A Night with Deepak: Whose “Reality” is Real?

“You might think you’re a little odd. And you know what? You are!” – Reverend Jim Lee

Last week, I got a chance to go with one of my very favorite people to hear Dr. Deepak Chopra speak at a local church. The picture below is him in the gift shop there; and no, I did not take it. It’s from his website. The pictures I took from my seat were pathetic and fuzzy. You don’t want them.

I’m not in a Deepak cult or anything like that. I just really enjoy his outlook, and especially respect the way he has teamed up with super smart scientist guys to write books like Super Brain Power, which is all about blending science and spirituality.  It’s not fluff! There’s science in there.  Oh yeah, right up my alley. Sadly, I have not slurped the book down just yet, due to the fact that I have library books for book club and of course those are time-sensitive. But I’ll be reading Super Brain Power, no fear.

The evening starts off with the church’s choir rocking out, and some inspirational words from the Rev. (quoted above) to set us off.  And then, Deepak!  He spoke for an hour and then tirelessly scrawled “Love, Deepak” on countless copies of his book. I’m fearful he will develop carpal tunnel, but appreciated his doing that. I got too star-struck to say more than “Thank you” and shake his hand. While the pen was still in it. Smooth, I know.

Back to the talk. I know it has to be difficult to talk about the same thing night after night, but as we discussed after, when you love what you do and you believe in it, you can talk about it all day. It seems like he feels that way.   Anyhow, I won’t recount the entire talk, because that would be sort of plagiaristic and tiresome, but my favorite story he told had to do with the notion that what we perceive is not “reality” per se, but rather “a species-specific perceptual experience”.

Sounds odd, I know.  His story illustrated it well:  he said something to the effect of: Pretend I have a chameleon, a honeybee, a bat, and owl, and a giraffe next to me. How each will see me is very different. The owl will see me in infrared, the honeybee will see me with its insect eyes, and the chameleon’s eyes move independently and you can’t even imagine how that chameleon sees me.  Trust me, it got a big laugh when he said it. Plus his accent is so cool, you have to hear him say “chameleon”.  I don’t remember what he said about the giraffe, or what giraffe vision is like, but let’s say it’s sort of like ours, for the story’s sake.

His point was: Whose perception is real?  They all are.

I won’t go into the rest about unity consciousness and time before the Big Bang, and stuff like that, because frankly at one point I wrote in the Memo section of my iPhone (where I was jotting down little bits I liked) HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP TONIGHT DEEPAK?!  (Side note: have you heard of “interrobangs”? That would have been useful there…)

I believe I’ve written before about how the way we interpret things, our perceptions, are often biased. But they’re our reality nonetheless. And so are the perceptions of others.  That’s hard to remember! We tend to think we are seeing things the “right” way, and will marshal support for our viewpoints and opinions.

How does this relate back to happiness? It’s easier to be happy when we relax and let go of struggles, and one thing we could possibly stop struggling with is “who is right?”  We’ve talked about whether or not we’d rather be right or happy. One more way to loosen up and focus on the point of our relationships, which ideally should be the mutual benefit of the parties involved.

Once I’ve read Super Brain Power, I may have a gem or two to share. Until then, enjoy!

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