Reviewed by Robert A. Charman
The Mysteries of Healing together with The Mysteries of Knowledge beyond our Senses: Dialogues with Courageous Scientists (to be reviewed) are the first two in a trilogy of Mystery books edited by Dr Gayle Kimball. The third book in this huge undertaking is The Mysteries of Reality: Dialogues with Visionary Scientists which is scheduled to be published in 2021. In her extended Introduction, Scientists Discover Reality is Consciousness, Kimball describes her interviews with sixty five ‘visionary and courageous’ doctors and scientists who think that the world, including ourselves and all living things, encompasses far more than can be explained by materialistic orthodoxy. Professionally, these MD and PhD contributors span the spectrum of the physical sciences, medical and neurosciences, psychology, philosophy, and social sciences.
The format is that Kimball first asks each contributor about their astrological birth sign and personality type according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Enneagram of Personality, and whether these findings accurately define their own personality. She then explores their family background, upbringing, why they chose their orthodox profession(s) and subsequent career, why they decided to explore the professionally perilous path of energy medicine, healing and other mind based complementary therapies, and why they now view the world as they do. The resulting discussion is interwoven with Kimball’s questions and comments arising from her own experiences and reading. Each chapter closes with ‘Resources’ comprised of books, online article references and websites. The video interviews were conducted on Skype and have been posted on her YouTube channel.
Kimball also attempted to interview sceptics, including Chris French, Richard Wiseman, Arthur Reber, and James Alcock to explain why they reject psi and non-materialistic interpretations of reality and approached the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry as well, but all except Susan Blackmore refused to be interviewed. Reber and Alcock said that they did not read studies of psi phenomena (anymore) as they knew they violated physics so there was not any point. (Several of the Kimball’s interviewees have responded to sceptics on the website Skeptical about Skeptics – a collection of the essays, edited by Cathi Carol, are also available in book form).
Kimball, who took her PhD in Religious Studies at UC, Santa Barbara, says that her motivation in producing and editing this trilogy has been her personal and academic interest in spirituality in its widest, non-religious, sense. Personal, because after she had experienced episodes of confirmed precognition and clairvoyance, she found she was a healer and now practises and teaches courses in clairvoyant healing. Academic, because as she talked with psi researchers such as Larry Dossey, Dean Radin, James Carpenter, William Bengston, Beverley Rubik, Marilyn Schiltz, Russell Targ, and many others she realised that their studies of psi phenomena and healing demonstrated the conceptual inadequacy of materialistic orthodoxy in rejecting these findings. She is the author of some 20 books, including Essential Energy Tools: How to Develop your Clairvoyant and Healing Abilities (2001).
She says that the contributors are agreed that their findings indicate that consciousness is not created by the brain so does not die with the brain. It has its origin outside the brain as part of a universal consciousness so, as in manifestations of psi, it is not solely dependent upon the bodily senses for incoming information and can act in its own right as a causative agent as in healing with hands. That we continue to exist as ourselves after brain death is, she feels, strongly supported by mediumistic communication with those who have died as interpreted in triple blind experiments conducted by Julie Beischel (Windbridge Research Center), double blind experiments with mediums performed by Gary Schwartz (University of Arizona), and new research being carried out by Chris Roe (University of Northampton) with mediums at the Arthur Findlay College, Stansted Hall. These findings, together with some 3,000 carefully investigated cases of apparent reincarnation reported by young children as documented by Ian Stevenson, Ed Kelly and Jim Tucker (University of Virginia) present a case for which, it seems, the brain-is-mind materialist has no answer except to deny the findings.
While everyday experience tells us that we live in a world in which solid objects including ourselves move in space and change sequentially in time, ultimate physical reality at atomic level is very different as solid objects dissolve into almost empty atoms and subatomic particles held together by internal forces at quantum level. Kimball quotes Max Planck who said that atoms and molecules are not solid entities but vibrational centres held together by a force indicating an underlying conscious and intelligent mind, so matter arises out of consciousness. Contributors to the trilogy are hoping that a new explanatory paradigm will emerge that will combine the undoubted findings of materialist research with corroborated ESP experiences and replicated ESP/healing findings into a new synthesis of understanding of reality in which the presently anomalous is the new normal. This well written Introduction closes with an extensive resource section including webpages, abbreviations, definitions and online articles.
