ZEN AND SCIENCE
by Leonardo Anfolsi Reiyo Ekai
a chapter from “Zen Naikan“
Human beings do not know what electricity is, but can define it vaguely and measure it as a difference in potential. If there is “mistery” it does not mean “unknown”.
Difference in potential means that between poles A and B of any oblong object we may calculate a difference in charge, which denotes a passage of electricity and/or magnetism, however minimal. Any object has its own degree of conductivity, or the capacity to transmit electricity more or less well, depending on its composition.
There is even a difference in potential between the cytosol and the cell membrane itself of about 79 mV (millivolts), which fact inspired some researchers to state that if the electrical charge of the many cells of a tissue were to be summed up, the resulting power would be enough to electrocute the whole system.
And yet the fact remains that defining electricity is as yet impossible, and something that probably we will never succeed in doing.
I retain that materialism and fideism are exaggerated approaches to any question, and that it would be more functional to approach everything from the broadest perspective possible. I believe that this perspective is given by the silence of meditation, for during meditation our individual ideas and opinions are canceled, and there arises a power to comprehend matters unknown to most.
The most relevant aspect would be that this penetration is devoid of any theoretical basis, so as to cut down the continual paroxysm of the human mind that seeks to collect demonstrations to satisfy theories instead of collecting facts in order to understand reality.
I suppose that the facts should be collected silently, without raising any barriers of interpretation, or we risk missing the most unexpected facts, the most imponderable and difficult to organize according to our preconceptions.
And here is another use for meditation.
Jumping from philosophy to epistemology, I cite an idea voiced by David Bohm, the Nobel prizewinning physicist: “To have something new, a whole generation of physicists must die.”
In the eighteenth century, the Bolognese scientist Luigi Galvani was the first to demonstrate the capacity of biological tissues to cause electrical phenomena thanks to his experiments on the frog’s gastrocnemius muscle. Galvani showed that a frog’s muscle could be caused to move when an electrical current runs through it.
The scientific precedent that rendered possible the idea of a literary character like Frankenstein’s monster was Galvanism, the term for the electrochemical theory just mentioned.
Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus was written as a joke by Mary Shelley, poet and writer herself, wife of the famous poet, about a century after Galvani made his discoveries. It started as a contest between poets proposed by Byron, who asked the participants to invent a ghost story. This digression is to show how the story of the adventures of Frankenstein marked a particular moment in history, in which in the collective unconscious there was sincere curiosity about electricity, perceived as a force very close to the gift of life itself.
Almost at the same time as the invention of Frankenstein, Cesare Mattei was born, who would found the first multinational pharmaceutical company, a factory of homeopathic remedies. Mattei called his new medicine Electro-homeopathy. He truly did use life-force to charge the base substances of his remedies with electricity. These substances were extracts obtained spagyrically, made into homeopathic remedies which he charged with a naturally-derived current directed with a specific will or intention.
What we have told here, first citing historical fact, is the intuition of a connection between electricity and life as a suggestion for new ideas to think about for the reader.
We start with a fact: the relationship of the brain to the mind. The brain, which science commonly considers the origin of the capacity to think, for Zen practitioners is seen instead as in the same relationship to the mind that the electrical powerhouse has to electricity, that is, the relationship of a thing with what really moves it. This is not the final truth but an experiential point of view of someone who practices meditation.
But how dare Zen monks express opinions on these scientific matters?
Well, let us consider this: scientific matters don’t exist, and neither do “Zen matters”. They are all merely descriptions. The duty of Zen is to attain satori through meditation, that place where discursive logic cannot arrive, but from where one can begin again, with a different purpose.
Scientific research has shown definitively that the entire human nervous system functions thanks to the electrical discharges generated in a special atmosphere saturated with nitric oxide (NO). Saying this, we have expressed the cerebral, neurological aspect of the mind, in which electricity seems to be the living port of entry into the reign of metaphysics, both in its directly electrical as well as its magnetic aspects, linking cerebral function to the much vaster mind, or the whole universe – but this latter is my explanation. And for me, this tie is pre-existing, only that in each individual it may become more or less conscious, until this infinite relationship is formed in the self, beyond all the phenomena deriving from it.
The enlightened state of consciousness, and all the experiences derived therefrom, are wrongly considered by science as peaks or momentarily altered states of consciousness: I say “wrongly” because these states are the legacy of all human beings, according to Buddhist and Taoist belief. Consequentially, all the training described here is inherent to this reality, destined in the practitioner of Zen Naikan to become ever more evident.
Here is an oscilloscopic tracing of the electric potential emitted by the sinoatrial node of a rabbit’s heart. The reader will have already guessed or discovered how living beings generally are made up of cells, which need the appropriate magnetism to function well. Science explains this on the basis of two principles:
• cells are strongly influenced by magnetism and electricity because their membranes and other internal structures are electrically charged, as well as having real physical passages for electrical current and magnetism;
• also chemical and enzymatic reactions are strongly influenced by magnetism. These take place throughout the body in immense quantities, being at the base of vital phenomena and our very existence. The reactions are mediated by electronic interaction and exchange: the sharing or transferral of electrons from one atom to another and from one molecule to another.
