Wiggle your thumb.
How did your thought to wiggle your thumb actually wiggle the thumb? We can describe the bio-electrical and chemical processes that causes voluntary wiggling of the muscles, but that doesn't completely answer the question. How did a thought start that astoundingly complex series of physical actions that results in a wiggle?
You told your thumb to wiggle, and it did. Mind over matter appears to be an everyday phenomenon. Don't believe it? Try it on other parts of your body. Your thoughts can cause all sorts of movement in the physical universe. Wiggle your toes. Wiggle your ears. Interesting.
What else can we tell our bodies to do?
In the process of old cells dying and new ones being created, our bodies are almost completely renewed about once a year. Each new cell grows from a blueprint containing instructions from our DNA, but the blueprint is also modified by the current condition of the cell and the cell's neighborhood - your body and the environment within which your body lives. Cells "remember" their experiences and pass on their condition to the cells that replace them. Do they have to pass on that modified information?
Can the same power that wiggles your thumb also instruct your cells to reproduce themselves with a cleaner blueprint?
Science journals document yogis controlling their body's autonomic systems. Numerous anecdotes suggest spontaneous healing in seriously ill patients who claim to have only prayed or changed their attitude. Doctors have no better explanation in these cases. The new science of neuroplasticity has shown that the way you think can regrow brain cells and change the structure and function of your brain.
Eastern sciences (what the West has until recently considered mysticism, superstition, or even sin) have mapped the mind/body connection, locating pressure points, various swirling force fields, and the flow of an etheric energy called Prana in India, and Chi in China and Japan. Western science doesn't have a lot of patience with the idea of Chi, even though procedures such as acupressure and acupuncture have been formally recognized as having therapeutic effects.
Some Eastern scientists, yogis for example, work in the laboratory of their own bodies. They stretch and sit, breathe and sing, juggle thoughts in the brain or empty the brain entirely, all in an effort to Contemplate the Actual, and apply an enlightening intention.
While Eastern "mysticism" has ancient systems to explain the mind/body connection, Western science, in it's own manner, may be catching up.
Discredited scientists like Wilhelm Reich and Timothy Leary (unfairly discredited in this author's opinion) bravely documented their experiences and created new terminology and systems of classification for the astounding phenomena they encountered, but it may well be theories in physics that finally convince the meandering mainstream of realities beyond the accepted norm.
One of the more spectacular discoveries in quantum physics demonstrates the ability of information to travel faster than the speed of light. Like sound waves vibrating through the atmosphere, information on the quantum level appears to travel through a medium or via a mechanism scientists are just beginning to unravel. Does information from your brain to your body travel on the quantum level? Do your intentions leave your brain and become immediately reflected onto an omnipresent grid that overlays our reality, instantaneously connecting one point on the grid with all other points? Is Einstein's elusive Unified Field Theory an attempt to describe the parameters of prana?
Futurist Gregg Braden describes three fascinating experiments . . .
A Russian scientist working in the US created a vacuum in which a small number of photons were randomly dispersed. He then introduced a strand of DNA, and after a while the photons lined up along side the DNA, exactly mirroring it's spiral shape. When the DNA was removed, the photons remained in their spiral form.
In another experiment, the US military took a DNA sample from a donor. The donor watched various videos of emotional situations. Observations of both DNA in the donor and the donor's DNA sample in a distant location recorded identical reactions to the videos at the exact same time.
In a third experiment, people expressly trained to focus and project emotive expressions "threw" various emotions at DNA samples. Samples receiving "positive" emotions (love, compassion, appreciation, etc.) visibly lengthened, seemingly relaxing as the spiral form unwound. Samples receiving "negative" emotions (hate, rage, anger) visibly contracted, seemingly tensing up in reaction to the stimulus. Researchers in this experiment recorded what they believe to be low levels of nuclear fusion, biological fusion, seemingly a power source generated from within the cell that was not the product of burning fuel (food digestion).
This faster-than-light quantum connection between physical objects, this "action at a distance" or "non-locality" demonstrates a form of communication so radical in it's implications that many modern physicists are afraid of entering the discussion for fear of appearing heretical. Think of the Catholic church forbidding the knowledge of the orbit of the planets because science threatened to dismantle religious tenets. What happens when the American Medical Association finds itself in the same quandary when physicists tell doctors that a thought can heal. Imagine the Church, as well, again on the defensive when learning that a concept of God is not necessary to explain the power of healing prayers.
