Sunday, January 24, 2010

Secret #1

Mystery is the greatest need in the human soul.
- Emily Dickenson

The Book of Secrets
by Deepak Chopra was born in a moment of family crisis ... his father's sudden death. It drove him to investigate the mystery of life and death which he articulates in 15 "secrets" in this book .

Secret #1: The Mystery of Life Is Real

Chopra's premise around this first secret is that we are already living the answer to this mystery at the cellular level. Our body contains 53 trillion cells all working in amazing, cooperative harmony. Chopra describes the qualities of this interaction as:
Higher purpose ... every cell in your body works for the welfare of the whole. If necessary, it will die to protect the body.

Communion ... a cell keeps in touch with every other cell as messenger cells race everywhere to notify the body's farthest outposts of desire or intention.

Awareness ... cells adapt from moment to moment in order to respond to immediate situations.

Acceptance ... cells recognize each other as equally important.

Creativity ... although every cell has a set of unique functions, these combine in creative ways to meet new situations.

Being ... cells obey the universal cycle of rest and activity.

Efficiency ... cells function with the smallest possible expenditure of energy and stores only three seconds of food and oxygen inside its cell wall.

Bonding ... cells know that they are fundamentally the same.

Giving ... the primary activity of cells is giving, which maintains the integrity of all other cells.

Immortality ... cells reproduce in order to pass on their knowledge, experience, and talents, withholding nothing, creating a practical immortality.

In the cellular world, selfishness, refusing to communicate, living like an outcast, overconsumption, obsessive activity and aggression are not options.
Chopra suggests that we recognize the intelligence of the body and live more along the principles of this example. He also says our ancestors understood this way of living more than we do. I agree but I have some questions:

How did cancer get introduced into this relatively perfect system?

And in our larger system, how did greed, selfishness, anger, overconsumption and aggression get introduced? Did these things come with the development of our "higher" brains? First, we used a rock to crack open nuts and then found it useful to stop someone from taking our nuts? It reminds me of one of my favorite movies, The Gods Must Be Crazy. The peaceful, simple lives of a tribe of Bushmen are totally disrupted when a Coke bottle tossed from an airplane lands in their midst. At first, it was a wonderous thing with many uses, but there was only one and people began to fight over it until their leader heads off on an adventure to get rid of it by tossing it over the edge of the world.

Somehow, I don't think we're going to get rid of all of our "Coke bottles" and, so far, the book hasn't answered these questions. Stay tuned.


  1. Joyce, have you thought of contributing to Amazon book reviews? You write so well, and capture the guts and meanings of books, like this one, and then raise provocative questions.

    I must confess I've read only one of Chopra's books and I was unsatisfied by its end.

    Thank you for visiting my blog earlier and leaving your kind comment. I put on FB a note about a video with Vassar Haiti Project images of artwork and a piano composition by Cynthia Kendall. It's called "Tears for Haiti". The piano piece is rather haunting. I also twittered it.

  2. P.S. I like that image, though "Publix" makes me smile.

  3. Thanks, Maureen ... I thought the use of the Publix bag as a trash bag was amusing. I'll check out the Tears for Haiti ... you always find such great stuff.