“The Last Days of Tolemac” is a book about prophecy. It deals with events that are happening in the world today and shows how they fulfill prophecies that were made many centuries ago. The book is set out in a series of questions and answers, and explains in detail:
What is about to happen to our planet
Why these events are happening at this time
What places on earth will be affected
What the new world will be like
What we can do to prepare
As the book explains, our world is about to be transformed. We are about to experience “a new heaven and a new earth” where there will be no more suffering and no more pain. However all of us are faced with a choice. Do we wish to inherit the new world that is coming? Or will we fall victim to the catastrophes that will herald its arrival? What we need to do to survive is explained in the pages of this book.
Allan, Oracle of Tolemac, November 13, 2015, 9:13 pm
For the information of readers, The Last Days of Tolemac is now available on Kindle Books as a Digital Download, as well as Allan’s major work entitled The Cosmic Web.
The Cosmic Web deals with the mysteries of life, and shows how we all have within us hidden powers that will transform our lives in the coming age. Many of the stories that appear on this Blog, as well as articles on esoteric aspects of life, have been taken from this book. And as usual with Kindle books, if you click on the cover of either book, you can read part of the contents for free.
For the benefit of readers who might be looking for information on specific subjects related to prophecy, the following articles have been included here for easy reference. They can be found in “Articles” listed under the heading “Categories” in the column on the right, or by clicking here:
The Apocalypse Unveiled
The Rapture Revealed
The Lost Years of Jesus
The New Golden Age
The Last Pope
The Death of the Pope
The Doomsday Prophecies
The Kachina Prophecies of the Hopi
Rebuilding the Temple of Solomon
What is “Wormwood” in the Book of Revelation?
What is “Mystery Babylon” in the Book of Revelation?
Why America is not Mentioned in “End Time” Prophecy
Scott: My name is Scott Paton. I am talking today with Allan Colston. He is the author of the book “The Last Days of Tolemac”. This is a book dealing with prophecy.
For those listeners who may be new to this topic, this Podcast is another in the series “Signs of the Times”. Hello Allan and welcome to the Podcast.
Thanks Scott. It’s been quite a while since we last chatted. As readers of my Blog will know, I have had quite a few health issues lately, but I am happy to say that these are over now.
Scott: Well Allan, I’m certainly glad to hear that. So what do you plan to talk about today?
Well Scott, Iran has been in the news quite a lot lately, so I thought this would be a good time to revisit a subject that we have talked about in various Podcasts over the last few years, and that is about Iran and its quest for nuclear weapons.
Scott: I look forward to hearing what you have to say about that Allan, especially since Iran recently concluded a deal with the West on the subject of nuclear arms. Perhaps you could start off by giving us a summary of what that was all about.
Certainly Scott. My pleasure.
As I explained in our Podcast entitled “Persia Reborn“, the land that we now call Iran was once part of a much greater land empire called Persia, which had a long and proud cultural tradition extending back for several thousand years.
However, their traditional system of Government changed in 1979 when the former leader, the Shah Reza Pahlavi, was overthrown as a result of a series of strikes and demonstrations which had effectively paralyzed the country.
It was then that one of the instigators of this revolution, a cleric by the name of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, returned from exile in Paris to become the Supreme Leader of the country that now became known as the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Ayatollah Khomeini showed little interest in developing nuclear energy, and neither did his successor. In fact, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who became the new Supreme Leader in 1989, actually issued a Fatwa, or religious decree in the mid-1990s, banning the use or development of nuclear weapons.
All that changed in 2001, when Islamic terrorists attacked and destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. In response, President George Bush launched bombs and missiles against various Taliban facilities in Afghanistan.
And of course, as we all know, Bush did not stop there. In March, 2003, he ordered US forces to launch an attack on the city of Baghdad, in a mission that came to be known as “shock and awe”, thereby beginning his war against Saddam Hussein and the forces of Iraq.
So in the space of just two years, Iran saw the countries on either side of them attacked by a coalition of Western forces that led to the removal from power of both of their leaders. Clearly, it was time for Iran to act, and act they did.
Scott: So Allan, what did the Iranians do?
Well Scott, although they continue to deny it to this day, the Iranians began their quest to develop nuclear weapons. And as we talked about in our Podcasts titled “Iran’s Nuclear Blunders” and “Nuclear Showdown“, the immediate priority of the Iranian government was to buy time.
The first thing that Iran needed to do was to create an elaborate smokescreen, that was designed to fool other countries into thinking that all they were doing was enriching uranium to the level consistent with that needed to fuel a civilian nuclear power plant.
Secondly, they needed to make sure that the facilities they were building to enrich uranium to the level needed to make atomic weapons, were hidden from the prying eyes of the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
As part of their strategy of stalling for time, Iran first entered into a series of long drawn out negotiations with the international community, over whether they should undertake this enrichment process themselves, or whether they should simply import enriched uranium from other designated countries like Russia or the United States.
These discussions dragged on for years without ever reaching a conclusion, which of course was exactly what the Iranians intended. However, things changed in 2006 when the United States as well as other Western nations imposed severe economic sanctions on Iran.
Over time these sanctions damaged the Iranian economy to such an extent that in November, 2013, they decided to begin a series of formal negotiations with the P-5+1 countries, consisting of China, Russia, France, the UK and the United States, plus Germany and the European Union.
Finally, in July of this year, a formal agreement was reached between the various parties involved that became known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. And it was this agreement that became the deal on nuclear arms that you were referring to.
Scott: Thanks Allan. That really helps me to understand how it all came about. Which brings me to my next question. What did this agreement have to say?
Well Scott, obviously it had a lot to say. In fact the published text of this Joint Plan of Action ran to 159 pages. But in a nutshell, this is what Iran and the P-5+1 countries agreed:
Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium completely, as well as reduce its stock of low-enriched uranium by 98%. It also agreed to reduce the number of its centrifuges by two-thirds for the next fifteen years.
Also, for the next fifteen years, Iran will only be able to enrich uranium to a level of 3.67%, and they will not be able to build any new uranium-enrichment or heavy-water facilities. The existing heavy-water plant at Arak will be converted.
Under this agreement, whatever enrichment activities that Iran does decide to undertake over the next ten years will be limited to a single facility that only uses first-generation centrifuges, and not the more advanced kind which they have been using up until now.
Both parties agreed that all the terms of this agreement would be monitored and verified by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who would be granted regular access to all existing Iranian nuclear facilities, as well as any other sites which the IAEA may wish to inspect in the future.
In return for these conditions, it was agreed that once the IAEA inspectors had verified that Iran had fulfilled all of the above obligations, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations Security Council would be lifted.
This agreement was signed in Vienna on 14 July, 2015. It was immediately hailed by President Obama as a triumph of negotiation, and a victory for diplomacy that would rid the entire Middle-East from the spectre of war with Iran for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately Scott, this is where things began to unravel, and now just four months later, you have to wonder how the various countries involved in these negotiations with Iran could have allowed the situation to have gone so badly wrong.
Scott: What sort of trouble are you referring to?
In answer to your question Scott, there is an old English proverb that says that anyone who sups with the devil needs a long spoon. What this means is that anyone who deals with a devious person needs to be ultra-cautious, for fear of being harmed.
And those who negotiate with Iran have every reason to be concerned, as subsequent events have now proved. For at the very heart of the Iranian approach to these negotiations was their strategy of “Taqiyya“.
According to the Shi’a practice of Islam, “Taqiyya” is a religious dispensation which permits an individual to commit illegal or even blasphemous acts, as a means of deceiving another in order to gain a future advantage.
The ink was hardly dry on this agreement when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani went on local TV to say that Iran had got everything that it wanted, plus a lot more. For example, his version of this agreement went as follows:
• Our prime objective in entering into these negotiations was to keep our nuclear program intact, and to have all sanctions lifted. This we have achieved.
• At first they wanted to limit us to 100 centrifuges. Now we keep 6,000.
• They wanted restrictions for 25 years. Now it is 8.
• First they said we could only have first-generation centrifuges, now we can have IR6, 7 and 8 advanced centrifuges.
• At first they said that the heavy-water plant at Arak had to be dismantled. Now it will remain under certain conditions.
• At first they said that the underground nuclear facility at Fordo had to be closed. Now it will stay open and we will keep 1,000 centrifuges there.
• All sanctions, including on missiles, will be lifted on the day of implementation. Not just suspended, but lifted completely.
In fact President Rouhani presented such a distorted picture of the final agreement, that one had to wonder whether he had ever paid any attention to the details of what had been negotiated in Vienna. But worse was to follow. Much worse.
Scott: Why do you say that, Allan?
Well Scott, as President Obama went to great lengths to explain to both Chambers of Congress, this agreement is founded not on trust, but on monitoring and verification. In other words, the inspectors of the IAEA will verify that Iran does what the agreement says.
In fact this assurance by Obama was a complete farce. For example, the agreement states that in the event of Iranian violations, sanctions will be re-imposed by all the nations involved. The term that Obama used was that these sanctions would “snapback” into place.
However, Article 37 of this agreement explicitly states: “Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”
But it is not just a question of whether or not sanctions can or will be reinstated if Iran fails to abide by the terms of this agreement Scott, the harsh truth of the matter is that the immediate outcome has already begun to fulfill Iranian expectations.
Scott: Can you give us some examples?
Well Scott, as President Rouhani told the Iranian people, his primary purpose in entering into these negotiations was to remove the international sanctions. He had good reason to gloat, for without even waiting for Iran to do anything, numerous nations have already dropped these sanctions altogether.
The United Kingdom has already lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and companies that were previously blacklisted. German trade with Iran has risen by 33 percent, making it the Islamic Republic’s third largest trading partner after China.
China has agreed to help Iran build five more nuclear power reactors. Russia has now agreed to deliver S300 anti-aircraft missile systems which were previously banned under the sanctions, and is also engaged in talks to sell them Sukhoi fighter planes.
