CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Healing after the September 11 Attacks
Aired January 2, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, moving forward from September 11, how to survive, maybe even thrive after tragedy strikes? Here with important advice on how to renew your spirit, health and hope for the future: In Tucson, Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the National Integrative Medicine Council. In Los Angeles, motivational speaker and best-selling author Tony Robbins. And Deepak Chopra, founder of the Chopra Center for Well Being.
And later, the talented Diana Krall will pick us up with a special musical close. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We have a very special show for you tonight, with three outstanding speakers, and people who have helped so many people through their lives. By the way, Deepak Chopra, one of our guests, his newest book is "The Deeper Wound: Recovering the Soul From Fear and Suffering." It was written after September 11. And it's dedicated to Ruth McCourt, Paige Hackel and her daughter Juliana, all of whom died aboard United Airlines flight 175 that hit the World Trade Center. The women were traveling to California with plans to visit the Chopra Center. Did you know them?
DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, "DEEPER WOUND": I didn't know them, but since I have come to know Ruth's husband, Dave McCourt. And he's a prime example of how tragedy and suffering can really transform someone into a very expanded state of awareness, where he's created something called the Juliana Fund, and he's helping now children all over the world with greater awareness, love and compassion.
KING: How did you feel when you learned that three of the passengers on that plane were coming to see you?
CHOPRA: I was totally devastated. And I couldn't see, you know, karmically speaking, what's my connection with them, with Osama bin Laden? I mean, it just shows you, we're all inseparably connected.
KING: Dr. Weil, where were you on the morning of September 11?
ANDREW WEIL, AUTHOR, "EATING WELL": I had just gotten up very early at my home in Tucson. I made myself a cup of tea and I had turned on NPR and heard that a commuter plane had crashed into the Trade Towers, so I didn't pay much attention to it. And then, a good friend of mine from Manhattan called up and told me it was more serious than that, and that I should turn on the news. And then, I began calling people in New York to find out what happened. KING: Did you know immediately that the world had changed forever?
WEIL: I did. I remember calling someone -- I got through on one of the first calls to New York, and someone said "the world has changed." And I think I realized in that moment everything was different.
KING: Tony Robbins, where were you?
TONY ROBBINS, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: I was actually on the big island of Hawaii. I had a couple thousand people there from 80 countries.
KING: You weren't up then?
ROBBINS: It was 3:00 in the morning. It was kind of ironic, because I was woken up, and we had there 500 people from New York, we had turned out about more than 60 people who lost people. A lot of people in the financial business, stock brokers, people lost their entire companies. One of your guests actually later on, a woman named Ann, who had lost her fiance six months earlier...
KING: She was there, right?
ROBBINS: She was there. And it was ironic, because the night -- two nights before I had spoken about the idea of how would you live your life if you knew you'd die in the next week? You know, who would you love? What would you express? What would you communicate? How would you live differently? And I normally talk about that, and she called him and left him a voice mail. And he got it the next morning and called her back. And she played the voice mail.
What was ironic, Larry, is to see the diversity. You had people there that it didn't bother at all, because you had the world there, not just America. You had people who were very angry about that. One man stood up, he was from Afghanistan, and he said: "This is retribution. You said be honest. He said, you know, I'm not so upset about the situation." So we had to take people from various walks of life, and get them to work together.
KING: How did Tony Robbins react?
ROBBINS: Well, I had the normal reaction. First, it was shock. And then, a great deal of pain. I knew some people in that building. Some -- one was not a close friend, but I would consider an associate. And -- but I immediately had a focus on what I was going to do to help the people there. You have to immediately figure out, how do you make use of what's here. It's not something you can control, but it's something you got to find a way to serve for you.
KING: How did you hear, Deepak?
CHOPRA: I just left New York City 45 minutes before this happened.
KING: On an earlier plane?
CHOPRA: On an earlier plane. And I landed in Detroit. As soon as I saw the news, I really got into a state of panic, because my son was on a United flight, I thought, from Newark to Los Angeles.
KING: The one that -- well, that was Newark to Los Angeles made it, right?
CHOPRA: Yeah. No, no, it didn't make it. I later found out -- well, he was actually on a Delta flight. So I found out seven hours later. But for the seven hours, I was feeling like I had been hit by a truck. But then, you know, when I heard the good news that he was alive, my anguish didn't decrease, because I could feel now what everyone else must have been going through.
KING: And all of you deal with helping people, so we'll start with Dr. Weil and go around; anyone can jump in at any time. I would imagine more people are calling doctors, physicians. And by the way, two MDs are on the panel tonight, Deepak Chopra is an MD and so is Andrew Weil. Psychiatrists -- does that heighten during something like this? Are more people affected psychologically?
WEIL: Definitely. But I think it can be in both directions. I got a lot of calls from people that couldn't sleep, that wanted to know how to deal with anxiety, with stress. So that was one concern.
On the other hand, I think that situations like this can bring out the best in people. I have read, for example, that during the blitz in London, during World War II, that mental health was at an all-time high. The depression almost disappeared, anxiety disappeared. So in the face of that kind of threat, sometimes that can bring out the best in people.
