Why Me?

This is the rough draft of the first few chapters of a book I am writing.  If you read them, I would greatly appreciate any comments about them that you are willing to share with me.  I am particularly interested in hearing about topics that are unclear or confusing, and in need of clarification.  I would also like to hear about topics that you find particularly interesting and which you would like to read more about.  My preferred way to receive these comments is by email to chuckge@bellsouth.net.  Thanks!

(Updates will continue on this page as I edit and add new chapters.)


I have been a primary care physician in practice for over thirty years. I have been educated at one of the best medical schools in the country, completed an excellent residency program, and I have kept up with recent advances in medicine through continuing education and reading about the latest advances as reported in medical journals. I have also been part of a thriving medical practice with wonderful partners and a medical office staffed by caring and highly motivated professionals, all dedicated to the welfare of our patients.

Despite all of our successes, and all the people I know my colleagues and I have helped over the years, I am becoming more and more convinced we are not doing everything we could be doing for the benefit of our patients, and I am finding better ways to treat their problems than what I was taught. I have now even concluded that some of the foundational concepts and theories on which our medical care system is based are often misleading and sometimes just wrong!

Perhaps a good way to begin to address my growing discomfort with the medical care model I am a part of is by carefully considering a common question many of my patients ask, and which I chose for the title of this book: “Why me?” For example, people who develop life-threatening cancers often ask how they developed their disease. Other patients who are always anxious and worried want to know what it is that keeps them from relaxing, sleeping better, and enjoying life more. Sometimes a parent with a child addicted to drugs wants to know how this could have happened and why their child cannot lead a normal life. There are, of course, many ways this kind of question can be asked, but the kinds of answers I was taught to provide through my training, and have been continuing to provide through the years, are now feeling more and more superficial. I am no longer satisfied that the answers I have been providing to these kinds of questions are the best that I can give.

An even bigger source of discomfort for me are the obstacles I am facing as I try to introduce more effective treatments to my patients. One problem is that there is not enough time available during the usual office visit. An even bigger problem, though, is that the new treatments that I am learning to use are radically different than what my patients expect in their usual medical treatment visit. When people are presented with treatments which are very different from what they are accustomed to, and which may even contradict recommendations they were given in the past, it is hard for them to gain the trust they need to follow through with my advice and strategies.

This book has been written as a way around both of these obstacles. Since what I am presenting here is so far outside of what most medical professionals believe, I will start by providing a thorough explanation of what happened in my life to convince me that much of what I was taught in my medical training needs revision. For people already adept at reading and interpreting medical research findings, I will provide some of the most important research citations of studies that support and extend what I have been learning. For people without this scientific background, I will also provide ways to verify the accuracy of what I am saying by applying these strategies in your own life. This may require some courage to question what most of us have always accepted as unquestionably true, and what is still being taught by most medical experts. In addition, it will require a fair amount of time and effort to explore radically new ideas.

In the first chapter, I will relate two stories that were shared with me that, taken together, began to completely transform my understanding of the world we live in and our purposes within it. The circumstances of the stories gave me proof of their truthfulness, and the new understanding they led me to caused me to begin to re-evaluate many of the conclusions and teachings om which I had based my life and career choices. The way I received them also suggested a very effective way for me to test them further.

In the second chapter, I will explore some of the implications of my conclusions about the stories from the first chapter. I chose to do this by examining how certain key questions about our lives and how the world works have motivated me to search for their answers throughout my life. I describe how my search for answers guided many of my most important life decisions and why the stories of chapter one had such a powerful impact on me. I am not sharing the details of my life because they are important in themselves. Rather, I believe that presenting these important questions and how my answers to them changed through the years is a useful way to explore the implications of the insights uncovered by the stories described in the first chapter. The life-altering nature of these implications will also explain why these new insights so powerfully caught my attention and why they motivated me to further verify them and to explore their implications for decades afterwards.

