spiritual Well-Being is truly intriguing — and available now.