Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra and Andrew Cohen Talk Creating a Spiritually Inspired Future

This past Sunday, the Urban Zen Foundation hosted an amazing event with Deepak Chopra, Andrew Cohen and Arianna Huffington where we discussed the complicated and invigorating topic of co-creating a spiritually inspired future.

The sold-out event was truly a testament to how necessary honest spiritual conversations are and how invested our community is in adding their voice to the dialogue.

Journalist Alison Rose Levy attended the event and wrote a compelling piece for The Huffington Post’s Living section.

The following is an excerpt of her coverage:

The straight talk that has set the pace on The Huffington Post also has a personal side, as Arianna revealed this past weekend at “How to Co-Create A Spiritually Empowered Future,” an afternoon event with Deepak Chopra and Andrew Cohen, which she moderated. Donna Karan, a long-time friend of all three, hosted the event, which was organized by Gerard Senehi, a “transformative philanthropist.”

“We’re in a time of transition. One culture is dying. Another is being born. How do we move from struggle to grace?” Arianna posed the question to Chopra and Cohen as an audience of several hundred people gathered in Karan’s welcoming Urban Zen Center in downtown Manhattan, with other participants watching via live stream. “Let’s focus on what brings us together rather than what tears us apart,” she urged.

Arianna revealed that she had her own moment of truth when long work hours and too little sleep blended into a state of bone-deep exhaustion that lead her to nod off and fall face forward on her own desk, smashing her face. After the broken bone mended and the stitches healed, Arianna recognized the wake-up call and turned to yoga, longer hours of sleep, and mindfulness in order to help her to “get enough rest and enjoy life while achieving.”

Arianna recalled the words of her late mother, who once took her to task for opening her mail while speaking with her children, emphatically saying, “I hate multitasking.”

Deepak Chopra pointed out that all of us are multitasking all the time, navigating the four levels of ourselves: being, feeling, thinking and doing. Doing it consciously makes all the difference.

Andrew Cohen, the founder of EnlightenNext took up the question of how to live in the midst of great change, saying, “Our shared values all too often propel us towards competition, aggression and narcissism. The rate of change is not slowing down. The traditional solution offered by spirituality and meditative practices, offered a safe haven of calm and primordial peace.” (Cohen teaches meditation.)

“But that’s not enough,” he contended, explaining that in observing his students, he saw that once they came out of meditation and stepped into what he called “the world of chaos,” they were unable to retain their calm. “They were always looking for a way out of here because the world is imperfect.”

The goal, he felt, was not to use meditation to escape from the world but to connect with it wholeheartedly. In contemplating this, he reported that he came to recognize that “saying we want to retreat reveals that we have a core ambivalence about life on earth.”

He invited the audience to contemplate the question, “Is life on earth good enough?”

Cohen pointed out that there are three possible answers: yes, no, and I’m not sure. He encouraged the participants to contemplate, get to the roots of their doubt and ambivalence, and discover the way to say a “big ‘yes’ to life.”

To read the entire article, please click here.

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