In the third chapter, I will summarize the scientific research that supports the insights and important implications of the stories. These research reports are of exceptionally high quality and carried out by some of our best research scientists, but because they contradict and often tend to invalidate widely accepted theories and concepts, they are almost completely ignored. Unfortunately, since they have not received the attention that they deserved when they were first published, their findings have usually not been translated into new and more effective treatments. It is usually much easier for scientists to describe them as anomalies, and then to leave them on the shelf, than it is to begin to question everything on which they have based their life’s work. Of course, my conclusion that some of these foundational concepts are in error is a bold claim to make, but I believe the research findings I am presenting, taken together as a consistent and well-replicated whole, strongly support it.

In the fourth chapter, I will describe how the implications of the stories of chapter one, combined with the understanding from the research I summarized in chapter three, led me to discover research studies that provide the basis for a new theory of what causes chronic illness. While modern medical care has been incredibly effective in treating infectious diseases as well as other acute illnesses, and it has been very effective in developing medications to minimize the symptoms of chronic illnesses once they have developed, it has failed to stop the relentless progression of the vast majority of chronic diseases. The insights to be presented in this book provide ways to not only prevent chronic disease from developing in the first place, they also suggest ways to reverse them once they have become established.

In the fifth chapter, I suggest some simple self-treatments that will allow you to begin to use some of the powerful insights from this book in your own life. Since some of them are so easy to use and require very little time to teach, I have been able to easily test them in my day-to-day office practice, and I am quite sure of their practical value. Along with the details and information for their use, I will also include some of the most relevant research citations reporting on their effectiveness.

In the sixth and final chapter, I will pull everything I have been saying in this book together. This will present a consistent set of answers to the questions raised in chapter two. It will also organize the findings of the research described throughout the book in support of these answers.

Before we begin this exploration, though, I have one more important topic to discuss. What I will be saying in this book may feel very threatening to those with strong religious beliefs that may seem to be in conflict with my conclusions in some way. I am also pretty sure it will be a challenge for some others with extensive scientific training that is in apparent contradiction of my findings. If any of these challenges are too much, please just put this book aside for now. I am confident that, at some point in the future, it is likely you will feel encouraged to give it another try With this cautionary note aside, let’s start!

Chapter 1: Two stories that changed my life

In 1968, I enlisted in the US Airforce to avoid being drafted into the army. After basic training, I spent the next year at Sheppard AFB in Texas learning civil engineering. My next assignment, where this story starts, was a year of on-the-job training in the civil engineering department at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio. During my work there, I had become very good friends with a soon-to-be-retiring, grey-haired woman who was my co-worker in a mostly civilian office. This friend, Mary, was nearly disabled by arthritis, walked with a cane and a had a pronounced limp. We had little in common, I was very much the intellectual, and she was very down to earth and very practical. But she was always a delight to be around, always with a twinkle in her eye, and we spent many a coffee break lost in very light-hearted conversations.

One day, toward the end of my year of on-the-job training, Mary and I were alone in the office for one of our coffee breaks. Suddenly, her eyes teared up and she began to talk softly. She said she wanted to tell me about something that happened to her when she was having her right hip replaced several years earlier. She went on to say she has never told anyone and was afraid they might think she was weird. She added that she didn’t know why she felt so strongly that she needed to tell me, but for some reason she did.

She went on to tell me that she had wakened in the middle of her surgery and somehow had floated up out of her body. From the spot she rose up to near the ceiling, she could see her surgeon and several other people in operating room garb surrounding what she knew was her body. Her surgeon was yelling obscenities, and everyone was frantic. She then felt herself being drawn right through the ceiling of the operating room into a very dark tunnel. She felt incredibly peaceful and comfortable and noticed her joints were not hurting like they always did in the past. Then, off in the distance, she saw a very bright dot of white light. As she floated closer, the dot became bigger and even brighter until she saw a very handsome man with arms outstretched toward her in welcome. She felt pure joy in recognizing how happy this man was to see her.

