Schwarz, Jack - Beyond Biofeedback by Drs Elmer and Alyce Green – A demonstration of control of bleeding
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Beyond Biofeedback – Drs Elmer and Alyce Green
Before Jack began pulling the needle out of his arm,….., I decided that it would be useful for the record if it were demonstrated that Jack could bleed in a normal way. It had occurred to me that even if Jack did this demonstration a hundred times we really would not know if he had control of bleeding or merely had a peculiar skin. From a medical point of view, it would be more economical to assume that Jack had an anomalous skin, if he did not bleed, than that he had control of bleeding.
In order to control bleeding it is necessary to control a normally unconscious process. All yogis who demonstrate unusual powers of self-regulation apparently have achieved a kind of coordination between conscious and unconscious. In effect, I decided to interfere with that coordination. Just as Jack was preparing to pull the needle out of his arm, I interrupted him and said, "Jack, tell me, is it going to bleed now?" He looked quite surprised and uncertain, like a man balancing on one finger when someone says, "Are you going to fall now?" I suspect that no one had ever interrupted him like that.
Jack said, "I don't think it's going to bleed." But when he pulled the needle out, it bled freely. The photographer put down his camera, and he and I began mopping up the blood with paper tissues. Bleeding was continuous for about ten seconds, and then I heard Jack say very softly, "Now it stops." Much to my surprise, the hole in the skin that I was dabbing closed up as if drawn by purse strings. It took about one second to close, and not another drop of blood appeared.
We were very much impressed, and I said to Jack, "I am glad to see that you are normal and can bleed, and can also stop bleeding. How about doing it again, but this time don't bleed at all." There was a pause. Many seconds went by, and I began to wonder if I had said something wrong, when Jack said, "Okay, I'll do it again." He pushed the needle through a different place in his arm, as shown in Figure 13 (f), and allowed it to remain buried in the muscle for a half minute or so, Figure 13 (g). Though I squeezed his arm, no blood came out when the needle was removed, Figure l3 (h).
When the test was concluded we talked for a while, and I asked Jack why he had paused so long before he agreed to do the second demonstration. He said he wanted me to understand that he did not force his body to do any of these things. He asked it to. He had to ask his sub-conscious and wait for an answer. When it said "Yes" to him, he said "Okay" to me.
Jack also mentioned that in a demonstration of this kind he thought of his arm as an object not attached to him, and pushed the needle through it as if it were the arm of a stuffed chair. Detachment is a well-known method for yogic control of pain, but achieving it is not easy. The kind of detachment Jack uses is evidently associated with the production of alpha waves in the brain-wave record, as we have already mentioned, and no doubt something similar is responsible for the continuous production of alpha waves in the yogi masters who did not come out of the brain-wave state, or show any sign of activated beta-wave awareness even when touched by hot glass test tubes in the experiment by Anand referred to earlier (see Chapter 8).
In Jack's first trial with the needle, the alpha in his record increased from about zero up to 10 percent, but during the second trial it increased from zero up to about 60 percent. That is, during the time when the needle was embedded in his arm, 60 percent of the brain-wave record from his left occiput showed the presence of alpha. As said before, we interpret this to mean that Jack was exercising .”attention control.”