Norman Vincent Peale
In 1952 Norman Vincent Peale published "The Power of Positive Thinking" - the most popular self-help guide of its day. Peale's approach has been ridiculed ever since, in part because of its religiosity, but primarily, I believe, because people don't think complex psychological or physiological forces can be modified by thought and intention alone. The whole idea is just too simple, and, in America, our puritan work ethic forbids us from believing change can occur without sweat, tears and the grace of the Sky God.
In recent years the New Age movement has spawned numerous belief systems, many similar to, or based on, Eastern practices, that claim to enable or at least explain hidden powers. Andrew Weil writes about spontaneous healing.
Deepak Chopra writes eloquent descriptions of the quantum connection to healing. Robert Anton Wilson and Rupert Sheldrake are two of my favorites who offer illuminating descriptions of bridges between metaphysics and healing.
In March of 2001 I spent two days in the company of Jasmuheen, an Australian housewife who claims to have lived on light (prana) alone for the past seven years (she admits to having a bite of chocolate occasionally just for taste). I would like to believe her, as her story is what most of us on the fringe have been expecting - the direct application of mystic concepts supported by ideas in quantum physics.
Robert Anton Wilson
"I would like to believe her." Some people have a problem with that phrase of mine, as they should. Robert Anton Wilson says "Belief is the death of intelligence," meaning that blind acceptance of ideas, or even the continued acceptance of old ideas without periodic updating of your information leads to wrong assumptions, and worse. Most people hold on to belief systems that make Jasmuheen's story appear impossible. I suppose you could spend a month with Jasmuheen, watching her mouth very carefully. That might provide interesting information. But she says it takes more than that to see the process unfold in yourself. And here is where it gets sticky. We are told that to live on light, you have to believe you can live on light. This, of course, is different than flipping a light switch and seeing light. You don't "see" light anyway when the switch is flipped. You only see the atmosphere and objects around you that reflect the light you assume is present. Jasmuheen might say the same about prana. You don't see it, but if you are familiar with the behavior of prana, you can see the effects of prana's ability to illuminate. But even seeing the effects of prana does not guarantee it will work for you. Watching someone eat may teach you something about nutrition, but it won't do much for your own body's hungry cells. Directing food through your digestive tract is largely automatic once you get past the chewing. With pranic nourishment, we are told, more conscious effort is required. And if you don't believe you can consciously interact with the prana swirling through your system, then you won't receive the benefits.
This reminds me of what a Scientologist told me years ago. "Your resistance to Scientology is proof that your brain's conditioning is afraid of Scientology's powerful healing techniques." "No," I proposed, "I think I'm reacting more to the ridiculous price and smarmy atmosphere."
Skeptics would say that Jasmuheen has a similar easy answer to those who find that living on light doesn't work for them. It doesn't work for you because your conditioning prohibits your entering into a different belief system.
She does in fact say this, but unlike the Scientologists she doesn't charge a lot of money for her techniques, and her writing and rap are restrained and relatively hip. Still, a leap of faith is required, or what my thoughtful friend Marlis just described as "jumping over your shadow." Accepting a radical new belief system almost always requires the release or loosening of a previous belief system. Of course, if you live in many parts of Asia, Jasmuheen's belief system may not conflit with your belief system at all.
Your Belief System, or what Robert Anton Wilson likes to call your "BS" is a description of your personal planet. If you are fully "non-attached" in the Buddhistic sense, then you are already enlightened, and therefore already fully conscious of your relationship to light. But if you are on the path, like me, then you are still on your old familiar planet, and you still have concepts in your brain that may contradict the possibility of the fantastic reality promised by mystics, scientists and dreamers.
I laugh when the cosmic jokers say "everything you know is wrong." Sometimes an extreme statement like that can jar you loose from old conditioning (many other experiences can also break old conditioning!), but usually not everything you know is wrong, and normally you have to wisely use what you know of your current situation to navigate to the next level. Your old conditioning serves as the ground you push against in your effort to leap forward.
Like getting a spaceship off the earth, you have to build the vehicle and the launch pad. You have to have enough power to lift off, and escape your old familiar gravity. You have to have some idea of what your destination looks like, if only to point yourself in the right direction, and you have to steer your ship around obstacles on the path until you arrive. Nothing in your space program works, however, unless you possess that one important element - your intention.