He explained to her that he wanted her to go back to her body and continue her life since she had more that she needed to do with her life. At first, she said no, she did not want to leave him, ever. He smiled even more warmly, telling her it was her choice to make, but it was important to him that she return. She finally agreed and found herself waking up in the recovery room, feeling a lot of pain, particularly in her right knee. More important to her than the pain, she felt an overwhelming sadness to no longer be in the presence of the man she was sure was Jesus. She than asked a nurse who was adjusting her IVs why she had died during her knee operation. The nurse, who had been assisting during surgery, looked shocked at what she was hearing. She stammered and said: “How did you know that!” Mary said she quickly decided not to say any more. It was just too strange to have had this all happen to her.

I didn’t know what to make of Mary’s story, but I did know she was one of the most honest and direct people I’d ever met. When Mary said something, everyone always knew it was true. But this story was in complete conflict with what I knew about how the world worked and how the human mind must shut down when the neurons in the brain stop firing. I couldn’t make this story fit within anything I knew and anything I was taught. I just filed it in the back of my mind and went on with my life like I had never heard it.

Mary shared this story with me about two decades before what came to be called “near death experiences” were written about or talked about in the news. I had no reason to repeat Mary’s story to anyone. I left the civil engineering post where I worked with Mary after I was given orders to Vietnam. After my year tour of duty and my discharge from the service about six months later, I eventually went back to school to finish my college degree and then on to my medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania. It was during my first job after finishing my medical training that I heard the second story that forms the basis of this chapter.

I was driving from my home in Albany, Georgia to my medical office in Leesburg, about 15 miles north of Albany, when I heard another story of someone floating out of their body after they died suddenly. This second story hit me like a bolt of lightning out of the blue! I was listening to a talk show on my car radio. This was something very unusual for me, I would occasionally listen to music as I drove to work, but I never listened to anything else. I have no idea why I was listening to a talk show on the morning of this trip to work. A woman was being interviewed about a book she just had published. When she began to tell the story of how her spirit left her body because of a massive hemorrhage following surgery, I pulled off the road to give the story my complete attention. This story was so similar to what Mary had told me about twenty years earlier that I couldn’t believe my ears! Betty Jean Eadie was telling of her experience after her heart had stopped, and which was the basis for her book: Embraced by the Light. Since I knew there was no normal physical explanation for the incredible similarity of these two stories, it was clear that the source was something outside of the material world. Hearing these two stories being nearly identical was far, far too unlikely to be explained just by chance, alone It would be like rolling a set of dice 50 times in a row and getting two ones on every roll! It would never happen.

I stopped at a local bookstore and bought a copy of Embraced by the Light on my way home from work that evening, I began reading it after supper, and finally finished it, in one sitting, in the wee hours of the next morning. It provided answers to many of the important questions I had puzzled over most of my life. For days afterwards, my waking consciousness was completely involved with processing the implications of what I had heard from these two stories. Coming across this second story, and how it so incredibly closely matched the first, completely turned my understanding of life upside-down and inside-out. It caused me to re-evaluate concepts that been the unquestioned bedrock on which my concept of the world, and of my life, were built.

In the next chapter, I will describe the questions that I was trying to find consistent answers for throughout my life. The search for these answers had motivated many of the most important decisions that had determined how my life had unfolded up until hearing the second of these two stories. Providing a narrative of the nature of these questions, in the context of these two stories, should help clarify the important implications of their remarkable similarities.

Chapter 2: Four Questions

There are questions we all need to answer as we go about our lives. They are important since the answers we choose to rely on direct and motivate us in our most important life choices. Early on in our lives, we are provided with ready answers by those who raise us and teach us, even before we are able to put these questions into words. But we have a really important problem if the answers provided for us, to any of our most important questions, just do not make sense to us.

This became a problem for me when I received my religious education in the Catholic grade school I attended. I was taught that God was an all-powerful and loving Creator. I was also taught that if I committed what was called a “mortal sin” and did not repent from it before I died, my soul would spend the rest of eternity suffering the fires of hell. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not conceive of how I could truly and completely love a Creator who would banish some of His children to eternal suffering. This made no sense to me, so by the time I was about 10 or 11 years old, I found every way I could to avoid going to church. That the universe was the work of a loving Creator resonated with my heart, but the concept of a hell presided over by Satan could not be reconciled with the beauty of the universe as I saw it.

