Chopra to offer advice on the importance of consciousness |

Chopra to offer advice on the importance of consciousness

Aspen Times writer

By Eben HarrellAspen Times Staff WriterOrganizers of a conference in Snowmass Village, a town renowned for its healthy living, are determined to make a good thing better. And they’ve enlisted the most well-known spiritual guru in the world for assistance.Deepak Chopra – medical doctor, best-selling author and spiritual healer – will speak Friday as part of the Snowmass Wellness Experience, a four-day interactive conference on living the enlightened life.

Chopra, who claims to hold the secret to reversing the aging process, has found a widespread following through the publication of more than 25 books, with titles ranging from the mundane (“Golf for Enlightenment”) to the ethereal (“Cuerpos sin edad, mentes sin tiempo”).These books combine the diagnostic certainty of a medical doctor with the mystical wonder of a poet, a style that has proved wildly popular. His books are routinely best-sellers, finding an audience hungry for a better life.Ask Chopra whether he thinks he’s needed in a place like Aspen, literally miles above the trapped desperation of urban living, and he’ll offer a typically enigmatic response.”I think I’m not in need anywhere,” he said. “I probably don’t fit in anywhere. That’s what makes it interesting. Anything based on need ends up being boring. And anything that fits is too conformist.”Chopra, whose philosophies are based on a belief in the eternal consciousness of man, a consciousness that determines (rather than is determined by) the workings of the body and brain, has had a tough time of it recently. Cognitive scientists, who claim consciousness to be no more than the synaptic firings of neurotransmitters in the brain, are gaining increasing acceptance.

“My beliefs are not compatible with the reductionist model,” he said. “My beliefs are more consistent with holistic models that say consciousness is responsible for synaptic firings and not the other way round.”Chopra said the work of scientists, just like the teaching of dogmatic religions, proves incomplete in helping modern men and women live their lives. He said recent violence indicates a species in spiritual disarray, thirsting for enlightenment.”I think the Western world is more spiritually hungry than it’s ever been, but whether it’s more spiritually aware I don’t know. Certainly events in last few years do not reflect that. But we are more intellectually curious than before. The questions of our childhood never go away. Do we have soul? Does God exist? These are the real existential dilemmas.”Chopra cringes if you refer to his teaching as “self-help” instruction, insisting he works instead for “self-enlightenment.” His lecture in Snowmass will address issues of creativity and intuition.

“I teach self-understanding, self-knowledge and insight. It’s certainly not, ‘Do this and you’ll get this.’ [In Snowmass] I’m talking about how consciousness influences cognition.”Chopra will speak Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. His speech, which will be followed by a VIP reception, is just one part of the festival which also includes lectures, workshops, yoga classes, bike rides and hikes.Tickets come in several categories. Through today, locals in the Roaring Fork Valley can purchase day passes for $75 a day and a weekend pass is $100. Nonlocals can purchase a package for $450 that includes a weekend pass plus entrance to VIP lunches and yoga classes.The Chopra VIP reception costs $75. Tickets can be purchased at Sundance Drug in Snowmass, Zelé Music Café in Aspen and Sounds Easy in Carbondale. Local discounts can only be had at the Yoga College of India locations in Aspen, Basalt and Glenwood Springs.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is

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