ROBBINS: I think the most important thing is for people to understand how to find a better meaning in this. People hang on to their pain no matter how hard it is until they find something they value more. I dealt with a few people who have lost family members there. And one of the ways to get them to make that change is not to negate the experience, because they have to go through the emotions of shock and denial and hurt and anger, but eventually acceptance, and then they have to take some kind of action to honor those people that have passed on. And if they can find higher meaning, like for example they have a son that they still need to take care of, out of our need to serve others we care about, we will rise to that higher occasion, as Dr. Weil was speaking about.
KING: But how do you deal with the pain of the horror of these deaths and that image that's constantly in you, of those planes hitting those buildings and the Pentagon?
CHOPRA: Actually, you know, if you started with that, you know, fear, there are several stages that people go through. First, there's shock and denial and numbness. Then, there's vulnerability and helplessness and hopelessness. Then, those images internally start to trigger panic attacks. Then, people start to get angry, because it gives them something external to focus on and a sense of control. Soon they start to justify their anger, which can lead to violence and intolerance and prejudice. And ,then a state of chronic anxiety, depression, guilt and even physical symptoms.
Now, people who really transcend that are the ones who reach out right in the beginning. When you're feeling vulnerable and hopeless, that's the time to connect with people, to say, "I need help and I am here to offer help." And one of the best ways to feel good is help alleviate somebody else's suffering. And that's what happened. You know, people were in New York City, just going out there and helping each other, offering solace, bringing food. And helping is the best way to really not deny the pain in itself...
KING: So those people who were running and helping were helping themselves as well?
CHOPRA: Absolutely, because we're all connected.
ROBBINS: Because the process of taking action versus sitting there -- if you sit there, fear and faith are basically the same force. They're imagination. But with fear, it's imagination undirected. And it's always worse than we can imagine. We think our life is over. And the three belief systems that will destroy someone is if they think the problem is pervasive -- because this has happened, my life is over.
And frankly, we keep saying, you know, life will never be the same again -- that's true and that's not true. It can be the same. It can be better than it was. But if you think it's permanent, if you think it's pervasive like your whole life is destroyed by this, and if you're feeling it's personal, it's something that affected only you, then you live in an isolated place, in which you can't make change.
KING: Dr. Weil, do things happen to you physically when something like this happens?
WEIL: Absolutely. Absolutely. And they can be all manner of things, from insomnia to indigestion to skin problems to susceptibility to infectious illnesses. The body reflects emotional state, so it's very natural for these kinds of feelings to express themselves in the physical body.
KING: We'll be right back with Dr. Andrew Weil, Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra. A meeting of three terrific guys who can offer a lot of help. We'll be right back.
KING: Tony Robbins, I don't know if there's any precedent for this, but what's it like to see something happen, as it's happening? You're watching it in real-time. This is not a tape from yesterday, Pearl Harbor we saw filmed, Vietnam we saw news later that day. But this is as it's happening.
ROBBINS: Well, I think it's the emotions that Deepak just mentioned. You go through the shock and disbelief, even though it's there, it's like is this a movie? So many people said, it was like being on a movie set. But, I think, the worst part than being there in the moment, frankly, is how often we watched it again and again. Because the conditioning --
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) not hypnotized, until the media stopped playing it.
ROBBINS: But it -- the media hasn't really stopped playing it completely. But we have to take control of our own mind. I mean, the first way to take control of your life is change what you're focusing on. We have to see it as it is, don't get me wrong. But we can't see it worse than it is. And by constantly focusing on it. When I talked to this audience of people, and they were obviously in every emotional state you could imagine. Some people were angry, some people were fearful, some were guilty, they should have been there.
All people tend to magnify their own emotions at times like this. What I had to focus them on is what are you going to do right now that's going to serve? And if you get people focused, as Deepak was also saying, on what we can give, it changes everything. We have people there now, we're going to feed, out of my people -- my other graduates, more than 1 million people between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, all through the work of those individuals and the people that they've been able to touch, in this year. So it has mobilized a mass audience of people that wouldn't have happened. So my view, see it as it is, but then you got to see it better than it is, because without a vision people perish (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So what are you going to do to change things?
KING: Doctor, go ahead.
WEIL: I'm concerned about the visual images that you refer to. And one of the pieces of advice that I have given to people over the years is to realize that you have control over how much of this you let in your consciousness. I think there's a real balance between being informed and being addicted to news, especially television news and its endless repetition of images that trigger our emotions. It's important to monitor that and if you find yourself becoming overly anxious, overly obsessed with the horror of the situation to really make use of the fact that you have choice over how much and what kind of that information you let in.
KING: Do you think, doctor, that we played it too much?
WEIL: I think that's a natural response of the media. Yes, I think there was an endless repetition of the images. Because it hooks people emotionally. You get more viewers that way, but I think on the other hand, we have a choice as to how we let that affect us.
CHOPRA: And especially for children. Those images are very damaging, because you don't even know the damage to maybe seven years later.
KING: How do you know what the damage is? KING: Because, you know, there are studies that show that when children were exposed to atom bomb testing and all of the information during the cold war they developed as adults neurosis, and even a pathological state.