In the presence of magnetic fields of the right kind and intensity, the electrons of the atoms that constitute the molecules that in turn make up living cells align themselves so as to favor the chemical reactions necessary for all physiological functions. This is why we need magnetism to coordinate and align the cells, to accelerate and favor the chemical reactions, besides optimizing the functioning of the enzymes mediating the digestion of nutrients and the disposal of toxins and biological refuse.
Today, more than ever, activating the natural magnetism allows us to restore our bioelectromagnetic field, influenced and weakened by the electromagnetic pollution of cellular telephones, computers, television, radio, household appliances such as microwave ovens, industrial and domestic electrical networks, radio and cellular phone towers, WiFi and high-voltage power lines.
Our living system is very sensitive to magnetic fields, and the magnetic effect reaches every cell of the body, given that electrical energy mediates every reaction in the whole body, and magnetic fields are present in every organ, tissue, and cell. Furthermore, our bodies produce magnetic micro-crystals, tiny, almost microscopic crystals called biogenic magnetite. Biochemical effects of exposure the blood to a magnetic field may be easily observed with an analysis of the ESR, which will show changes in blood composition and concentration of iron in the hemoglobin.
Specific qualitative and quantitative changes have been observed in the tissues and metabolism of cells exposed to magnetic fields, just as interactions have been observed between the function of the central nervous system and external magnetic fields. In fact, a magnetic field can exert a direct influence on the diencephalon, the posterior part of the brain controlling the endocrine system, and the forebrain. A magnetic field may cause suffering and illness, or on the contrary it may have a therapeutic effect, principally by strengthening our system and thus inhibiting the development of a possible illness.
The usage of electricity and magnetism for curative or initiatic ends is documented since remotest antiquity. In Ancient Greece and Egypt, Thales, Theophrastus and Pliny described the electrostatic properties of fossil resin, while Scribonius Largus, doctor of the Emperor Tiberius, asserted that electricity, in particular the electric discharges produced by the torpedo fish, could be used to cure various pathologies such as muscle pain, gout, and headache.
Electric and magnetism have a potent connection with life. Many animals possess electrical organs, which Darwin considered evolutionary errors, as in his day the sense of bioelectricity and biomagnetism was as yet unexplored. The magnetic field of the earth is used by many animals – including deer, cattle, dogs, tortoises, some birds, and many fish – to orient themselves in migration, in hunting, for every movement. The same appears to be true for humans, thanks to a proteine in the retina similar to that found in many mammals and insects allowing the animal to use the surrounding magnetic field to sense proportions and distances.
One fact that has stupefied researchers studying the relationship between bioelectromagnetism and life is that the magnetic field of the human heart is measurable at a distance of up to 3 meters from the body.
Until recently it was not possible to measure the magnetic component of the heart’s activity, but perhaps (if I may venture to say so) it was not even useful. Today, thanks to technologies such as the SQUID, it is possible to see that the cardiac magnetic field’s extension is 1.5 to 3 meters outside the body.
Among the energetic meridians that have been measured experimentally, the most intense of these is the heart meridian, which generates a clearly measurable electromagnetic field (EMF). The electromagnetic field of the heart, toroid in form, is 5000 times more powerful than that of the brain. This electromagnetic field is generated within the nucleus of the cells, in the chromosome, and permeates every cell of the organism. From this we understand that while every organ of the body has its own electromagnetic field, with its own intensity and frequency depending on the type of organ, all of these electromagnetic fields are synchronized by the field emitted by the heart.
The communication between every cell and the heart is fundamental, and regards the nano-electromagnetism emitted by the DNA of every cell, as well as by the enteric or metasympathetic nervous system (the gut-brain produces large quantities of serotonin). This communication plays a fundamental role in regulating the information within our bio-electromagnetic field, and (obviously, yet mysteriously) in the interaction with others.
To summarize, our system is a masterpiece of quantum engineering, in which everything is connected through magnetism. There are two clear principal loci for electromagnetic generation: the brain, whose field is weak but precise, and the heart, whose field is more intense, dynamic and hammering like a motor, and sustains the relationship between these radiating organs and every single cell of our system.
Now let us add a further discovery, to describe the ties between our own emotional frequencies and those that are collective or even planetary in scale, from a scientific point of view.
For travel outside the earth’s atmosphere, NASA furnished the spaceships with special electromagnetic generation devices, because the resonance frequency of the waveguide between the earth’s crust and the ionosphere, the so-called Schumann frequency, is now held to be fundamental for human psychophysical equilibrium. In fact, without this frequency, the human biological complex becomes imbalanced, risking illness. We owe Ermanno Tufano the discovery that human DNA generates electromagnetic radiation when mechanically stimulated and exposed to a 7 Hz frequency – in resonance with the Earth’s magnetic field.
It is possible to demonstrate this interaction also in the opposite direction, as the instrumentation of NASA’s two geostationary satellites GOES-8 and GOES-9 indicated: on September 11th, 2001, at 9 in the morning, fifteen minutes after the first of the World Trade Center towers collapsed, satellites detected a marked increase in activity of the earth’s magnetosphere. Later, analyses by Princeton University and the HeartMath Institute of the satellite data, comparing it with other historical periods and other events of global impact, seem to demonstrate the connection between these mass events with the frequency or pulsation of the earth.
Which does not mean that you can explain anything this way, starting from the seed of an apple in all its inconceivable mistery.