Spiritual guru Deepak Chopra on new approach to politics: 'We are dictating our insanity’

Chopra, a leader of the alternative medicine movement, is wading into politics.

"I was very dismayed by the political climate," Chopra told ABC News. "But then I realized that, actually, in a way, it did bring out the ugliness and the darkness in our collective psyche, right up to the surface. So we are facing it now, and what are we going to do about it?"

Chopra, for one, has stepped outside his lane, publishing a collection of songs and poems called "Home: Where Everyone is Welcome," inspired by real stories of U.S. immigrants.

"Trump has a long history of hostility to immigrants," Chopra, 70, co-wrote in a September 2017 essay for the San Francisco Chronicle, which argued that ending DACA would hurt America's economy. "By acting the tough guy, he is making America weaker in the long run."

Chopra's own immigrant story informs his view today.

The New Delhi-born son of an Indian Army doctor was raised in the young nation's best educational system, the Irish Christian missionary schools, by parents who expected him to follow in his father's footsteps. He studied medicine, became a physician and immigrated to the United States in 1970.

It was his medical work here, in neuroendocrinology, that led him down the path of linking biochemistry with emotions and wellbeing. It was the freedom to pursue such ideas that led him to develop what were then unpopular ideas, in medical circles, of health as a holistic entity.

"I was really criticized for this in the beginning because I was saying that, you know, you need to look at patients not just as physical machines or robots - biological robots - but you need to understand what's going on in their lives," Chopra told ABC News, "whether it's in their emotional life, in their personal relationships, or their habits like sleep, stress management, exercise, breathing, nutrition, relationships - the whole ecosystem of health."

On that point, Chopra does not necessarily disagree.

Chopra has earned millions as he’s made his message more accessible in the past few decades, which some may find at odds with long-held warnings against the dangers of materialism.

Chopra, however, argues that there is no contradiction. During our interview, he even pulled out his New York City Metrocard to prove he still uses public transportation.

"I had a mantra all my life, and that was, pursue excellence, ignore success. And it worked," Chopra said. "In America, you should never have to apologize for being successful. ... I'm helping people, and if it leads to success, why not?"

As for his recent foray into politics, Chopra said that may not be the last time he chooses to speak out about something in which he strongly believes. He may just take a different tack. "If you don't understand the context in which violence is born, you're never going to solve it," he said.

If not acknowledged, Chopra added, "We are dictating our insanity."

Check out the full conversation on the latest episode of "Uncomfortable."

Download and subscribe to the "Uncomfortable" podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and ABC News podcasts.

Chopra was interviewed as part of a series called "Uncomfortable," hosted by Amna Nawaz, that offers in-depth honest conversations with influential leaders about issues dividing America.

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