KING: Do they also sense it in the house?
CHOPRA: They sense it in the house.
KING: So, therefore a 1-year-old could be affected?
CHOPRA: And the internal images then start to trigger those anxiety attacks. Particularly, as I said, in children.
ROBBINS: And the solution is that we have to make the choices, but we also have to replace it. You can't just not watch it, you've got to replace it with the images of a compelling future. What are you going to do now with your family differently? What are you going to do now in the caring? What are you going to do with your life, because if you don't a new image to replace it, the weeds are going to grow automatically.
KING: How do you deal with that when you have the unknown of what's coming next, what could happen tomorrow, anthrax, war?
ROBBINS: Look at me -- but look at that for a reality. You got a one chance in 6,000 of dying in a car accident. You have a 1 in a 1.4 chance of dying of lightning being struck. You have a 1 and 10 million chance of being dying in an airplane accident, whether it be terrorism or anything else. Anthrax, we have five people that died. That's horrible, especially if it was your family member or anybody else. But 20,000 people are going to die of the flu this year.
We are totally disproportionate on what we focus on, what we feel.
KING: So you can go get a flu shot.
ROBBINS: Even if you get a flu shot, you can still pass.
CHOPRA: One of the best ways to alleviate that anxiety is to actually face the facts, as Tony is saying. When you really face the facts, then you say --
KING: Why is that so hard for people?
CHOPRA: Because the people -- the media particularly thrives on melodrama and --
KING: But it is melodramatic -- that is dramatic.
ROBBINS: Of course it is.
CHOPRA: And as a society, we are addicted to it.
KING: How about, Dr. Weil, coping with -- obvious -- anger? WEIL: Well, I think --
KING: You're mad.
WEIL: Anger can be healthy. Anger is not always a negative thing. I think that there are positive expressions of anger. It's a stage of the grieving process that Deepak referred to earlier. And, in fact, when one moves from the state of feeling impotent, helpless, to a state of anger you're beginning to mobilize your feelings. So anger is not necessarily a bad thing, it's a phase of a process of grieving which is a form of healing. It's a way that we adapt to loss.
ROBBINS: As long as we don't get stuck in that mode. You can get stuck in shock or stuck in disbelief or stuck in fear, or stuck in anger. Then the process, there's no chance for healing.
CHOPRA: There's studies that showed that anger could be a healthy emotion, but hostility is not. When you have a need for vengeance and retribution --
KING: Therefore --
ROBBINS: Anger that's maintained.
KING: The desire for revenge is bad for you?
CHOPRA: There's studies that it's a risk factor for premature death from cardiovascular disease. In some cases as high as --
KING: Do you agree with that Dr. Weil?
WEIL: I think there's certainly research that shows rage, expressing rage when frustrated is correlated with high risk of deaths from coronary heart disease. On the other hand, I know people who say that they've visited ground zero site and what they felt mostly was anger. I think it is appropriate to feel anger under some circumstances. It's not appropriate to be stuck in that emotion. It's not appropriate to have that be expressed in a way that causes damage.
KING: Having visited ground zero a couple weeks after, how about being stuck, Tony, in sadness, just sadness?
ROBBINS: Again, you'll stay in that sadness. Because sadness allows us us to connect with ourselves. As bad as it feels, we connect, we connect with the memories. We all want connection. The only way out of that is to have something you want to connect with more. You have to ask yourself, can we as human beings get over any tragedy? And all you have to do is look through history, whether it's a Nelson Mandela, somebody famous or a Mother Teresa, the problems she went through, or anybody. Oprah Winfrey or a neighbor. How do people get over the death of a son? The loss of a family member? We can, but not everybody does. And the difference is, do you have something you value more than your pain? Do you value making the rapist never get that satisfaction? Do you value helping other people more, do you value your son who is still alive more? If you can find something you'll value more, you'll let go of the pain and you'll move on.
KING: There were, Deepak, people who killed themselves, relatives of some of these. There were reports of suicide.
CHOPRA: Larry, there's a process that you can go through when you are experiencing any turbulent emotion like that. The first thing to recognize is you don't run away from it. You don't deny it, you don't suppress it, you don't repress it, you get in touch with it. One of the best ways to get in touch with an emotion is to actually feel the sensations of that in your body. Too many people just keep ruminating over the emotion so it keeps feeding on itself and perpetuating itself. And the energy increases.
When you start to feel your body, you dissipate some of that energy. So the steps are feel your body, identify the emotion, express it to yourself, share it with your loved ones, release it through some kind of ritual or movement or breathing exercise or yoga. And then move on.
KING: How about the feeling, Dr. Weil, that you could be gone in a second? There were reports that some people who were thinking about getting married, not getting married, got married. Other reports that people got divorced, because they said, look we're not happy, there's got to be something better than this, and I could be gone tomorrow?
WEIL: That is the fact. The fact is that we all could be gone in a second. And it's always been that way.
KING: But you don't think about it until you see something like that.
WEIL: Well, then maybe it's good. Maybe a healthy way to live is to think about that more. To have to not try to deny that reality, but to be aware that at any moment you could be gone. Maybe that's a better way to live.
