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on December 11, 2009
Deepak Chopra's new book, "Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul" is a guide for people interested in changing their lives and broadening their horizons. It is a book that is best read slowly and carefully. It explains how to change your way of thinking, how to broaden your life and the way you live, and offers tips to managing the stressors of your daily life in terms you can easily understand.

The book is divided into sections that detail how to reinvent your body and your soul, while offering ten steps to wholeness. Explaining the process as described in the book is difficult, so I won't try to go into it here. Suffice it to say, that the instructions center on improving awareness of self and others, emphasizing love of self and others and offers strategies for finding, understanding and revealing the true nature of your soul.

Most people go their entire lives without thinking about their soul. This is because the soul is seen as separate from our daily lives, coming into action only at death.
Dr. Chopra's book reveals that the soul is part of your every day life, and has always been there - a person just has to develop an awareness of the soul in order to learn how to nurture it, allowing each of us to live to our fullest potential.

My favorite section of the book relates to "letting go." In this section the soul and the ego are at first incompatible, until they are reconciled by describing why we constantly react the way we do to being judged, or not being accepted by others. Each section of the book comes with real life examples and stories from other people's lives. The stories are real and are always on point, illustrating a facet of life that we will all find familiar to our own situation.

The book is interesting, insightful, potentially life changing and important to read now. I would also add that anyone who is struggling with personal issues to read this book. The insights gained will allow anyone to reframe his or her perspective - which is usually when the real answers to our problems magically come to us, wouldn't you agree?
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on October 15, 2009
I have a long-standing interest in the power of the mind over the body dating back to my graduate school days in psychology. Today I help people stop emotional eating and lose weight by connecting with this power. So I was very interested in this book when I heard about it. I went to hear Deepak Chopra speak about the book on the day it was launched. Everyone attending received a copy.

I loved Chopra's talk and left feeling excited and inspired by his insights. I expected the book would explore these ideas more deeply. I wanted to like this book - I tried to like this book. But I was disappointed. The book did not deliver on the promise of his brilliant lecture.

The book adds very little to what Chopra said at his talk, and actually dilutes the impact of the core ideas. It's filled with anecdotes (e.g. "Paula's story") that sound very contrived, and are often tangential to the point. The book wanders quite a bit from its core thesis of the power of the mind over the body, which is a shame, because these ideas are fascinating. It ends up being just another self-help book with lots of pop psychology and "be nice to others" platitudes when it could have been so much more. I don't know what happened. How could his lecture be so brilliant and his book be so mediocre? Maybe it was the fault of the editor, trying to popularize and dumb down.

The ideas Chopra talked about in his lecture are in the book, they're just buried amidst a lot of weak and irrelevant content. Some of it is contradictory. For example, a chapter on surrendering your ego and not needing to win is followed by a whole section at the end of the book on how to win at the game of life. Another example: he says that your mind trumps all things physical, that you can think your way out of any disease, and yet you still should eat healthy and exercise. If I can think my way to health, then why can't I live on candy?

Other parts of the book over-promise or over-state, suggesting (often through the contrived anecdotes) that if you live right and think right you will never age, never get sick, never have any problems, and live in everlasting ecstacy and peace. There also are whiffs of a "blame the victim" mentality. If all the problems in your life are under your control and nothing is random, then every bad thing that happens to you is your fault.

None of these contradictions or over-statements were in Chopra's lecture. Here's what he highlighted in his lecture that gets a little buried in the book.

Chopra says that the physical world, as we experience it (touch, smell, color, etc.) exists only in consciousness. Physical reality is just a bunch of vibrating atoms, and doesn't intrinsically contain the physical qualities we experience. Nor is our experience located in our physical body - our ear drums or the neurons in our brain. In our body there are just vibrations, electricity, and chemistry. Our experience is reflected in our body through physical manifestations, but these are reflections. The physical isn't primary; our experience is not located there. Our experience, he says, is located in our consciousness - another word for "soul".

The soul is the only constant part of us, and thus the only possible repository of our memories. Our physical body is actually in constant flux as our cells die and are replaced. In a year's time, every atom in our body has been replaced. "Last year I gave a talk wearing these same clothes," he said, "but I was not wearing the same body." What a cool idea!

The soul is the timeless part of us that was never born and will never die. It is the managing intelligence that creates our body, and in a very literal way. Research has demonstrated that our mental processes - what we think and feel - changes the actual structure of our brains, a phenomenon called "neuronal plasticity".

