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    Perfect Health; The Complete Mind, Body Guide

    Excerpted from
    Perfect Health; The Complete Mind, Body Guide
    By Deepak Chopra, M.D.

    A Place Called Perfect Health

    Remarkable transformations have occurred in the world since I wrote the first edition of Perfect Health almost a decade ago. Ten years ago the ideas that there was more to health than the absence of disease, that natural approaches could enliven our intrinsic healing system, and that the human body was a network of energy and information rather than a frozen anatomical structure seemed radical. And yet today we see that these concepts have become woven into the very fabric of our modern view of health and sickness, and of life and death. A recent report in the journal of the American Medical Association found that over 40 percent of Americans are now regularly accessing unconventional medical care that goes beyond a materialistic view of the human body. More than two in three medical schools have introduced courses on alternative and complementary medicine to their students. And, recognizing that patients are demanding greater choice and access, increasing numbers of insurance companies and health maintenance organizations are covering the costs of holistic medical care.

    The scientific community has shifted from outright rejection and ridicule of alternative healing approaches to serious investigation. If you access the National Library of Medicine's database, you will find over forty thousand articles on alternative and complementary medicine with over sixteen hundred on herbal medicines alone. Meditation, yoga, massage, and nutritional approaches are increasingly embraced as mainstream tools for healing. St. John's wort, ginkgo biloba, and echinacea have become household words, with almost every pharmacy in America carrying its own line of natural medicines. Through the proliferation of journals, books, and the Internet, people have unprecedented access to information on health, and are taking increasing responsibility for their own well-being. Although this may be threatening to the established medical community, I see the trend toward increasing self-awareness and empowerment as a sign of expanding personal and collective health.

    At the Chopra Center for Well Being in beautiful La Jolla, California, we have created a healing environment to directly explore the power of Ayurveda and mind body medicine. We have developed courses applying the principles and practices of holistic medicine to the most common health concerns. Our Magical Beginnings program provides information and inspiration for pregnant couples to nurture their unborn children as incubating gods and goddesses in embryo. We have certified birth educators around the world teaching this program, which will help create a new generation of healthy, conscious beings.

    Mind body educators on every continent in the world have been trained at the Chopra Center to teach Creating Health, our premier course on mind body medicine and Ayurveda. More than five hundred people have been certified worldwide as instructors in Primordial Sound Meditation, our stress-relieving program that enables people to directly experience their inner field of energy and creativity. Return to Wholeness, our course for people facing cancer, has had a transformational effect on those dealing with this challenging illness. Programs for people with chronic fatigue, women transitioning through menopause, and those struggling to lose weight have helped thousands to realize their intrinsic potential to consciously transform their lives. Over the past decade I have repeatedly seen the profound effect that the approaches described in Perfect Health have on people's lives.

    It has been very gratifying to witness the changes occurring in world consciousness. We are in the midst of a revolution that will forever change the way we view the world and ourselves. The timeless wisdom tradition of Ayurveda and the most advanced theories of modern physics both point to a deeper reality that encourages us to see the universe as an eternal, infinite field of potentiality that we can access for healing and transformation. This is the core message of Perfect Health.

    This updated version contains some significant changes. I have introduced new healing techniques that we have found useful with patients at the Chopra Center. Guided visualizations and meditations are presented that can provide the direct experience of more expanded awareness, the key to changing your perception of your body. I offer subtle mind body approaches to consciously connect with your cells, tissues, and organs. Learning to influence so-called "autonomic" functions is important in creating and maintaining perfect health. I have updated the sections on nutrition and herbal medicines, with an emphasis on a wholesome, balanced diet.

    These days, in the rush to ensure health with nutritional supplements, it is important not to overlook the basic health-promoting value of a balanced nutritional program. The Ayurvedic diet promoted in Perfect Health is characterized by its simplicity, elegance, and sumptuousness. I have introduced new, updated references, which draw from the growing body of scientific research on mind body interactions in health and sickness. It is very fulfilling to see objective documentation of health principles and practices that go back thousands of years. Expanded ways to nourish your body through the five senses are explored that use healing sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell to awaken the body's inner pharmacy. Understanding that the environment is our extended body, I have introduced fun exercises to enliven the connection between our inner and outer worlds. Overall, this edition of Perfect Health is designed to be practical, accessible, and very user-friendly.

    In my continuing exploration of healing, I am totally convinced that true health is much more than the absence of an abnormal laboratory finding; it is even more than optimal mind body integration. Health in its essence is a higher state of consciousness. For thousands of years the great Vedic seers have proclaimed that the purpose of attending to the body is to support the state of being known as enlightenment. In this state our internal reference point shifts from the ego to spirit, and we recognize that the knower, the process of knowing, and that which is known are one and the same. The boundaries of time and space become fluid as we remember ourselves as unbounded beings temporarily masquerading as individuals. This state of wholeness is the basis of all healing. This is the state of perfect health. I am grateful for the opportunity to escort you to this place that is very near to where you currently reside.

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