For the first three decades or so of my life, I did not completely believe what I was taught in grade school, but it was easy to act “as if” most of the teachings were true. The Ten Commandments were reasonable guidance, and the of the New Testament felt right to me. I also agreed with just about everyone else I knew who had concluded we would never learn the complete truth until after we died. I did a lot of reading of the world’s sacred literature, but none ever provided an answer to this question for me.

So, with the nature of spirit being an after-life question for me, I increasingly turned my attention to the physical components of the universe for important answers. In my early years, science and mathematics appeared to be the keys to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. For some reason, I was born with an unusual ability to probe beneath the surface of events to discover hidden patterns. Because of these abilities, I excelled at science. So, at this point in my life, along with almost all other scientifically inclined individuals, I believed that a complete understanding of how subatomic particles behaved would provide the answers to everything about how our universe was unfolding. Understanding physics completely would provide the basis for an understanding of biology and how all living things behaved. Then, once we understood the basics of all biology, we would have all the tools necessary to understand human behavior.

Throughout high school I applied myself diligently to the study of physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Even in my childhood, it was apparent to me that the vast majority of the suffering, poverty and violence in the world was a product of human actions. Since scientists were in agreed that human behavior emerged from the physics and the biology that made us up, I reasoned that understanding these fundamental scientific disciplines would lead to answers about what we could do to end most of the suffering and stop the wars we seem to always be struggling with. To continue my search for these answers, I enrolled at Michigan State University, majoring in mathematics and physics. I took all the most advanced classes available to me, but, as time went on in my studies, I came to realize I was pursuing a dead end since it would never provide an understanding human behavior. Understanding the physical sciences was a powerful tool to know how to do many of the important things we want to do in our world, but I found that it told us little or nothing about why we all do what we do.

About the time I came to this realization about the futility of pursuing these scientific studies to achieve my goals, a girlfriend was becoming very depressed and suicidal because of her father’s abuse of her. I found a way for her to hide from him in Pittsburgh, where my parents graciously agreed to take her in. But when this did not go well, I temporarily dropped out of college to solve the problems this “solution” created. Unfortunately, in the emotional stress this rescue placed on me, I failed to think through how dropping out of school, no matter for how short a time, would cause me to lose my draft deferment. This is how I ended up joining the Air Force, and meeting Mary.

Hearing Mary’s story changed nothing about my life or my beliefs at that point in my life. The changes would come later. After my year’s tour of duty in Vietnam, and recovering from life-threatening injuries I sustained there, I eventually went back to school at Michigan State University. Having watched the senseless bloodshed of war firsthand, I was even more motivated to find the answer to what caused people to go to war with each other. I had not lost any of the passion I had to find these answers. If anything, I was even more determined. When I re-enrolled at MSU, I selected what was called “Multi-disciplinary Social Sciences” as my major. I narrowed the focus of my search to the scientific study of human behavior. I expected that disciplines like anthropology, psychology and sociology would provide the insights I was trying to uncover.

After another three years of intensely studying these fields of research, I realized I was at another dead end. Perhaps I was a little bit closer to an answer, but it was clear that the social sciences would not provide the in-depth understanding I knew in my heart was somewhere to be found. I dropped out of school again and wandered, pretty much aimlessly, until I had a conversation with my girlfriend, Jean, who would later become my wife. Responding to Jean’s observation that I was not accomplishing much with my life, I recalled the time I was doing volunteer work in orphanages near Saigon, during my tour of duty in Vietnam. I had developed several ways to improve the nutrition and health of the orphans, and the appreciation I felt from the many hugs from the children brings a tear to my eye even now. As I was recalling on this experience, I wondered out loud if I should apply to medical school. To my surprise, she said this was an excellent idea.

