Two of the greatest, most-respected proponents of mind-body connections are Deepak Chopra, M.D., and Wayne Dyer, Ph.D. These great academics and good friends have a lively discussion on audio cassette tapes in front of a live audience about Living without Limits.
Chopra has written over 50 books and heads the Chopra Center in California, in which natural mind-body healing techniques are used. Dyer has written over 30 books and is a psychologist who emphasizes our spiritual natures along with physicality.
In this tape, Deepak talks about a study done by Ellen Lambert in the 1980’s of elderly people in their 70s and older, who agreed to live in a monastery under “experimentally controlled conditions” in Boston for 3 weeks. The point was to see if living as though they were in the Fifties again would influence aging.
By inducing fiction as reality, the group was exposed to only the “reality” of the 50’s: the TV only played old movies and daytime shows of the 50’s; only music and songs from the 50’s was played; only period magazines were available. The people were told to think and act and talk like they did back in the 50’s.
After three weeks, the biological markers of aging were re-tested. Amazingly, the people appeared to be three years younger: they had better hearing and vision; stronger bones; reduced blood pressure, etc.
Within a few weeks of returning to their former environments, they regressed back to their former biological ages.
The experiment concluded that our thoughts become the collective thoughts of the people which become the group’s reality.
Deepak tells of cultures in which people think of time as circular and ongoing – as summer, fall, winter and spring, rather than linear – as birth, adolescence, middle-aged and elderly; people age differently.
In cultures where becoming older means becoming wiser and revered, people are still very productive in their eighties and nineties and hundreds. They can swim naked in cold mountain streams and walk for miles daily and continue life as though they were many years younger.
Dyer asks if we align ourselves with the consciousness of others of like beliefs, could we change the world? And the men discuss several stories that say, “Yes.” We can alter our reality to fit the common belief system, and we can change that belief system.
Chopra tells the story of a mining accident in Germany in which 7 men were buried underground for 6 days awaiting rescue. Only one man had a watch. To give the others hope, for every two hours that passed, he called out one. When they were found on the 6th day, the six men who thought they had only survived three days, were found alive, but the 7th man, who could not fool himself, had died.
Dyer tells a story of how he had dreamed for years of ice skating on a frozen lake. When he was visiting the Chopra Center for a week in Massachusetts, he found the lake, which he felt he had “manifested” through his thoughts and intentions. He had skated in high school, but this was 34 years later. He got someone to get him a pair of new skates, on a Sunday, and he skated flawlessly, backwards and forwards and twirls, without falling, for 23 hours that week. Yet, he was in a completely “new body” that did not exist in 1958. (Living beyond Miracles, 1993)
Chopra said, (“Higher Self,” 1993) our bodies renew themselves every day: stomach cells renew every five days; our skin cells are replaced every month; the skeleton is replaced every three months; the raw material of DNA is replaced every 6 weeks; our brain cells are completely new every year. The whole body is replaced every two years.
How do the new organs remember what to do? How do we carry memories over in new brains that didn’t experience the old stuff? This is why Chopra says the essence of the self is “timeless,” and he wrote about this fact in his book, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind.
It seems that some people age much more quickly than others, but a huge part of it is due to mental beliefs about aging. This is taking our “psychological age” (the way we feel) over our “biological age” (our chronological age according to our birth date), to a whole new level.
As Chopra says, the elements of which we are made – nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, etc. – do not age. So why do we?
It appears that we don’t have to. It is truly a mind-over-matter phenomenon.
Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer, Living without Limits. Amber-Allen Publishing. Audio cassettes. 1996.
Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, Living beyond Miracles. New World Library. Audio cassettes. 1993.
Deepak Chopra, M.D. The Higher Self. Audio cassettes. Nightingale-Conant. 1993.