Book review: How to Know God by Deepak Chopra

The Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries

This is another book in that same first class in Spirituality & Resilience about which I had to lead a discussion. The book was rather intimidating at first because I questioned the existence of a God. Despite growing up catholic, I strayed from religion and sought something more intellectual. So, this book challenged me.

The author begins by going into telling us that our search to find God is narrowed down to a response of the brain which Chopra calls the “God response.” It falls into seven definite events taking place inside the brain and are much more basic than your beliefs, but they give rise to beliefs that bridge from our world to an invisible domain where matter dissolves and spirit emerges:

  1. Fight-or-flight response: we turn to God when we need to survive. You fulfill your life through family, a sense of belonging like to a community, and material comforts.
  2. Reactive response (this is the brain’s creation of a personal identity): we turn to God because we need to achieve, accomplish, and compete. You fulfill your life through success, status, and other ego satisfactions.
  3. Restfulness awareness response: we turn to God because we need to feel that the outer world isn’t going to swallow us up in its endless turmoil. You fulfill your response through peace, centeredness, self-acceptance, and inner silence.
  4. Intuitive response (the brain looks for information both inside and out): we turn to God for him to validate that our inner world is good. Outer knowledge is objective; but inner knowledge is intuitive. The God that matches this response is understanding and forgiving. You full your life though insight, empathy, tolerance, and forgiveness.
  5. Creative response (the human brain can invent new things and discover new facts): we turn to him out of our wonder at the beauty and formal complexity of nature. We call this inspiration, and its mirror is a Creator who made the whole world from nothing. You fulfill your life through inspiration, expanded creativity in art or science, and unlimited discovery.
  6. Visionary response (a form of pure awareness that feels joyful and blessed): we need such a God to explain why magic an exist side by side with ordinary mundane reality. This contact can be bewildering because it has no roots in the material world. You fulfill your life through reverence, compassion, devoted service, and universal love.
  7. Sacred response: we need him because without a source, our existence has no foundation at all. You fulfill your life through wholeness and unity with the divine.

These seven responses form the basis of religion whether the God is absent or non-existent or one of pure love and light. Each religion projects a different view of reality with a matching God. Only the brain can deliver the vast range of deities that exist in human experience. We select a deity based on interpretation of reality, and that interpretation is rooted in biology.

I enjoyed how the book went into the power of intention and what makes life spiritual. Also diverting was how the author explored the mysteries and complexities and wove them together to open new doors for us to ruminate. If you want to read it in its entirety, get it here.

Until my next post, why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, novel in verse, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreadsLinkedInBookbub , BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

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