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Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You [Anglais] [Broché]

Deepak Chopra

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Extrait

FROM BREAKDOWN TO BREAKTHROUGH



For you and me, the body poses problems that will only grow worse. As children we loved our bodies and rarely thought about them. As we grew older, though, we soon fell out of love, and with good reason. Billions of dollars are spent to cure the body of its many ills and miseries. Billions more are thrown down the drain for cosmetics, whose purpose is to fool us into thinking we look better than we do. To be blunt, the human body is unsatisfactory and has been for a long time. It can't be trusted, since sickness often strikes without warning. It deteriorates over time and eventually dies. Let's attack this problem seriously. Instead of making do with the physical form you were given at birth, why not look for a breakthrough, a completely new way of approaching the body?

Breakthroughs occur when you start thinking about a problem in a fresh new way. The biggest breakthroughs occur when you start thinking in an unbounded way. Take your eyes away from what you see in the mirror. If you came from Mars and have never seen how the body ages and declines over time, you might believe it would work in just the opposite way. From a biological point of view, there's no reason why the body should be flawed. So start there. Having erased every outworn assumption from your mind, you are now free to entertain some breakthrough ideas that totally change the situation:

Your body is boundless. It is channeling the energy, creativity, and intelligence of the entire universe.

At this moment, the universe is listening through your ears, seeing through your eyes, experiencing through your brain.

Your purpose for being here is to allow the universe to evolve.

None of this is outlandish. The human body is already the universe's most advanced laboratory experiment. You and I are at the cutting edge of life. Our best chance for survival is to embrace that fact. Rapid evolution, faster than that for any other life-form on the planet, gave us our present state of ever-increasing health, longer lifespan, exploding creativity, and a vision of possibilities that science advances faster and faster. Our physical evolution ceased around 200,000 years ago. You don't possess liver, lungs, heart, or kidneys different from those of a cave dweller. Indeed, you share 60 percent of your genes with a banana, 90 percent with a mouse, and more than 99 percent with a chimpanzee. In other words, everything else that makes us human has depended on an evolution that is far more nonphysical than physical. We invented ourselves, and as we did so, we brought our bodies along for the ride.

How you invented yourself

You have been inventing your body from the day you were born, and the reason you don't see it that way is that the process comes so naturally. It's easy to take for granted, and that's the problem. The flaws you see in your body today aren't inherent. They aren't bad news delivered by your genes or mistakes made by Nature. Your choices each played a part in the body you created, either consciously or unconsciously.

Here's a list of physical changes that you have made and continue to make. It's a very basic list, all medically valid, and yet hardly any part of your body is excluded.

Every skill you learn creates a new neural network in your brain.

Every new thought creates a unique pattern of brain activity.

Any change in mood is conveyed via "messenger molecules" to every part of the body, altering the basic chemical activity of each cell.

Every time you exercise, you alter your skeleton and muscles.

Every bite of food you eat alters your daily metabolism, electrolyte balance, and proportion of fat to muscle.

Your sexual activity and the decision to reproduce affects your hormonal balance.

The stress level to which you subject yourself raises and lowers your immune system.

Every hour of total inactivity creates muscle atrophy.

Your genes tune in to your thoughts and emotions, and in mysterious ways they switch on and off according to your desires.

Your immune system gets stronger or weaker in response to being in a loving or unloving relationship.

Crises of grief, loss, and loneliness increase the risk of disease and shortened lifespan.

Using your mind keeps your brain young; not using your brain leads to its decline.

Using these tools, you invented your body and can reinvent it anytime you want. The obvious question is, Why haven't we reinvented our bodies already? Certainly the problems have been staring us in the face long enough. The answer is that solving small pieces of the puzzle has been much easier than seeing the whole. Medicine is practiced in specialties. If you fall in love, an endocrinologist can report on the decline of stress hormones in your endocrine system. A psychiatrist can report on your improved mood, which a neurologist can confirm through a brain scan. A dietician may be worried that you're losing your appetite; on the other hand, what you do eat is digested better. And so it goes. No one can provide you with a complete picture.

To make matters more complex, because the body is so fluid and so superbly multitasking, it's difficult to imagine there's any one step to take that could lead to transformation. Right now you may be in love, pregnant, running down a country lane, eating a new diet, losing sleep or gaining it, doing better at your job or worse. Your body is nothing less than a universe in motion.

Reinventing the body means changing the whole universe.

Trying to tinker with your body misses the forest for the trees. One person fixates on her weight, another trains for a marathon, and yet another is adopting a vegan diet while her friend is dealing with menopause. Thomas Edison didn't tinker with building a better kerosene lamp; he abandoned the use of fire--the only human-generated source of light since prehistoric times--and broke through to a new source. That was a quantum leap in creativity. If you are the creator of your body, what is the quantum leap awaiting you?