And that's not all. Our gene expression also is pliant. The DNA we're born with never changes, but many of our genes can be turned on or off through epigenes. Chopra doesn't provide any references in his book, but I saw a segment on NOVA scienceNOW on epigenetics. Gene expression changes dramatically over time as a function of lifestyle and experience. By the time identical twins reach old age, there are so many differences in gene expression that their DNA hardly looks identical anymore.

Some genes are fixed - eye color, hair color - but many more are pliant. Chopra says that 500 different genes, including genes for cancer, heart disease, and inflammation, can be turned on or off within a few months by changes in diet, lifestyle, and attitude. Our bodies, to a large extent, are created by our consciousness - our awareness, our souls. "You're not in your body," he said, "your body is in you." How's that for an awesome insight! (I'm a big fan of insights that come from reversals.)

We are not separate beings. When we sit in the same room together, breathing the same air, we are actually exchanging the atoms of our bodies. We breathe out atoms of our heart and kidneys, and the person across from us breathes it in. We are one - parts of a larger process. Our collective consciousness, he says, is what we call "God".

The upshot of all this is that we have much more control over our destinies than we realize, on every level, including the physical. How we look at ourselves and the world is all-important, and potentially transformative. We literally can change our bodies and our destinies by changing how we think. "Changes in diet and lifestyle," he said, "are byproducts of shifting consciousness." I totally agree! This is the core idea of my "Normal Eating" program.

The implications of these ideas are profound and I hoped he'd explore them in greater depth in the book, but he doesn't really. He starts to, and then diverts into anecdotes that are variously irrelevant, trivial, or contrived.

Part of the problem is the organization of the book into five breakthroughs of the body, and then five breakthroughs for the soul, each with numerous examples which interrupt the train of thought. I think it would have worked better if he laid out the core assumptions, and then devoted the rest of the book to the implications organized by areas of life - how you use these ideas to address health problems or being stuck in an awful job. That would have flowed better and been more impactful.

In the acknowledgements at the end of the book, he says, "In many ways [my editor] is the silent author of the final manuscript." I believe it! After hearing Chopra talk in person, I feel very sure that his original text was greatly changed, and not for the better.

Sheryl Canter
Author of "Normal Eating for Normal Weight"
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on May 17, 2010
This book is rich with insights that confirm what science is discovering and ancient wisdom has always known, namely that there is much more to the "physical" body than what you see. More and more, we are hearing that the body is a flow of energy and intelligence, that it has no boundaries, and that the body and the mind are inseparably connected. In this amazing book, Deepak doesn't just describe that process, he tells you the part you play in making the body what it is. He explains how your state of mind affects every part of your body. Then he shows you how to tune your mind to a subtler level, and he tells you who the "you" is that is doing all this.
For so long, we have thought of ourselves as a body that is conscious, but we have had the formula backwards. We are spiritual beings who are using a physical body for this space/time experience. Learning to think of ourselves as eternal beings opens us to what Deepak calls our immortal nature, whose home is the field of consciousness that is creating all that we see and know. Deepak tells us that when we come in contact consciously with that field, as we can do during meditation, "the brain mirrors it and the body has no choice but to shift. When that shift happens, the soul expands beyond its normal boundaries," and we begin to experience the wholeness that is the very substratum of Who and What We Are.
Having said all that, Deepak then goes on to explain what life can be like when we connect consciously to the infinite aspect of our being. That connection changes our behavior even at the level of the soul, and when the soul changes, "the whole dance changes with you."
Connecting with life at this deep level teaches us experientially that we are not just this body. We are unbounded awareness, and at that level, to quote Deepak, "You are enough. You are everything you need."
How to live at this level? He talks about that, too. "Giving opens the flow," he tells us. "There will always be enough of what your soul has to give, so trust the flow. Look for the larger picture. Think on the cosmic scale. And always seek the highest outcome. The deeper your awareness, the richer your creation."
In other words, we create ourselves - and our life - at the level of the soul. And just in case you hadn't thought of this yet, he concludes by telling us not only that the soul is our sacred body, "it is the junction point between infinity and the relative world."
The mind can only take us so far, but "where thinking fails, consciousness is free to go on. The process of reinventing the body and resurrecting the soul is a journey, and the journey never ends."
This is an amazing piece of work. I've read it three times already, and no doubt will be referring to it for a long time. If you are looking for a way to expand your boundaries and get in touch with your deeper self, then this book definitely is for you.
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on October 29, 2009
I am actually somehow disappointed with this book. Maybe it is because I read too many of Chopra's previous books and I expected another great reading but I got just a good reading instead. Hence only 4 stars...