The nineteen contributors to this volume have been grouped under four sections – Healing with Hands, Healing with Frequencies, Healing with Altered States of Consciousness and Healing with Helpful Beings. Within a review of some 3,500 words it has proved impossible to adequately summarise each chapter as each contains far more biographical detail, research findings and wide ranging scientific and philosophical discussion than can be adequately conveyed here. Instead each of the four sections will be summarised as a whole, ending with a list of chapter contributors. This will then be followed by comment and discussion.
Section 1. Healing with Hands is mainly concerned with empirical research into the therapeutic effects of hand healing techniques (contact or close proximity) from, for example, cure of otherwise fatal cancer in mice (Bengston) to relief of debilitating post chemotherapy fatigue following breast cancer using Reiki or Healing Touch compared to controls (Jain). The search for explanation involves studying the psychophysiology of the intention-to-heal mindset, EEG studies demonstrating the apparent entrainment of the healer brainwave frequencies with the healer during the healing session, interpretation of healing in terms of the body’s subtle energy systems known as the biofield, measurement of healer energy emission from the fingers using rates of biophoton emission, and exploring Eastern concepts of chi energy flow through meridians and the seven major chakra energy centres. Acupuncture, when applied to traditional acupuncture points, has proved to be a more effective treatment for musculoskeletal pain, improvement in internal organ function and relief of travel sickness and post anaesthesia sickness than when applied to random points. Western medicine explains this in terms of more effective endorphin release and Eastern medicine by stimulating chi energy flow along meridian channels (Hammerschlag). Relief of mental distress from phobias to relationship problems using a range of complementary therapy programs such as Neuroliguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Craniosacral Therapy, Polarity Therapy and Applied Kinesiology is then presented (Swack).
All this and much more is explored in Healing with Hands and Frequencies by William Bengston, Acupuncture as Biofield Medicine by Richard Hammerschlag, Consciousness and Healing by Shamini Jain, PK and Healing Research at the Rhine Research Centre by John G. Kruth, and Healing from the Body Level UpTM: Where Science and Miracles Meet by Judith Swack.
Section 2. Healing with Frequencies explores energy medicine research into the fundamental concept of an electromagnetic biofield that controls the body’s physiology down to cellular level, this includes the central role of the heart’s pulsing electromagnetic field (see Heartmath website) on health and emotion and the effect of the Earth’s natural fields on the body (McCraty), how healers may be interacting with the biofield of the healee during their intention-to-heal mindset is explored, as are the implications of EEG studies showing that during a healing session the brainwaves of the healee come into frequency resonance with the steady frequency profile of the healer (Rubik). The therapeutic interaction of pulsed high frequency and low frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and pulsed low level lasers as in phototherapy with the body’s natural biofield frequencies to aid healing as in slow healing bone fractures is discussed (Muehsam), and how studies of psi phenomena demonstrating that that our minds can interact directly with other minds across space and with other living systems as in healing leads to the concept of nonlocality and One Mind (Dossey).
The implications of research findings in these wide ranging fields on health, illness and healing are discussed at depth in Understanding how the Earth’s Frequencies Affect Us by Rollin McCraty, The Biofield and Foundations of Energy Medicine by Beverley Rubik, On the Edge of Objectivity: Consciousness and Bioelectromagnetics by David Muehsam and Nonlocality, Consciousness and Healing by Larry Dossey.
Section 3. Healing with Altered States of Consciousness explores the healing effect on mind and body of entering certain Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) in which the everyday world of the senses, including pain and illness, fades into the background and is replaced by an intense sense of bliss and oneness with nature and the universe during which all sense of everyday time disappears and is replaced by a timeless sense of Now. Three of the contributors to this section have experienced mystical experiences, and these profound experiences have driven their research into such experiences including developing meditation and mindfulness programmes to help relieve mental distress. One of the other three contributors had psychic experiences when young, and two have a strong personal interest in psi phenomena with a related interest in the development of Transpersonal Psychology. There is much discussion of the implications of the placebo effect which can still operate even when the patient knows it is a placebo with no therapeutic properties That minds can interact with minds as shown by the findings of ESP research, especially during healing, is again emphasised.