France has sent its Foreign Minister as well as a 100 person strong delegation to negotiate new business deals, including projects to double Iran’s crude oil exports. India’s trade with Iran has jumped by 17 percent, and is negotiating to build a massive sea and rail hub at the Iranian port of Chah-Bahar.
So as you can see Scott, the international community have not even waited for the starting gun to go off before jetting off to Iran to promote their own trade and commercial interests. So what hope is there that Iran will keep to their nuclear obligations now that sanctions are unravelling by the day.
Scott: So tell me Allan, if the previous sanctions are unravelling as you say, do you think that Iran will continue to honour its nuclear obligations under this agreement?
Well Scott, if the past is any guide, the world should not hold its breath. Iran has not stuck to the agreements it made in the past, so there seems little reason to believe that they will start doing so now.
Take for example the recent missile test conducted by Iran. The agreement had hardly been completed when Iranians announced that they had test-fired a new precision-guided medium-range missile that was capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.
This was a clear violation of the 2010 Security Council resolution banning ballistic missile tests by Iran, as well as a violation of the JCPOA agreement in which they agreed not to launch ballistic missile tests for the next eight years.
So in terms of the principle of “Taqiyya” which I described earlier, this was a classic example of “Gotcha“. “You gullible Westerners fell for the trap we laid out for you“.
That may seem bad enough Scott, but the “worse” that I was referring to earlier, is that Iran has not even agreed to the conditions of the agreement announced with so much fanfare by President Obama.
Scott: What do you mean by that Allan?
Well Scott, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, who is the final authority on all matters involving the Islamic State of Iran, has not only not approved the terms of the JCPOA agreement, but he has added new conditions since the original agreement was finalised.
In a letter which he dictated to the Iranian President Rouhani after the agreement had been announced, Khanenei prescribed nine new conditions that would have to be met by the JCPOA, and if they weren’t, Iran would cease to be bound by the terms of the agreement.
Here again we see the principle of “Taqiyya” at work. “We set new conditions that you have to meet, and if you don’t then we will scrap the deal, at the same time telling the world that you were responsible“. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place!
So the bottom line announced by the Tehran Times in its edition dated November 7, 2015, is that any sanctions imposed, or re-imposed, by anyone under any circumstances at any time, will invalidate the agreement, and absolve Iran of the need to fulfill its side of the deal.
Scott: So Allan, let me ask you this. Based on what you have talked about today, do you think that Iran will one day get nuclear weapons?
That’s a good question Scott. Obviously only time will tell. But you may be interested in something that took place some forty years ago. It happened in August, 1974, on the road to Tibet.
I was living in India at the time, and to escape the blistering heat of the Southern plains, I decided to travel up to the mountain kingdom of Kashmir. I ended up spending the entire summer there, moving from one hill station to another.
At the time that this incident took place, I was staying at a tourist bungalow at the hamlet of Sonamarg. This exquisite retreat is located along the main road that winds its way from Srinagar in Kashmir, through the Zanskar mountains of Ladakh, up to the western plateau of Tibet.
On the day in question, the monsoon had begun in earnest, and the rain was coming down in torrents. I had met two students from England a few days earlier, and to escape the deluge the three of us were sitting on the covered veranda of the tourist bungalow, drinking tea.
As we talked, our discussion was interrupted by the arrival of an amazing-looking man. To me, he looked like the living image of the 19th century Russian mystic, Grigori Rasputin. He simply walked in out of gloom, and at our invitation, joined us at our table.
He was dressed in thick sheepskin clothing held together by a large black leather belt. Covering his head was what looked like a fisherman’s oilskin hat, and on his feet were black wellington boots that reached up almost to his knees. He seemed to be in his mid-thirties.
But the most striking feature about this man was his thick black beard and his piercing dark eyes. Once he had settled down and accepted our offer of a hot drink, we asked him where he had come from and where he was going. His answer astonished us all.
He said that he had come from France, and was on his way to visit his Guru who lived in Tibet. When we asked him how he had travelled, he said that he had covered most of the journey overland and on foot, hiking through fields and forests to avoid border officials along the way.
When we asked him what route he had taken, he delved into the heavy rucksack that was slung across his back, and pulled out a large map that was covered in plastic to protect it from the rain. He opened it up carefully and spread it out in front of us.
As he was pointing out the various countries he had travelled through en route, I was struck by an unusual feature which appeared on the map. It was a series of black crosses which were scattered over the map in what seemed to be a haphazard fashion.
You’ll never guest what they were Scott.
Scott: Well I have to admit that you’ve got me there, Allan.
When I asked him what they were he replied: “The crosses mark the places where future nuclear explosions are going to take place“. When I asked him how he knew, he said that his Guru had shown this to him on a previous visit.
Scott: That’s amazing Allan. So where were these black crosses located?
Well this is where things get a little vague. You have to remember that this meeting took place over forty years ago. The other thing is that he sat on the opposite side of the table from me, so the map was upside down. But I remember seeing about five or six of these crosses.
Of course, from the vantage point of my present research, I wish I could have had the chance to ask him more questions. But unfortunately, no sooner had he had finished his drink when he got up and said he needed to be on his way. He vanished into the gloom as mysteriously as he came.
Scott: So tell me Allan, do you remember anything about where these crosses were located?
As I say Scott, from where I was sitting on the verandah that day, the map was pretty much upside down. However I do recall the various countries that were marked on the map, and the crosses appeared to be in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As you can imagine, I have thought about that meeting many times over the years, especially in view of my own research into future prophetic events. And from my point of view, this does seem to fit in with Biblical End Time prophecies.
Of course, even if these crosses do mark the location of future nuclear explosions, they don’t indicate the source of these attacks. But based on what we know today, Pakistan already possesses nuclear weapons, and Iran may be close to getting them in the near future.
So to get back to your earlier question Scott, if I were a betting man, I would lay good odds that there will come a time when Iran will succeed in getting nuclear weapons, and will use them in the course of hostilities with neighbouring nations.
Not a pleasant prospect Scott, but as you have heard me say many times, I believe we are now living in the End Times, and that the time of Great Tribulation predicted by Jesus and the Old Testament prophets, will soon be upon us.
Scott: Thanks Allan. This has been a fascinating insight into events that have been taking place recently in Iran, and how they may fit in with ancient prophecies of the “End Times”.
You have been listening to Allan Colston, author of the book “The Last Days of Tolemac”. Do join us for our next Podcast in the series titled “Signs of the Times”.
Allan, AUDIO, Signs of the Times, November 9, 2015, 2:23 pm
In 1987 I began writing a book. The contents of the book were based on over twenty-five years of research, as well as discussions with people I had met in the course of my travels to places like South America, India and Tibet.
The book was called “The Cosmic Web” and carried the sub-title “A New View of Reality“. The aim of the book was to provide a synthesis between the Western objective materialistic view of science, and the Eastern subjective illusory view of the world as taught in the Hindu Vedas.
One of the chapters of this book was devoted to the subject of health. It was called “The Sceptre of Hermes“. It outlined the different paradigms of health that can be found around the world, and the various forms of treatment that have been devised to treat disease.
In this chapter I discussed the concept of disease that had been taught by spiritual masters down the ages, and was supported by the words of Jesus. Under this concept, all disease first begins at the level of the Mind, and then manifests later in the subtle realm before appearing on the physical level.
At the time that I wrote this chapter, I never thought that I would find myself facing a health crisis of my own some twenty-five years later, and that I would be forced to turn to this spiritual concept of disease for help. It proved to be a case of “Physician, heal thyself”.
The Onset of Symptoms
A Typical Bulls-Eye Rash
The first sign of impending trouble came when I was taking a shower in the spring (March) of 2013. As I was washing, I happened to notice an unusual rash under my left forearm. It consisted of two concentric circles in the form of a bulls-eye.
Although there was no pain associated with the rash, I decided to have it checked out at the local Health Clinic. There I was told that the rash was the result of a spider bite, and was given a prescription for an anti-fungal cream.
I applied the cream daily as directed, but found that the rash persisted, and only faded away about a month after I had first discovered it. As I was still experiencing no discomfort of any kind, I paid little attention to it and soon forgot about it altogether.
My health was excellent throughout the summer, but in the Fall (September) I began to experience flu-like symptoms. I had a persistent runny nose, and my voice developed a hoarseness which I could never overcome, no matter how many times I cleared my throat.
Then I began to suffer from a hacking cough which lasted throughout the day, but was worse in the evening. This was accompanied by digestion problems, which appeared to be a form of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
Then one day in October 2013, as I was walking back to my car, I was suddenly overcome by a feeling that I was going to collapse. I sat down on the sidewalk and waited for the feeling to pass. When it did so, I slowly made my way back to the car and carefully drove home.
The following morning the sense of weakness continued, so I went back to the same Health Clinic that had diagnosed my initial spider bite. There they took my blood pressure, and announced that I had a Systolic reading of 45. I was told to get someone to drive me to the nearest hospital right away.
At the Emergency Department the staff confirmed that I was suffering from Bradycardia (extreme slow heart rate) and I was admitted immediately. The outcome of it all was that I had a Pacemaker surgically inserted into my chest.
While the Pacemaker did help to resolve the problems of Arrythmia (Irregular Heart Beat), it could not repair the damage caused by the heart block (absence of the electrical impulse from the Sinus Node). As a result I still continue to suffer from PVC’s (Premature Ventricular Contractions).
But the implanted Pacemaker did not signal an end to my problems. Instead, it seemed to herald a series of completely new symptoms that continued to emerge every few weeks after I returned from the hospital.
The next of these were the “night sweats”. After falling asleep at night, I would wake up about 4a.m. with my upper body completely drenched in perspiration. To combat this I took to going to bed with a towel in order to dry myself off before I could return to sleep.
It was not long after this that I happened to stop off for lunch at Vancouver International Airport. Although the meal passed off without incident, as I got up to leave, I found that I could not walk properly. I was unsteady on my feet, and my body kept lurching to one side.
