Healing On Extended Planes Of Existence
Is there more to reality than we can possibly imagine? The answer is a resounding yes!
Almost two decades ago I was diagnosed by a medical doctor and acupuncturist with an enlarged liver. His diagnosis involved using a micro-ohmeter to monitor variations in the skin’s electrical resistance on the main acupuncture meridian points. He told me that my condition could be healed, but this would require weekly treatments for the next eight months.
A day or so later, my wife, Kenzie, and I met a Russian bioenergist who offered to demonstrate her healing skills. Since neither of us shared a common language, we couldn’t discuss my health issues or anything else for that matter. Instead, she passed her hands around me at a short distance from my body and quickly diagnosed the same liver condition as the acupuncturist had. This impressed both of us, and I decided to undertake a healing session with her the following week.
The session started with her bringing her own energy into focus. She asked me to breathe deeply and rapidly a few times. I am familiar with various sorts of breathwork, so I recognized that this would quickly increase the level of my inner energy. She then massaged my liver, and this marked the last second at which my awareness could be said to be operating within normal bounds. She inhaled sharply. As she did so, her hands pulled some manner of blockage from my liver, as though she was ripping a plant, roots and all, out of the soil. I distinctly felt “it” move from me to her. She then exhaled powerfully over my head. Right then my whole mood and energy shifted. I felt weak and light at the same time.
Although these actions describe what happened, they completely fail to do justice to the intensity of the process that I experienced. When she pulled the problem out of me and into herself, it showed quite clearly in the pain and sadness that were etched on her face. A moment later, she lifted her face upward and powerfully blew out, permanently and completely releasing the problem. I felt weak. I lay down. All of a sudden, I was completely overcome by what I can only describe as ecstatic bliss, pure and endless joy, a sense of the unutterable perfection and humor of existence itself. I dissolved in joyful laughter, a level and depth of laughter that I have never experienced before. I laughed uncontrollably for half an hour.
About a week later, I visited the acupuncturist, who checked my liver once more only to find, much to his amazement, that he could no longer find any trace of the previous liver problem. When we told him about my session with the bioenergist, he said, “I must meet this woman!” Decades later I am still completely free of the problem.
This account illustrates the intimate connection that exists between our natural energy field, our health, and the quality of our awareness. It demonstrates our innate ability to intuitively understand the deep, emotional roots of ill health. And it shows us how natural processes can effect fast and effective healing by changing the dynamics of our energy field.
The reality revealed through energy-based healing is quite different from the world of most people’s day-to-day experience. Like most of us, I have been raised to believe that what you see is all there is, and everything in the universe can be reduced to and explained by particles of matter bumping into one another. Reality is far more complex, multidimensional, and connected than we imagine. Each and every one of us, using only natural methods, can realize a level of healing and positive personal transformation far beyond conventional expectations.
Like almost everyone, I possess an inbuilt skepticism to any suggestion that reality is fundamentally different from what my day-to-day experience and mainstream science tell me. When challenged by anomalies that exceed this one-size-fits-all worldview, the response is usually one of ridicule, outright dismissal, or rationalization.
However, there are very good reasons why a change in our worldview is long overdue. People are increasingly aware and accepting of the fact that their experience does not accord with mainstream science. Recently, one of the world’s leading philosophers, Thomas Nagel, triggered a storm of criticism by stating the obvious fact that the five-hundred-year-old scientific project of attempting to explain everything in terms of interactions among the smallest particles, called reductive materialism, has failed.1 A similar argument has been advanced by biologist and complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman.2 It failed because it cannot account for the most defining and essential features of life: consciousness, agency, meaning, and values.
By consciousness we mean the irreducible, luminous awareness of the present moment shared by all sentient beings. It is sometimes hard to grasp, but this dynamic quality that so essentially defines us escapes all explanation, whether on the part of philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, or evolutionary theory. By agency we refer to the fundamental quality of intentionality that all sentient beings possess: our desiring, willing, planning, and executing. Purposeful action gives rise to meaning, another fundamental quality of being. And with meaningful action comes values. Values capture our inherent sensitivity toward such fundamental issues as right and wrong, justice and injustice. We all know that these essential elements are characteristic of all sentient life and form an intrinsic part of reality, and yet, modern science can find no place for them.
