Deepak Chopra on how thinking outside the box can change your life

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Audible has been changing the game when it comes to podcasts and learning through sound, and that’s exactly why Indian-American author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra decided to sign on with them to create an all-new listening experience.

With ‘Mind Body Zone: Living Outside the Box‘, Chopra provides a series of 12 episodes spanning 30 minutes featuring a variety of guests, guided mediations and soundscapes to go along with each episode’s topic. All of the themes are meant to explore our own imagination and creativity, and ultimately help us to think outside of the box and  transcend the ordinary. These intimate conversations with people such as activist and advocate X González, media pioneer Oprah Winfrey, anti-racism educator Layla Saad and more are meant to steer listeners along a path of enlightenment while the soundscapes provide a much more vivid experience. The meditation then acts as the cherry on top, with benefits not just helping the mind but also physically with studies showing help with blood pressure, heart rate, immune system, biological age and cellular levels.

Chopra sat down to discuss the benefits of ‘Mind Body Zone: Living Outside the Box‘ and what he hopes listeners are able to take away from it.

What made you want to link up with Audible for this new series?

I’ve been doing podcasts for a while and looking at Audible, I realized that they actually create something that is way beyond usual podcasts—they literally create soundscapes. So you can do a podcast, but in the background, there’s music, sound, and actually what you get is a very dramatic, surreal, vivid experience as if you were actually there. All the people I’ve worked with at Audible, they are obsessed with sound. Their whole universe is sound. As I looked at their soundscapes, I became convinced that this is the best way to reach larger audiences. People listen to these things while they’re driving, while they’re on the plane, while they’re doing something else. So, I thought, why not work with the best in the world?

You’ve said that there is immense power behind the spoken word and also specifically that emotions are tethered to the human voice. Could you expand on that?

So, you know there are many issues concerning the world right now from climate change, to war, to terrorism, to racism, to extinction of species, to the fact that we’ve basically ruined the genetic information of the planet and there’s poison in our food. All of these facts are there, including the facts of vaccination. But, nobody’s making the rational decisions. We all have the technology to reverse things like climate change and resurrect the planet, however, as you can see even with the vaccine, people are making emotional decisions. You give them all the science in the world and you will still not find engagement. I find that particularly disturbing in climate change, which if we don’t do something about it right now—and we can—we are headed for extinction. Still people are arguing about it, [and then] people are not taking vaccines even though the pandemic is going on.

So, people go with emotions pretending to be rational. That’s partly because our emotional brain is a 100 million years old and our intellectual brain is only 4 million years old. When you take facts and you give them emotion, then people act. For the environment: I tell people this air is your breath, these trees are your lungs, these rivers and waters are your circulation, this earth is recycling as your body is and the stars give you atoms which are literally the basis of your life in your body—unless you think of the world and the environment as your extended body, you’re not going to make a decision. You’re just going to argue about so-called facts. So when you give emotional residence, which is convincing and speaks to the facts then people act. That’s my assessment of this.

And with the human voice?

I’m also very interested in how the tone of voice influences our emotions. So, when a baby looks at his mother before language, it listens to the tone of her voice. Is she friendly, is she angry, is she frustrated? Is she giving me attention? Does she love me? Does she accept me? The baby doesn’t have words for this, but if the baby feels love, attention, and acceptance, then the baby will grow up to be emotionally mature. On the other hand, if the baby looks at the mother and the tone of voice shows anxiety, frustration or anger, then it will respond differently. So, we respond to emotions even before we learn language.

Recently, I’ve become very interested in how we can take voice tone and actually correlate it with biological responses, like heart-rate, blood pressure etc. [With these technologies] we can analyze the tone and put it through mathematic algorithms to predict the state of your health and emotions. So, this is going to become huge. Sounds, soundscapes, emotions, and how it all influences our life, our models of thinking and our codes of conduct.

How did you choose your guests on the show?

Everyone I’m talking too broke the mold of conventional, thought, behavior and conduct. That’s why we call it ‘Outside the Box’, because this is our conditioned mind, and the conditioned mind prevents us from harnessing our creativity. So, the 12 people I’ve talked too, they basically got rid of the box.

What about the themes, how were you able to break it down?

They are all themes essentially of harnessing creativity and imagination and going beyond the box. I have very interesting people [on here.] We have a woman who talks about how mother trees communicate with one another and take care of the forest, we have Oprah Winfrey talking about her own vulnerability, we have Jessamyn Stanley talking about acceptance, Suzanne Simard talking about connection of life and on and on. These are people who are not necessarily experts in their area, but they’re models of thinking and creativity go beyond anything I’ve seen in conventional academia.

For me, this was a experience where I was learning at the same time as I was exploring. Then, each episode we give a meditation for people to absolve what they’ve heard and metabolize it and see how that corresponds with their own experience in life.

What do you think meditation brings for listeners?

I think people have misconceptions about meditation. So, one of the things we do is remove those misconceptions and the meditations in each episode are geared towards the topics. Overcoming shame, creativity, what it means to have a vision, emotional intelligence, ecology, healing—these are topics and are guided. Along with the soundscapes and music, people won’t even know that they are actually meditating, except they’ll feel good about it.

I’m hoping people will harness their own creativity and go beyond the models of thinking, and that it will change some habits. I hope it [shows] benefits biologically and physiologically because of the meditations.

Mind Body Zone: Living Outside the Box‘ premieres Sept. 16 on Audible. Catch a clip: soundcloud.com

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