Going back to the source

If we use Edison as our model, the last great reinvention of the body followed certain principles:

The body is an object.

It fits together like a complicated machine.

The machine breaks down over time.

The body's machinery is constantly attacked by germs and other microbes, which are also tiny machines on a molecular scale.

But these are all outmoded ideas. If any of these assumptions were true, then the following couldn't happen: a new syndrome recently appeared called electro-sensitivity, in which people complain that simply being near electricity causes discomfort and pain. Electro-sensitivity is taken seriously enough that at least one country, Sweden, will pay to have a person's house shielded from the electromagnetic field if they are diagnosed as electro-sensitive.

The widespread fear that cell phones harm the body has reached no definitive conclusion, but it seemed far easier to test whether there is such a thing as electro-sensitivity. In one experiment, subjects were put inside an electromagnetic field (we are surrounded by these every day in the form of microwaves, radio and television signals, cell-phone transmissions, and power lines), and as the field was turned on or off, they were asked to say what they felt. It turned out that nobody did better than random. People who described themselves as electro-sensitive did no better than anyone else, which means no better than random guessing.

However, this didn't settle the matter. In a follow-up experiment, people were given cell phones and asked if they could feel pain or discomfort when they placed the phones against their heads. The electro-sensitive people described a range of discomfort, including sharp pain and headache, and by looking at their brains with MRIs, it could be seen that they were telling the truth. The pain centers in their brains were activated. The catch is that the cell phones were dummies and were emitting no electrical signals of any kind. Therefore, the mere expectation that they would be in pain was enough to create pain in certain people, and the next time they used a real cell phone, they would suffer from the syndrome.

Before you dismiss this as a psychosomatic effect, pause and consider. If someone says he is electro-sensitive, and his brain acts as if he is electro-sensitive, the condition is real--at least for him. Psychosomatic conditions are real for those who experience them. But it's just as true to say that they created the conditions. In fact, there is a much larger phenomenon at work here--the ebb and flow of new diseases that may be new creations. Another example is anorexia and related eating disorders like bulimia. A generation ago, such disorders were rare, and now they appear to be endemic, especially among teenage girls. Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, had its heyday but now seems to be fading. Cutting, a form of self-mutilation in which the patient, usually a young woman, secretly slices superficial wounds into her skin with a razor or knife, appears to be on the rise after a period of almost total obscurity.

When such new disorders appear, the first reaction is always that the victims created a sickness that is essentially imaginary or psychotic. Yet when the disorder spreads, and doctors find that patients cannot turn off the switch that turned the illness on, there can be only one conclusion. Self-created symptoms are real.

Machines can't create new disorders. But then the whole machine model was imperfect from the start. If you drive a car long enough, its moving parts are ground down by friction. But if you use a muscle, it gets stronger. Non-use, which helps keeps a machine in pristine condition, leads to atrophy with our bodies. Creaky, arthritic joints seem like a perfect example of moving parts that have worn out, but arthritis is actually caused by a host of complex disorders, not just simple friction.

During your lifetime this outworn model of the body hasn't changed but has only been tinkered with. So what is your body, then, if it's not a machine? Your whole body is a holistic, dynamic process in support of being alive. You are in charge of that process, and yet no one has given you the knowledge of how you should approach your job. Perhaps that is because the enterprise is immense: it covers everything, and it never stops.

The process of life

At this moment your body is a river that never stays the same, a continuous stream merging hundreds of thousands of chemical changes at the cellular level. Those changes aren't random; they constantly serve the purpose of moving life forward and preserving what's best from the past. Your DNA is like an encyclopedia that stores the entire history of evolution. Before you were born, your DNA thumbed through the pages to make sure every piece of knowledge was in place. In the womb, an embryo starts out as a single cell, the simplest form of life. It progresses to a loosely assembled blob of cells. Then, step by step, the embryo goes through the evolutionary stages of fish, amphibian, and lower mammal. Primitive gills appear and then disappear to make way for lungs.

By the time a baby emerges into the world, evolution has overshot the mark. Your brain was too complex as a newborn, with millions of unnecessary neuronal connections built into it, like a telephone system with too many wires. You spent your first few years paring down those millions of surplus connections, discarding the ones you didn't need, keeping those that functioned to make you exactly who you were. But at that point physical evolution reached unknown territory. Choices had to be made that were not automatically built into your genes.