I had no sensation of any pain or headache, but found that my speech was also affected. I was slurring my words, and was feeling dizzy and disoriented. Although I appeared to have all the symptoms of a mini-stroke, my Doctor could find no evidence of this.
And this was when the full array of mysterious new symptoms began. I began to suffer from mental disorientation and difficulty remembering commonly used words. I had trouble concentrating, and struggled to maintain a conversation.
But worst of all was the “brain fog”. I felt as if I was operating in a dense mental fog. When I tried to read something, it was hard to focus on the words. Even performing the simplest household chore required an immense mental effort.
Finally, I began to experience chronic fatigue, to the point where I could hardly drag myself around my apartment. Even the slightest physical effort exhausted me. When I sat on the toilet, my joints would give way, and I would have to pull myself up by holding onto a rail.
As this medical drama was unfolding in my life, I appealed to my personal Doctor for guidance and advice. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, or what was responsible for all the other symptoms that seemed unrelated to one another.
His response was to order up a battery of tests which merely confirmed what I already knew. They indicated that I suffered from Type II diabetes, chronic lower back pain, and severe oxygen deprivation due to sleep apnea. All the other blood tests and scans were normal.
In desperation, I called a friend and asked: “How is it possible that I feel like I am dying, and yet all the medical tests come back normal?” Her response was the first glimpse of light amid the darkening gloom. She said: “It sounds to me like you have Lyme disease”.
The Nature of the Problem
Up until that moment I had never even heard of Lyme disease, so in an effort to find out more I turned to the Internet for help. I discovered that what is generally known about the disease has been summarised in the following entry in Wikipedia.
In short, it is an infectious disease that is transmitted to human beings through the bite of an infected tick.
According to statistics, Lyme disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is estimated to infect about 300,000 people in North America every year, and a further 65,000 annually in Europe.
It came to be called Lyme disease because it was first diagnosed as a separate condition in the community of Old Lyme in the American state of Connecticut, by scientist Willy Burgdorfer in 1981. In recognition of his efforts, the bacterium responsible was named after him. (Borrelia burgdorferi)
The most important feature about the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is its shape. In scientific terms it is referred to as a spirochete, meaning that it has a corkscrew shape, much like the bacterium that causes syphilis. And like syphilis, this bacterium has the ability to manifest in the body in many different ways.
Probably the most obvious feature associated with Lyme disease is the characteristic rash which takes the form of a bulls-eye, as shown earlier. Although not everyone who gets the disease has this rash, it does show up in a significant number of cases.
Another factor which is often overlooked is that people who are bitten by infected ticks may not only get Lyme disease, but a host of other “co-infections” as well. And because these co-infections vary from place to place, people who suffer from Lyme disease often manifest a wide range of other symptoms as well.
A broad outline of nature of Lyme disease, its diagnosis and treatment, as well as its broad implications for public health around the world, is well illustrated in the following video.
One of the first things I learned about Lyme disease is that it is notoriously difficult to diagnose, especially here in British Columbia where I now live. The problem is that the bacterium itself, together with its associated co-infections, do not lend themselves to a simple blood test.
Instead, the disease tends to be diagnosed symptomatically, as a result of an analysis of all the different symptoms involved. Unfortunately, these only become apparent many months after the person has become infected, when it is too late to prescribe the appropriate anti-bacterial drugs.
Upon further research I came across an extensive summary of possible symptoms associated with Lyme disease, in an article written by Dr Joseph Burrascano that was printed in the September, 2005, edition of Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease.
In comparing my own symptoms with those listed in the article, I found that of the 63 different symptoms listed, I had experienced 20 of them. Armed with this information, I again visited my Doctor and asked to be tested for Lyme disease.
Predictably enough, given the information presented above, the standard ELISA test came back negative. My Doctor’s response proved to be equally predictable. He said that I did not have Lyme disease, and dismissed all my other symptoms as being totally unrelated.
What to do about it
When it became clear that I was not about to get any help from the medical profession here in British Columbia, I looked around for other sources of treatment, such as naturopaths and other alternate health specialists.
What I found was a confusing mix of treatment plans, many of which made extravagant claims of successful cures for all manner of diseases. However, these unproven claims were linked with equally inflated costs that were way beyond my limited financial resources.
Most of these plans revolved around variations in diet that were used to purify the body and boost the immune system, as well as a host of different visualizations, affirmations and invocations that were designed to call upon the help of a Higher Power.
Although none of these different treatment plans appealed to me, they did at least point the way towards a strategy that I felt might help me in dealing with my debilitating symptoms.
It was then that I was reminded of something I had included in my book all those years ago. It was the response given by the 20th century Indian sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj to a question posed to him by a Western visitor on the subject of health.
Question: “Can I cure myself of a serious illness by merely taking cognisance of it?”
Maharaj: “Take cognisance of the whole of it, not only of the outer symptoms. All illness begins in the mind. Take care of the mind first, by tracing and eliminating all wrong ideas and emotions. Then live and work disregarding illness and think no more of it. With the removal of the causes, the effect is bound to depart.” 1
Based on this excerpt alone, I decided to come up with a treatment plan of my own. I would start by looking around for anything that would boost my immune system, and couple this my own intuitive ideas of how to deal with this disease at the level of the mind.
To boost my immune system, I settled on two things. The first was something that happened to have been left behind after a visit by my sister who lived in South Africa. They were teabags of a herbal tea called “Rooibos” (Redbush) tea.
This herbal tea has been popular in South Africa for generations, partly because it is only grown in the South-Western Cape, and also because of its unique properties. Although high in Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), “Rooibos” tea contains low levels of Tannin, and no Caffeine.
The other item I chose to boost my immune system was a concoction called “Magic Bread”. Magic bread was devised by a New York physician named Sherry Rogers. It was based on an analysis of various power foods, and the recipe was included in her book “How to Cure Diabetes“.
The main ingredients of magic bread are almond flour, oat flour, coconut flour and carob powder, together with such things as applesauce, olive oil, pumpkin and chopped walnuts. All the ingredients are then baked in a pan, after which they are cut into squares.
So the only changes to my regular diet were one of these squares of magic bread daily, plus two mugs of “Rooibos” tea, which was readily available from the local health store. I also drank ordinary tap water. I never bothered with any of the so-called “health” bottled water products or water purifiers.
Dealing with the Mind
When it came to dealing with Lyme disease at the level of the Mind as indicated in the quotation above, I was guided by principles I had learned in the Anglican Church as a child. One maxim in particular stuck in my memory, and that was the exhortation to “Let go and let God“.
Another was the need to avoid all forms of fear. When I first began to research Lyme disease, I could not help reading pathetic stories of victims who had suffered the most appalling symptoms, some of which led to seizures, paralysis and even death.
These hair-raising case histories can be found all over the Internet. The case of Gabe Magnotta in Ontario, Canada, is just one example. A recent article in Maclean’s magazine discusses his case, as well as the political scandal that now surrounds the entire subject.
As a result I stopped reading about Lyme disease from then on. I felt intuitively that if I allowed these negative stories to generate fear, then the intensity of that fear would attract the very thing that I feared. I also adopted a strict regimen of prayer.
When saying my prayers at night I gave thanks for all the good things in my life, from food and drink, clothing and shelter, safety and security, friends and family and so on. The one thing I never did was to pray to be cured from Lyme disease, although many other people did so on my behalf.
After all, the words of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj could not have been more clear, when he said: “Then live and work disregarding illness and think no more of it. With the removal of the causes, the effect is bound to depart.” 1
So once I made the decision to hand over the whole matter of my health to a Higher Power, I surrendered all my personal concerns and simply allowed things to take their natural course – whether for good or ill. I just stopped worrying about it.
On those days when I hardly had the energy to do anything, I didn’t moan about my situation or blame an unkind fate. I just accepted my situation. On other days when I felt crippled by pain and discomfort, I either lay on my bed or sat at my desk and browsed on the computer.
Then quite unexpectedly, one day several weeks ago when I was on my way to meet a friend, I found myself walking energetically without any unsteadiness or need for any form of support. It was at that moment that it occurred to me that I should do a review of all my former symptoms.
Out of the twenty symptoms that had assailed me in those early months after I first contracted the disease, my situation was now as follows:
1) The characteristic bulls-eye-shaped rash, which is often the first sign of Lyme disease, disappeared after about a month. The flu-like symptoms that appeared about six months later also subsequently came and went.
2) The hoarseness and hacking cough persisted for about a year before fading away, while the digestion problems also finally disappeared after about eighteen months.
3) The saga associated with my heart, which led to the insertion of a Pacemaker of course continues, but in a strangely muted fashion. The arrhythmia that followed on from the bradycardia has left me with a strange pattern of irregular heartbeats.
Scans of my heart reveal a pattern of irregularity that changes from minute to minute, due to the PVCs (phantom heartbeats) that resulted from the electrical damage to my Sinus Node. Yet for some strange reason, I feel nothing abnormal and have long since forgotten all about it.
4) The “night sweats” also continued for a period of about eighteen months, until one day I suddenly realised that I was no longer experiencing them. Like many of the other early symptoms, they came and they went, for reasons I still cannot identify.
5) The “mini-stroke” that I experienced at Vancouver Airport seems to have been a “one-off”, as it has never re-occurred, nor have I suffered any apparent problems as a result.
6) The “brain fog” which is so often reported by Lyme disease sufferers, and which causes so much dizziness and disorientation, proved to be the most remarkable “cure” that I experienced. The symptoms disappeared completely within three days of beginning to drink “Rooibos” herbal tea.
7) The general sense of malaise that accompanied the early onset of the disease, and which manifested in the form of unsteadiness and unexpected loss of balance, also continued for several years until I suddenly realised that I was able to function normally again.
8) The chronic fatigue, together with joint pain and loss of strength in my knees has also slowly faded away, and I am able to function normally and my stamina and strength are steadily returning.
9) But most satisfying aspect of this entire saga has been the effect it has had on the problems I had endured for many years prior to the onset of Lyme disease.