ROBBINS: Emotional well being really comes down to one skill, I believe, it's the power of utilization. If you can use whatever life gives you to find a more empowering meaning, then you take that same event and say, I'm going to take control of my life, I'm going to get closer or I'm going to make a change. If you take that same event and you don't utilize it, you don't find a way to find the empowering meaning then sit and you're at the effect of it. And we have the power to determine what things mean.
KING: In a minute, I want to ask how to find that way. I have often heard all my life -- it's not the fire that affects you, it's how you react to the fire. Question is, what do you do about the fire?
ROBBINS: Walk across it.
KING: We'll be right back.
KING: OK, Deepak, we have heard it all our lives, it's not the event, it's how we react to the event.
CHOPRA: In any stressful situation, there's an event. There's how you process the event, and then there's your body's response to the event. And you can take care of that situation at all three levels. The situation itself arises always when your fundamental needs are threatened, whether it's survival or safety or love or beloningness or self-esteem or spirituality. So you can do things about fulfilling your needs.
The second is, you've seen the situation, as Tony is so frequently fond of saying, what's the opportunity here? What's the intuitive, creative, visionary response inherent in the situation? And the third is, you can train yourself by quieting the mind and through your mind/body processes to actually evoke a different kind of response.
KING: Ah, but Anthony, how do you learn that?
ROBBINS: I think the very first thing you have to do is take control of your body first, because when you take control of your body, the mind and the emotions respond. If you look at somebody who is depressed, they take on a very specific posture, their shoulders, their head, their breath, and if they're trying to find an (UNINTELLIGIBLE) meaning from here, saying I don't know, how can I find this? It's rare that it's found quickly. I tell people, the very first thing to do to be able to not just deal with this, but any event, is becoming emotionally strong by first getting physically fit.
Doing things that make you physically strong will make you emotionally strong. Second, you have to feed your mind. You can feed the images of watching the show over and over again, seeing building come down, or you can feed information, poetry, spirituality, anything that will feed your spirit.
The third step is command it. The way you command it is by saying things like, I'll never be the same. I'll never be the same. We've all had the experience when you were a kid, someone says, could you go get the salt, and you say, I don't know where the salt is. You go get it, I don't know -- It's on the second shelf. You look, you can't find it. Person reaches right in front of your face and says, what is this?
The salt was there. You saw it but you can't perceive it because you've created this schatoma (ph), this blind spot by literally hypnotizing yourself into what you cannot do, simplistic as that sounds.
KING: But Dr. Weil, you are, in that sense, fighting the norm, aren't you? Because one would say it is normal to be depressed over this. WEIL: I think most people react in automatic ways, but both of your other guests have referred to a process of training, of practice. I strongly agree with that. I think there are things that you can do to train yourself to practice, to be prepared for situations like this. I always...
WEIL: Practice. Whether that's practice controlling your breath, practice controlling your emotions, practicing strengthening your body as Tony said. It's training and practice. I always hear stories of someone who goes to a doctor and are told they have a fatal disease. The doctor says you should put your affairs in order. Your affairs should be in order. You shouldn't have to wait for someone to tell you that you are going to die to get your affairs in order.
ROBBINS: It's about emotional fitness. Two people have the same experience and one person becomes totally depressed and the other person finds a way to turn it around. If you're emotionally fit, you're going to respond differently. But we don't train ourselves to be emotionally fit and we are weak because most of us have not dealt with enough difficulty.
I think the country is stronger right now even though there are challenges because we've had to deal with something.
CHOPRA: You know, one of the most empowering things, and Andrew Weil referred to it, is to actually be aware of your mortality. There's nothing more magical than being aware that one day we're all going to die. We have this idea that we live in the known, when the truth is, in every moment of our lives we are stepping into the unknown. and the happiest people are the people who can embrace that uncertainty and the wisdom of uncertainty is to step into the unknown in every moment of your life, and then you know what your priorities are.
KING: How about, Dr. Weil, the biggest tragedy of all, maybe the toughest thing to cope with, and that's loss of a child? People lost children in Oklahoma City, they lost children in the Trade Center, older people lost sons who were 40 and 30. That's not supposed to happen. That's against the norm.
WEIL: True, it violates the order of nature and nonetheless it happens. I have a good friend, a woman who's a grief counselor, and I have watched her work with parents who have lost children. That is definitely the hardest kind of grief to deal with. Nonetheless, grief is an active process. It is a form of healing. It's a way we learn to adapt to loss.
And if that loss is an extremely painful one, like the loss of a child, the process may be very long. But if you allow yourself to move through it, nonetheless, it is a process that can be completed, that one can come to a place of accepting the loss after going through all the stages along the route.
KING: I see it, Tony and I know many people who have lost children. I see them go through it. But as some told me, there's a part of you that's always dead.
ROBBINS: Well, I haven't had that loss so I can't make the comment. But I can only tell you, for example, six months ago I dealt with a woman who, the day before, her daughter was killed in a car accident and her son brought her to me because she was hysterical and suicidal.
