January 6, 2000
CosmoGirl presents the son of Deepak Chopra, Gotham Chopra who discusses issues on spirituality, meditation, stress, and relationships.
CosmoGIRL: Welcome to CosmoGIRL! LIVE! Our guest today is none other than Gotham Chopra son of mind-body guru Deepak Chopra, news anchor and accomplished author he is currently working on a new book about spirituality. Getting to know yourself can make living in this world much easier--and make you a lot happier," says Gotham. Welcome to our chat with Gotham and get in touch with your inner girl! This chat is sponsored by CosmoGIRL! --a magazine for REAL girls with REAL issues. www.cosmogirl.com Welcome, Gotham!
Gotham Chopra: I'd just like to say that I am thrilled to be here, and excited to take as many questions as possible. I'm really interested in finding out what our audience has to say about spiritual ideas because whatever they say, is the truth.
CGCHATTER: Are you close to your father, Deepak Chopra?
Gotham Chopra: I am VERY close to him. We speak probably about 3 times a day. I also consider him a friend of mine and the key to our relationship is that we don't get stuck in traditional roles of 'he's the father and I'm the son'. Or that he is the teacher and that I am the student. We just know how to have a lot of fun together.
Auburngirl417: How has your spirituality influenced your career
Decisions? Gotham Chopra: Very much so, in that I make a lot of my decisions via my intuition - how I feel about what it is I want to do, and the people that I want to work with. I consider that the ultimate expression of spirituality. I guess you could call it "spirituality in action".
Tracieme: Was it hard growing up with a religious guy for a father?
Gotham Chopra: Not really, but more importantly, I'd like to draw the distinction between religion and spirituality. I think that religion is something we think of as revolving around a lot of rituals and rules, whereas spirituality is really about exploring freedom. When that is really your goal, it allows you to experience so many different things without restrictions. So both of my parents were really good in giving my sister and I a lot of opportunities, and not telling us what to do.,
Curiouscindy: What is the single most spiritual experience you've had?
Gotham Chopra: I would say probably being in a relationship with my girlfriend. It's an ongoing thing because it is full of so much energy and emotion. There are good times and bad times, but when you are in a relationship where you really feel you are connecting with someone, you lose a sense of time and you find yourself just present in that relationship. That's a very spiritual experience.
Harrison56: What's the best way to deal with stress?
Gotham Chopra: The best way to deal with stress is probably whenever you are feeling stressed or feeling stress coming on, to take a step back. To be quiet. To focus your attention on yourself. I'll say the word "meditate" but even meditation is just a moment of witnessing and removing yourself from whatever the stressful situation is. The most stressful thing is when you are tied into something and you can't remove yourself.
AbaCCCa: Aromatherapy is wonderful.do you recommend any particular herbs?
Gotham Chopra: Aromatherapy is a very subjective thing. Different people have different aromas that they enjoy and that are better for their body type. I love Sandalwood, Jasmine, Cinnamon, but those are the best ones for my body type. The best way to find out what is the best thing for your body type is to go online and search under "aromatherapy" and you will get a lot of information.
Emilia: How much is stress related to overall health?
Gotham Chopra: I am not a physician so I don't know the exact figures but stress has a direct result in our physical health. Everything from great diseases like heart disease to cancer to other serious ailments all have a direct relationship to levels of stress. More people die in our civilization on Monday mornings at 9 AM than at any other time of the week. And one assumes that is because they are stressed about their lives, their jobs, school, etc., so there is definitely a strong connection between stress and health.
Daphne: Do you recommend any supplements (vitamins) for dealing with stress?
Gotham Chopra: I'm not sure that there is a single vitamin that you can take to deal directly with stress. I know in my own life, I take everyday multi-vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E, because they help me maintain physical well-being. That keeps me less stressed. So I suppose there is some sort of relationship between that and my level of stress.
Goodone: I get really stressed out during exam time. Anything I can do to relieve that sort of spot stress that isn't ongoing?
Gotham Chopra: I would say break up your study habits. Whenever you are studying for an exam and you really feel the stress coming on, take a break. Go for a walk. Do something you know gives you a lot of enjoyment, even if it is eating chocolate or something like that. Make an effort to "chill out". Also, focus your attention on bigger things - that even the exam that you are studying for is just a means to a larger end.
Kidfears33: I'm going through a definite growth stage, it's different this time; very solitary. How do I enjoy this time to get to know myself without spending most of the time trying to figure out the big pic.