Although tests show that I still suffer from oxygen deprivation as a result of sleep apnea, I resisted my Doctor’s recommendation that I purchase a CPAP machine. Interestingly, I do not seem to have suffered any deleterious consequences over the last few years.
The same goes for my Type II diabetes. When it became apparent that I was allergic to the common drugs usually used to treat the disease, like Metformin and Diamicron, I gave up drug medication altogether and turned to daily doses of a local herbal supplement.
And although quarterly A1C tests show that my blood sugar is at an elevated level, it seems to have remained relatively stable over the last few years. Again, I don’t seem to be suffering from any noticeable side-effects.
But by far the most spectacular change as a result of my unusual form of treatment, was the affect it had on my lower back. As a result of increasing degeneration of the bone in the lumbar region of the spine, I had been plagued for years with severe back pain.
This seemed to get progressively worse over the last six months, leading to intense pain due to back spasms. Then one day about a month ago, as I was lying on the bed, I felt my entire lower back begin to relax, allowing me to bend freely without pain for the first time in years.
So the outcome of this treatment of the Mind, together with “Rooibos” tea and “Magic Bread”, aided by prayers and affirmations by myself and others, has led to an alleviation of all my symptoms, both these associated with Lyme disease, as well as those that I had suffered from previously.
So have I discovered the secret to eternal youth? No I haven’t. But I am well pleased with my present situation. After all, I am 78 years old. I no longer have any pain. I do what I want and go where I want. I eat what I want. I sleep soundly and wake up refreshed each morning. I feel truly blessed.
How did I get it?
There was one mystery that remained, and that was how I managed to get Lyme disease in the first place. The guidelines used to treat Lyme disease in Canada are the same as those set out by IDSA, the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
IDSA is comprised of physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases. The purpose of IDSA is to set guidelines for the treatment of different infectious diseases, and Lyme disease is one of the diseases for which guidelines have been set.
According to IDSA, Lyme disease is a relatively rare disease that is confined mainly to the North Eastern states of America. It is caused by the bite of a deer tick, which are found on deer that roam the woods of New England. Those most at risk are hunters and hikers who walk in these woods.
In my case, I had never been near any woods. At the time I was infected, I was in the process of converting my book “The Cosmic Web” from a Word document to a Kindle Digital Download. This was a task that took nearly two months to complete, and kept me indoors for almost all of that time.
The only respite I allowed myself was to sit on the patio outside my apartment. The mystery of how I came to be infected was finally resolved on a particularly hot afternoon this past summer. While reclining on my chair, I happened to notice a moving mass on the floor of the patio.
Upon closer inspection, this black mass turned out to be a colony made up of thousands of tiny ticks that had emerged from the baseboards on the outside of my apartment. They were everywhere. I even found some crawling up the armrest of the chair I was sitting on.
Western black-legged ticks on a finger. From left to right: Nymph, Adult male and Adult female
It was only then that I realised that I must have been sitting outside one afternoon, and unwitting placed my left forearm on top of one of these tiny ticks. On further analysis, this column of ticks turned out to be Western Black-legged ticks, as shown on the accompanying illustration.
Another interesting fact I discovered later is that these ticks are classified according to their size, ranging from larva to nymph to adult size. I also found out that most infections are caused by the bites of ticks that are still in the nymph stage, where they are barely noticeable.
The conclusion to this episode in my life falls into the category of good news – bad news. The good news is that as a result of good fortune, good nutrition, prayer and my own intuition, I have recovered from a disease whose symptoms have proved crippling for many, and deadly for some.
The bad news is that IDSA stands as an obstacle to the recognition of the widespread nature of this disease, as well as any move towards developing accurate diagnostic tests and effective pharmaceutical treatments, due to its insistence that there is no problem, and hence no need for any change.
I have news of my own, and that is that as a result of steadily increasing temperatures throughout North America as a result of climate change, Lyme disease is reaching epidemic proportions, and that untold thousands of people are condemned to suffer horrendous consequences.
These case histories are filling the waiting rooms of clinics and hospitals everywhere, where they are being wrongly diagnosed as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and so on, as can be seen from a recent news article.
And the source of the majority of these infections along the West coast of North America are not Deer ticks at all. They are the Western black-legged ticks mentioned above, that are invading suburbs and gardens in cities throughout the Pacific North West.
1 “I Am That“, Conversations with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, translated by Maurice Frydman, Book I, Chetana, Bombay, 1973, p. 258.
Allan, The Sceptre of Hermes, October 25, 2015, 2:00 pm
Following his research into psychic healing and working with noted healers, the psychologist Lawrence LeShan found that he could not only perform healing of a psychic nature himself, but that he was able to teach students who attended his seminars to do so as well.
Yet as accomplished as he had become in the art of healing, he was hardly prepared for one incident which came to his attention.
“The most dramatic single result I had occurred when a man I knew asked me to do a distance healing for an extremely painful condition requiring immediate and intensive surgery. I promised to do the healing that night, and the next morning when he awoke a “miraculous cure” had occurred.
“The medical specialist was astounded, and offered to send me pre- and post-healing X-rays and to sponsor publication in a scientific journal. It would have been the psychic healing case of the century except for one small detail. In the press of overwork, I had forgotten to do the healing!” 1
In reporting this episode, LeShan clearly missed the crucial significance of this “miraculous” event. The fact was that the man, who had been suffering from a serious pathological condition requiring immediate surgery, was completely healed overnight. This fact was confirmed by his specialist.
Although LeShan was no doubt disappointed at being unable to claim the glory for this cure, he failed to recognise that this event was an even more potent example of psychic healing than it would have been if he had actually undertaken a distance healing himself.
In this case it was not LeShan’s power that produced the cure, but unmistakably the belief of the patient in the efficacy of LeShan’s powers. The patient literally cured himself!
It was unfortunate that the specialist, who was in possession of corroborating evidence of the patient’s pre- and post-condition, did not see fit to proceed with publication in a scientific journal. Armed with the evidence of the X-rays, he would have been able to report a case that was even more remarkable than either he or LeShan had anticipated.
Perhaps the most enduring evidence of the influence of the mind on the physical health of an individual, lies in the phenomenon of the placebo. The word placebo, refers to any inactive substance or technique which is able to promote an active medical response.
It is this medical effect which has come to be known as the “placebo effect”. The placebo can take many different forms. It may be a harmless pill which is able to achieve a medical “cure”, by overcoming the prevailing symptoms. It may also be a diagnostic procedure which leads to similar relief.
Medical anecdotes abound of patients who have undergone routine diagnostic tests, and who have then thanked the white-coated technicians for some dramatic relief of pain which they had just experienced.
The placebo effect is an acknowledged fact of medicine, although physicians have grappled to find a way of explaining this effect within the framework of their accepted medical paradigm. Because it is recognised to be psychological in nature, many people have tended to be scornful of those who have experienced this effect. As G.S.Claridge notes.
“What is the popular notion of someone who is gullible enough to be taken in by a sugar pill and react to it as though given some potently active chemical? Probably that he (or more likely she!) is a weak minded hysteric, an unstable character over-concerned with bodily health.” 2
Yet, as Claridge has pointed out, a thorough investigation of the placebo effect has not shown a prevalence of neurotic individuals.
“The truth is that extensive research has failed to identify any particular “placebo-type” who will respond to placebos consistently under all conditions.” 2
Research has shown that the placebo effect can be experienced by almost anyone when suitable circumstances permit. It is also able to influence a wide variety of medical conditions.
In a research project involving over a thousand subjects in fifteen separate studies, it was found that the prescription of harmless substances led to significant improvements in the following areas: wound pain, the pain of angina pectoris, headaches, nausea, anxiety, tension, and the common cold.
It was found that this placebo effect was most pronounced where the stress was greatest. Given the facility of the mind for influencing the physical body, it is hardly surprising that those subjects whose need for relief was greatest, should have experienced the greatest reduction in pain.
It is worth noting that the patients who experienced this effect all believed that what was prescribed for them did, in fact, contain a medically active ingredient that was capable of overcoming their distress.
The researchers found, furthermore, that the placebo was not only able to generate beneficial effects, but detrimental results as well. The subjects who were told that they had received medication which contained harmful ingredients, actually manifested deleterious effects, even though the substances given to them were inert.
Since the results showed such consistency over so many different circumstances involving so many different people, the researchers concluded that some fundamental mechanism must be operating in all these cases. 3
The Sages and mystics of the world have pointed out that this common characteristic is the fundamental mechanism of belief.
It is the confident expectation that a certain outcome will occur that is responsible for the occurrence of that outcome. That is not to say that every expectation immediately produces evidence to support it. Yet wherever a personal need is great, and the desire for a certain result is strong, the anticipated result does, in time, occur.
This result is in direct proportion to the intensity with which it is desired. Belief does not need to be based on a foundation that is consistent with past results. Any belief, if held with sufficient conviction, is capable of generating a confirmatory result, whether this result is harmful or beneficial to the believer. The belief may even be illogical.
For example, an experiment was conducted in 1965 with fourteen anxious and neurotic patients, who were given pills to take for their condition. Although all of these outpatients were expressly told that the pills were completely inert, each one of them reported at the end of a seven day period, that they had experienced a marked improvement in their condition.
This improvement was confirmed by their physicians. The primary conclusion of this experiment was that the placebo effect continued to operate, even though the subjects were aware of the inert nature of the pills that had been given to them.
In this case, although the patients knew that the pills were impotent, they clearly operated under the belief that they really were effective, and so experienced a confirmatory result. 4
The placebo phenomenon continues to provide proof of the ability of the mind to influence the physical body for good or ill. As Michael Jospe, author of The Placebo Effect in Healing, concludes:
“The power of the placebo cannot fail to impress. This power is only mysterious insofar as the mysteriousness of human action can inspire a sense of wonder. The placebo effect attests to the power people can have, not in the sense of political might or coercion, but in the sense of overcoming personal adversity.” 5
In his research into the placebo phenomenon, Jospe also noted the importance of the role of the doctor in influencing patient reactions, saying:
“We have also seen how important an influence the person of the doctor can be in the placebo effect, and how situational factors can be important determinants of the magnitude of the effect placebos can have.” 6
The status of physicians in western society, together with the environments in which they practise, contribute to an aura of confidence and authority. This confidence is enhanced by the outward decor of the physician’s chambers, replete with framed qualifications, uniformed staff, and an impressive array of equipment.
