Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Physicians on Mortality & Dying: Part II

Another physician who wrote a recently-published book about dying -- and specifically about survival beyond death -- is Deepak Chopra, M.D., in Life After Death: The Burden of Proof (Harmony Books, October 17, 2005).

A press release by Random House summarizes the book's approach:

In this dazzling new book, Dr. Deepak Chopra addresses one of the fundamental questions of existence –- the afterlife.

It is hard to think about death, but in this book, Dr. Chopra explains that death is as much a part of life as birth and it affects every one of us. Drawing upon his personal experiences in India as a child and his understanding of Christianity and particle physics, Chopra helps us to overcome our fears and consider all of the remarkable possibilities that may await us in the afterlife.

Using his own story -- one he has been preparing to tell his entire life and stories from ancient Vedic philosophy -- Chopra addresses the fundamental theories of birth, life and death.

Dr. Deepak Chopra, the son of India's first native cardiac surgeon, trained as a physician in India at two institutions. He emigrated to the United States in 1970. He interned at a New Jersey hospital, and trained for several more years at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts, and at the University of Virginia Hospital. He became board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology. He taught at Tufts University and Boston University Schools of Medicine, became the chief of staff at the New England Memorial Hospital, and established a large private practice.

He developed into a leader in the meditation movement, and then in the "mind-body" medical approach to treatment & healing.
In 1995, he founded the Chopra Centre for Well-being, located in Carlsbad, California, as an expansion of his healing approach using the integration of the best of western medicine with natural healing traditions of the East. He has written over forty books on various health & spiritual topics.

His most recent book addresses perhaps the most difficult topic of all -- death and the afterlife experience.
Dr. Chopra reviews his reasons for writing the book in an interview found here.

I am reading this book now in an "electronic" book format on my Palm organizer. I am entranced by his effective weaving of story-telling, with deep emotions, complex religious concepts, simple common sense, scientific & quantum physics principles, and personally-experienced phenomena -- all directed to answering a compound question, asked universally: What happens when, then after, we die?

The answers ratify what a majority of Americans already believe -- that consciousness and a part of personality survive death. His exploration brings the reader back to living, however, and reinforces the importance of this awareness for daily conduct, including the process of dying.

Others have reviewed the book favorably, as mentioned on Chopra's website here.
I agree with one reviewer, Larry Dossey, M.D., who concluded: "This book will help many find certainty and comfort in this possibility by exploring many lines of evidence pointing to the infinite, eternal nature of human consciousness."

At this point in my reading of Chopra's book (supplemented by my peeks ahead towards its conclusion), I also agree with the commentary posted here about his book:

Chopra has waited twenty years to write LIFE AFTER DEATH: The Burden of Proof, the first major book on the afterlife in decades.

Inspiring, brilliant, and ultimately encouraging, his insights will change the minds of countless people who have pondered the mystery that lies on 'the other side.' It also contains a great gift: an antidote to our fears, so we can see clearly the full majesty of the infinite arc of birth, death and the life beyond.

As one might expect from the book's title, Chopra, as a physician-author, assumes a rational, not faith-based, approach to his inquiry. However, his treatment affirms the best in traditions of many faiths. A person of faith, therefore, should not hesitate to read this book.

We can be grateful to both Dr. Chen (
See: Physicians on Mortality & Dying: Part I) and Dr. Chopra for explaining their viewpoints about dying, drawing upon their medical experiences and their soulful reflections.

Update: 03/21/08:

I wrote a posting entitled
"Is There An Afterlife?" (03/21/08), which addressed just that question, as considered from a scientific viewpoint.