Gotham Chopra: I would say not to worry about the big picture so much. It's great to spend time with yourself. One thing I like to do when I'm feeling in a mood like that, is I write a lot, either in a journal, or I write poetry. I just enjoy being in that creative phase and I don't worry so much about big questions. I think about them, but I don't worry about whether or not I have the right answers.
Cheerleader78: What about if I stress about the future and not the right now? Would I deal with it differently?
Gotham Chopra: Yes. Definitely. What you want to do is have goals and intentions for the future but not get attached to them. Because if you are always focused on the future, then you are not in the present. Don't feel like you have to control everything in the future because that generates a tremendous amount of stress. No one can control the future. In fact, the best way to achieve your goals in the future is really to be rooted in the present moment. So any time you find yourself caught up in future events, remind yourself to focus on what it is that you are doing in the present moment.
Naturegal: What do you think of herbal oils? any you recommend and what do you recommend them for?
Gotham Chopra: Again, this is something similar to the aromatherapy question. And aroma oils are very subjective in terms of dealing with everyone's likes and dislikes. So I would recommend anywhere where you can get the aroma oils. Ask the people who are selling them, because they will have the most information, and it's very important that you suit your own sensibilities.
MatthewTaft: Do you find that humanity has gone off course? That goals have changed? And what direction would you like to see people as a whole take to better ourselves?
Gotham Chopra: That's a great question, first of all! I don't think that humanity is off the course. I think that we do have a tremendous amount of problems that, as young people, we have to confront. But I also think that there are a lot of young people who are doing a lot already just by being present at this chat shows that young people are concerned not only about themselves, but about their collective futures. I think the best thing and the first thing that we can do is to have the intention of making things better. You start with yourself. Before you can contribute too much to the world, you have to have a sense of security yourself. My wish, then, is that each of us make subtle changes in ourselves and our priorities, and then together, we can bring about some change on a grander level.
Mich37: I sometimes feel like there's part of me that doesn't want success, and I do everything I can think of not to achieve that goal, when simply achieving it would be easier? Why do I sabotage my own chances of success?
Gotham Chopra: Without knowing too much about you, there is probably some part of you that is afraid of achievement because of something that has happened in your past. Maybe at one time, you were really looking forward to achieving something, and you were disappointed. So now, you are operating from a very fearful place. The key to solving this problem would be to find out what that experience was. When you find it, understand it and then realize that you can let go of it. You can let go of it and move on.
COLTON2: How would you go about finding yourself spiritually?
Gotham Chopra: In my life, what I do is, I start by meditating twice a day. I practice one traditional technique, but meditation is really just spending some time with yourself. That can be in a number of ways. That can be sitting by yourself for 10 minutes at a time just in reflection. It could be in writing a journal. It could be in taking a walk all by yourself. Only you know when it is that you are at your most reflective place. And a lot of us are afraid of being by ourselves. But the first step to finding your "inner self" is really just to spend time with yourself.
Jackiep: How do I get to know myself?
Gotham Chopra: With spending some time with yourself and understanding the things that are most important to you. If I were to ask you what are the things that are really important to you, and why, would you be able to give me the answers?
Mich37: What's the secret of motivation. I'm very good at starting things but not good at finishing them? How do I get motivated and find closure with the activities I'm involved in?
Gotham Chopra: I understand that very well. I am also good at starting things but not so great at finishing them. I have found that the best way to complete things is to remind myself of why I started them. Usually, when we start something, it's because of a pretty powerful intention and sometimes along the way, we forget what that intention was, so we get off track. But if you remind yourself, then you have a better chance of finishing off what you started.
Wastingtime: What do you feel are the three most important things to achieve personal happiness?
Gotham Chopra: One is to be rooted in the present moment. That is something that we talked about a little bit before. That goes with number two, which is not to get obsessed with either the future or the past. Because then it is too easy to live in fear or in guilt. Number three is just to have fun. As you can tell, all three of these are really intertwined and my best advice is just to have fun. When you think about it, life is pretty magical and it's silly to waste our time by concentrating on things that create stress in our lives.
Mich37: You mentioned gaining a sense security of self, how is this attained, and is there anything to read on this?
Gotham Chopra: Yes, there are lots of books to read about this. You can go to any bookstore and find tons of books on spirituality, on well-being, etc. There are definitely a lot of tools that can help you in gaining a sense of spirituality. My book is called "Child of the Dawn", and that's available in most bookstores either online or otherwise. It deals with one young person's journey to finding "self".