Given the conviction which most patients possess regarding the ability of the physician to overcome their suffering, it is little wonder that inert substances prescribed within such a powerful milieu should achieve such positive results. The power of suggestion is extremely potent under such conditions.
What is perhaps unfortunate about this situation is that, while many doctors readily acknowledge the power of positive suggestion and the efficacy of belief in overcoming various problems, they frequently fail to realise the impact with which their negative pronouncements are received.
All too often, a pessimistic prognosis is received by the patient with all the authority of a divine decree. They are convinced that their condition is irremediable, and so easily fall victim to their fears.
Yet, again and again, we find instances of people who confound medical opinion. There is the athlete who makes a triumphant return from crippling injury, or the quadriplegic who ultimately learns to walk again. These people do these “miraculous” things by their power of dogged determination, allied to an iron will.
Doctors should thus be cautioned before pontificating on what can or cannot be done. The human mind is always capable, as we have seen, of transcending physical limitations, even of the most traumatic nature. What is possible in life is determined by the mind, and not by the prevailing physiological condition of the body.
The mind dominates the body in all of its physical functions. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the matter of diet. Throughout history, the types and varieties of human nourishment have varied, not only between one society and another, but as fashions within particular societies.
Under the impetus of the scientific method, the study of nutrition has become a discipline of science. Scientists have sought to establish which nutrients are vital to the operation of the human body, and what diet may best represent the path to organic health.
As a result of its investigations, the discipline of dietetics has produced recommended daily allowances of a host of different nutrients, involving such things as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.
Yet despite the vast number of experiments that have been conducted within the current scientific paradigm, there seems little reason to support the view that there exists one pattern of diet that is ideal for the human body, or that there are any specific nutritional ingredients which are mandatory for survival.
Mankind seems, in fact, far more resilient in the matter of diet than most dieticians would allow. People have managed to survive and thrive on an amazing range of foodstuffs, or even on no food at all.
Societies that live in harsh and isolated areas, such as the Eskimos of the Arctic or the Tuaregs of the Sahara, live on extremely restricted diets which are totally diverse. They certainly do not enjoy a well balanced diet. Yet these people live healthy, robust lives.
They demonstrate that it is not food which makes bodies healthy, but the minds which animate them. For just as Jesus pointed out that it was not what was ingested which defiled a man, so the corollary is also true, that it is not what goes into his mouth that makes him healthy.
One of the curious features of the modern cultural paradigm has been the notion of “health foods”. This idea has grown out of a groundswell of opinion which has striven to eliminate unnatural ingredients from the diet, and replace them with food sources which are derived directly from nature.
As attractive as this idea may sound in theory, the quest for organic food has tended to be counterproductive, and numerous people have now become ensnared by their twisted thinking on the subject of diet.
In their search for ideal food sources, many people have sought out specially marketed “health” products, and fortified their diets with selected vitamins, tonics and other beneficial bonanzas.
Nourished by such pure and worthy diets, adherents to such practices should rapidly be expected to become powerhouses of fitness, strength and vitality. What generally seems to occur, however, is quite the reverse. These people do not become measurably stronger in health, but demonstrably more vulnerable to disease.
No sooner do they eat or drink something that falls outside of the narrow range of their accepted dietary orbit, than they fall prey to a host of ailments and disease. Far from enhancing their health, these people have actually become victims of their own thinking.
Their downfall stems from the fact that the underlying motive which prompts this concern for the purity of food, is invariably fear – the fear of physical disease. The very idea that health should be a product of diet is itself an illustration of this fear.
It is those who are most vulnerable to disease who are quickest to seek ways of shoring up their physical defences. The truly healthy person eats heartily without any sense of impending doom, and manifests as a result enormous powers of stamina and endurance.
If such people happen to suffer injury, they recover swiftly without side-effects. Unfortunately, few westerners have strong and healthy minds. Despite the sophistication of their knowledge, they live timorous lives, surrounded by a company of fears. Few westerners today die in their beds of natural causes.
The fact that food is considered to be necessary for physical survival, is itself a product of societal conditioning. Food is not an essential requirement to healthy living. There are certain people who have shown that it is possible to live healthy lives, despite a complete lack of physical food.
St Theresa of Lisieux, for example, survived on a daily ration of one small consecrated wafer. Even this was a concession to her faith. For as she explained to Sri Paramahansa Yogananda on the occasion of his visit, “I take it for sacramental reasons; if it is unconsecrated, I am unable to swallow it.” 7 When Yogananda asked her how she had been able to live for so many years on so frail a diet, she remarked simply, “I live by God’s light.” 8
Western allopathic medicine appears today to stand unrivalled as the supreme medical paradigm of the planet. The practitioners of this form of medicine operate in the conviction that they, and they alone, manifest a true understanding of the nature of disease.
So strong is this conviction, that allopathic physicians are in many countries the only doctors who are allowed to practise under law. Those practitioners who choose to operate under alternate paradigms of medicine are thus obliged to be unlicensed, and as such, are subject to prosecution.
The allopathic medical profession, in its attempts to maintain a monopoly over health, has striven to ostracise all other forms of medicine, branding their practitioners as charlatans and quacks.
There is growing recognition, however, particularly among the young, that other forms of medicine are equally capable of conquering disease. They have intuitively grasped the truth that the symptoms of disease may be defined in terms of any number of different paradigms, and treated in ways which are appropriate to those paradigms.
A number of alternate forms of medicine are therefore increasingly being practised. A recent healing seminar held in Victoria, Canada, provides an indication of the novel forms of medicine which are now finding expression.
This seminar included lectures on healing by means of colour, vibrational healing, creative visualisation, reflexology, iridology, body-mind acupressure, healing with chants, and healing with the essences of flowers.
To the traditional practitioners of allopathic medicine, these new ways of dealing with disease will seem patently absurd. Since they do not define disease in terms of the overriding paradigm of pathological agents, they are regarded as anathema.
The problem which the traditional view of medicine faces, is that these new forms of medicine actually do work, particularly for those who have placed their trust in them. And because they work, more and more people are turning to them for relief from their symptoms.
The tragedy for many developing nations around the world, is that the growing allure of Western allopathic medicine comes at a heavy cost. Not only do these countries frequently lack the resources to invest in expensive equipment needed to undertake sophisticated diagnostic tests, but the drugs necessary to treat disease according to the Western way usually have to be imported, often at inflated prices determined by international pharmaceutical companies.
The very cost of obtaining treatment then conspires to place this form of medicine beyond the reach of the very people it is designed to serve. What makes this situation sadder, is that the allopathic system of medicine introduced at great cost, is often no better than the traditional forms of medicine that have served these countries well in the past.
The art of healing can never be limited to a single mould of thought. There will always be those who are inspired to interpret disease according to different frameworks of belief, and who treat its symptoms in unusual ways.
The art of healing is not conferred by academic blessing. A university degree is not a guarantee of competence, nor is its absence evidence of fraud. The art of healing is a resource that exists within each one of us. Each person has the power to be his or her own physician, once they have learned the secret of the true nature of disease.
In a more enlightened age, the treatment of disease will not be monopolised by a coterie of doctors who are wedded to one single paradigm of thought. Instead, disease will be regarded as a state of mental disequilibrium which can be diagnosed and treated in a number of different ways, according to the free choice of those who are afflicted.
At that time we will all become potential physicians, able to draw on that power which lies resident in our own minds. In doing so, we will discover a truth that has been taught by Sages down the millennia.
The universe is a self-fulfilling theatre of belief.
As the Tripura Rahasya states, “The world becomes for one whatever one is accustomed to think of it.” 9 Or as John Lilly has remarked, “In the province of the mind, what is believed to be true is true or becomes true, within limits to be found experientially and experimentally.” 10
In spite of the evidence which constantly supports this fact, we find it impossible to believe that the universe can be so capricious a place as to be capable of responding to the thoughts of each and every individual.
We have been taught to believe that the universe exists as a vast, consistent cosmos, created by nature’s law. It seems incredible, even blasphemous, to consider that the universe might actually be an evanescent construct of our own minds, capable of being cajoled in such a frivolous fashion.
Yet that is the evidence of our experience. It is also the testimony of the Sages. This revelation is as old as the ancient of days. It is a truth which has been told anew to every generation, as the Tripura Rahasya reveals:
“One starts by imagining something; then contemplates it; and by continuous or repeated association resolves that it is true unless contradicted. In that way, the world appears real in the manner one is used to it.” 11
In the Devikalottara of the ancient Hindu Agamas, we find this same truth repeated:
“The universe has no external support, nor is it cognised from without, but as you make it so it becomes.” 12
It has been revealed again in the 20th century in the words of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj:
“Fundamentally, all happens in the mind only. When you work for something wholeheartedly and steadily, it happens, for it is the function of the mind to make things happen.” 13
1 Lawrence LeShan, “The Medium, The Mystic and The Physicist“, Ballantine, New York, 1975, p. 123. 2 Quoted in “The Placebo Effect in Healing“, by Michael Jospe, Lexington, Toronto, 1978, p. 60. 3 Henry Beecher, “The Powerful Placebo“, American Medical Association Journal, 159:1602-1606, 1955. 4 Lee Park and Lino Covi,”Non Blind Placebo Trial“, Archives of General Psychiatry, 12:336-345, 1965. 5 Michael Jospe, op.cit., p. 148. 6 Ibid, p. 147. 7 Paramahansa Yogananda, “Autobiography of a Yogi“, Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, 1977, pp. 421-422. 8 Ibid, p. 422. 9 “Tripura Rahasya“, translated by Swami Saraswathi, Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, 1962, p. 88. 10 John Lilly, “The Center of the Cyclone“, Bantam, New York, 1973, p.xv. 11 “Tripura Rahasya“, op.cit., p. 100. 12 “The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi“, edited by Arthur Osborne, Rider, London, p. 113. 13 “I Am That“, Conversations with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, translated by Maurice Frydman, Book I, Chetana, Bombay, 1973, p. 233.
