I never thought about Deepak Chopra. I always assumed that a New Age spiritual teacher with a world-wide marketing strategy, engaged in promotional synergy with Oprah and offering instructional spiritual CDs on an installment plan, would not have much to say that was serious, about following a spiritual path or living a spiritual life.
Also, Deepak Chopra wears rhinestone -studded glasses. Or are they diamonds? Whichever. The glasses are no doubt intended to convey the air of material prosperity that is necessary to market New Age spirituality.
I still don’t know much about Deepak Chopra! So anything I say about him is based entirely on my impression of him as a public figure.
I did not choose to form an impression of Deepak Chopra. Having an impression of Deepak Chopra has been forced upon me. You see and hear and read things about Deepak Chopra all the time, at the supermarket checkout line if nowhere else, even if you have no interest in him. He works hard to make himself well-known and to make a big impression on people.
My impression of Deepak Chopra is that he is a huckster in diamond-studded glasses.
One day, minding my own business, and certainly having no interest in thinking about Deepak Chopra, I turned on PBS and there he was — Deepak Chopra, wearing diamond-studded glasses and peddling his CDs in a live-audience infomercial. Saying something about the amazing mathematical nature of the Universe and showing how this or that profound universal truth leads directly to the idea of buying his new CD set.
On one hand: Deepak Chopra seems like a sincere, earnest, knowledgeable guy. And I imagine that he is funding charity work or outreach work or some spiritual foundation.
On the other hand: it is an unquestionable fact that a genuine spiritual teacher, a serious, evolved spiritual teacher, would not create a slick, multi-media, world-wide advertising campaign to sell their spiritual knowledge. This is a fact. So, you have to wonder about Deepak Chopra. Maybe he was a serious spiritual person at one time, I don’t know. He sounds like it, he’s knowledgable and smart. But now he’s just a huckster peddling New Age spirituality. I see that he writes a glowing testimonial for the failed guru Amrit Desai, who proudly displays it on his website. In this day and age nobody should be looking for a guru — but if you are, I would think twice about choosing a guru using a testimonial from Deepak Chopra as a selling point.
So then my curiosity was piqued and I looked a little further, and this is what makes me even bother writing about my impression of Deepak Chopra:
Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey have gotten together — they are in cahoots you might say — to peddle subscriptions to an online meditation app with thousands of meditations. And more meditations are being added all the time. $8.99 a month. Deepak and Oprah promise to make meditation easy and fun.
This New Age spiritual marketing is not only predatory, but it hinders and makes a mockery of more serious spiritual practice. This is just what people need — people who feel the need for inner peace, people who yearn for connection with self, people who want to quietly turn inward to meditate, to foster deep connection with themselves and with the cosmos — this is just what people need — to be fiddle-fucking around on their phones, plugged into a meditation app, choosing from thousands of recorded meditations. And more being added every day!
But I have to give them credit, really. It’s a brilliant plan: Solicit people who are looking for a nourishing spiritual practice, people seeking to free themselves from the constant distractions of modern life…………solicit these people, and under the pretext of making meditation fun and easy, convince them to pay you to subscribe to a constantly-updated computerized distraction.
It’s almost as if Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey are merely pawns, doing the work of evil higher powers intent on yoking humanity to the dead, sub-earthly electronic digital world, a world that exists within the real world like an echo, like a corpse of the real world.
Here are three things you do not want in a spiritual teacher:
- someone who wears diamond-studded glasses.
- someone who uses the adjectives “easy” and “fun” to describe meditation.
- someone who is peddling a meditation app. That they have created. With Oprah.
Also, Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey have this extraordinary picture of themselves, a picture that they apparently believe accurately represents them as spiritual teachers.
It looks like the children from Village of the Damned, all grown up.
I wouldn’t buy a used car from these people, let alone entrust my spiritual development to them.
This is my impression of Deepak Chopra.