Updated: Jan 14, 2020
The human organism and its real capabilities go far beyond what most people think of as the frontier of the normal. While ancient traditions have always known about and sought to access this potential, scientific studies have begun to show us just how vast this universe of potential might be.
The intriguing thing is that, as far as brainwave patterns go, the way to hyper-consciousness lies through null consciousness. Although meditation as practiced by most people slows down brainwaves (Alpha or Theta waves), this is only a preliminary stage.
In a study by Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, a group of Tibetan monks in meditation first slowed their brainwaves and then rapidly accelerated (into the Gamma spectrum, associated with heightened awareness, which is higher in frequency than most waking brainwaves). In other words, meditation yields a brain operating at peak capacity.
This process has also been found to stimulate the portion of the brain associated with joy, giving us an insight into its effect on emotional health. As well, it heightens communication between the two sides of the brain. Meditation yields an intense state of attention on the present moment, and with it an intense awareness of one’s surroundings, as a number of studies using external stimuli have shown.
Sara Lazar’s fMRI studies of meditation have shown that meditation permanently alters both the function and structure of the brain. The portions of the brain associated with attention and sensory processing increased in thickness according to the number of years spent practicing meditation, defying the usual age-related thinning of these areas. There was also significant activation of the intuitive part of the brain, showing that both kinds of perception were being stimulated.
Nor is the physical impact of meditation confined to the brain. Herbert Benson, a Harvard cardiologist, has studied Buddhist monks who are able to generate intense heat with their bodies while meditating in sub-zero temperatures. He witnessed these monks being repeatedly draped in wet blankets which they dried with the heat from their bodies. Benson documented temperature increases of up to 17 degrees Fahrenheit combined with lowered metabolism, by up to 60 percent.
All of this represents what could be called the passive side of the equation, the changes that occur in the practitioner. The active side is even more interesting.
A series of academic studies have focussed on Direct Mental Interaction with Living Systems or DMILS. It turns out that under a number of conditions, the electrical signals in two human brains can become synchronized, even at a distance.
An experiment at the National University of Mexico tested brain to brain transmission using flashes of light as the stimulus. The receiver was isolated in an electrically-shielded room. This study and others like it found that, providing there was an existing connection between the participants (in this case established by meditating together for twenty minutes), the EEG readings of the receiver spike identically and in tandem with the sender.
Distance healing has also been the focus of intense study. One study at the California Pacific Medical Centre recruited a population of established healers and a group of AIDS patients. The study’s objective was simply to demonstrate the effectiveness of healing, and so every patient in the test group received help from every healer. The health of the patients in the test group measurably improved, while forty percent of the control group died.
In another study, energy healers of different schools were brought together to work on AIDS patients. The patients who showed the most improvement were treated by healers who operated, as the great Lakota holy man Fools Crow put it, as “hollow bones”, which is to say that they did not regard themselves as the sources of healing.
The common steps in successful healing of this kind (there is a distinction to be made between intervention of this sort and methods designed to improve health on a long term basis) are that the healer unite mentally and emotionally with the person to be healed, and then, with belief, call upon a higher power and ask for the healing. The healer needs to get him/herself out of the way and become a conduit.
The studies we’ve looked at here barely scratch the surface of the realms of human possibility.