Allan, The Sceptre of Hermes, October 13, 2015, 2:22 pm
We can never hope to understand the true nature and origin of disease, until we come to understand the true nature of ourselves. We need to know who we really are.
Just as the symptoms of disease have to be traced to their origins within the body, so the body itself has to be pursued to its source. That source, according to the wisdom of the Sages, lies in the mind.
Conventional thinking regards thought, and the existence of the mind, as a by-product of the brain. The body is considered to be the foundation of the mind, by providing that physical structure which makes consciousness possible.
To the Sages and mystics, however, it is the mind which is the architect of matter, and the determinant of all experience. As the 20th century Indian Sage Sri Ramana Maharshi remarked in answer to a question:
“I say that the body itself is a projection of the mind. You speak of the brain when you think of the body. It is the mind which creates the body, the brain in it, and also ascertains that the brain is its seat.” 1
The mind, as the Buddha has also taught, is nothing more or less than those thoughts and feelings that make it up. If there is disharmony in the outer form, then the source of this disharmony must arise from these thoughts and emotions.
The origin of disease must therefore be pursued to its source in the mind. The Sages have consistently taught that the secret of enduring health lies in the harmony of one’s thoughts and feelings.
If these are healthy, the body too will be free from any disease. Jesus pointed out that disease stemmed from what transpired within a person’s heart, rather than the result of anything that occurred to the body itself.
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of his mouth, this defileth a man.” (Matthew 15:11)
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.” (Matthew 15:19-20)
Regardless of how disease is defined and treated, its origins remain the same for all cultures and for all seasons. The imperfections displayed by the body are evidence of the imperfections of one’s thoughts and feelings.
If one delves into the innermost sanctum of the mind and clears away the mental debris which is to be found there, the outer limitations in the form of physical disease must inevitably disappear.
For as another Indian Sage, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj pointed out to one incredulous questioner:
Question: “Can I cure myself of a serious illness by merely taking cognisance of it?”
Maharaj: “Take cognisance of the whole of it, not only of the outer symptoms. All illness begins in the mind. Take care of the mind first, by tracing and eliminating all wrong ideas and emotions. Then live and work disregarding illness and think no more of it. With the removal of the causes, the effect is bound to depart.” 2
Few of us, however, are competent to deal with disease on so supreme a level. For the average person, it is only when a symptom of disease appears on the physical level that he or she is prompted to seek a cure.
This “cure” invariably takes the form of removing the offending symptoms, in a manner which is consistent with the parameters of that person’s own belief. Yet the disappearance of the outer symptoms does not by itself lead to a lasting cure.
By simply removing the physical symptoms without attending to their mental causes, the patient must inevitably succumb to some other manifestation of disease, perhaps in quite a different form.
Within the context of western medicine, therefore, the pathology which appears on the physical plane to be the cause of a physical ailment, is itself the product of a deeper cause which lies at the level of the mind.
The germs that are thought to be the cause of disease, are thus the result of the original disharmony, rather than its source. It is not bacteria which cause disease, for this bacteriological action is simply a physical and outer reflection of an inner and mental disequilibrium.
According to this view of life, any manifestation which appears in the physical realm must inevitably be preceded by changes in the non-physical realm. Thus, any effect which reveals itself on the physical plane, must be accompanied by a non-physical equivalent which precedes it.
In the case of disease, disease or disharmony would first manifest itself in the non-physical realm. As it developed further, this disharmony would subsequently appear on the physical plane in the form of physical pathology.
This consequential progression of disease has been neatly summarised by William Tiller of Stanford University.
“All this leads quite naturally to a perspective of healing: i.e. that pathology can develop at a number of levels and that healing is needed at all of them to restore the system to a state of harmony.
“The initial pathology begins at the level of Mind and propagates effects to both the negative space-time and the positive space-time levels. We then perceive what we call disease or malfunction at these levels and try to remove the effects by a variety of healing techniques.
“The best healing mode is to help the individual remove the pathology at the cause level and bring about the correction by a return to “right thinking”. The next best healing mode is to effect repair of the structure at the negative space-time level. The third best level of healing is that which medicine practises today, wherein one effects repair of the structure at the positive space-time level.” 3
Jesus and other enlightened Sages performed their “miraculous” cures directly at the level of the mind, which then produces instantaneous results. Other healers, of the type we call faith healers or psychic healers, operate within the negative space-time realm described by Tiller.
The vast majority of healers, however, including those physicians who act within the western medical paradigm, devote their efforts to resolving pathology at the positive space-time level, which is the level that is discernible by the senses.
There are significant consequences to this overview of disease. Those symptoms of disease which appear in the physical body must necessarily have their counterpart in negative space-time in a non-physical body, and this non-physical pathology must ultimately derive from the mind itself.
Merely counteracting the physical symptoms of disease, therefore, without attempting to correct the underlying causes at the mental level, can never contribute to a lasting cure. As long as the pathology remains on these more subtle planes, the disease must inevitably recur in the physical body, possibly in another form.
When a physician trained in western medicine prescribes specific drugs to counteract certain pathological agents in the body, the offending symptoms may well disappear completely. But this does not mean that the patient can be regarded as being cured.
The physician may be satisfied that healing has taken place, but if the underlying cause is not attended to, which is seldom the case in western medicine, then symptoms of the underlying pathology will inevitably reappear. The cycle will repeat itself.
The patient may undergo a series of apparent successful “cures”, but may ultimately die as a result of powerful causes at the non-physical level which were never recognised or treated.
All forms of physical medicine suffer from this liability. The most effective forms of healing, therefore, are those paradigms which acknowledge the non-physical causes of disease, and provide techniques for dealing with disharmony at this level.
The medicine of “primitive” aboriginal societies practised by shamans and witchdoctors is, in this light, often more effective in combating disease than the sophisticated technological forms of medicine that dominate the world today.
This shortcoming of modern medicine is at last coming to be recognised, as attempts are made to provide a more “holistic” form of treatment, tailored to the psychological as well as the physiological pathology of the patient.
While the physical symptoms of disease are merely the outer manifestation of an inner imbalance, the mind itself plays a key role in determining the onset of these symptoms. It does this primarily through the emotion of fear.
Fear is simply the opposite pole of desire. It is desire directed at an unwanted target. Yet the very nature of the mind is to attract those experiences in life which reflect the content of desire. For as Maharaj has indicated:
“It is in the nature of desire to prompt the mind to create a world for its fulfillment.” 4
It is the persistence with which we hold on to our desires which draws them into manifestation. This principle is equally effective when dealing with negative desires or fears. Again, as Maharaj has pointed out, “All happens according to your faith, and your faith is the shape of your desire.” 5
Just as we attract those things toward us that we desire, so also we remorselessly attract to ourselves anything that we fear. Both desire and fear work with the same efficiency, and generate results in due proportion to the energy which propels them.
If the generating power is strong, whether though the magnitude of one’s desire, or else through the intensity of one’s fear, the result, whether hoped for or feared, is bound to materialise.
If we are afraid of contracting cancer, for example, we inevitably draw cancer to us. The time it takes for cancer to materialize, and the severity with which it strikes, depends on the strength of our fears.
There may be no intrinsic flaw in our physical bodies, nothing that would warrant the mutation of healthy cells, but the disharmony that exists within our minds will inevitably produce pathology within our bodies in consonance with our fears.
Whenever the content of the mind is focused on disease, the mind begins to complement this mental image by producing its precise physical counterpart.
While we laugh today at the naivety of the primitive person who succumbs to death by voodoo curse, we ourselves are victims of the same power of suggestion. We little realise that we are assiduously at work creating those very circumstances which we most fear.
When disharmony appears at the level of the mind, and then upon the negative space-time level, it ultimately manifests in the positive space-time realm in the form of some pathological affliction. The form which this disease takes will be determined by the prevailing conditions within the physical body.
A chain breaks at the point of its weakest link. But it should be evident that no physical disease can appear without its mental counterpart, which is the true cause of this condition.
Once non-physical disharmony is present at the level of the mind, some physical reaction must naturally follow, and that takes the form of disease. This disease is not caused by the adoption of any physical habits, for it is a function of the underlying disequilibrium of mind.
The mind is not only the source of all disease, but it remains the most powerful agent for overcoming disease.
It is the attitude of mind, reinforced by faith, which is capable of overcoming the physical manifestation of disease. In so doing, the mind is merely dealing with its own disequilibrium.
There is no magic in this. The action of the mind in counteracting disease is simply the action of the mind re-forming itself. Once the mind is consciously reformed, the original impetus for harm is overcome. The true art of healing is directed, as it always has been by the Sages, to restoring the harmony of the mind itself.
Dr Carl Simonton and, his wife Stephanie Matthews Simonton have been in the vanguard of those medical researchers who have utilised the mind as a powerful weapon in overcoming the manifestations of disease.
Working with cancer patients, they have encouraged them to visualize their cancers in the form of various antagonistic creatures present in their bodies, and to imagine various scenarios for overcoming them. Some patients have visualised an army of white blood cells marching upon the invaders and, in grand “star wars” fashion, repelling these hostile intruders.
Others pictured their pathological agents in the form of snakes and other creatures, and devised vivid mental strategies for defeating them. The more dramatic, in fact, these scenarios became, the more likely they were found to be effective. Dr. Simonton reported that his patients succeeded by these methods in gaining relief from pain, and remission of their cancerous conditions.
Conquering disease by means of mental visualisation is still a highly controversial subject within the medical profession. However, it rests on sound psychological principles enunciated by the Sages. Yet it is not a simple panacea for all ills. Merely targeting the physical symptoms without addressing their underlying mental causes, can never lead to a cure that is lasting and complete.
