By Claire Harlin
They’ve been called thought leaders, visionaries, luminaries and experts in meditation, among other titles. They are both New York Times best-selling authors who rose to popularity with their concepts regarding happiness, life purpose and spiritual transformation. And on April 25, the two iconic figures — Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle — came together for the first time to collaborate in sharing thoughts with an eager North County audience at the Chopra Center as part of its signature “Seduction of Spirit” retreat at the La Costa Resort & Spa.
And the estimated 1,400 eager fans who attended the evening discussion, which was broadcast on Eckhart Tolle TV and is downloadable at www.eckharttolletv.com, were in for a surprise, many rushing toward the stage to snap a picture, when Chopra introduced Wayne Dyer, a last-minute guest whom Tolle had run into and invited the previous night at a restaurant. Dyer, a longtime motivational guru and author of more than 30 books, joined Tolle and Chopra in somewhat of a conversational encore.
Serendipitous as the surprise guest’s inclusion that night may seem, Chopra Center spokeswoman Dallas Brown said such beautiful moments are typical of North County, San Diego — the “sweet spot of the Universe” she called the area. And she said that the Chopra Center could have relocated anywhere when it moved from La Jolla about a decade ago, however, Chopra landed the center in southeast Carlsbad for a reason — the same reason the India native, who resides in La Jolla, decided to build his life in North County as well.
“It’s often been called the spiritual capital of the world,” said Brown, adding that most of the center’s staff also populate the area. “It’s kind of a phenomenon as to why … There’s such a great environment and climate here. People want to be inspired by their surroundings and they want to be in a place that allows for conscious living.”
The Chopra Center is a global resource that brings in visitors and retreat guests from all over the world to experience the peace that comes from the aesthetic beauty of North County, as well as the welcoming environment built by the many other like-minded individuals who have established themselves in this “spiritual hub,” as she called it.
But that doesn’t mean the center — which dedicates itself to teaching yoga, promoting wellness and leading transformation — forgets about the locals who support, volunteer and regularly attended the meditative-focused yoga classes.
“We love to bring in people from all over the world,” Brown said. “But it’s a big county and we have people right here in San Diego County who don’t get to have these types of experiences every day.”
In bringing in Tolle to collaborate in discussion, Chopra — a 65-time author — said he wanted to air a prominent point that both men support and disseminate prominently in their teachings — the importance of living in the moment and being present.
Tolle said some people live so deeply trapped in their mind — “thinking and not really seeing,” he said — that their reality is only conceptual and leads to negative judgement, often of others.
He expressed that our sense of self is derived from others’ perceptions of us, which we accept as true, as well as from our material possessions and the people in our lives.
“Most people live their lives knowing themselves based on a physical and psychological sense of self,” said Tolle, who is most known for his book, “The Power of Now.” “But who we are was already there and was completely overlooked.”
He said the process of understanding our “formless self” — “the deep presence that has always been there” — is a major transformation that can greatly impact one’s happiness.
And according to Brown, the area situated just north of San Diego between the desert, mountains and ocean, is a place of unity for those seeking this type of transformation, and she said the Chopra Center seeks to provide people the ingredients to aid in that process — “fresh air, beautiful surroundings and conscious people.”
For more information, visit www.chopra.com.