Deprogramming The Parameters Of Consciousness
Where we do find these qualities at their most pronounced is in the arena of healing and personal and spiritual transformation. For this reason, we need to remain open to the possibility that anomalous experiences in these contexts, such as those that accompanied my own healing, may well be pointing us toward a broader conception of reality and consciousness than has been accepted up till now.
What may come as a surprise to those who have hitherto not been exposed to energy healing is the rapidity with which even the most extreme effects can be resolved once their originating nexus has been identified. Most of the various energy healing protocols available today can deliver relief from a range of mental, emotional, and physical problems. When facilitated by an experienced healer they can achieve a success rate upward of 90 percent.
The process by which we come to hold our beliefs about the nature of reality, consciousness, and personal identity — our enculturation or programming — prepares us to fit in with a certain society and culture. But just because it enables us to interact with the portion of reality relevant to our society does not mean that it also prepares us for perceiving those aspects of reality beyond our society’s sphere of interest. For this we require a much broader perspective: the capacity to push the boundaries of consensual understanding and accommodate a fresh vision of the familiar world we inhabit. I liken this process to deprogramming.
My own deprogramming has been a continuing process over many years. One event that helped me occurred when I was growing up in Africa in the early 1960s. We had decided to drive down to the coast, some four hundred miles away. Pedro, who worked with my father, hitched a ride with us. We drove down from the Kenyan highlands through the great Rift Valley and then headed southeast. All day we traveled on the rough red earth road that in those years ran all the way to the coast. We crossed dried-up riverbeds and vast tracks of featureless savannah, a great plume of red dust flowing out behind the car.
Late that day we arrived on the edge of the city of Mombasa on the coast. We stopped at a small open market next to the road to pick up some fruit before going on to our final destination much further to the south. As we got out of the car, a younger, casually dressed man who was beaming from ear to ear stepped forward and warmly greeted Pedro. It was his brother! We asked Pedro how on Earth his brother could possibly be waiting for him at such a remote place on that day and time. He shrugged. “Because I would be here,” he said, as though it was the most normal thing to expect!
In the early 1960s, the internet and mobile phones were still twenty-five years or so in the future. And even supposing Pedro had phoned him sometime before we set off, it still doesn’t explain his brother being at that particular roadside market at that very time, and our spontaneous decision to stop there. Is there more to reality than we can possibly imagine? The answer is a resounding yes!
Another event that helped me to remain open to new possibilities occurred in my teens. I had joined a karate club run by a highly respected master, Ronnie Colwell. One night Ronnie demonstrated the controlled use of chi, or vital energy. He had a few of the burlier club members hold three thick wooden boards, each around 12 inches square and 2.5 inches thick, tightly together. He then struck the first board. Nothing happened. But when we examined the boards we found that while the first and second boards showed no sign of damage, the third board, the one farthest away from the strike, was neatly split down the middle. How he did this, how it was even possible, puzzled most of us at the time. It still does today, over forty years later. The martial artist’s explanation is that it is done by focusing their chi on a point beyond where they are going to strike. In this case, Ronnie focused his energy on the third board, the one farthest away from the struck surface, and then split it.
Most of the various energy healing protocols available today can deliver relief from a range of mental, emotional, and physical problems. When facilitated by an experienced healer they can achieve a success rate upward of 90 percent.
Finally, perhaps the most dramatic experience that confirmed my acceptance of an esoteric worldview occurred on the cusp of my entry to the world of energy healing. When Kenzie and I met our first Reiki teacher we sat and talked about energy and the path to inner cleansing and personal cultivation. After a while I started to feel that there was something wrong with my eyes. I became aware of stray blues and greens that appeared to flow across portions of our teacher’s hands and arms. I rubbed my eyes and checked what I was seeing outside the window. No trace of the stray colors appeared; it seemed that my eyes were not at fault.
I resumed concentrating on what she was saying, only for the colors to spread and grow more vibrant. I tried a number of times to shake off the visual “distortion,” but by now the phenomenon had taken on a life of its own — the colors had formed a kaleidoscope! The disconnected patches of color began to coalesce into a seamless field of green streaked with deep blue that flowed across her hands, arms, and, finally, her entire body, swirling in graceful eddies like oil paint over the surface of water.
