There are 25 million copies of Deepak Chopra books in print! In this nifty little volume, the prolific author sets out to explore the path of happiness according to the ancient Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. He points out that on this quest, the question of who we really are continually haunts us. So Chopra has organized the book in three parts to address it.
The Problem: Not Knowing Who We Are
The Prescription: Remembering Who We Are
The Practice: Experiencing Who We Are
According to Vedanta, human suffering stems from not knowing who we are, identifying with our ego or self-image, clinging to what is transient and unreal, recoiling in fear of that which is transient and unreal, and fearing death. Our true nature is divine, and once we tap into that source of energy and power, we taste the first fruits of power, freedom, and grace. Here is what Chopra says about the latter:
"The more we live in the state of happiness, the more we experience the spontaneous fulfillment of desire in the form of synchronicity and meaningful coincidence. In many spiritual traditions, this has been called a state of grace. To experience grace is to find ourselves in the right place at the right time, to have the support of the laws of nature, or 'good luck.' In the state of grace, it seems to us that the universal or cosmic mind is eavesdropping on our thoughts and fulfilling our intentions and desires even as we are having them."
The author sees joy as an internal state of consciousness that can provide moral uplift for all that we see and do. He notes that the body transmits to us the awareness that we live in transformation: the body replaces 98 percent of all its atoms in less than one year, makes a new stomach lining every five days, and a new skin once every month. Is it so hard to visualize death as another form of transformation?
It is possible to become a new person by seeing our connections with others and by recognizing the presence of spirit in everything. "The key to lasting happiness," Chopra explains, "is to identify with the unchanging essence of your inner self, your source. Then you no longer look for happiness because you know that you already have it."