The only way that I was able to get through to her was to get her to focus on something beyond herself. Because when we've lost someone, we're not feeling for them, we're feeling for ourselves. As long as we're in a selfish mode, and it's natural to be selfish, because as long as we're in a selfish mode, we're in pain. The moment we focus on something else that we care about and how to contribute, we are no longer focusing on ourselves.
Our pain disappears and the magic of contribution which separates human beings from animals in very many cases, is what makes things work.
CHOPRA: This book I dedicated to Julianna, is a 4-year-old girl who died on September 11. Her father, Dave McCourt has no resentment at this moment, no grievances, no anger. He's dedicating his life to the education and awareness of children all over the world so that they can live lives of love and compassion and understanding and meaning.
KING: It must bring him pain?
CHOPRA: It brings him pain but it also brings him inspiration to do something about it because ultimately, where do these terrorists have born and those children?
KING: All terrorists were children.
CHOPRA: All terrorists. And there's a saying, there's a poet in India (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who said every child that is born is proof that God has not yet given up on human beings.
ROBBINS: We can't avoid pain, but we don't have to suffer. We're all going to experience pain. But we don't have to live in suffering. But many of us live in suffering because suffering does meet some of our other needs for connection. And you have to, at some stage, say this is a time I have to move on because I'm not focused on myself. I have got to focus on the reason I am here.
KING: Dr. Weil, you were going to say?
WEIL: I work often with patients who have severe chronic pain, and when people work with that successfully, whether it is through taking a narcotic drug or being hypnotized, often they will say that the pain is still there but it doesn't hurt anymore, it doesn't bother them. It goes back to what you said, there is the event and there is the reaction to the event. It is possible to have pain and to take a stance toward it where it doesn't hurt. KING: We will be right back.
KING: Let's meet our panel again. They are, in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the National Integrative Medicine Council and author of "Eating Well for Optimal Health," a major best-seller for years. Tony Robbins, motivational speaker, best-selling author, co-star of the movie "Shallow Hal." And Deepak Chopra, his new book is "Deeper Wound." He's CEO and founder of the Chopra Center for Well-Being.
Let's start this round with Tony.
How about the unprecedented national spirit, hugging, hanging flags everywhere, singing "God Bless America" every other minute, good?
ROBBINS: Very good. Very good. Anything to an extreme puts us out of balance, but we've been out of balance, we haven't known who our neighbor was. I mean, I had a conversation with Quincy Jones, who I have enormous respect for, and he said it was the first time in his, he said, "I decided to go out and buy a flag."
People that saw themself as individuals now see themself as part of something. So I think it's wonderful.
In order for it to last, we have to -- I've always said that humanity would become totally aligned if all of a sudden we were attacked by aliens from the outside world, because now all of a sudden we're all human, we're not different religions, we're one type of person.
Instead of having an external foe to make that happen, what we have to be able to do is find something that we have a vision for our country of contributing again. And at different stages of our history, we've had that. We've been missing that for some time.
And I think we go through emotional phases as a nation and as a world. There are times we're all about independence, there's times when we're about survival, there are times when we're about contribution. I'm hoping this will trigger even more contribution.
It has so far. Whether it'll be sustained will be interesting to find.
KING: Do you think grieving rites help?
CHOPRA: Yes, I think grieving really helps.
KING: You're constantly seeing it, to people gathering...
KING: ... to celebrate the moments (inaudible)...
CHOPRA: Being together helps.
KING: ... celebrate it every month forever?
CHOPRA: Yes. But I want to take, you know -- I want to take what Tony said a little further, in that nationalism is wonderful, patriotism is wonderful...
ROBBINS: To a balance.
CHOPRA: ... but we have to go beyond that too and embrace our global family, because ultimately, you know, it is the inequities in the world that give rise to a feeling of separation and isolation, and being cut off from the web of life.
KING: But there's people (inaudible)...
CHOPRA: And terrorism and...
KING: ... there are terrorists who are in the global family.
CHOPRA: Yes, but you see, the terrorists and the autocrats try in a place where people are deprived, economically, educationally, democratically. So we have to really start looking at the bigger web of life and saying, Yes, I'm taking care of my country, but, you know, now I have to extend this to my global family (inaudible).
ROBBINS: But I think what happens is, for example, in Hawaii when this occurred, when this man stood up and said, I'm from Afghanistan, he said, This is retribution. There were other people who stood up who'd just lost family members who wanted to kill him. So I took this man who was of Muslim faith and a man of Jewish faith and brought them up who were ready to kill each other, and an hour and a half later, they had expanded.
But we started by letting them respect their own religions, respect their own families, their own communities, their own countries, and then bridge it. If you try to have no pride in anything initially, it's hard to bridge to all of humanity for some people when they don't even have pride in themself.
KING: Dr. Weil, we keep hearing about return to normal. Can you?
WEIL: I'm not sure that there's ever been a normal. Maybe that's a fantasy.
ROBBINS: I agree with that.
WEIL: You know, I think that with that -- this is the way the world is, the world has never been a nice place. And the reality for most people throughout history in most places has been what we've experienced in America. It's been loss, fear, uncertainty. I think this is the way life is for most people.
KING: It would be impossible, wouldn't it, doctor, to not have been affected by September 11. WEIL: I can't imagine not being affected by it, especially with the media as they are today.