Having said that, we all must admit that Deepak Chopra is a great teacher of holistic healing and one of the best propagators of the idea of mind-body connection. In this book the author offers a good plan to get in touch with your soul and energy to heal your body and to promote good health and longevity.

It is a good reading for people to learn about natural healings, contemplation and meditation. Good reading about changes in diet and lifestyle resulting from changes in consciousness. For more about reinventing your body, physical and mental health and longevity I suggest reading other Chopra's books as well as a great book by a less accomplished author titled "Cn we live 150 Years."
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on December 4, 2009
Chopra has kept the information in the book simple. Too many times this subject matter is made so complex and "hocus pocus". After working in the Counseling field for over 25 years I am glad to see a book with a simplistic delivery. So many people are lost to this information in addition to being turned off by their previous "old school" therapy; that has failed them, and this book is welcoming to those individuals.
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Many of today's thinkers and visionaries believe that disease begins in our mind, onset by unhealthy attitudes. These attitudes are said to eventually erode our body to the extent that disease sets in and progressively worsens. This 2009, 287-page book is a "wisdom of the ages" book, broken down into 2 primary segments. The forward-thinking within this book offers suggestions as to how you might actively participate in your health through the focus of your mind and awareness. Deepak speaks to you both from a medical perspective and from a metaphysical perspective. He is a spiritual writer and an author of more than fifty books translated into more than thirty-five languages (--pretty popular, wouldn't you say?)

Segment # 1--Reinventing the Body
This segment discusses the physical body as fiction and the real body as energy, the awareness of this concept having its own magic. Within this awareness, one can even improve one's genes. While that concept may sound like balderdash to some, remember that "when you want to learn a new skill, your brain adapts according to your desire." Deepak continues by stating that "the brain is fluid and flexible, able to create new connections up into very old age." Your physical body is "an idea that your mind is holding on to." "Your body is alive with unknown abilities, but it looks to you for direction." "Mental activity alone can alter the brain."

(Note: All of these statements will likely push a button in you. Your mind most certainly DOES look to you for direction. If you were around a person who had the flu and tell yourself you will get it, I assure you that you will get it. Yet, if you tell it the opposite, AND YOU BELIEVE, then you will likely NOT get it.--This is PROFOUND and it illustrates the point. Let me provide another example--you could be so afraid of spiders that it could paralyze you with fear. Logically, that makes no sense at all. Most spiders are such tiny little things, and most are not dangerous to us. Yet your fear can be so real to you that it causes extreme physical (blood pressure rise, heart racing) and emotional discomfort. Over time, that sustained fear will have an affect on your health. I suggest that you not be a victim and that you use your brain for POSITIVE programming, instead of negative programming.)

Deepak talks about the possibility of manipulating the body's energy (we are energy, you know) and suggests how we might do that. He also provides stories of different folks and how they change the energies surrounding aspects of their lives.

Deepak also discusses the concept of time and that "time" is not your enemy. "We can choose to stop giving into time as if it ruled our lives." (This happens when we decide we don't have enough time to do something or that we are too old to do something.) People are pushing the limits all the time. The book mentions a 67-year old Romanian woman who gave birth in 2005. Deepak mentions that "awareness can change any energy pattern at will."

The first segment alone "Reinventing the Body" can dramatically improve your life.
________________________________

Segment # 2--Resurrecting the Soul

This segment covers the 2nd part (about 2/3) of the book. The soul is your spiritual body and this segment provides detailed information about so many things we "feel" and which appear in our attitudes, beliefs, and move into our behaviors. There is so much wisdom here about achieving a higher-level of awareness and carrying that awareness with you into the future.

Within this segment, Deepak addresses negative and erroneous beliefs in detail, various aspects of fear, and limitations of the mind, distortions of the energy within our body, pessimistic thinking, inspiration, awareness, and so much more. Awareness is the key to working with the soul. In order to achieve awareness, many people must make radical changes in their belief systems. With detailed explanations and examples from the lives of many people, and also some medical information, Deepak explains how to effectuate positive changes in your life.