Bubblegunprincess4: How long did it take you to write your first novel, Child of the Dawn?
Gotham Chopra: It took me only about nine months to write the first draft and then a subsequent one year to go through the editing process. I think I did it rather quickly because I was so determined to do it.
COLTON2: How do we find closure in a relationship that has gone bad?
Gotham Chopra: This is something that is very difficult, and I know that from experience. Realistically, sometimes the best remedy for a relationship that has ended, is only time. But what you can do, in addition, is to focus again on the things that matter to you. Hang out with your friends. Start to laugh. And also be content with the fact that every once in a while, you are just going to be sad and feel pain. And that that's OK. Just trust that ultimately things always work out.
Cruisin99: My beliefs are different from my parents spiritually, how do I keep the peace with them at least until I am out of high school?
Gotham Chopra: I would say one is to be open with your parents about what your beliefs are, but try not to be confrontational. That means you don't have to try to change your parents' view but you should politely tell them that they shouldn't feel the need to force you to convert your beliefs and hopefully, if you can have a mature dialogue with your parents, they will respect that.
Geniefrancis: My father died in a car accident last year and I still am having a tough time dealing with it. any suggestions?
Gotham Chopra: My suggestion is that you find people that you can talk to about it that you feel comfortable talking to about it. Whether that is a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a teacher, you need to be able to express your pain somewhere, otherwise you will bottle it up. Only you know who that person is that you can share your feelings with most comfortably. But again, it's okay to feel sad and hurt.
Lis-: Yes it's ok to feel the pain, you can grow from it, but how do you get over the relationship even though you know that its the wrong kind?
Gotham Chopra: If you know that it's a contaminated relationship, then you really have to be strong and determined in yourself not to keep re-hashing things with that person. Don't talk to them. Try to stay out of their space. But be mature about it. And don't keep going back to something that you know is bad for your well-being.
Joniel: How does one know if a relationship is worth salvaging, or is better to just move on, with confidence that there is someone out there more suitable?
Gotham Chopra: One is that there are lots of people out there, and the best thing about being alive is having the opportunity to meet people. That being said, a relationship where you really love somebody is worth making the effort to salvage. If, after making a lot of effort and putting in a lot of energy, things don't work, you still keep feeling the same pain, then most likely it's time to move on.
Teeniebopper564: I live a few cities over from a school where a terrible tragedy happened. What can we do here to not feel so terrified?
Gotham Chopra: The first thing is, again, to talk about your feelings. Talk about it with teachers, school administrators, parents, and your friends. Because the longer you keep your fears internalized, the larger they grow. So, my advice is really to get in touch with your feelings and share them because most likely, others feel the same way.
Ramona: Do you think it's harder to be spiritual in today's world, and if so, why?
Gotham Chopra: I suppose you could say that it is difficult because there are a lot of distractions. It's easy to lose your perspective with so many different things going on, but by the same token, I think we live in a truly unprecedented time where there is so much available to learn from. And so many people to interact with. In that sense, spirituality is really in what you would call "a golden age".
Elsie: Who has most influenced you in coming up with your theories on spirituality? Who do you look to for guidance (besides your dad)?
Gotham Chopra: I would say other people in my family. I'd say even my mother more than my father. And as much as I hate to say it, my sister as well. They are really my role models. Because I know them the best. Among my friends, or even certain celebrities, I think I can draw on qualities that I admire, but I'm pretty careful not to invest too much in someone that I don't know too well.
Cameoats: I am highly religious but I feel like a social outcast for it how can I fit in?
Gotham Chopra: Most likely, there are a lot of other people who feel the same way as you. I'm not sure what religion you are, but I suspect that you have someplace where you go to practice your religion. When you are there, find young people and share your thoughts with them. Find out if they feel the same way. There are a lot of ways of finding people who you can share your thoughts with.
IdealWolf: What is your feelings about the lack of respect today's youth has in general.the fact that there seems to be an "entertain me or go preach elsewhere" mentality ?
Gotham Chopra: I think there is that attitude and that tends to get a lot of attention in mainstream media. Because we have always looked at youth as rebellious and irreverent, but there are also a lot of young people who are hungry for some sort of guidance. I think even the rebellious young people know that they are searching for something, as well. Maybe we can create a language where they also feel comfortable listening and talking about their ideas.
