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Deepak Chopra - Seeing What You Believe, Believing What You See!

04.18.06
New York

There is a prejudice in modern society that we need to get over. It's the
prejudice in favor of things that are concrete, tangible and
three-dimensional. We feel that a rock is real because it is solid and heavy
and our senses can easily locate it in time and space. So what are we to
make of a reality where seeing isn't believing? Snails have very slow
nervous systems. It takes them several seconds to record each new visual
impression. What this means is that if someone walks by very quickly and
drops a penny in front of a snail, the person will be invisible and the
penny will seem to appear form nowhere. In reverse, if a snail is picked up
and moved very quickly, it will believe it has teleported from one place to
the other.

Our senses play the same trick with reality at large. Our brains are too
slow to register that every concrete object is winking in and out of
existence at the quantum level thousands of times per second; therefore, we
see solid objects where none in fact exist.

The five senses imprison us in ways that are unconscious and invisible.
Years ago, I read accounts of congenitally blind people who were given sight
overnight thanks to innovative surgery. On being exposed to light for the
first time, they were often completely disoriented. They wondered why people
dragged black patches around with them wherever they went (we call them
shadows). If asked how big a cow was standing a hundred yards away, they'd
guess three inches tall; stairs were frightening two-dimensional ladders
climbing straight up the wall. Sometimes these bizarre perceptions were so
disturbing that the newly sighted preferred to sit in the dark with their
eyes closed. Aren't we doing much the same by clinging to the world of the
five senses?

Can we reinvent ourselves in light of non-sensory reality, or are we to be
prisoners of the five senses as much as our ancestors were in pre-history?
Every time we repeat the words "sunrise" and "sunset" we are indulging in a
sensory deception. Here's another: Experiments have been done in which a
group of subjects are put in front of a tape recorder; they are asked to
write down what the voice on the tape says, and the machine is started. But
the volume is so low that the voice is very difficult to decipher. Even so,
every subject writes down a reasonable set of notes. The catch is that the
machine was uttering nonsense–the ear and the brain cooperated to create
meaning where none existed, a totally unreliable version of reality.

A fact from neurology, little known to the general public, is that our
brains create the five senses and therefore everything they tell us. There
is literally no light or darkness, taste, touch, or sound "out there,"
except what we have created "in here." Imagine two magnets approaching each
other with positive poles facing. Each magnet will feel that an invisible
force is pushing them apart against their wills, and if the magnets are
strong enough, this repulsive force will stop them from getting any closer:
It will be as solid as a cement wall. In reverse, the human body isn't solid
to neutrinos, x-rays, and gamma radiation, and since every atom inside us is
more than 99.9999% empty space, the fact that your hand feels solid is an
illusion as much as the wall that separates two repelling magnets. (The
empty space between the nucleus of an atom and the electrons orbiting around
it is far larger, relatively, than the void between the Earth and the sun.)

So the basic way we need to reinvent perception is to realize that the five
senses are totally illusory, the good news being that we can transcend them.
In fact we do this every day. I'm not being mystical, although it's true
that God has managed the feat of being invisible and worshiped at the same
time. I'm thinking of something as basic as sight. We say that seeing is
believing, and yet no one knows what seeing actually is. There is no light
inside the visual cortex, which is responsible for sight–that area of the
brain, like every other, is an oatmeal-consistency semi-solid mass that
knows only perpetual darkness. There are no pictures in our brains, only a
firestorm of chemical and electrical signals. How we convert photons
striking the retina into visible reality is totally unknown, and since the
same holds true for the other four senses, reality itself is up for grabs.
Uncertainty reigns, and where there is uncertainty there's a chance for
freedom. As one famous Indian guru once told his followers, reality is like
a net. If you want to escape it, find a hole and jump through.

In truth, the net woven by the five senses has many holes in it. Technology
jumps through them every day–photons have already been teleported from one
location in the lab to another without passing through the space in between.
Anti-gravity looms as a possibility, along with practical and affordable
superconductivity. Virtual space, called the Zero Point Field, may contain
untold energy that could be harvested cheaper and with less hazard than
nuclear energy. Nano solar cells may harness solar energy with undreamed of
efficiency in our lifetime. All these possibilities completely defy the five
senses.

Yet, I think the greatest revolution will occur when we solve the mystery of
how the brain projects reality. It's hard to conceive of how a three-pound
organ that is primarily water and glucose has engendered the whole world.
Creatures with different brains do not inhabit the same reality (porpoises,
for example, have massive auditory centers and may literally "hear" the
tides, the Earth turning on its axis and the position of the stars–we can't
fathom their perceptual scheme). Nor do human beings share the same brain.
So-called idiot savants exist who can name a prime number to five or six
digits, or the day of the week that Christmas will fall on in the year 2387,
and yet are unable to dress themselves or make change. One savant learned
mandarin Chinese, along with several other fiendishly difficult languages,
despite having an I.Q. below 80 and in addition, was found to be holding the
textbook upside down.

My prediction is that we will see ourselves more and more connected to the
quantum field, not physically but through the mind. This "mind field" is
invisible and universal; it encompasses all living things; it weaves the
fabric of nature. As our prejudice in favor of solid, concrete things fades
away, certain fringe phenomena will become everyday. Healing without touch
will be legitimized, since the human body can be altered by altering the
field. Telepathy and clairvoyance will seem ordinary, since time and
distance are compressed to a single point in the field; Intuition and
epiphanies will be explained as subtle field interactions. The best outcome
would be that wisdom will reemerge as a vital human capacity, for there is
no doubt that our spiritual forebears were deeply in touch with the same
invisible reality that still surrounds us. We have shut out that reality in
our stubborn, rigid insistence on believing our senses, but seeing with the
eyes of the soul is possible. In the end, a new humanity is also possible
once we escape the prison we have sentenced ourselves to for far too long.
The so-called sixth sense isn't a separate sense at all, but a new opening
for human evolution with unlimited possibilities.

Deepak Chopra is acknowledged as one of the world's greatest teachers in the
field of mind-body medicine. He is the author of more than 42 books,
including Ageless Body, Timeless Mind and, most recently, Peace Is the Way.
In the 1980s, Dr. Chopra built a successful endocrinology practice in Boston.
His Web site is http://www.chopra.com

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