Impossible, but true

Tai chi and martial arts expert Bruce Frantzis once told me something I’ve never forgotten. When he started out as a student in China, he told me that one of his teachers once put his hand out, and Frantzis shot to the other side of the room. He hadn’t been touched, but the energy from the teacher’s hand sent him hurtling back. “That,” I said, “is impossible.”
“Of course,” replied Frantzis, “but only according to your science.”

Was the story true? I can’t say, but the moral of the tale certainly is, and I’m often reminded of it as I continue to research medicine and healing. We are limited by what we know, and what we know shapes what we think is possible.

We functioned very well in a universe that had been described by Newton, but that world was transformed—and we were able to achieve so much more—when Einstein came up with the new physics that ushered in the science of quantum mechanics.

In the world of healing, acupuncture is ‘impossible’ because nobody has ever been able to see meridian points running through the body. But researchers have discovered it harnesses chemical pathways that trigger self-healing processes and, as a result, is effective in more than 100 conditions, most notably chronic pain.

Homeopathy is even more impossible. That turns physics on his head with its underpinning theory that a substance becomes more potent as it is diluted, sometimes by hundreds of times. Yet, homeopathy is offered alongside allopathic remedies on the Indian subcontinent, after its success in a cholera outbreak. And although it is an individualized medicine, the standard mass studies used to measure conventional treatments have nonetheless demonstrated it is effective for a range of conditions.

There are examples of the impossible closer to home, too. For the past 15 years, WDDTY’s coeditor Lynne McTaggart has been carrying out research into intention: can a thought, or collective thoughts, change ‘things’ in the world? 

More than 35 scientifically valid studies have been carried out using the protocols Lynne has developed over the years, and almost all have returned positive results. Seeds have grown faster, leaves have glowed, water has been purified—all because a group of people intended for them.

The scientists conducting the experiments were ‘blinded’ to the seeds and leaves that had been selected; in all these cases, there was another set that had been ignored by the intenders, but the scientists didn’t know which was which until the experiment ended.

Lynne also oversees weekly intention groups, where her many followers intend for people who are sick, and, again, miracles happen. One that especially sticks out is a small child whose stage 4 cancer went into remission within two days.This is impossible, of course, at least according to the world as we understand it through science. 

Leaving the impossible world, the boundaries of what we know are continually being pushed back in the possible world, too. Our News Focus this month explores the discovery that our bodies have brown and beige fat. We’ve always known we have white fat—which stores calories and accumulates around our waist and thighs if we don’t burn it—but brown fat does the very opposite: it burns calories to keep the body warm.

Babies have brown fat, and it protects them from hypothermia, but it had been assumed we lose the fat as we get older. It was only in 2009 that scientists discovered we retain brown fat throughout our lives, and people who work outdoors have more of it than someone who sits behind a desk.

Not only does brown fat burn calories, it also eats up blood glucose, and so people with active brown fat are less likely to be obese or suffer from type 2 diabetes or heart problems.

The discovery marks a fundamental shift in our understanding of the way our bodies work, and it opens up new possibilities for losing weight—and so combating the obesity epidemic—and preventing heart disease, which is still the number one killer in the West.

In this age of  ‘cancel culture,’  where Facebook pages, Instagram accounts and the like are closed because someone is saying something we don’t like—either because they’re derided as an ‘anti-vaxxer’ or a science-denier—it’s good to remember these examples.

There’s more in heaven and earth. . .  so keep an open mind and wait for the science to catch up.