KING: You wanted to say, Tony?
ROBBINS: I think as an American, that may be true, but that's not true for everyone, because as he already said, there are many people who experience this every day of their lives.
It was interesting, there were Jewish people in the audience who said, Now people will understand, and there were Arabs in the room who said, Now people will understand, from the same act.
CHOPRA: And it's important to feel that...
KING: And they're both right (inaudible).
CHOPRA: ... anguish, it is important to feel that anguish. When we feel this anguish, you know, shared pain creates, shared suffering creates something called compassion. When compassion is born, there is understanding, there is love. And only then there is a chance for healing.
KING: In World War II, I'm the only one on this panel who was alive, I was a kid, but it was important for us to hate Hitler, and hate Tojo and Mussolini. We sang songs about them. Do you think, in a sense, Osama bin Laden is important to our continuing anger and desire to get rid of terrorism, that there is a figure we can concentrate on?
CHOPRA: You're asking...
KING: Dr. Weil, first you.
WEIL: Well, I suppose I feel that if we constantly fight things in the external world without looking at their roots in ourselves, that we'll never make them go away. I think we have to own up to the fact that we have in us the seeds of violence, the ability to hurt other people. And we have to deal with that in ourselves before we'll see it disappear in the world out there.
CHOPRA: But there's very...
KING: You think there's an Osama bin Laden in you, Tony?
ROBBINS: Well, no, I think everybody's capable of responding in ways that based on their conditioning, they don't support. I don't necessarily believe that's in me personally. But I do believe that the larger the villain, the bigger the hero, is how stories are written.
So our needs for drama tend to draw us and say, We're more powerful, we can deal with a more difficult person. I don't think...
KING: So it's easier having an Osama bin Laden...
KING: ... than just the Taliban.
ROBBINS: It's easier, but President Clinton had said to me when I was working with him in the Challenge, he had initially, is, what do you rally the troops against? There's nothing really to rally against. We don't have a world war, there isn't a huge challenge.
It's hard to align people without that. But that is a -- I think a -- not something we should rave about and be happy about or proud about. I think that's a reflection of our consciousness, which is not where it needs to be as a people, as humanity.
And there are people around the world that are trying to raise that by their own example, not just by their conversation.
CHOPRA: See, you know, as a physician, you look at what's happening from a point of view of -- well, let's say a person had a tumor. You would want to excise it. You might even need chemotherapy, knowing fully well that that would devastate the body, make it weaker. And if you were a good surgeon, you wouldn't hate the tumor, you'd go there with a cool head and excise it as precisely as you could.
And that's what I think is being done by the U.S. government. They're exciting the metastatic cells, so to speak...
KING: It's a cancer, (inaudible)...
CHOPRA: ... and the tumor, and the cancer. But then you shouldn't have hate or vengeance or retribution and get totally emotionally overcome by that, because after the tumor is excised, you have to look at what's there in the environment that nurtured the emergence of this imbalance?
And that's -- you have to look at fundamental needs of humanity to do that.
KING: Not to think that is foolish, because then there'll be another.
ROBBINS: Well, not only that, but you get addicted to the war. I mean, one of the things that happens, obviously, in any place, the Middle East is, what do kids do who used to be involved with something so exciting and so life and death, such a large mission, that now they're going to work at McDonald's? If we don't find something else, we just create a new villain, we create a new problem out of our needs for that sense of significance.
KING: We'll be right back with Dr. Weil and Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra. First, these words.
KING: ... something?
WEIL: No, I was just going to say that in line with what Deepak said, even if you look at the example of Afghanistan, look what's been done to that poor country that so many external powers have come in, devastated it, and then nothing has been done to make it healthy, to build up the basic health of the people, of the land.
You know, we can't make that mistake again.
KING: Now, in times of stress, leaders evolve. We wouldn't maybe have never known of Dwight Eisenhower without World War II. We now know about a mayor in New York.
ROBBINS: Yes, without a doubt.
KING: How important is someone like that to the psyche?
ROBBINS: Oh, I think it's critical, because in times like this people are looking for certainty. You know, what people -- why people don't want to get in airplanes, still a large number of people, why people are not fully living their lives in some cases, is the uncertainty. They want certainty.
Some people would rather deal with the certainty that life would be terrible than the uncertainty of, what if I get all excited again and I go for my life, and then I get disappointed, I get hurt?
And so most of us are addicted to certainty, and that addiction keeps us from having a great life. What I tell people is, the quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with. The more uncertainty you can comfortably live with, not survive, the more you can live, because to get on a plane, you always risk death, you always have. You just don't think about it any more. To get in a car you risk death.
KING: It's logical when you think about it.
ROBBINS: It is logical. So in order to be alive, you have to face death. Unless you face death, you can't live.
CHOPRA: And also now you -- you know, you really see what true leadership is. Leadership is not about the leader, it's about who the leader is serving. And if it's true that Mr. bin Laden was actually laughing about the fact that some of the suicide hijackers didn't even know that they were on the suicide mission, then he's not even a leader of those terrorists.