Blueblueblue: How do I avoid peer pressure? People always want me to do stuff I don't want to do, and I don't want to lose friends.
Gotham Chopra: It sounds cliched, but anyone who forces you to do something that you don't want to do isn't worth having as a friend. Real friends respect one another and allow one another to be themselves. You should practice that in your own life in terms of not forcing your friends to simply fill out the roles that you want them to. Trust me, if you are confident in who you are, you will project a certain strength that people will be attracted to.
Orion: I am troubled by things I see on the news. Do you think there are things I can do to make myself feel better about that?
Gotham Chopra: Yes. I work in news, and one thing you should know is that what you see in the headlines isn't all that there is. Tune into Channel One, for example, which is where I work, and you will see that there are a lot of good stories out there, too. I know that it is easy to get discouraged but you should also know that there are a great deal of young people that are doing tremendous things.
Luvscosmogirl: How did you get to be a Channel One news anchor?
Gotham Chopra: It sort of just happened by chance. I had another job on a television show and a friend of mine recommended that I look into Channel One, which I did, and at that time, they were looking for a new anchor, and I got lucky.
Girlforyou: I've totally given up a lot of sin in my life that was controlling me before. But by doing that a lot of my friends feel as if they don't know me. I love my friends, but I don't know how to tell them that if they keep up the kinds of things they do then I shouldn't be hanging out with them
Gotham Chopra: Again, it's important that your friends know how you feel but it's also important that you don't force your friends to change just for you. The best thing to do is to understand that sometimes things end naturally, and that's okay. Most importantly, you need to be open about what it is that your friends do that bothers you, and then understand that things will work themselves out.
MVP123: Do you believe in the use of objects such as stones to improve your spiritual or physical well-being?
Gotham Chopra: I don't not believe in things like that, but in my own practice, I don't integrate things like stones into my life. I practice different forms of spirituality that enhance my own activity. I enjoy that, but I don't advocate any specific thing.
Overleaf: What kind of education did you get that helped you with your writing?
Gotham Chopra: My best advice is to really pursue the fields that interest you, because ultimately your own writing will be influenced by the energy and level of excitement that you can bring to it. I think you can take writing classes and those are important, but you should also embrace other fields of study, like history, literature, even science, because ultimately, those are the things that will influence what you write about.
AbaCCCa: I believe that massage therapy is a wonderful way to ease tension. do you agree?
Gotham Chopra: Yes! I love a good massage! Again, everybody has different things that they like to do. I also find that, for me, a great way to relieve stress is to exercise, to play a game of basketball. I think that most people know what it is that gives them a sense of enjoyment.
Danilla: How do you enjoy spending free time?
Gotham Chopra: I like to hang out with my friends. I like to walk my dog. I like to travel and read good books. I like to meet strangers. I like to meet strangers who have great stories to tell. Please don't go off with any strangers. That's not what I am saying, but be open to people who come from different walks of life, who can teach you about things that you may never have thought about.
Jenny007: Do you have any plans to do any book tours?
Gotham Chopra: I'm currently working on a book and when that is finished, probably at the end of this year, I will definitely go out and do a book tour. So I hope to see you there.
Loral: Do you have a website?
Gotham Chopra: I am currently working on a website, but don't have anything available right now. My father has one at www.chopra.com where you can find out a lot of information on spirituality.
Ornella: I'm glad to get to chat with you! What can you say is the best advice your dad ever gave you?
Gotham Chopra: I think the best advice was not to take life so seriously, and it wasn't something that he said, but something he showed me by having a lot of fun with me. By taking me to new places, by learning about new things with me and really making me understand that life is full of so many mysteries that are worth learning about.
CosmoGIRL: Wow Gotham! Looks like we are running out of time. Any last words for our girls today?
Gotham Chopra: I just want to say thanks for having me, and that, again, spirituality is really about opening yourself up to the things that are most important to you, and you are as much experts as anyone. So, just have some fun! And thanks again.
CosmoGIRL: Thanks, Gotham for joining us tonight! This chat was sponsored by CosmoGIRL! --a magazine for REAL girls with REAL issues. Guys, beauty, fashion, money, parents, school, your body--you name it and we're talking about it. Think of us as a girls-only club that meets every other month, with fun fixes available 24-7 at: www.cosmogirl.com Brought to you by CosmoGIRL.com and Talk City, Inc. Copyright 2000. All rights reserved.