Even though I felt that my diligent pursuit of answers to what I felt were my most important had failed, with medical training, I could make a difference in the lives of others along the lines of what I accomplished in the orphanages of Vietnam. In medical school, I could find out what caused human disease and how best to cure it or minimize its impact. I applied and was accepted at the University of Pennsylvania. I knew that at least now I would begin doing some practical and clearly useful.

This brings my narrative back to the second life-changing story from the last chapter. This time, though, I will focus on how the incredible and not easily explained similarities of the two near death experiences at last gave me answers to the questions I had pursued so diligently through most of my life. These two stories showed me how some of the most fundamental and widely shared assumptions about the world we live in, who we are, and our role in the events we participate in were usually distorted, and sometimes just wrong.

Probably the most important insight is that, at all times, we are spiritual beings temporarily attached to our mortal bodies. Who we are is not limited to our mortal body. As the two near death experience stories show, our ability to leave our body, gather information in spiritual form, and then return to our mortal life, clearly demonstrates that we are first and foremost spiritual beings. Most of us already believe in a spiritual reality that creates, guides and is pre-eminent over everything that exists and happens in the physical world, and that this reality is intelligent, purposeful, and loving. What these stories show, though, and what may be a new insight for us, is that we are always a part of this spiritual reality.

This spiritual reality is not something that comes into play only after our death, or when our Creator answers our prayers, it is at work at all times, in every event, and in every moment of our lives. The stories also show that spiritual reality operates on a completely different set of rules than the physical events we study about in physics and chemistry. You could say that the power of the spiritual reality is immense and that the physical universe, while being created by the spiritual, is actually a limited and controlled subset of the enormous spiritual power that creates it. But, being a limited subset, everything physical is still a part of the spiritual reality, and to completely understand the physical, you must also take into account the spiritual that it is part of.

These stories also show us that our mind, while being a key part of who we are, is the explanation of whether we remain healthy or fall ill. Our mind and consciousness are incredibly powerful, and if we are not aware of this, we can create unconsciously and produce illness. This also implies that when we become aware of this power, what we create in our bodies becomes more easily aligned with our conscious intents.

Through these stories we are also told that we have free will to create whatever we desire, whether it be what we usually call good or bad. This free will comes from a forgetting of the nature of how the spiritual reality, our true home, works. We choose to enter this physical world, attach our awareness to our body, and forget who we are and why we are here. While it is the free will and the purposeful forgetting that creates our suffering, it is always temporary, and its purose is to serve the good of everything that exists, just like everything else. The clear implication of all this is that re-learning these truths is an essential part of our purpose in coming here.

Looking back at my mistaken assumptions that prevented me from finding the answers I was looking for, and after taking in the insights of the two near-death stories, I see why I was hitting dead ends in my search. The idea that our Creator has any need that could be filled by our suffering, and might punish anyone in response, is just wrong and truly makes no sense from an aware spiritual vantage point. That wars have been a result of a defect in human nature was also a distorted assumption. Yes, we are responsible for the wars, but it is because of our forgetting of the nature of spirit, of who we are, and of the purpose of it all. Free will is the true cause, and mistaken beliefs produce the next links in the chain of destructive events that lead to war and poverty. This also implies that finding the truth, and beginning to live in line with it is the answer that will stop our deadly creations.

Yes, these stories had a dramatic impact on me. Perhaps because of my life-long searching, these stories were like a series of epiphanies or “Aha!” moments. I know that I can’t expect what I have said so far to be convincing in itself, but the way I received these insights, and how I could be so sure they were on the mark, gave me direction about how to further verify them, explore their implications further, and most importantly, provide proof for others to verify their truths for themselves.

I knew the likelihood that these two stories would be so similar was so incredibly small that they had to be explained by something outside the rules by which or physical universe operates, and this was a clear demonstration of a very important concept. This showed how we can very effectively and reliably test for the presence of spiritual influences in our physical world. We can look for evidence of the action of spiritual influences by using the scientific method combined with sophisticated of statistical analyses to see if the results we find can be explained by the usual physical mechanisms we are already adept at studying.