All the mechanics of space travel merely shape the vehicle and the trajectory. Human intention organizes the pieces into a moving scenario.
I've centered this article on the struggle over one's attachment to belief systems, largely because this is the biggest challenge I face on my path to consciousness expansion. Jasmuheen's assertions about living on light offer an excellent point for discussion, as living without food has to be one of the most startling ideas any "personal trainer" could suggest. However, Jasmuheen has repeatedly said that she never originally intended to give up eating. She says it's simply a side benefit of her overall spiritual practice. Most of her writings and workshops detail an extensive program involving yoga postures, Pranayama (breathwork), physical exercises, and other practices that stress an aspirant's total re-evaluation of old habits, with the idea that changing what you do will change who you are.
Want to talk to your DNA? I began this writing as a letter to a friend who has suffered severe damage from inhalation of fumes from his work as a luthier. He's gone through the worst of what modern medicine can offer (drugs and surgery), without lasting relief, and he now plans to return to his native Australia and go on a "walkabout," subjecting himself to the vagaries of the Australian desert, the traditional Aboriginal method of "reaching the next level."
I suggested he might try, as per the suggestion of Dr. John Lilly, "reprogramming the human biocomputer."
The ability of a person to change their own brain, was first suggested in scientific literature in 1890 by philosopher and psychologist William James. In the modern science of neuroplasticity, brain cells and new neural pathways are intentionally created through mental and physical exercises. In much the same way a musician makes physical changes to the structure of the brain simply by practicing musical exercises, stroke victims can train their brains to recreate lost abilities.
So we know that our thoughts can result in changes in our internal physical structure, but if they also travel as transmissions of information instantaneously through our quantum reality, I begin to wonder how much my thoughts change the world outside of myself.
The recitation of mantras or sacred verses of wisdom and compassion have long been used by many cultures to focus the attention of an individual on a wider view - a view that takes normal everyday thought to another dimension. Today's modern agents of brain change, as Leary called them, use an ever widening array of tools and incantations, techniques and challenging theories.
The programming or reprogramming I've excerpted below should not be considered an endorsment of any specific practitioner or belief system. I offer the information only as examples of how one might begin to approach the subject of taking the idea of "talking to yourself" to a higher level. Although I can't prove to another the effectiveness of the techniques offered by those who work in this field, I have an intuitive sense that the ancient yogis were onto something when they said success is based on one's "union" with "higher" forces. Whatever the mechanism may be that connects us to these forces, it seems useful to spend some time experimenting with the art of being in focus.
A word on mantras: aum. This simple word from Hindu philosophy, "aum" or "om," is three Sanskrit letters combined to form an approximation of all sound in the universe, and in a sense, the sound of the vibration of the universe itself. It is said that when chanting aum, one's human form and consciousness vibrates in harmony with the fundamental vibration of the universe, and as the universe has a "stronger" voice, the human becomes "tuned" to the greater vibration. This is a common phenomenon in nature where stronger vibrations "massage" weaker vibrations, and bring them into a synchronistic harmony or rhythm.
Affirmations have become very popular in recent years. I'm not sure that harmonizing your intentions towards an end result is necessarily a Secret, but there does seem to be a lot of hype and naive expectations about a fairly simple concept. I like to think of this vibratory connection as similar to a musician singing a song. You may need some preparation before you can begin. You may need to train your voice for the best effect. You may need to understand something about melody, harmony and rhythm. Of course, you have to learn the melody and lyrics. but in the end, you just sing. It is your effort and your intention that brings an harmonious result.
Jasmuheen offers programming scripts that serve to focus your intention. She usually begines her affirmations with the phrase, "Dear Mother/Father Creator God" as a descriptor for that cosmic organizing principle that reflects and amplifies your intention. She points out that any name will work as long as your intention remains consistent. I agree, but I would also suggest that since that cosmic organizing principle is not at all separate from us, then perhaps we don't need any name.
I have chosen two models as examples because one, Jasmuheen's, offers a familiar ethical formula, while the other, the Leary/Wilson model, offers a roadmap of formulas.
The text that follows comes from Jasmuheen's book "Living on Light." Following her text is my interpretation wherein I turn the affirmation into a conversation with myself.