A baby stands at the frontier of the unknown, and its genes have no more old pages left in the encyclopedia. You had to write the next page yourself. As you did so, starting the process of forming a totally unique life, your body kept pace: your genes adapted to how you think, feel, and act. You probably don't know that identical twins, born with exactly the same DNA, look very different genetically when they grow up: certain genes have been switched on, others switched off. By age seventy, images taken of the chromosomes of two twins don't look remotely the same. As life diverges, genes adapt.

Take a simple skill like walking. With each clumsy step, a toddler begins to change its brain. The nerve centers responsible for balance, known as the vestibular system, start to wake up and show activity; this is one area of the brain that can't develop in the uterus. Once a toddler has mastered walking, the vestibular system has completed this phase of its function.

But later, after you grow up, you might want to learn to drive a car, ride a motorcycle, or walk a balance beam. The brain, even though it may be mature, doesn't stop there. Quite the opposite: when you want to learn a new skill, your brain adapts according to your desire. A basic function like balance can be fine-tuned and trained far beyond the base level. This is the miracle of the mind-body connection. You are not hard-wired. Your brain is fluid and flexible, able to create new connections up into very old age. Far from decaying, the brain is an engine of evolution. Where physical evolution appeared to stop, it actually left an open door.

I want to take you through that door, because much more lies beyond it than you ever imagined. You were designed to unlock hidden possibilities that will remain hidden without you. An image comes to mind of probably the greatest feat of balance ever exhibited by a human being. You may have seen photos of it. On August 7, 1974, a French acrobat named Philippe Petit breached security at the World Trade Center. He climbed onto the roof and, with the help of confederates, strung a 450-pound cable between the two towers. Petit balanced himself with a twenty-six-foot pole as he walked out onto the cable, which stretched 140 feet. Both towers were swaying; the wind was high, the drop below his feet was 104 stories, or a quarter of a mile. Petit was a professional high-wire artist (as he called himself), and he had taken a basic ability of the body, balance, to a new stage.

What would terrify a normal person became normal for one person. In essence, Petit was at the cutting edge of evolution. He made eight crossings on the wire, which was only three-quarters of an inch in diameter. At one point Petit sat on the wire and even lay down on it. He realized that this was more than a physical feat. Because of the unwavering concentration that was required, Petit developed a mystical regard for what he was doing. His attention had to focus without allowing fear or distraction to enter for even a second.


From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

"Alternative medicine guru Chopra, author of more than 50 books, argues that the bond between body and soul has been severed; it's his hope that humankind is about to embark on a restoration project that will give the soul the attention it deserves. Chopra presents five 'breakthroughs' that address the body and five that address the soul. He also walks readers through a fascinating discussion of how energy affects spiritual and physical health, and includes a scored personal energy efficiency quiz. According to Chopra, when 'subtle energy' becomes blocked, awareness can act like an invisible force that turns unhealthy energy around (he also explains how the expression of genes can be altered by lifestyle changes). Chopra encourages readers to follow their inner guidance, to embrace a journey to higher consciousness, to expand awareness through meditation and other methods, to ask for guidance and then wait for it to appear, and to trust their instincts. By accepting the over-arching power of the 'invisible' or non-physical world, Chopra maintains that we can begin to nourish a state of wholeness in which there is no longer a disconnect between body, mind, and soul. Though Chopra offers 10 'simple steps' to wholeness (including focusing on relationships instead of consumption), this is a multilayered text to savor and study; readers will continue to contemplate the author's message long after the final page is turned."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Dr Chopra moves us from the mundane lives that trap many of us to the sacred insights offered by our souls."
Mehmet C. Oz, bestselling co-author of You: The Owner's Manual

"Health and disease often begin in our consciousness, so awareness is the first step in healing. In Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, Deepak Chopra eloquently and beautifully describes how to enhance our awareness and transform our health more dynamically and powerfully than had once been thought possible."
Dean Ornish, M.D., founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute; clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; and author of The Spectrum



From the Hardcover edition.

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Né en Inde en 1946, ayant reçu une double éducation orientale et occidentale, médecin endocrinologue aux États-Unis, Deepak Chopra fait appel dans sa pratique aussi bien à la science médicale occidentale qu'à la philosophie traditionnelle indienne (Védas). Il a été cité par Bill Clinton et Mikhaïl Gorbatchev comme, respectivement, philosophe et pionnier de la médecine alternative.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  103 commentaires
113 internautes sur 117 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Experience overwhelming change by reading this book. 11 décembre 2009
Par Poppy J. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
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?
475 internautes sur 521 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 something odd happened on the way to the printer 16 octobre 2009
Par Sheryl Canter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
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"
69 internautes sur 81 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Find your own way to create New You 30 octobre 2009
Par wilson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
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."
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Thank you, Deepak! 17 mai 2010
Par Donna Miesbach - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Keeping it simple 4 décembre 2009
Par ChaseT - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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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