In my past studies I was aware of many results that didn’t fit the accepted theories of how things work. But these always seemed sporadic, isolated, and easy to write off as probably being due to experimental error or poor study design. The two near-death stories, though, prompted me to re-consider these results and suggested that, if I looked carefully, I would find these anomalous studies being further replicated. If these spiritual influences exist, then they should always be found to be acting when we look for them using our highly developed scientific tools. This insight is a very powerful tool to use to verify the action of spiritual influences that are hidden within physical interactions.

In the next chapter, I will give a summary of what took me several decades of careful exploration of this kind of research to find. For scientists, being accustomed to reading and interpreting research reports, this should be strong support for the concepts I have been discussing. For those without a scientific background, in a later chapter I will provide an explanation of strategies and techniques the average person can try out in their own lives, to verify their truth.

Chapter 3: Using Scientific Tools to Look for Evidence of a Non-physical Reality

In this chapter, I will be presenting some scientific research findings that further confirm what the NDEs  of chapter  1 implied.  I will be particularly focused on verifying  these messages:

  •  A spiritual, non-physical reality exists.
  •  This spiritual reality operates on an entirely different set of rules than the physical.
  •  These rules bypass the physical limitations of time and distance.
  •  We are spiritual beings, and our lives continue after we are separated from our mortal bodies.
  •  Since we are spiritual beings, we have potential access to spiritual abilities.
  •  Since these abilities are spiritual, they also bypass any physical limitations.

Also in review, in addition to the NDE stories implying these insights, the very nature and circumstances of the two stories show how we can test the accuracy of spiritual concepts using physical experience and data.   Since the events reported in these two stories were so highly unusual, for them to be so similar even though they were from completely independent sources cannot be due to mere chance.  This suggests that if a non-physical reality exists, we can use  calculating the probability of its actions to search for proof of its existence.  If they do indeed exist, these kinds of tests should reliably and repeatedly confirm their presence.  Then, if we repeat experiments that conflict with existing theories often enough, and they continue to show similar results, we know that these theories need to be revised.

One type of research study examining the potential power of the human mind has been called remote viewing.  Typically, research subjects are isolated in a quiet, peaceful setting and given instructions to gather useful information about a distant object or location.  They then report any images or other information that comes to mind in response to this request.  At a later point in time, the impressions produced in this manner are compared to the details of the target they were given.  When these kinds of scenarios are repeated and the results analyzed by the appropriate statistical measurements, they conclusively demonstrate  that this kind of information collection produces  results far outside of what might be expected by chance alone. 

A reliable indication of the existence of this human ability is that the US federal government and intelligence community funded a project utilizing this information gathering method for over 20 years.  During these extensive studies, and other related research, it was found that while certain individuals have an unusually effective ability to do remote viewing, just about anyone can be trained to acquire at least some facility in its use.  Not only was the distance from the remote viewer and the target of no significance for its results, but these research subjects could also gather information from the past or from out into the future of events that have yet to occur.  That these abilities violate our usual understanding of the limitations of time and distance shows that the human mind has potential access to the spiritual reality that produces these interactions and connections.  A few useful references that describe this research can be found at the end of this chapter.

Another type of research study testing the potential non-physical abilities of the human mind might be called remote influence.  In this type of study, a research subject is also isolated, and in no contact with a device that is capable of producing a large sequence of numbers in a random fashion.  The subject is then directed to mentally intend the outcome of the device to no longer be random.  When enough subjects are studied, with large amounts of data output being analyzed using the usual statistical techniques, this research clearly confirms the ability of the human mind to alter the output of such a device at a distance, with no possible physical mechanism by which to influence it. 

This effect is so reliable, and so potentially important, that Princeton University supported a research group for over ten years that carefully studied it.  This group was called the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research project.  Just as was found by the remote viewing researchers, remote influence does not weaken with distance and can be demonstrated to affect the production of data streams back in the past or in the future, (before they are even generated).  Some of the references to these research reports are also to be found at the end of this chapter.