There is also the question of energy. The essential factor in all non-physical forms of healing, lies in the extent of one’s inherent level of energy, or personal power. As Michael Harner stresses, “In shamanism, the maintenance of one’s personal power is fundamental to well-being.” 6
This is a theme which recurs throughout the writings of Carlos Castaneda. The ability of mind to influence matter depends on the level of this vital energetic source.
Individuals do not possess unlimited amounts of energy, and their effectiveness in achieving their objectives depends on the degree to which they are able to conserve it. As Maharaj replied to a questioner who said that he was lacking energy:
“What happened to your energy? Where did it go? Did you not scatter it over so many contradictory desires and pursuits? You don’t have an infinite supply of energy.” 7
Similarly, when the disciples of Jesus were unable to heal a stricken child who was brought before them, they appealed to him to explain why they had failed. Jesus answered. “This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29)
Jesus drew attention to some of the time-honoured ways of increasing personal power. In the accomplishment of any desire, it is not sufficient simply to visualise the selected goal. This mental image must be energised by power. That power is the power of life, residing in consciousness.
As Maharaj responded to another questioner:
Question: “I have cut my hand. By what power did it heal?
Maharaj: By the power of life.
Question: What is that power?
Maharaj: It is consciousness. All is consciousness.” 8
On another occasion he remarked:
Maharaj: “In some way or other you have to work for the fulfilment of your desires. Put in energy and wait for the results.
Question: Where do I get the energy?
Maharaj: The desire itself is energy.
Question: Then why does not every desire get fulfilled?
Maharaj: Maybe it was not strong enough and lasting.” 9
As he went on to explain:
Maharaj: “When your desire is not clear nor strong, it cannot take shape. Besides, if your desires are personal, for your own enjoyment, the energy you give them is necessarily limited; it cannot be more than you have.” 9
The energy that we possess can be enhanced by repeated efforts, focused upon a clear objective. The power of this strategy can be likened to the blow of a hammer on a metal rod. Although a single blow may leave the rod unmarked, if these blows are repeated for long enough, even a small force will ultimately break the rod completely.
So it is in the achievement of our desires. The problem of applying the mind of a patient to his or her own symptoms of disease is that their inherent power has been drained by this disease.
For example, Kirlian photographs taken of human limbs clearly show a diminution in the energy field when the subject is ill or mentally depressed. When the body has been ravaged by some chronic condition such as cancer, the amount of energy needed to overcome the symptoms may far exceed that which is possessed by that particular patient.
Such a person will be unable to overcome this condition through visualisation, because of this inadequate reservoir of energy. This deficiency may, however, be rectified by the infusion of energy from some outside source. This is the basis of all healing which takes place by means of the “laying on of hands”. It is simply a means of redistributing energy.
Psychic healers also achieve their results by transferring energy directly to the afflicted person. If the amount of energy transferred is sufficient to overcome the pathology, that person will be healed immediately. In most cases a single session is usually inadequate, and repeated attempts must be made before healing is complete.
When the flow of energy is clearly focused, and the reservoir of energy is great, as it is with those who have learned to harness their mental resources, truly astonishing acts of healing are capable of taking place.
For example, the psychic healer Elsie Salmon recorded the case of a man who attended one of her healing missions, who was suffering from a congenital deformity of his leg. Following treatment, his leg grew by two inches to its normal length in the course of a single night. 10
As a youth, Sri Yukteswar Giri suffered from a severe illness which caused him to lose a great deal of weight. During his convalescence he approached his Guru, Lahiri Mahasaya, who reproached him for being so thin.
His Guru remarked, “Really, it is your thoughts that have made you feel alternately weak and strong. Thought is a force,” he went on to say, “even as electricity or gravitation. The human mind is a spark of the almighty consciousness of God. I could show you that whatever your powerful mind believes very intensely would instantly come to pass“.
When Yukteswar enquired whether he could regain his lost weight, the Master replied, “It is so, even at this moment“. Yukteswar reported that he felt an instant increase in strength and weight. “I weighed myself and found that in one day I had gained fifty pounds; they have remained permanently“. 11
(Continued in Part Four)
1 “Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi“, recorded by Swami Saraswathi, Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, 1968, p. 296. 2 “I Am That“, Conversations with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, translated by Maurice Frydman, Book I, Chetana, Bombay, 1973, p. 258. 3 William Tiller, Introduction to “Science and the Evolution of Consciousness“, Autumn Press, Brookline, 1978, p. 17. 4 “I Am That“, Book I, op.cit., p. 100. 5 Ibid, Book I, p. 182. 6 Michael Harner, “The Way of the Shaman“, Bantam, New York, 1982, pp. xv. 7 “I Am That“, Book I, op.cit., p. 56. 8 Ibid, Book I, p. 42. 9 Ibid, Book I, pp. 28-29. 10 Elsie Salmon, “Christ Still Healing“, Arthur James, Worcester, 1956, pp. 71-72. 11 Paramahansa Yogananda, “Autobiography of a Yogi“, Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, 1977, pp. 133-134.
Allan, The Sceptre of Hermes, September 29, 2015, 2:12 pm
In the same way that Sathya Sai Baba, the 20th century mystic from South India, was able to materialise sweets, trinkets and vibhuti (sacred ash) to startle materialistically minded people into an awareness of other levels of consciousness, so psychic healers create objective phenomena to overcome doubt, and foster belief in their ability to heal.
It is upon these deeper levels of consciousness that psychic healers such as Olga Worrall (who was quoted in Part One) operate. The powers of healing which they bring to bear upon the patient are real, but they do not work in a way which conforms to the modern medical paradigm.
It is precisely because these powers are not explainable in common medical terms that they are so often impugned. But the reality of these powers can be readily experienced and, as in the case of Lynn Brailler, may be felt subjectively as heat and warmth.
Although psychic healing is still regarded in many quarters as a form of quackery, the power which lies behind it has been shown to exist in various scientific experiments.
At the suggestion of Dr. Justa Smith, a Sister of the Franciscan Order and Professor of Biochemistry at Rosary Hill College in Buffalo, New York, an unusual experiment was conducted under the auspices of the Human Dimensions Institute.
This experiment involved Oskar Estebany, a former Colonel of the Hungarian Cavalry, who had emigrated to Canada and gained a reputation as a psychic healer.
Since Sister Smith’s doctoral thesis had been devoted to the influence of strong magnetic fields on the activity of enzymes, an area in which she was regarded as an authority, she suggested that a carefully controlled experiment be undertaken to determine what effect, if any, Estebany’s powers would have upon the activity of certain enzymes.
She recommended a test using trypsin, an enzyme that assists in the digestion of protein in the human body. In this experiment, equal parts of trypsin were placed in four enclosed tubes.
While one tube was kept as an untreated control, another tube was exposed to ultraviolet light. A third tube was placed in a strong, magnetic field, and the fourth tube was “treated” by Estebany. This treatment consisted of his holding the tube containing trypsin for a period of about seventy-five minutes.
When the results were examined it was found that, in relation to the untreated control, the trypsin in the tube exposed to ultraviolet light had reduced its activity by about a quarter. The activity of the trypsin which had been placed in the strong, magnetic field was found to have been enhanced to the degree predicted by Dr. Smith.
The experimenters found that the trypsin in the tube which had been held by Oskar Estebany, had increased its activity to a degree which matched that of the influence of the magnetic field.
It was evident that Estebany had subjected the trypsin to a source of energy which was of similar magnitude to that generated by the magnetic field. The energy demonstrated by Estebany was not magnetic, because he was unable to influence compasses or magnetometers.
Yet it was obvious that Estebany exerted a definite force which, like magnetism, yielded observable physical effects. As commentator Dr.Owen remarked in his evaluation of this experiment:
“This is a very remarkable result. The experiment was carried out with the most sophisticated biochemical and biophysical equipment. Unlike the studies of living patients, there is no problem of interpretation because there is no possible confusion of physical and psychological effect.
“Consequently, there is no adequate reason for doubting the scientific validity of the experiment or of the conclusion to be drawn from it, namely that some healers transmit a force from their bodies that has a real physical effect on biochemical substances.” 1
The evidence obtained from faith healing and psychic surgery remains data that is anomalous in terms of the western medical paradigm. Because there is no accepted medical theory to account for its validity, psychic healing is rejected as “unscientific” by the modern medical profession.
Having been dubbed a pseudo-form of medicine, its practitioners are usually dismissed as charlatans who prey on the hopes of the afflicted. According to the western medical paradigm, disease is explained on the basis of pathology. Disease is thus defined in terms of adversaries.
With the discovery of bacteria and the process of bacteriological interaction, western medicine has determined that diseases are the product, not of alien spirits or unwelcome stellar alignments, but of distinct pathological organisms which adversely affect the body.
It is now regarded as a proven truth that germs cause disease.
Because of this, the direction taken by western medicine has been to search out these offending pathogens, and then find ways of overcoming them. The success of modern medicine has been built upon the discovery that certain chemical agents can effectively curtail the actions of these pathogenic germs.
Western medicine has thus been described as an allopathic form of medicine, derived from the Greek term allos meaning “other”, or opposite. The technique of western healing has been to administer a specific chemical agent to the body, whose action is directly opposite to that of the bacteria which have caused the symptoms that are the manifestation of disease.
By producing an opposing or limiting effect, the counteragent is thus regarded as a healing substance, as it is capable of successfully overcoming the offending symptoms of disease. With the disappearance of the symptoms, the disease is presumed to have been cured.
The idea that germs are the origin of disease is the basis of modern scientific medicine. Although this has led to a remarkable degree of success in the treatment of disease, it is by no means the most effective “description” of disease, nor is western medicine the only form of medicine that is able to cure disease.
The germ theory of disease merely happens to be that description of disease which fits the modern scientific paradigm. The subtle truth, which still eludes most medical researchers, is that there is no single description of disease which is the one “true” explanation.
