Near-Death Experiences and the Quest for Immortality
I sent my Soul through the Invisible, some letter of that After-life to spell: And by and by my Soul return'd to me, And answer'd "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell."
—Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat
In 1980 I attended a weekend seminar in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on "Voluntary Controls of Internal States," hosted by Jack Schwarz, a man well known to practitioners of alternative medicine and altered states of consciousness. According to literature advertising the seminar, Jack is a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, where years of isolation, miserable conditions, and physical torture taught him to transcend his body and go to a place where he could not be hurt. Jack's course was intended to teach the principles of mind control through meditation. Mastery of these principles allows one to voluntarily control such bodily functions as pulse rate, blood pressure, pain, fatigue, and bleeding. In a dramatic demonstration, Jack took out a ten-inch-long rusted sail needle and shoved it through his biceps. He didn't wince and after he pulled it out only a tiny drop of blood covered the hole. I was impressed.
The first part of the course was educational. We learned about the color, location, and power of our chakras (energy centers intersecting the physical and psychospiritual realms), the power of the mind to control the body through use of these chakras, the cure of illnesses through visualization,
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