Philosopher and writer Deepak Chopra says everyone is addicted to something.
In a question-and-answer session before the grand opening of the John Volken Academy in Surrey today, the bestselling author said that to be "one" is to be attached to an experience. "When we refer to addiction as a disease, it is a memory that is so strong—usually a memory of pleasure," Chopra explained.
He added that when someone is in the throes of addiction, this pleasure has "exhausted its energy".
Yet he noted that the memory of pleasure remains so strong that the person has an inability to escape it.
This not only involves addiction to substances, but also manifests itself in addictions to other things, such as sensations, power, or security.
"In fact, the biggest cause of insecurity is the addiction to security," Chopra stated. "I would say that everybody who is born has a predisposition to some form of addiction, which means strong attachment without which—at least your mind says—you can't live."
Chopra said that people with addictions are prisoners, whereas the "extreme opposite of addiction" is freedom.
"The extreme end of that, the opposite side, is total freedom, which means every moment is a spontaneous expression of higher consciousness," he stated.
Chopra was in Surrey for a well-attended ribbon-cutting ceremony with philanthropist John Volken to celebrate the completion of the $80-million residential treatment facility on the King George Highway. It will enable the John Volken Academy to increase its number of clients in Surrey from 40 to 150 in the complex. It offers life and employment skills as well as addiction treatment in a two-year program.
Volken, an immigrant from German, was the founder of United Furniture Warehouse. He sold the multimillion-dollar business in 2004 and used the proceeds to fund a foundation to counter drug and alcohol addiction. The foundation-funded facility, previously known as the Welcome Home Addiction and Recovery Academy, is designed for young adults, who gain work experience in an on-site grocery and furniture store.
At one point during the question-and-answer session, Chopra said that it's time to stop creating lines between what's in the mind, the body, and the spirit.
"There's no such thing," he advised. "Whatever happens in the mind is recorded in the body. Whatever is happening in the body feeds back on the mind."
He went on to say there's a "deeper domain of consciousness" beyond both body and mind. In the spiritual tradition, Chopra noted, it's called the spirit, soul, or whole consciousness.
"You get there—that's when there is slowly a peeling off of the addictive tendencies," he said.
Chopra added that no matter how addicted people might be, there's still a part of themselves that's "totally free". Then he declared that the words healing, health, and holy are actually the same.
"Holy is not some kind of sanctimonious, self-righteous morality," he said. "Holy means that which includes everything. Wholeness. Everything means your body, mind, and spirit, but also your environment, which includes your relationships, which includes your social interactions."
He said that for healing to occur, a person will benefit from good sleep, meditation, stress management, exercise, yoga, breathing techniques, emotional healing, and food.
The John Volken Academy focuses on seven areas of development: mental, physical, financial, emotional, social, spiritual, and vocational.
In addition to the Surrey residential-treatment centre, the academy has facilities in Seattle and Phoenix.