Deepak Chopra Unveils the Keys to Tranquility in the Concrete Jungle

Harmony admist the hustle.
Published: May 20, 2024
Deepak Chopra Unveils the Keys to Tranquility in the Concrete Jungle
Photo: Courtesy of The Conscious Festival

The corporate ladder is a familiar climb for most Singaporeans—the ceaseless hustle and bustle of the CBD will show you just that. Yet, with success comes an overwhelming burden of stress that begs for respite. Enter meditation, offering stillness and peace of mind, but how exactly could it serve as a practical tool in managing stress?

For Deepak Chopra, despite his perpetually busy schedule, maintaining a serene composure is second nature. Even amidst a long journey to the Lion City for three charitable events for The Chopra Foundation, including a talk and guided meditation session the night before our interview, he remains as cool as a cucumber.

“Well, I’m healthy; I’m 77 and never been sick and I’ve been, by everyone’s standards, reasonably successful. No stress; I enjoy every moment,” Chopra says. “The benefits are just purely biological, you know—good health, energetic body, healthy emotions, clarity of mind, lightness of spirit, and lightness of being.”

One of the foremost figures in alternative medicine, a New York Times bestseller, and TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, Chopra is intimately acquainted with the power of the mind. With over three decades of experience, he has worked with luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jackson on the art of meditation, and is invited all over the world, including the inauguration of “The Conscious Leaders Circles” here in Singapore, to share his abundance of wisdom into the connection between the mind and body.

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In Chopra’s view, stress stems from the perception of threat and the preoccupation with the past and future. “Anyone who’s experiencing stress should ask themselves ‘What do they want?’ Some might say they want money, some might want success, some might say they want to have a good relationship … but actually, all they want is happiness,” he explains. “There’s no stress if they are present in every experience. Stress is only if you’re thinking of the future or the past.”

Presence lies at the heart of meditation. It can be as straightforward as finding a quiet, comfortable space in the office, allowing the body to relax, quieting the mind, focusing on the breath, and embracing the present moment.

During a closed-door workshop, Chopra led the audience in mindful meditation that involved self-reflection and inquiry, leaving many busy individuals in the crowd feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and unburdened. In instances where stress escalates into anger, Chopra brings forth in previous interviews and on his website the S.T.O.P method: Pause, take three deep breaths, observe one’s internal state, and proceed with kindness and awareness.

Meditation has become an integral part of maintaining the balance between both professional and personal spheres. These days, major corporations such as Google and Nike have integrated meditation practices for their employees, with some seeking Chopra’s expertise.

Regarding its implementation in workplaces, Chopra says, “They should offer it. You can’t enforce it and you shouldn’t, but a lot of companies are doing that. I work with JP Morgan, companies, big banks, and they’re all kind of going in that direction.”

As for working women who are juggling between being wives, mothers, and businesswomen, Chopra acknowledges their overlooked contributions. “When they’re working at home, taking care of the children, that’s also work. But it’s not part of the GDP (gross domestic product). You know, we only measure work by what we do outside,” he observes thoughtfully. “But, I would say, you know, if you don’t take care of yourself, it’s gonna be very difficult to take care of your family and do work at the same time. Self-care comes first.”

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Beyond meditation, there exists a plethora of ways one can approach work with a calmer mindset and optimise their overall well-being. “Good sleep, moderate exercise, 10,000 steps of walking a day, and periodically taking a break to just experience the breath that brings in the present moment,” he says.

“If you don’t like yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, mind-body practices such as meditation, and a healthy diet—I think we can do much with that.” He suggests a maximum diversity of plant-based foods and meats from organic sources. While it may not entail a complete 180-degree turn, integrating meditation into our daily work routine can usher a gradual shift towards a more balanced, calm, and serene existence.

Deepak Chopra’s latest book, Quantum Body, is available at all major bookstores nationwide.

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