The implications of ASCs concerning the nature of consciousness and the effects of changing negative mental states into positivity through carefully designed programmes are explored in depth in Awakening Essential Transformation by Richard Moss, The Psychology of Altered States of Consciousness by Chris Roe, A Transformative Worldview by Marilyn Schiltz, Personality Correlates of Anomaly-Proneness by Christine Simmonds-Moore, Altered States of Consciousness by Charles Tart and A Neurobiologist looks at Mystical Experience by Marjorie Woollacott.
Section 4. Healing with Helpful Beings. The belief system common to the three medically qualified contributors and one clinical psychologist in this section is that our minds and consciousness extend beyond the physicality of our brains into another dimension, or realm, sometimes referred to as the shamanic realm, which is also inhabited by spirits, djinns, guides, angels, demons and other divinities. These other inhabitants can manifest themselves, or even inhabit, our minds in a variety of forms. When this occupation is malevolent the victim may experience a wide range of frightening symptoms to the point of psychiatric disorders as in the feeling of being taken over, hearing voices with irrational mood swings or losing a sense of everyday reality and personal relationships. While mainstream psychiatry dismisses such explanations, interpreting such symptoms in terms of neural disfunction, or as the result of earlier traumatic experiences requiring drug therapy and/or forms of therapy each of these contributors say that they have seen these shape shifting beings for themselves, and have developed techniques whereby they can intervene to break the hold that a malevolent spirit, or spirits, may have over their client by expelling them and invoking the aid of benevolent guides.
This approach to healing the sick mind is explored in My Journey from Mainstream Psychiatry Towards Spiritual Healing by Robert Alcorn, Learning about Helpful and Harmful Entities by Mitchell Earl Gibson, Unity Field Healing DNA by John G Ryan, and Soul Detective by Barbara Stone.
Comment. It must be emphasised that all of these contributors are thoroughly versed in their particular orthodox specialty, be it medicine, the neurosciences, psychology, sociology, molecular biology, neuro-psycho-immunity, genetics or whatever. Many have contributed peer-reviewed publications to orthodox journals, many have been, or are, editors of peer-reviewed journals, or members of review boards, and many have been advisors to the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), so their reasons for risking their professional career and rejection by their peers by practising and/or researching complementary therapies, whether under the guise of energy medicine or integrative health care require careful reading.
Beverley Rubik has coined the term ‘Frontier Science’ to define the field as a whole as it includes far more than just energy medicine. While the contributions have been divided into four sections, for sections one to three there is an inevitable overlap of research findings and theoretical discussion as many of the contributors have worked together. I am not sure whether the personal belief systems expressed in section four belongs to frontier science as sincerity of belief in another postulated realm of existence is not a testable hypothesis.
Many interviewees mention that they have been deeply influenced by Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) and his proposal that our understanding of the world changes from an explanatory paradigm that appears to satisfactorily explain what we know to a new paradigm when unexplainable anomalies pile up that can no longer be dismissed. This eventually results in a seismic shift in scientific understanding in which those same anomalies form the cornerstone of the new paradigm as from the universal space and time certainties of classical physics to quantum physics and spacetime relativity. This is where they feel we are now. The proven anomaly of hands-on-healing has demonstrated that the present materialistic paradigm in which subjective intention cannot possibly cause objective external effects cannot be correct. Something has to give.
In Healing with Hands and Frequencies Bengston’s findings that, following a certain form of training, healers can cure cancer clearly demonstrates a subjective to objective effect (see his website for full details of research findings, training technique and ongoing research). In the 1970s Bengston studied and worked with the healer Bennett Mayrick. After they had received much positive feedback from grateful clients who had received a medical diagnosis of cancer, that after receiving healing from Mayrick tests now showed that their cancer had disappeared, Bengston decided to put this anecdotal, so scientifically worthless claim, to a definitive yes/no test using mice.
Bengston, who has now been studying healing with hands for over 30 years, summarises his trial findings from eighteen studies in different laboratories, including medical laboratories, of the effect of healing intention on mice injected with a lethal dose of mammary carcinoma cells. This always results in death by 27 days as found in the untreated control groups, but for those exposed to sessions of healing intention, during which the healer places their hands either side of the cage for a given time the outcome is very different. In each case the cancerous tumours develops as usual, but they then implodes, the fur regrows and the mice live out their normal two year lifespan. Not only that, they are immune to further exposure to cancer cells and if their cells are injected into other mice their cancer disappears and future immunity is conferred. It seems that healing has somehow effected a reprogramming of the immune system to recognise and kill the cancer cells.
