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"Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential" by Deepak Chopra

"Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential" by Deepak Chopra (Amazon)

Look at him, Deepak Chopra was saying. Look at President Donald Trump.

"He looks inflamed, doesn't he?" the best-selling author and icon of integrative medicine asked. "Just a shift in his diet ..."

Nothing too radical, Chopra said. Just something healthier than the two Big Macs, two Filet O'Fish sandwiches and small chocolate shake the president frequently eats for dinner, according to aides.

"Vegetables, or a nice big salad," Chopra suggested during a recent phone interview. "The bacteria in your body, they like that kind of food. If he did that? That could help the world."

Chopra, 72, is on tour to promote his 90th book, titled "Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential."

"A lot of my audiences have grown up with me, so I feel like the Beach Boys," he said. "They come and listen to the old songs and they want new ones."

But Chopra is seeing new, younger people in his audiences, a change he attributes to the high rate of suicide and depression in those ages 10 to 30. According to the World Health Organization, he said, suicide rates have increased by 60% in the last 45 years; and suicide is among one of the leading causes of death among those aged 15-44.

To be "metahuman," he said, means to abandon limitations imposed by the ego; to experience life directly, immersed in the present moment.

But that seems an impossible feat in this time of near-constant acts of ego: Not just selfies, but the habit of halting life, mid-moment, to get a picture of it. It's as if the present moment isn't meant to be lived, but posted.

Chopra recalled a Biblical quote - "For what profits a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?" - and then put a present-day spin on it: "What good does it do a self to sacrifice itself for a selfie?

"We have sacrificed ourselves for our selfies," he said. "Our collective selfie, which is our collective ego, has created an insane world. Climate change, war, terrorism, internet warfare. You can just watch it, or you can figure out how to make a more joyful world, because we have the capacity."

The key, he said, is to learn to identify experiences of joy, freedom, bliss and creativity and make them continuous.

Falling in love. Having a baby. Opening a Christmas present. Reading poetry. Listening to good music. Being in nature.

"Just the memory of that will bring that feeling," Chopra said. "If you don't allow yourself that, you will never be happy. Happiness, for a reason, is a form of misery. The reason is money, or a job, or a relationship. You're at the mercy of every stranger on the street.

"But when you're happy because you are in touch with your own being, that is joy," he continued. "That is limitless. No one can take that away from you."

Over the course of his career - he started as a board-certified internist - Chopra seems to have cracked the code for happiness. He doesn't start working until 11 a.m., doesn't work after 5 p.m. or on weekends, and meditates and does yoga every day. He doesn't eat anything manufactured, processed or refined, and doesn't eat meat.

And when he travels, he said, he doesn't fly. He "transcends."

"I don't even look," he said. "I just close my eyes when I leave then I open them when I land."

At the end of September, he will embark on a weeklong silent retreat.

"No social media, no TV, no interaction with anyone," he said. "I love it. Solitude is not loneliness, it's getting in touch with our being and escaping the lunatic asylum.

"Just sitting there in pure silence. That's good enough."

Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com

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