A third type of research demonstrating  the power of the human mind to impact the world around us comes from the physics laboratory.  In one of the research designs to, a beam of particles like electrons or photons of light are passed though two slits in an opaque surface.  The pattern of the particles is then recorded at a third location after passing through the slits.  When done properly, what is called an interference pattern is produced.  You do not see just the  two slits recorded, instead, you see a whole series of somewhat blurred images of the slits that we know is produced by the frequency of vibration that is part of the nature of the particles we are studying. 

This experiment can then be modified to provide the experimenters with information showing which slit each particle passes through on its way to the recording film.  This information can be gathered in ways that have no physical impact on the particles passing through the slits.  What we find when this information is gathered with this modified apparatus is just the image of the two slits instead of the usual interference pattern.   But when the record of which slit each particle passed through is not available, the interference pattern returns when we examine the recordings!  What we are seeing here, and what can reliably be repeated in any physics laboratory, is that what the experimenters know about how particles are passing through their experimental equipment changes how the particles travel.  This shows us that when we observe the world around us, we change it without any physical action or interaction on our part.  Physicists have known about these effects and others that go under the name of quantum mechanics for many years now, but they have been at a loss to understand them.  They violate the accepted theories of how such particles of matter are expected to act.  What the implications from the NDE stories is suggesting to us is that when we do these kinds of experiments, we are seeing the non-physical power of the human mind in action in our physics laboratories.

What I have discussed so far is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the extensive documentation of the power of the human mind that already exists in the research literature.  Another very well documented, but usually misinterpreted phenomena is called the placebo effect.  Researchers who work to develop new medications to treat disease often consider this effect to be a nuisance that interferes with their work.  When they are testing a new drug, they compare its actions to a known compound that they already know has no action in treating the disease they are studying, and which is called a placebo.  What they find, though, is that these inactive compounds almost always have some beneficial effects in these studies.  In their interpretation of the results of their studies, they subtract the beneficial impact of the placebo from the drug’s actions. 

When researchers begin to study the actions of placebos themselves, instead of just treating them as a nuisance to be adjusted for, an amazing effect of the human mind is uncovered.  Such research has shown that the placebo effect increases or decreases depending on the level of confidence research  subjects have in the drug they think they are receiving.  Researchers have also found that every aspect of  medical care can have a positive effect, or even a negative effect (called a nocebo effect), for the people receiving that care.

Sophisticated research studies concerning the action of placebos also show that they can actually change the metabolism of human tissues and alter the physical structures of which our bodies are composed.  Most of our research, of course, shows that active drugs do have direct effects on the structure and metabolism of human tissues.  What we need to add to this, though, is that our mind also has a very powerful effect on these same tissues.  In many research studies of drugs in use today, we find that the placebo effect is even stronger than the medication’s active effect.  What we are seeing in the action of placebos is another example of the power of the human mind to affect our health and well-being  through our thought processes alone.  Some of the research citations concerning the placebo effect, in support of what I am saying here, will also be found in the references at the end of this chapter.

Yet another very large body of research studies document the power of attending religious worship services in improving the health of those who attend.  For decades, research that looks at the health of those who participate in religious worship finds that they are healthier than those who do not participate.  It is not just participation that matters, though, even those who pray at home benefit.  While these individuals do not necessarily do so for their health, engaging with sacred scriptures promotes better health.  Again, in yet another large body of research studies, we see that what we focus on with our minds powerfully affects our bodies.

All the research summarized in this chapter confirms the existence of a spiritual realm that must exist to explain the abilities and power of the human mind.  Since it also further confirms that these effects operate outside the physical limitations we have learned always come into play with the action of physical processes and actions, these abilities must be spiritual in nature.  The proof that we have these spiritual abilities strongly supports the main message of the NDE stories – we are spiritual beings whose existence is not dependent on our current attachment to our bodies.

