Off The Record
Monks With “Superhuman” Abilities Show Scientists What We Can All Do
Ancient teachings and scriptures often attribute unusual abilities to the human body. They believe that the principle of the mind over matter can be stretched to the point where we can truly become master of matter.
Science has generally been dismissive of these claims. Which is why we’re writing this article to show that there is more to this than meets the eye. In his book titled Living with the Himalayan Masters, Swami Rama Wrote:
“I had never before seen a man who could sit still without blinking his eyelids for eight to ten hours, but this adept was very unusual. He levitated two and a half feet during his meditations. We measured this with a string, which was later measured by a foot rule. I would like to make it clear, though, as I have already told you, that I don’t consider levitation to be a spiritual practice. It is an advanced practice of pranayama with application of bandeaus (locks). One who knows about the relationship between mass and weight understands that it is possible to levitate, but only after long practice. . .
Image source: Craig Nagy/Flickr
He (also) had the power to transform matter into different forms, like changing a rock into a sugar cube. One after another the next morning he did many such things. He told me to touch the sand – and the grains of sand turned into almonds and cashews. I had heard of this science before and knew its basic principles, but I had hardly believed such stories. I did not explore this field, but I am fully acquainted with the governing laws of science.”
Some of these techniques, known as siddhis in the yoga tradition (from the Sanskrit, meaning “perfection”), include meditation, static dancing, drumming, praying, fasting and even psychedelics.
Even Buddhism accepts a certain influence of external powers on giving the human body abilities beyond the natural fold. A Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, Donald Lopez Jr., describes the many abilities ascribed to Buddha:
“With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body. . .. Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so.”
Harvard Professor of Medicine Herbert Benson and his team of researchers’ studied monks living in the Himalayan Mountains who were able to raise the temperatures of their fingers and toes by as much as 17 degrees.
It is still unknown how the monks are able to generate such heat. They also discovered that some monks could reduce their metabolism by an astonishing 64%. These are truly remarkable feats, and not the first time that science has examined humans who can do extraordinary things.
You can read more about that here, as it is heavily sourced and provides links to several papers that clearly indicate how factors associated with consciousness can influence our biology.