What kabbalistic wisdom states about how the mind can exercise power over the body.
It has been several years since I embarked flying solo on the concept of immortality. Because the very idea of immortality is not even a dream for many people, my seemingly impossible task was met with great misunderstanding, opposition and, at times, even outright rejection.
Even for me, certain elements of my belief in the perpetuation of the physical body were not apparent at first. For example, I was not aware of the extent to which all religions looked forward to the day when God would grant our wish for immortality. In my own religious belief, as an orthodox Jew, there had been a certain awareness of this, but on a practical level, I did not dream that immortality was a reality that mankind could help to bring about. I simply believed that immortality would come about when the Lord was prepared to manifest His beneficence by bringing an end to death. During my pre-Kabbalah lifetime, I believed in immortality, but to be truthful, on a conscious level the subject was often furthest from my mind. Immortality would come about by virtue of God's grace. This concept was not central to our belief or practice, and it was by no means a priority in our daily lives.
This was the climate when I, together with The Kabbalah Centre, embarked on a new course of sharing kabbalistic concepts of immortality, and, more importantly, of exploring how this objective would ultimately be reached. The first phase—and this was a very difficult idea for many to grasp—was the understanding that the achievement of immortality is not the province of the Creator alone. Rather, immortality will be brought about through the efforts of the created beings—that is, ourselves.
To most people, detaching the concept of immortality from the Deity bordered on heresy and sacrilege. In fact, the storm of opposition that greeted this revelation compelled us to quietly and quickly abandon our efforts in this direction. However, the outright rejection of the idea that physical immortality brought about by humankind was possible, was something that I considered to be totally irrational. For death is the single most powerful expression of chaos in human life—not only for the deceased but also for those who are left behind. The pain experienced as a result of the loss of a loved one can never be erased.
The idea that mankind does indeed have the power and the tools to create a chaos-free environment went far beyond the imagination and thinking of even the most progressive thinkers of our time. Yet basic kabbalistic teachings lead to the realization that chaos is not and has never beenpart of the domain of the Lord. For the kabbalist, the Lord and the Light that emanates from Him has but one characteristic, and that isto share.Negativity has neither origin nor source in the Creator. Rather, our chaotic environment is the direct result of our own negative activity. Accepting this principle, Kabbalah teaches, will take us far along the road towards immortality and the ultimate removal of chaos from our lives.
I realize that at every moment we are faced with so-called “acts of God,” such as floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Transforming our present beliefs about immortality into Kabbalah's entirely new perspective requires an effort that few are prepared to accept. We have succumbed to a surrender philosophy in our understanding of the universe. Collectively, we have assumed that we must surrender to fires, floods, and other “natural” disasters. Individually, we surrender our bodies to physicians and surgeons with little thought to actively participating in the outcome of any treatment. In all areas of life, we give little emphasis to the idea that we can eliminate the chaos that surrounds us. But for the kabbalist, the God-given birthright to create and maintain order in our lives is at the heart of human existence. For we are part of God, as the sages tell us. Like God, we can have complete dominion over the physical dimension. We all certainly believe that God can create miracles that supersede the laws and principals of physical and material substance. This God-given right has been extended to us because mankind is part of God.
The doctrine of a consciousness-created universe—or mind over matter—is now a fundamental area of scientific discourse. Science no longer sees mankind in a merely reactive relationship with natural forces. It is acknowledged that we ourselves can actually have a determining effect on the evolution of physical reality, including the chaotic circumstances in our lives and in the world. When the ancient kabbalists declared that man indeed creates his own environment, they were millennia ahead of scientific investigation. Thankfully science is slowly but surely catching up to the insights of the kabbalists.
We might safely say that all of the new phenomena discussed by the scientific establishment have already been thoroughly explored in kabbalistic writings. Unfortunately, while these kabbalistic concepts and principles have penetrated scientific thinking, laymen are largely unaware of this fact. The reason for this, I believe, is the fact that these new ideas have and are continuing to be developed on a strictly theoretical basis. While mind over matter should have provided mankind with a tool for eliminating many of our afflictions, on a practical level it does not seem to have become a reality. If, indeed, the mind could exercise control over matter, why can a cancer patient not address the illness with their mind and cause the cancer to disappear? Unfortunately, when this or an equally rare occurrence does happen, it is attributed not to the power of the mind but rather to some miracle having taken place.
Similarly, with regard to aging we are not aware of nor do we accept the application of mind over matter on the aging process. We do not demand of our physical bodies that they rejuvenate and restore. Yet according to kabbalistic wisdom, the mind can exercise power over the body, preventing the deterioration seemingly caused by old age.