I became aware that these colors radiated ten to fifteen centimeters out from her body, forming an iridescent field of emerald. I described what I was seeing to Kenzie, and this confirmed that we were on the right track to study with this teacher. When I reflect on my experience, over twenty years later, it occurs to me that I was able to see her aura so easily because she had a very high level of inner energy. The controlled activation and ascent of this inner energy is one of the main aims of most yogic systems. Apparently, our talk about aspiration for healing and growth raised my level of awareness and this enabled me to see her aura.
The Bounds Of Reality
Most of us think that what we see is all there is. Yet there is ample evidence that what we see is only a small fraction of what exists. That there is a gap between these two becomes apparent when we encounter certain people and entire cultures with fundamentally different perceptions of reality. The respected anthropologist Edith Turner wrote about the conflict she experienced between her scientific training and her actual experience undertaking fieldwork in a traditional society.
One day while attending a healing ritual among the Ndembu people of Zambia she distinctly felt a sense of a gathering intensity within the ritual space as the ritual progressed. “I felt the spiritual motion, a tangible feeling of breakthrough going through the whole group,” she writes. Watching the healer’s hands scrabbling on a woman’s back, she reports, “I saw with my own eyes a giant thing emerging out of the flesh of her back. This thing was a large gray blob about six inches across, a deep gray opaque thing emerging as a sphere.” She described this object, the revenant of a deceased person, as “a miserable object…more akin to a restless ghost…There is spirit stuff. There is spirit affliction; it is not a matter of metaphor and symbol, or even psychology.”3
We may never know for certain, but it would appear that her intense engagement with the ritual process drew Edith Turner into its ritually generated field, allowing her to see, at least for a short time, what was taking place on a deeper level of the healing process. This type of experience is neither rare nor is it confined to the remotest regions of the world. In fact, we find parallel accounts in the ethnographic literature as well as in the day-to-day experiences of many energy healers worldwide. The segregation of these deeper layers of reality from our day-to-day awareness leaves us with a skewed understanding of “what exists” and what forces may be acting on us.
A famous, indeed infamous, example of ritual healing happened to anthropologist Bruce Grindal when he slipped, uninvited, into a Sisala death divination ritual in Ghana. The ritual was undertaken to ascertain the reason for the sudden and unexpected death of the royal drummer. In a 1983 essay, “Into the Heart of Sisala Experience: Witnessing Death Divination,” Grindal describes how, as the ritual progressed, he experienced stronger and stronger psychophysical effects, including intense feelings of terror and dread as well as powerful stomach contractions accompanied by moments of greatly heightened awareness. Suddenly he experienced a great jolt at the base of his skull, as though his head had been severed from his spine. At this, “a terrible and beautiful sight burst upon me. Stretching from the amazingly delicate fingers and mouths of the goka (the ritual performers), strands of fibrous light played upon the head, fingers, and toes of the dead man. The corpse, shaken by spasms, then rose to its feet, spinning and dancing in a frenzy….The corpse picked up the drumsticks and began to play.”4
Those experienced with such modalities as kundalini yoga may well recognize Grindal’s psychophysical symptoms as connected to the activation of his own latent kundalini energy, and therefore understand just how powerful the ritual field generated by the ritualists was. Experiences such as this naturally raise many questions. Did the dead drummer actually rise from the dead, or was the entire scene purely hallucinatory? Would an independent observer have witnessed the scene in the same way, or merely perceived a group of ritual dancers performing obscure movements around a burial pyre? Of his experience Grindal noted that “the canons of empirical research limit reality to that which is verifiable through the consensual validation of rational observers. An understanding of death divination must depart from these canons and assume that reality is relative to one’s consciousness of it.”5
Indeed. Given his enculturation, the unsuspecting anthropologist could hardly have anticipated the impact of attending, albeit uninvited, a ritual process that revealed the psychophysical underpinnings of this African ritual and the changes it engendered in the quality and depth of the perceptions of the observers and participants. Most of us remain completely unaware and unsuspecting of the effects of unseen influences — those of the family, ancestors, past lives, and the deceased — on our health and well-being.