KING: How about, Dr. Weil, dealing with something when it never happened before? We never had anthrax, we never had a building hit, we never had hijackers take down a building by taking our own planes. Now we've got a war in a place we never fought before. How about dealing with that kind of unknown?
WEIL: Well, I have great faith in the human ability to deal with the unknown and with the new. I think we are equipped to deal with novel situations. And even if you look at what's happened in the three months since September 11, I think there has been a great deal of healing in our country, that we have accepted what's happened, we have adapted to it, we made changes.
I think we've adjusted. So I really have faith in the human potential to deal with whatever comes along.
ROBBINS: I'd also say the only way you're happy in life is not by what you get but by who you become. And the only way you become more is by growing. If we don't grow, we die. And what makes us grow is dealing with uncertainties. If you already know what's going to happen, when it's going to happen, how it's going to happen every moment, you may feel good for a while, but pretty soon you're bored out of your mind, and you're miserable.
So we need uncertainty to cause us to find our own spiritual lessons and growth.
KING: Speaking of that, we've seen so much faith and spirituality. Why wouldn't there be more questioning of faith, rather than a return to faith when something horrific happens?
CHOPRA: I think, you know, we have to make a distinguish -- distinction between faith and belief. Belief is just a cover-up for insecurity, and the people who are very much into belief are the fundamentalists, and they want to get everybody on their side, because they think all the more people believe what I believe, then I can be a little more sure about my uncertainty.
Faith, on the other hand, is stepping into the unknown. Faith is being comfortable with uncertainty and being comfortable in that proliferation of ambiguity and confusion and chaos and the unknown, which really leads to the creative process. Creativity is impossible without that.
ROBBINS: I have to say, everyone -- some people will say, But I don't have faith. Everyone has faith, because faith is something you're born with. Beliefs you learn, but faith you're born with. Faith is what you use to drive down the street. People say, How do I live my life still? Well, how do you drive down the street when the only thing separating you from crazies is a dotted yellow line? There's no government service to protect you.
And, you know, every day, people cross that line and kill people.
KING: You have faith that the guy won't do that.
ROBBINS: Yes, you have certainty because you just decided to be certain. In other words, fear is imagination that is unleashed. You know, you're not directing it. Faith is it's directed. And here's why people have faith. The reason they have faith is, look at the alternative. The alternative is, you stay home and never move and do nothing.
Well, the same thing is true here. What do you value more, fear or freedom? Because freedom comes from faith. Fear will imprison you. KING: But I have faith that the state licensed all these drivers.
KING: And that the cars' brakes work.
KING: ... history to base that on.
ROBBINS: But even with...
KING: (inaudible) if there were 46 crashes every day on the block, I ain't driving on (inaudible).
ROBBINS: But there are many people that do in environments similar to the ratios you're talking about. People have blind faith. They just decide to trust.
KING: Dr. Weil, speaking of God, if God is omnipotent, as so many believe, He could have prevented this.
KING: Why the (inaudible) enormous faith in this being, Dr. Weil?
WEIL: Well, I'm a medical doctor. That's really not my area of expertise. My personal feeling is that there is a perspective from which all this makes sense. I may not be in that perspective all the time, but I think there is a stance that mystics throughout history have always been able to attain, from which they've seen the whole pattern of human existence, including all the things that look horrible, and this all makes a picture that makes sense and is complete.
CHOPRA: Also, Larry, we are the only species that has free will, and that's the price you pay for choices that you make for free will. If you were asked to do good, would you like to be a robot where every thought of yours was automatically positive and good and orchestrated by God, or would you have the choice for free will?
On the other hand, you also have to accept this fact that God is not some human being over there, you know, watching over us, some patriarchal figure, some tribal chief. God is the unlimited potential that is inherent in the workings of biological organisms, particularly human beings who have access to this (inaudible) intelligence.
KING: Could we ask then, Tony, has He failed?
ROBBINS: No, because...
KING: When you look at society. ROBBINS: (inaudible) tell people too, focused on this event, this one-day event, when you focus on something, you stack it again and again, you lose perspective. Think about it. If you're going to be so upset about this, every single day almost 4,000 people die of cancer and heart disease, their mothers, their brothers, their sisters. People are dying all over the world. Why aren't those seen as failures?
The truth of the matter is, every 14 seconds in this country someone dies. Every eight seconds someone's born. While you're focused on somebody dying, somebody is making love, someone is having a child. Someone is changing the world.
CHOPRA: And Larry, don't insist on...
ROBBINS: And it's what you focus on.
CHOPRA: ... calling God a He, please.
KING: We'll be right back with our remaining moments...
ROBBINS: She's (inaudible).
KING: ... and more thoughts from our outstanding panel, or It may get mad. Don't go away.
KING: Deepak, how did you come to write "The Deeper Wound: Recovering the Soul from Fear and Suffering"?
CHOPRA: Well, after September 11, I was stranded in Detroit. All the airports were closed. So I started -- actually I rented a car, started traveling west. And every day I would stop in a major city, go to the town hall, and people would come, and we would dialogue. And people would raise questions, like, What's the meaning of this? What is the meaning of suffering? What's the face of evil? Do we have a soul? Does God exist? What happens to us after we die? How do we go beyond our anguish? How do we find something bigger than this?