Scientists are speculating that the restoration of flawed body parts and rejuvenation leading to anti-aging and immortality will take place through gene therapy. The possibility of incorporating mind over matter as a method of achieving restoration and immortality has been all but discarded by the scientific community. And yet research has not confirmed that gene therapy is viable.
For the time being, at least, science has fallen short of translating theories of a consciousness-created reality into the practice of our daily lives. Without meaning to sound pessimistic, I must admit that the abstractions offered by contemporary science seem very little consolation to a world plagued by chaos. Therefore, I would like to share with you, my reader, the future science—perhaps the science of the twenty-fifth century—as envisioned by the great Kabbalist of the first century, Rav Shimon Bar Yochai.
The first Universal Law of Kabbalah states that there can be no disappearance or destruction of the ultimate reality, which is the non-material, conscious level of existence. Inasmuch as the dominant aspect of human existence is the realm of metaphysics or the immaterial realm, the physical reality must, of necessity, be subjected to and conform to the energies and thoughts manifested within a person’s consciousness, just as a hand cannot be lifted without prior thought consciousness. This element of consciousness in any individual can never be lost. Therefore, when we observe illness or mortality of the physical body, we should be aware that what we observe on the physical level does not extend beyond that. Even if an individual loses a limb or an internal organs, at the level of consciousness the person remains unchanged and fully operational. Consequently, there is no logic to explain why a severed limb or a lost kidney should not regenerate in exactly the same way as cut fingernails or hair.
The body’s genetic material remains very much intact and has the potential to reconstruct itself back to its original form. When undifferentiated cells develop into specific limbs and organs, this is possible only because they have been instilled with the metaphysical consciousness that programs them to do so. In the undifferentiated state, such cells appear to be the same physically but metaphysically their ultimate destiny has already been encoded. The kabbalists have always understood that since there is no disappearance of this encoded information, the body should immediately be able to respond to any loss with a replacement.
Science has not dealt with the question of why encoded genetic information does not reproduce a healthy organ where a diseased one previously existed, and the reason for this omission is very clear. In truth, we cannot blame scientists for their failure, for they have never been exposed to the 99 Percent Reality of any human being. How could they ever gain a full understanding of the body when their 1 Percent Reality is such a limited pathway for comprehending the true essence of a human being? In the near future, limbs will be regrown, lungs and hearts and kidneys will regenerate, and this will clearly reveal the primitive nature of twenty-first century medicine. But for the present, science has no alternative but to perceive only that which it is capable of observing.
In the kabbalistic perspective of the true reality—the immaterial 99 Percent Reality—there will be no necessity for the cloning of limbs or organs. Through the phenomenon of the original DNA exercising its ability to create undifferentiated cells and instructing those cells to become whatever organ is needed, we shall witness the dawn of a new era of twenty-fifth century science. This position was clearly stated by sixteenth century Kabbalist Rav Isaac Luria (the Ari), who stipulated that the Age of Aquarius—which has already begun—will witness complete rejuvenation of the body. Illness and all chaotic manifestations in the human body will be things of the past. But if we have entered the Aquarian Age, why have the words of the Ari not come to pass? Again, the answer lies in the realm of consciousness. Because we so seldom turn our attention to non-material reality, our consciousness remains anchored in the physical dimension. We cannot adjust to the idea that our consciousness can determine the nature of the physical world. The idea of mind over matter, though scientifically confirmed, remains theoretical.
If the world accepted and implemented the principle of mind over matter, we would have no difficulty in bringing about the rejuvenation of the universe and of our bodies within it. If, for example, we could truly absorb what goes on in the minds of those who have lost limbs, then mankind would take a giant leap forward in coming to grips with the chaos in our lives that seems to have no solution.
An amputee’s sense of the presence of the amputated limb is most extraordinary. The phantom limb may seem more substantial than an actual limb. These vivid sensory impressions seem so life like that a patient may even attempt to get off the bed onto a phantom foot or lift a glass with a phantom hand. Of all the feelings in phantom limbs, pain is the most frightening and disturbing. It may vary from occasional and mild to continuous and severe. A phantom hand can seem to be clenched, with the fingers bent over the thumb and digging into the palm. A cramp may be felt in the calf of an invisible leg. Many patients report that their toes feel seared by a red-hot poker. A phantom arm, in most cases, hangs down at the side when the person sits or stands but it moves in perfect coordination with other limbs during walking. Strangely enough, it behaves like a normal limb. Similarly, a phantom leg bends when its body sits. It becomes upright during standing and stretches out when person liesdown. A person may sense a painful ulcer or bunion that had been on a foot or even a tight ring that had been on a finger. Such patients are not merely remembering sensations but are feeling them with the full intensity and detail of an ongoing experience. The reality of the phantom limb is also enhanced by the wearing of an artificial arm or leg. The phantom usually fills the prosthesis, and the limb feels encased in a glove.