In the next chapter, I will review more research reports that extend our understanding of the inherent power of the human mind, and which suggest who we should expand our concepts of the causes of human illnesses.  This will set the stage for another chapter which will give useful suggestions about using these insights to improve our health.  Their use will not require any scientific or medical training.

References for Chapter 3:

Books about remote viewing:

Targ R, Limitless Mind (Novato,CA:New World Library, 2004): 29-32

Targ R and Katra J, Miracles Of Mind (Novato, CA: New World Library, 1998): 45-51

McMoneagle J, Mind Trek: 184-5

McMoneagle J, Remote Viewing Secrets  (Charlottesville,VA:Hampton Roads, 2000): 46-7

Targ R and Katra J, Miracles Of Mind: 68-72  

Jahn R and Dunne B, Margins Of Reality (Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace, 1987): 149-91

Books about what I am calling remote influence:

McTaggart L, The Field (New York,NY: HarperCollins, 2002): 143-6

McTaggart L, The Field (New York,NY: HarperCollins, 2002): 109-15

Benor D, Spiritual Healing, (Southfield,MI: Vision Publications, 2001)

Dossey L, Healing Words (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1993)

Weston W, How Prayer Heals (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads, 1998)

Dossey L, Be Careful What You Pray For…You Might Just Get It (New York, NY:HarperCollins, 1997)

A classic research report that shows that a completely ineffective surgical procedure can successfully control angina in cardiac patients:

Dimond EG, Kittle CF, et al. Comparison of internal mammary artery ligation and sham operation for angina pectoris.  Am J of Cardiology 1960; 5:483-486

Articles demonstrating both the potency and complexity of the placebo effect:

Finniss DG, Kaptchuk TJ, et al.  Placebo effects: biological, clinical and ethical advances.  Lancet 2010; 375:686-695

Kam-Hansen S, Jakubowski M, et al. Labeling of medication and placebo alters the outcome of episodic migraine attacks.  Sci Transl Med.2014; 6:1-15

Jensen KB, Kaputchuk TJ, et al.  Nonconscious activation of placebo and nocebo responses.  PNAS 2012; 109:15959-15964

Here is a research report that conclusively shows that administering a physically inactive placebo changes the structure and function of the brain when the subjects of the study believe it is an active drug:

Leuchter AF, Cook IA, et al.  Changes in brain function of depressed subjects during treatment with placebo.  Am J Psychiatry 2002; 159:122-129

Here is a book that thoroughly documents the power of human belief in changing the health and functioning of the human body.  It is professionally written and comprehensive:

Dispenza J,  You are the Placebo: Making your Mind Matter.  Hay House, Inc; 2014

Research reports showing the healing effect of prayer:

Byrd RC, Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population.  South Med J 1988; 81:826-829

Harris WS, Gowda M, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of remote, intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients admitted to the coronary care unit.  Arch Int Med 1999; 159:2273-2278

Sicher F, Targ E, et al. A randomized double-blind study of the effect of distant healing in a     population with advanced AIDS.  WJM 1998; 169:356-363

Review articles evaluating research reports concerning the health impacts of attending religious worship services

Koenig HG, Religion, spirituality, and health: the research and clinical implications.  ISRN Psychiatry 2012 (published online, includes 600 citations of individual research reports)

Levin J, Spiritual determinants of health and healing: an epidemiologic perspective on salutogenic mechanisms. Altern Therapies 2003; 9:48-57 (includes 64 citations of individual research reports)

Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB, Handbook of Religion and Health. NY,NY: Oxford University Press; 2001 (includes citations of over 2,500 individual research reports)

Levin JS, Schiller PL, Is there a religious factor in health?  J of Religion and Health 1987; 26:9-36 (includes citations for 221 research reports)

Kark JD, Shemi G, et al,  Does religious observance  promote health?  Mortality in secular vs religious kibbutzim in Israel.  Am J Public Health 1996; 86:341-346

Al-Kandari Y Y,  Religiosity and its relation to blood pressure among selected Kuwaitis.  J Biosoc Sci 2003; 35:464-472