From those dialogues, this book evolved spontaneously.
KING: So that it's not just your thoughts, it's the thoughts of others as well?
CHOPRA: It's what I learned from people as I talked to them.
KING: And the book is called "The Deeper Wound." It's now out.
Dr. Weil, in your area, in times of stress like this, will people eat more, eat less? Eat wrong?
WEIL: I think -- yes, I think so, I think there has been an increase in abandonment of good judgment about eating. People are eating more comfort foods, junk foods. I think it's not a time to do that. I think that, you know, this is a time when we should really concentrate, as Tony said, on our health, both physical and mental.
I think this is one thing we can do for our country as well. If there are threats to our nation, the stronger we are as individuals, the stronger we are as a country. So it's not a time to throw caution to the winds and...
WEIL: ... and -- Yes.
KING: But people who have had eating disorders, are bulimics throwing up more?
WEIL: I don't know. All I know is that I have had a lot of people tell me that they're eating more candy, drinking more, eating more junk food. I don't think that's a good trend, and I've advised people to not do that. This is not the time to do that.
ROBBINS: What people tend to do in times like this is exaggerate whatever patterns they already have to try and cope or have comfort. But what I also say is, there's lots of people that aren't eating right now, and this show is not just for the United States. There are people all over the world who don't have food, and as we talked about earlier, the solution is to deal with people who are in need at various levels.
So I'd like to also say that if anybody's interested, go out during this holiday season, whether it be the Jewish holiday, the Christian holiday, a Muslim holiday, and find a way to give back in some way, contribute in some way, not just food but your time, your emotion. Because the person who ends up being most touched by that is you. It puts your life in perspective.
The more you do something for others, the more you see you have no problems.
KING: Why does it feel so good to give, Deepak?
CHOPRA: Because at the deeper level, we are not individuals, we are interbeings. We are inseparable from each other. Your body is recycled earth, your emotions are recycled energy. All the emotions we're experiencing are recycling right now all over the world. Your thoughts are recycled information. At the most fundamental level, you're inseparably one with other people.
And that's what compassion means, to suffer with. Out of that, love is born, and out of that, healing is born.
ROBBINS: I also think, you know, there are two laws of the universe that never get violated. Everything either grows or dies, and everything either contributes or it's eliminated. If you aren't giving something back in some way that's meaningful, then you feel a sense of elimination if you're still here physically. You don't feel here emotionally or spiritually.
KING: What about looking forward, Dr. Weil? Is optimism hard?
WEIL: I think optimism is -- can be learned. No, there is actually some very good psychological research demonstrating that optimism is a learned phenomenon.
WEIL: You can -- Yes, absolutely. You can develop...
WEIL: ... it -- you can develop it, for example, by being -- spending more time around people who are optimistic. That's a very good way to improve your own optimism.
KING: Do you all agree?
ROBBINS: Most -- I believe the most important thing that affects a person's life more than anything else is who you spend time with is who you become. Because whoever you spend time with, in order to stay in relationship, to have their caring, to have their love, their values affect you, and your values affect them in some way.
And people never far exceed the expectations of their peer group, emotionally, physically, financially, and everything else.
KING: You mention this season, this season which brings great joy, for those who lost people on September 11, this is not a happy time, Deepak.
CHOPRA: This is not a happy time...
KING: And Christmas can make you sadder.
CHOPRA: Christmas can make you sadder, because it brings back memories and nostalgias...
ROBBINS: Yes, (inaudible).
CHOPRA: ... and about lost ones and people that you no longer have in your life. But again, as Dr. Weil said, optimism is a learned phenomenon. And even more important, pay attention to your intuition, to your creativity, to your vision for what is possible in the future. Have some sense of connection with the creative power of the universe. Make love the most important activity in your life.
Have -- pay attention to the expansion of happiness around you. Compassion, these are the important things...
CHOPRA: ... what is the meaning and purpose of our existence otherwise? ROBBINS: (inaudible) one emotion, there is the antidote to fear, and it's also the antidote to pain, and that's gratitude. When a person is grateful, they are not angry. When a person is grateful, they are not sad, they are not worried. And cultivating gratitude changes the quality of somebody's life completely.
KING: We're out of time. But Dr. Weil, do you play Santa Claus for anyone?
WEIL: I do, I do in the hospital here at the University of Arizona. I don't need a false beard, either.
KING: I would think you'd be a logical choice.
Thank you all very much, and happy holidays. Dr. Andrew Weil...
WEIL: You too.
KING: ... Tony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra. Andrew's book, "Eating Well for Optimal Health," and Deepak's new one is "The Deeper Wound."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Diana Kroll (ph) was with us a couple weeks ago when our guests dealt with other things, and she closed it off with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Tonight the guests dealt with making your life a little better following September 11, and if there was one message that came through, it was you can do a lot for yourself and for the people you love and are around you, because we have to go on. For this Jerome Kern song certainly applies.
Diana does, "Pick Yourself Up" to close it out.
Go get 'em, girl.
(MUSIC, DIANA KROLL SINGS "PICK YOURSELF UP")
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