What Inspires Me: The Power of Myth by Deepak Chopra


I was brought up in India, a land that is imbued with a living mythology. Very early on in my childhood, it was my mother who told me that the word “inspiration” literally meant to be in spirit. The spirit, in turn, was the spirit of God, who breathed into the dust of the earth and animated it with consciousness. The most fundamental factor of existence, then, became the awareness or consciousness of existence.

Since it was impossible to imagine God as an infinite being, our collective consciousness used symbols to express divinity. These symbols were literally the gods and goddesses in our mythical stories. Long before I became aware of Joseph Campbell and “The Power of Myth”, I was already deeply immersed in the stories of these magnificent mythological beings who had supernormal powers that went beyond human capacities. Everyday my mother would read to me and my younger brother Sanjiv stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Indian epics equivalent to the Odyssey and Iliad. Here I learned of the great archetypal energies of Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance, Krishna, the cosmic alchemist, Ganesh, remover of obstacles.

When I was very young I thought of them as actual beings. Later, I realized that they were in fact symbols of higher states of consciousness that allowed us to tap into the collective imagination and our collective longing to accomplish the extraordinary. They lift us to heights of passion, ecstasy, and extraordinary accomplishments. As I grew up, I was immersed also in the lives of mythical characters in our own times: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Theresa. Their stories and their lives were extraordinary not only because they were great storytellers, but they actually lived their stories.


As I delved later into the literature of mythology, I realized that “myth” was etymologically related to the following words – mother, matrix, time, measurement, music, matter, meter, mata, mater. Myth was the womb of creation through which the infinite being became quantified and finite in the world of space-time and causality. Myth as story reveals the creative process itself. Much later I also understood that the rituals of invocation of the gods and goddesses were actually ways to breathe in the archetypal and universal energies into myths to activate that latent power within our awareness.

Now many years later, I realize that icons and even commercial brands are encapsulated myths. They are stories with motifs and themes that capture the essentials of the human drama. The stories contain the eternal conflict between opposing themes: sinner and saint, hero and villain, forbidden lust and unconditional love. They have in them mystery, adventure, magic, wanderlust, and divine energies such as love compassion empathy and equanimity and the eternal battle to overcome our own demons of anger, hostility, guilt, shame, and fear.

Much later, as I started my writing career, I delved deeply into the cultural mythologies that later became institutionalized religion. I studied the lives of Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, and Buddha not with a desire to validate their historical truth, but to see them as the symbolic expression of the longing, aspiration, desire, and extraordinary accomplishments in the collective imagination of a people in a particular time and culture. The themes were essentially the same. These great beings had lived stories that surpassed the capacity of ordinary human beings. They were not limited by social constraints. They were rebels: They did not mimic popular culture, they lead it; they offered hope, trust, stability, and compassion to people in times of confusion, turmoil, chaos, and collective anxiety.

As a result of my deep interest in mythology, I began to write historical fiction that included, not only included books on Jesus, Buddha and Mohammad, but also tracked the lives of great saints and sages in my book, “God: A Story of Revelation”. Many years ago I also had the opportunity to live in the southwest part of England where I became captivated by the story of King Arthur, the knights of round table, and the magician Merlin. This resulted in two books, “The Return of Merlin” and “The Way of the Wizard”.

I have gone at length to share with you how my life was inspired by myth and story and how it unfolded in my own career which started as physician dealing with physical problems, but expanding to well-being in all areas of human existence: emotional, social, spiritual, community, ultimately inspiring me to a vision of 100 million people undergoing personal and social transformation to create a critical mass that will lead us in the direction in a more peaceful, just, sustainable, and healthy world. Today, I live that vision in every fiber of my being and every breath that I take. My inspiration comes from the great mythological beings of our collective culture and history. These Beings spoke to our collective longing for truth, goodness, beauty, harmony and evolution in the direction of enlightenment.

My inspiration therefore is: The Power of Myth.
Original article from Deepak Chopra MD (official)on Linkedin

This is a true Confession on his experiences of Consciousness Expansion. I like it!

Posted by Helen Zhu Copyright@www.learwithuniversalmind.com

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One Comment

  1. mahesh says:

    Really very informative post.Most of the people to get knowledge they offer prayers to saraswati and for wealth to Goddess lakshmi by chanting mahalakshmi stotram.I would like to subscribe to your daily news letters.

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