Whether other healing systems such as Reiki would achieve the same consistent result is not yet known as no such experiments have been performed. However, in the extensive literature on healing there are literally hundreds of anecdotal accounts from healees saying that their cancer had unexpectedly ‘gone into spontaneous remission’ after receiving healing, implying that other forms of healing are effective, and the same is true for the relief and sometimes cure of many other medical conditions. An observation that really intrigues me is that the mice all crowded to the left hand side of the cage to expose their tumour to the left hand of the healer holding the cage, but once healed they ran around as usual. What were they intuitively responding to? If we knew that, would we have the key concept we need to unlock the mystery of healing and maybe even the nature of consciousness itself?
The problem for the medical profession in accepting Bengston’s results is not lack of proof of effectiveness, because if he had been testing a drug the results would seem to qualify for inclusion as ‘evidence based medicine’, but lack of any identifiable and measurable unit of dosage, such as ten psychons of intention-to-heal per minute for thirty minutes three times a week for four weeks and then review.
As mentioned earlier, the contributors seem agreed, or are sympathetic to, the idea that their findings imply that the brain acts more like a transducer, or filter, of a universal mind or consciousness than as the agent of our individual mind and consciousness which is our experiential reality. This raises two major problems for scientific acceptance by orthodox science of frontier science findings. Firstly, if Chris Roe is correct when he says that ‘We don’t have the remotest idea of what we mean by consciousness’ then proposing universal consciousness as an agent of effect on brains or anything else offers no testable explanation. Secondly, if acceptance of frontier science findings implies acceptance by association with the theory that the brain acts as a filter for universal consciousness then they will continue to be rejected. Why? Because such a claim goes against all the findings of the neurosciences to date that no mental activity however mystical or transcendent has ever been reported in the absence of correlated brain activity. The working hypothesis of the neurosciences, is that all mental activity including consciousness is dependent for its existence upon its correlated brain activity without exception. No brain activity – no mental activity. The mind lives and dies with the brain.
As the factual findings of frontier science will not go away, and as these facts do not, of themselves, require for their acceptance explanation in terms of a universal consciousness with the brain acting as a filter, the question is whether they can be interpreted in terms more in line with the neurosciences. The findings of neuroscience are consistent with the working hypothesis, based upon complex systems theory of emergence of new features at certain levels of processing complexity not exhibited at lower levels, that mental activity is an emergent phenomenon exhibiting new qualial properties including conscious experiencing of emotions, desires, thoughts, sense of self and so on. These new qualial properties of experiencing are not possessed by the high level of neural complexity from which, according to this hypothesis, they have emerged. All the evidence indicates that neural data processing and emergent qualial data processing in terms of intellectual understanding or emotional affect are interactional processes: ‘bottom up’ from sensory input to brain processing to experiential qualial processing, and ‘top down’ from qualia processing, expressed in terms of intention-to-act, to neural processing in preparation for consequent neuromuscular activity.
With regard to the findings of frontier science the one further step that neuroscience would need to take is to accept that the qualial properties of our emergent experiential reality includes psi phenomena. The anecdotal and experimental evidence for psi phenomena is beyond reasonable doubt, and Bengston’s replicated results has shown that when in a certain mindset qualial intention can have an objective effect upon another living system across space. The empirical evidence is there. It has been fully written up and will not go away. The same goes for many other research findings in the wider field of frontier science. Instead of a dogged rejection of psi phenomena, based upon a closed minded belief that as it cannot happen it has not happened no matter what the evidence to the contrary, the findings of frontier science should be exciting worldwide research into the circumstances in which such phenomena occurs and how it can be harnessed for the common good.
In conclusion, with its wealth of research data and resource references this book should be on the shelf of every neuroscientist and mainstream psychologist, as well as every parapsychologist and anyone interested in psi because this frontier science approach is the way that research into psi phenomena seems to be going. The psychology of believers versus non-believers in psi has been well explored, and after some 140 years of corroborated anecdotal reportage and laboratory research findings, we already know much about the circumstances in which psi is most likely to occur. We need to integrate the findings of traditional psi research with frontier science into an ongoing research programme that will, hopefully, eventually result in a new explanatory paradigm of mind and consciousness incorporating psi. Until then, like Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, the search for mainstream scientific acceptance of psi will continue.
Robert A. Charman can be reached at email: email@example.com