The manifestation of disease can be explained in a variety of ways. No one description of the nature and cause of disease is intrinsically superior to another. Each is valid within its own framework of belief.
The experience of an agonising abdominal pain may be diagnosed in western medical terms as the action of cancerous cells within the stomach. But what is called stomach cancer within one frame of reference, may equally well be defined as something completely different within another context of belief.
For example, this may range from the intrusion of an offending spirit, to an imbalance of colour, or a disturbance in organic frequency. Each diagnosis will be valid within its own frame of reference, and will require treatment which is tailored to that paradigm.
When viewed from the standpoint of any one particular paradigm, the diagnoses offered by other paradigms will inevitably be rejected as being pseudo-medical, unscientific and invalid.
If we ask ourselves, for example, which of these many different diagnoses is the “correct” one, the answer is that there is no single definition of disease that is valid for all people and for all contexts.
A diagnosis of disease is only valid when it conforms to the paradigm of disease adopted by that society. And the appropriate form of treatment must necessarily conform to the prevailing pattern of ideas adopted by the society to which the “sick” person belongs.
So while the symptoms of “stomach cancer” may well be treated effectively within western society by means of specialised radiation, they may equally well be treated by the application of substances or techniques appropriate to other paradigms of disease adopted by other societies.
In fact, every culture tends to define disease within a particular framework of ideas, and then treat these symptoms of disease in ways which conform to their prevailing patterns of belief.
The validity of any form of medicine can therefore only be judged by its efficacy within its own paradigm.
Some two-and-a-half thousand years before the birth of Christ, conversations on the nature of disease between the Emperor of China, Huang-ti and his chief minister Chi Po, were reduced to a written record. This recorded script came to be known over time as Nei-Ching, or the “Theory of Internal Disease”.
This theoretical treatise on the nature of disease was based on the cosmological ideas that were prevalent at the time. The ancient Chinese philosophy of nature regarded the human body as a miniature version of the cosmos.
The cosmos was thought to be composed of a universal energy called Chi, which was considered to be in constant ebb and flow. This energy was believed to manifest in either of two polarities. One of these polarities was called Yin and the other Yang.
Yin was believed to be the negative mode of Chi. It was thought to represent the feminine aspect of life, along with the qualities of passivity and coldness. Yang, by contrast, was considered to be positive, reflecting masculinity as well as the qualities of activity and heat.
Just as the universe was thought to be the theatre in which these two aspects of Chi vied for supremacy, so too the human body was believed to be the repository of this same energy, and was equally subject to the forces of Yin and Yang.
Health then, under this paradigm of ideas, demanded a balance in the body between these two opposing principles. If either force should gain temporary control, it was believed that disease would be the inevitable result.
The system of medicine which the ancient Chinese adopted to counteract disease, therefore, was a variety of techniques which were designed to restore the balance of Yin and Yang within the human body.
The Chinese believed that the twin forces of Yin and Yang flowed through the human body along a series of special channels, or meridians. These meridians were thought to control the functions of the various organs of the body.
Whenever any form of disease manifested itself, it was necessary to diagnose which of these meridians was affected, and where a “blockage” in the flow of energy had occurred. Since each meridian was believed to be linked to a particular pulse, physicians were trained to identify these meridians by the subtle variations in the human pulse beat.
Once diagnosis had been made, treatment took the form of altering the flow of Chi at designated points along the meridian. This manipulation was performed by means of special needles which penetrated the flesh, thus giving rise to the name whereby this form of treatment is known today – acupuncture.
The Chinese description of disease was antedated by an even earlier system of ideas devised by Indian minds. To these ancient Indians, the human body was thought to be vitalized by a particular energy called prana, which they believed to be the basic life force of the universe.
This prana was believed to flow through the body along a multitude of nerve passages, called nadis. These nadis were linked in turn to a central column, consisting of three major channels.
One channel was known as the Pingala, and was thought to be the repository of the positive aspect of prana. Likewise, negative prana was believed to be directed along its own special channel, called the Ida. Both the Ida and the Pingala were considered to be intertwined around a central channel called the Sushumna, as depicted in the following diagram.
At each point where the Ida and the Pingala crossed the Sushumna, a chakra, or pranic force centre, was believed to exist. To the early Indians the health of the body was dependent on the unobstructed flow of prana through each of the seven chakras of the body.
The intertwining features of the Ida and Pingala around the Sushumna came to be represented pictorially as the sinuous linking of serpents around a central column.
It was this symbol which was borrowed by Hellenistic Greece to denote the emblem of the medical profession. As the winged-staff of the Greek God Hermes, this sceptre has come to be known as the caduceus, as shown below.
This symbol, often shorn of one of its serpents, remains to this day the insignia of the medical profession. Although physicians have become the modern custodians of this ancient staff of healing, very few are aware of its underlying origin and significance.
Over the millennia, different societies have ascribed the origins of disease to different agents, and have interpreted the effects, the symptoms of disease, according to differing systems of belief.
The Tibetans, for example, attributed disease to certain “poisons of the soul”, such as greed, arrogance and envy, which disturbed the balance of the three primary juices of life – the wind, bile and slime.
The western concept of disease, based on the action of minute pathological bacteria, or germs, is simply the latest in a long line of descriptive paradigms. It carries no inherent superiority over those that have passed before, although each varies in the degree to which it is capable of meeting the medical needs of society.
All traditional systems of medicine have successfully cured disease, even those of the past which are now scorned from the scientific vantage point. Even the medieval practice of blood-letting undoubtedly aided its patients as its practitioners believed. If it had not done so, it would never have been utilised for so long.
Yet today, except in a few specific cases, blood-letting is regarded as barbaric. Shamanism, acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine, psychic surgery and allopathic medicine, are all substantiated by successful cures, which are explained in terms of a central philosophical regime or paradigm.
It follows then that every medical paradigm, such as the paradigm of allopathic medicine, rests upon a foundation of belief. This belief is imbued within members of any society, and is acquired as part of their general cultural conditioning. As Lawrence LeShan remarks:
“The metaphysical system you are using is the metaphysical system that is operating. A metaphysical system is a set of assumptions about how the universe is put together and functions. We always have one whether or not we are aware of it.
“The assumptions we use about the nature of reality make up the system. The system determines what is possible and impossible, normal and paranormal, within it.” 2
The germ nature of disease is a metaphysical system of medicine which derives its efficacy from a sense of validity and trust by those who have adopted it. As LeShan stresses: “One must know it is valid to operate within it.” 3
We in the west have come to place implicit trust in our belief that germs are the agents of disease. Yet in the early days of western medicine, researchers laughed at this outrageous suggestion.
One of the earliest proponents of the germ theory of disease was the German bacteriologist Robert Koch, who was later awarded a Nobel prize for his discovery. Koch was the first person to discover and isolate the cholera bacillus, and he developed choleric cultures in his laboratory.
One of those who challenged Koch’s germ theory of disease was his compatriot Professor Max von Pettenkofer. Max was convinced that Koch’s ideas were utterly ridiculous, and to prove this fact, he along with several of his students swallowed virulent cultures of choleric bacilli.
To Robert Koch’s chagrin, neither Professor von Pettenkofer nor any of his students came to any harm, although each of them had swallowed enough quantities of choleric bacteria to kill the inhabitants of a large city.
The reason for this enigma, which medical historians still find difficulty in explaining to this day, is precisely that requirement noted by LeShan. To be bound by the effects of a germ-defined paradigm, “one must know it is valid“.
Robert Koch certainly knew, for he was one of the founders of this paradigm. For him, the swallowed dose would undoubtedly have proved fatal. For von Pettenkofer and his students, however, who did not share Koch’s confidence in the validity of this new medical paradigm, these choleric cultures were as harmless as a voodoo curse would be to a professor of nuclear physics today.
Yet it would be foolhardy to try to emulate von Pettenkofer today, for belief in the validity of germ induced disease now forms the warp and weft of the current western way of thinking. To duplicate his feat would require a state of mind in which the customary definition of reality was temporarily suspended.
Although any single paradigm may be efficacious in yielding valid results, this does not mean that different paradigms can be unified into a single universal scheme. Based on what we have examined thus far, the human body would prove to be hopelessly complex if all the features of every paradigm were to be combined.
Not only would it be possessed of a skeleton draped in a muscular cloak, populated by various organs and served by a network of nerves which fed into a central brain, but it would also appear to be imbued with energy coursing down tiny tracks, which constantly vied for supremacy between two opposing poles.
The spine, furthermore, would be host to a party of serpentine coils, at whose junctures would appear centres of energy which were independent of any of the known organs of the body. It would also be composed of various juices of life, each of which was subject to our thoughts and emotions, anyone of which might at any stage disturb the equilibrium of our lives.
To combine all of these medical paradigms together into one synthesised system of thought, as some modern researchers still attempt to do, would create a human body with more complexities than the epicycles which doomed the geocentric astronomy of Ptolemy, which leads to the following conclusion:
There can never be a unified or “correct” paradigm for defining disease that is valid for every society and for all time. Disease has traditionally been defined, and will continue to be explained, according to the prevailing metaphysical systems of their times.
Despite the sophistication with which western society has confronted the symptoms of disease, modern medicine remains confounded by the nature of disease itself. Although it claims to speak with confidence about the “causes” of disease, just why a particular symptom happens to arise, and what causes it ultimately to disappear, is still a mystery which continues to defy analysis.
Just as the physicist is unable to explain the true nature of electricity, and is content, like Edison, to say that it matters not how it is explained as long as it works, so also physicians, unable to explain the mystery of healing, are content to ignore this problem as long as they can demonstrate the success of their methods.
(Continued in Part Three)
1 A. R.G. Owen, “Psychic Mysteries of the North“, Harper and Row, New York, 1975, pp. 108-109. 2 Lawrence LeShan, “The Medium, The Mystic and The Physicist“, Ballantine, New York, 1975, p. 153. 3 Ibid, p. 154.
Allan, The Sceptre of Hermes, September 15, 2015, 2:36 pm