Accounts like this challenge us on many different levels. Our day-to-day awareness offers only a narrow and partial vantage point from which to survey the broader reality. At the end of the day, what we call reality is as much a construction of our perception, and therefore as much “in our heads” as it is “out there.” When we experience a shift of awareness, the dynamic range of our experience also changes, sometimes radically.
When this happens, and depending on how radical a shift we have made, reality can become unrecognizable from the point of view of consensual reality. Is this perception of an alternative aspect of reality more or less real than that of our daily lives? From the perspective of the healer it doesn’t matter. What matters is the healing process. The dedicated healer follows his or her intuition, and empathy guides them to the heart of the matter. That success rates of anything up to or over 90 percent can be achieved by facilitating a client’s own use of purely natural (nonpharmacological) approaches is itself proof of their validity.
Phenomena occurring at the very edges of human experience are radically underdetermined; we simply have too little information to frame a proper understanding of them. The truth, Oscar Wilde once remarked, is rarely pure and never simple, and this is certainly true of anomalous phenomena. While there are many aspects that defy rational understanding, the evidence for their validity is too strong for us to dismiss out-of-hand. As a result, we must extend our cognitive model by integrating far more factors than we usually allow for.
The world of the energy healer occupies a liminal zone, betwixt and between, where anomalous phenomena become the new normal. The model of reality that evolves in an attempt to understand these phenomena is of a complex, multilayered, multidimensional space inhabited by many orders of being. Each of us can make these worlds more transparent by undertaking the transformation of our own psycho-energetic being.
The Golden Rules Of Healing
Experience has shown that there are a number of golden rules that we need to bear in mind when undertaking any healing, personal development, or spiritual practice. While not exhaustive, the following principles will serve you well:
- Not all practices will be suitable for us. If it doesn’t feel right, listen to yourself and stop; there will be some other approach or technique that is just right for you.
- Your personal healing, self-development, or spiritual journey should not be another source of stress in your life. If it’s not joyful, then it’s probably the wrong thing for you.
- Not all facilitators and teachers will be compatible with our personal style, no matter how highly recommended they may come. If you do not feel comfortable with someone, listen to yourself and stop; some other person will be more compatible with your personal style.
- Never try to push yourself too hard to obtain a result. Everything has its own season.
- Expectations based on other people’s experiences may serve as a great motivation for getting started, but we really need to keep a check on our expectations and forgo comparisons with other people. However your experience is, it’s okay; that’s how it was meant to be.
- Be ready to step beyond the boundaries of the known and the familiar, but recognize that each person’s tolerance for the unknown and the unfamiliar is different. What is extreme for one person may be child’s play for another. There is no standard against which you should measure yourself other than how you feel about it.
- Always make your best effort to transform any emotional issues that surface. Do not leave them hanging unresolved, since they will make you feel upset and unbalanced for some time afterward.
On this planet we are faced with enormous challenges, but through these we can see, if only dimly, the outlines of a future humanity existing on a higher arc of spiritual evolution. The task of realizing this future is not someone else’s. It is certainly not the task of some remote political or corporate elite. The task of realizing this better future is yours and mine and all of us who wish for something better, not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but for all sentient life. By opening ourselves to the power of love and by taking responsibility for our own healing, all contribute directly to the harmony of the larger field. After all, we are part of a much greater whole.
1. Nagel, Thomas. Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
2. Kauffman, Stuart. Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason and Religion. New York: Basic Books, 2008.
3. Turner, Edith. “The reality of spirits.” Shamanism, 10, no. 1 (1997)
4,5. Grindal, Bruce. “Into the heart of Sisala experience: Witnessing death divination.” Journal of Anthropological Research 39, no. 1 (1983)
Excerpted from The Power of the Healing Field: Energy Medicine, Psi Abilities, and Ancestral Healing, by Peter Mark Adams, published by Healing Arts Press, ©2022. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. www.innertraditions.com.
Peter Mark Adams and his wife, Kenzie, have shared a healing and personal development practice for more than 20 years, where they specialize in energy and meridian therapies, breathwork, and meditation. For more than 45 years, he has practiced a range of meditative and energy-based techniques, including Mind Connection Healing, Reiki, EFT, mindfulness, Vivation, and Rebirthing Breathwork. www.petermarkadams.com