A Programming and Self Healing Affirmation drawn from Jasmuheen's "Living on Light"
"Dear Mother/Father Creator God, I ask that each and every moment of each day unfold in complete and perfect alignment with the Divine Will, in Divine timing."
"I ask that all my sharing in each moment be for the highest good
of others and for my highest good."
"I ask that the energy fields of my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies be brought into perfect alignment for my Divine Self to consciously be made fully manifest on the physical plane, and all planes of existence, in a manner that brings me great joy, ease, grace, pleasure and abundance."
"All my bodies are tuned, toned, fit and healthy. They vibrate, and also express themselves in perfected and synchronistic harmony to the beat of the Mother/Father Creator God.
This is truth whether I eat, sleep, exercise or meditate."
"I ask that my next perfect piece/step in the Divine Plan Blueprint clearly reveal itself to me and bring to me now also the perfect players and all the resources for the creation and implementation of this blueprint so that it can be physically made manifest NOW."
"I instruct my I AM Presence to bring to my conscious awareness all talents, gifts, information from all past, present and future lives that will empower me further in the fulfilment of my piece of the Divine Blueprint upon this physical plane NOW."
"I forgive and I am forgiven."
"I now release all discordant energies from all my energy fields."
"Release, forgive. Forgive, release. Heal, renew. Renew, heal.
Heal to perfection as divinely intended NOW."
Unfold in perfect alignment.
Share for the highest good.
All energy fields in alignment for joy, ease, grace, pleasure and abundance.
All in tune as I eat, sleep, exercise, meditate, create or play.
Players and resources manifest now.
Bring to my awareness all talents, gifts and information.
I forgive and I am forgiven.
I now release all discordant energies from all my energy fields.
Release. Forgive. Heal. Renew.
Heal to perfection now.
Also useful to keep in mind when considering one's efforts at conscious evolution . . .
Based on the Leary/Wilson model of the Eight Circuits of the Brain, in The Illuminati Papers, Robert Anton Wilson offers the following "Winner Scripts."
The Eight Basic Winner Scripts
1. The biosurvival winner: "I will live forever or die trying."
2. The emotional-territorial winner: "I am free; you are free; we can have our separate trips or we can have the same trip."
3. The semantic winner: "I am learning more about everything, including how to learn more."
4. The sociosexual winner: "Love, and do what thou wilt." (Anon. of Ibid)
5. The neurosomatic winner: "How I feel depends on my neurological knowhow."
6. The metaprogramming winner: "I make my own coincidences, synchronicities, luck, and Destiny."
7. The neurogenetic winner: "Future evolution depends on my decisions now."
8. The neuroatomic winner: "In the province of the mind, what is believed to be true is true, or becomes true within certain limits to be learned by experience and experiment." (Dr.John Lilly)
Links . . .
An NPR interview with science writer Sharon Begley on Neuroplasticity
Check out the world of Robert Anton Wilson by acknowledging the Fnord
Here are two good starting points for information about Wilhelm Reich:
James DeMeo's Orgone Biophysical Research Laboratory
The American College of Orgonomy
Dr. Timothy Leary is perpetually not dead at leary.com
Here's a Wikipedia page about Norman Vincent Peale
Visit Jasmuheen at the Cosmic Internet Academy
Get Andrew Weil's take on Spontaneous Healing and other alternative healing topics at his Ask Dr. Weil site, and if you're interested, C-span recorded this video where the good doctor outlines some inspired Drug Policies
Visit Deepak Chopra at his Web Office
I've been fond of Dr. Chopra ever since I heard him answer the question, "Who are you?" with, "I'm a holographic expression of the entire universe that is manifesting as a continuum of probability amplitudes for space/time events."
Learn about Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields, and more, at Sheldrake Online
Formerly an earth scientist and senior aerospace computer systems designer (Phillips Petroleum, Martin Marietta Aerospace and Cisco Systems), Gregg Braden now examines the intersections of modern science and the spiritual philosophies of ancient and indigenous traditions. Visit his website
Visit John Lilly's Home Page
or read about The Scientist at The Deoxyribonucleic Hyperdimension
Here's a Wikipedia page on William James
The people referenced in this article do not represent some core group of significant actors in the fields discussed. They are simply individuals who seemed significant in one writer's field of vision.