The many explanations for phantom limbs and their associated pain have always been insufficient and are more complex than any of the theories suggest. The problem lies in the consciousness of the researchers, who usually cannot disassociate themselves from visual reality to address the non-material experience of the patient.
Scientists cling to the belief that understanding existence comes about by researching the processes and laws of nature. But the why of Creation and why it operates in an orderly fashion is overlooked. This is true of all research, whether it concerns the Big Bang, dinosaurs, phantom limbs or emotional stress. To ignore the issue of causality and the purpose behind each cause and effect leaves science incomplete.
I'm certain that as we probe nature more deeply, we will uncover wholly new areas of physics and medicine that are more basic and more beautiful than those we know today. This sentiment has already been voiced by John Wheeler, the great astrophysicist, who wrote: “Someday a door will surely open and expose the glittering central mechanism of the world in its beauty and simplicity.”
Unfortunately, it is precisely this revelation that some scientists declare to be beyond the domain of inquiry. They cannot, for a moment, entertain the idea that human consciousness can influence physical reality. Yet quantum physics affirms that human intervention influences the structure of physical reality, and this twentieth century revelation concurs with the revelations of the Zohar that human consciousness can not only understand but also determine the nature of non-observable reality. I consider this the most daring of all Zoharic declarations.
Rav Shimon Bar Yochai, who achieved an extremely highstate of consciousness, achieved total control over every aspect of our universe, and this, of course, included the physical dimension. What exactly does such total control mean? To use a very simple example from the everyday world, it means that when we decide that we are seated on a chair, the existence of the physical chair is an expression of our consciousness that a chair exists.
Einstein's problem with this theory was the difficulty of applying it to his actual life. If, for example, he left his keys at home when he went to the classroom, he could not enter his house when he returned. Einstein’s own teachings described the interdependence of consciousness and physical reality, yet when the locked door was right in front of him, he could not make the inner leap that would have applied his insights to real life. The door that Einstein observed prevented him from reaching this altered state of consciousness. If Einstein and his colleagues were indeed correct in their depiction of reality, consciousness should enable us to do much more than enter a locked house. A person with cancer could send signals along nerves to make the body fight more aggressively against disease.
By the same reasoning, why can we not restore lost limbs or damaged internal organs? Mainstream science is now asking this question, and the answer emerging suggests that there is no reason why this should not be possible. In an article in the New York Times on November 7, 2000, a leading research scientist stated:
“When we know, in effect, what our cells know, health care will be revolutionized, giving birth to regenerative medicine—ultimately including the prolongation of life by regenerating our aging bodies with younger cells.”
The greatest problem, as I see it, is simply the difficulty of convincing people of their power to control their own lives, even to the extent of regaining their health and restoring missing limbs. For the most part, humanity still clings to the need to experience chaos on a daily basis. Instead of embracing a view of the external world that conforms to the insights of both Kabbalah and quantum physics, we have allowed the Satan (the force of deterioration and end that exists both inside and outside of us) to dictate our experience of life..
The Zohar, however, states that in this Age of Aquarius, mankind will no longer be content to endure the afflictions that have burdened us in the past. The consciousness of the entire world will be elevated—and this is already taking place. Gradually, we will realize the illusory nature of the physical world, a fact already long confirmed by science. In addition, we shall recognize conventional thinking for what it is: A tool and agent of Satan-consciousness
It is our great good fortune to witness this transformation in our time. As stated in Jeremiah 31:34: “One day they will no longer teach every man his brother saying, know the Lord, for they shall all know Me, from the youngest to the oldest of them.” The world’s people are now eager to accept these declarations of Kabbalah. That we even consider previously outrageous ideas, such as the restoration of limbs, proves an important point: The hunger for new knowledge now far outweighs the conservative viewpoints that have always dominated the minds of mankind.
What the eye does not see is not proof that it does not exist. In this Age of Aquarius, miracles are out there just waiting to be revealed. Yesterday’s supernatural is today’s reality, while the truth of the past is revealed as an illusion. Miracles like the parting of the Red Sea have become accepted phenomena and the Zohar makes it crystal clear that it is we, ourselves, who make such miracles happen.
I realize that understanding and internalizing all this requires a transformation of our accepted thinking process. However, what I am proposing from a Zoharic perspective is nothing short of a consciousness revolution. There are no shortcuts to the attainment of a state of fulfillment. However, these objectives are reachable in our time—in this Age of Aquarius, in this year, in this day, and even in this very moment.
This article originally appeared in Kabbalah Magazine Vol. 5, Issue 5, November 2000.