On a side note, I met Deepak Chopra in Washington DC at a radio station probably about 20 years ago. He was lecturing on one of his books. He seemed a very gentle and quiet soul and very appreciative of those who came to hear him speak. He also seemed to possess a confident peace and the wisdom of the ages, as if he were a soul that had been around for thousands of years. It was a pleasure to meet him then and I have enjoyed many of his books and CDs over the years. I use one of his CDs quite often to keep my chakras in balance. Let me also tell you that the awareness that I have personally achieved has done wonders for me. As someone who has done considerable work with my energy body successfully, I believe this book can be quite helpful, if you are ready to alter your beliefs from what is normally taught us.

Namaste'
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on October 19, 2009
My current interest is that of healing the body and maintaining good health and overall well-being. As such, I decided to pick up Deepak Chopra's new book Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul.

All in all, this is a decent book, but I was disappointed by the lack of evidence Deepak presents when presenting his case. For example, in one story, he mentions a man who had Parkinson's disease and attended a Qigong workshop in California. Once the workshop was over, the man felt better but there is no follow up after that. There is nothing that mentions whether this man's effects with quigong was long term, short term, if he continued his practice, if his body healed, etc. This lack of follow up in this story did nothing to promote the idea that qigong is an effective practice for the healing of serious diseases.

This book has page after page of tests that were conducted but never gives any reference as to WHERE it was done, WHO the researchers were, and WHEN such tests and experiments took place. I would love to receive more insight regarding some of the claims he made in light of these trials, but since no distinct information is given, I can not research these findings any further.

Deepak offers good, practical advice in this book for those who want a precise spiritual plan on how to get in touch with their souls and energy to heal their body and / or promote good health. You probably won't find anything too new in this book if you've already researched or read up on things such as holistic healing and the mind/body connection. It takes spiritual ideas and aims them directly toward health and well being. Overall, the principles offered in this book - such as reflection, contemplation and meditation - for results are nothing new. This book is geared toward people who already believe in natural healings, and won't do much to win the approval or attention of the skeptic.
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on January 5, 2010
This book delivers both more than I expected, yet less than I had hoped for. After reading the introduction, I was expecting much more of a scientific-spiritual bridge between cellular biology and medicine on the one hand and the influence of consciousness and the soul on the body. But in the end, Dr. Chopra focused on the latter.

The book does contain valuable information, mind you, combining the deep human understanding of a wise old family doctor with the spiritual guidance of a mystic. The problem is that the gems are somewhat buried in a plethora of semi-relevant anecdotes and case studies showing how our consciousness can change physical processes. I think it is fair to say that this book is a synthesis of many of Chopra's books over the last twenty years, but lacks the brilliance and insight of his lectures.

In essence the book is about rediscovering the emotional and spiritual compass in ourselves that can make life a joyous, creative expansion of learning and being all that we can. That compass is the "still small voice" of our soul. This is certainly an important message for our time. Our soul not only guides us, if we listen, but helps nourish our body with life force. Dr. Chopra points out the many and myriad ways we distract ourselves and drown out its messages and starve the body and spirit of real nourishment.

Depending on where one is in one's journey, therefore, the book can be a real revelation or an articulate restatement of things he has already written and we have already read. From an author as penetrating and prolific as Deepak Chopra, I was hoping for more of a breakthrough book; a unified field theory of the spiritual and the material. There are hints of it here, but room for much more.
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on January 4, 2010
I am a fan of Deepak Chopra's teachings, and this book did not let me down. He has taken on the very core of our physical existence with how your body is a complex energy with the ability to heal itself without any interference from outside sources.

If you or a loved one is in need of a miracle, this book has specific steps on how to bring the miracle into your life. The examples in the book are very timely and relevant. The fact that identical twins are born with exactly the same DNA and genes, but by age 70 are nothing alike is just one example of how we have proof that we control the destiny of our bodies. Genetics has been touted as the road map of disease and aging, however, scientist have now discovered that the very genes that control aspects of disease can be "turned off" if only we understand how.

The science of healing through energy is not new. Chinese medicine has been using this for thousands of years. This book might be the key to opening a field of science that has been missing in our quest to unlock the key to long and healthy life.
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on September 26, 2011
As a full-time teacher, wife, farmer, and mother of 8, I often look for the easy way out of health, stress, and and anxiety issues (pills). This book made me really stop and think about tuning into my inner self, thinking about how to release some of my stress, and understanding my soul. When I really think about my body as my home, I am more apt to honor it and take care of it. This book is worth the read, even if you only take away a little of it.
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