For many, meditation is a private, individualized practice.
But Deepak Chopra wants to change that, in a big way.
The physician and wellness guru, famous for his outspoken stance on alternative medicine and self-reflection, is hoping to set the Guinness World Record for the largest meditation gathering ever. And it’s going to take place next week.
“I could be in Russia or China or some little country in Latin America, and I ask my audience how many people did (the online meditation program), and about 10% would raise their hand,” Chopra told the Daily News.
“The idea came, why not do one when we get together at the same time?”
The group — which will meet Aug. 3 through Aug. 9 for Chopra’s biannual Seduction of Sprit retreat in Toronto — will need to number 15,000 strong in order to set the world record. But Chopra’s rep told the News that 40,000 have registered virtually already.
The meditation date is set for Aug. 8. Three hundred people are booked to attend the retreat in person.
Here’s how it will work: in-person participants will get their Zen flowing while others stream the service remotely, and singer-songwriter India Arie will perform during the meditation.
But why pose peacefully in public? When people meditate in a group, their happiness can spill out onto others and create a ripple effect of good vibrations, Chopra said.
He collaborated with a senior scientist at Gallup to get empirical data on how that happens and found that “individual consciousness is connected to the consciousness to others at a level that’s beyond what is obvious,” he said.
“If I have a happy friend, my happiness goes up by 15 percent, but if my happy friend has a happy friend who I don’t know, it’ll go up another 10 percent,” Chopra said.
This year, the first time Chopra is holding the retreat in Canada, spiritual teachers Gabrielle Bernstein and Maya Tiwari will join him. In addition to group meditation, the week features yoga classes, workshops and Ayurvedic meals.
The holistic doctor says he believes that coming together in a calm setting like this could actually change the world.
“When we change our own consciousness in the direction of peace, love, compassion, harmony or love, it affects everyone on the planet,” he said. “If we set our goal (to) 100 million people in the next years, maybe we will have a more peaceful, healthier planet.”