Mental visualization has not only helped improve physical ability but it can also produce creative genius. One of the great but neglected scientists of this century, Nicola Tesla had trained his visualization faculty to such a degree that he could mentally construct an invention in detail. His mind was his laboratory. He felt that the trial and error approach of experimentation that men like Edison used was wasteful and time-consuming. When Tesla was a child in Yugoslavia, his mother purposefully trained him in visualization, to play games in his mind. Later, he was able to rapidly learn 12 languages, develop a photographic memory and do maths instantly like an electronic calculator. His great power of visualization was so precise that his skilled machinists said that if he were inventing a new turbine or some type of electrical equipment, he would produce every single measurement from his mind, including dimensions drawn to one ten-thousands of an inch. It was this skill that led him to invent the A.C. system of power generation that won him the contract to harness Niagara Falls. He had 700 inventions to his name.
Basically, the right half of the brain governs our artistic, musical, imaginative, innovative and visual tendencies. The left side controls our scientific, logical, analytical, mathematical and verbal skills. Scientists believe that the person who uses both sides of his brain is the most successful in either left or right brain profession. Einstein, for example, developed his theory of relativitly while daydreaming about buildings flashing by when he was on a train. They appeared narrower than they were. He continued to muse on the problem and then using analytical and logical left brain procedures developed the formula that changed the world. Later, he revealed that had he worked on this problem from a purely analytical and scientific point of view, he could not have envisioned the theory because it defied all the known laws of science. Because he also used his innovative, creative, right brain abilities, he went beyond those laws. 'Maansi' develops one's right brain abilities because it creates vivid pictures in one's mind. You actually involve your whole being, your senses and your feelings whilst offering 'Maansi Puja'. This is corroborated today by researchers. One, in particular, Dr. Owen Caskey, a psychologist in the U.S.A. says, "If you want to improve your life make a picture in your head - of getting along with your spouse or of communicating with your boss. If you don't make pictures in your head, there's not going to be very much in life that's easy for you." Here, it is well to digress a little for the benefit of students who have problems in learning. Leading educators are introducing 'right brain strategy' to develop advanced learning techniques using mental exercises which induce states of mind especially conducive to accelerated learning. Their first requisite is a relaxed mind. Says Dr.Caskey, "A relaxation skill is the most crucial element to improve learning ability. Anxiety interferes with learning. If you can rid an individual of anxiety, he is more likely to learn." This is achieved by visualization exercises, like the one mentioned in the beginning of the last article - about the juicy mango. But 'Maansi Puja' is in itself such an exercise and if it is practised regularly, it would be very easy for the student to get into a relaxed state of mind in preparation for studying. His personal involvement and interaction with the Lord during 'Maansi' will be more subjective and fruitful than other abstract exercises. There are two distinct advantages of such a method of relaxation over others: (1) one does not become so deeply relaxed that one has trouble concentration (2) it develops creativity and a powerful imagination easily. This is especially helpful to those students who complain of lack of imagination.
As far as health is concerned, 'Maansi Puja' really does affect our body's chemical mechanisms to produce physiological changes. Researchers have begun to show how the images we produce in our mind influence our health. The first direct response of 'Maansi Puja' on the body is profound relaxation. Generally our modern and urbanized living produces stress and some people are more easily stressed than others. As one psychologist rightly observed, that the worst sources of stress are not in the headlines of newspapers, but in our own minds!
Nicola Tesla rapidly
* learned 12 languages
* developed a photographic memory
* had 700 inventions to his name
Physicians in the U.S.A., have devised their own relaxation and visualization techniques to help people suffering from depression, insomnia, asthma, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and even cancer. It is suggested that the images we produce may subtly change our emotions, creating either a positive or a negative effect on our immune systems. J.K. Kiecolt Glaser and Hans Selye have documented the lowering of immunity in people suffering from depression and/or stress. A special type of cell in the blood called T Cells which fight infections are less active during depression and periods of emotional stress. This enables illness to gain a foothold in the body. Overcoming stressful situations using positive mental imagery boosts one's immunity and thus improves one's physical health. 'Maansi Puja' is one form of positive mental imagery. If mental imagery can help people overcome disease, then it can also help healthy individuals keep their immune systems in peak performance.
When we are disturbed and produce negative imagery, that is called worrying, the negative images in one's mind induces the body to react in a detrimental way leading to illness and disease or even death. A classic example of this will help us understand the powerful effect of one's attitude towards an illness. In 1957, a cancer patient, in the U.S.A. was given an experimental anti-cancer drug called Krebiozen. He believed it to be a powerful drug that would save him. His cancer literally disappeared! Then an article appeared in the news saying that Krebiozen was an ineffective anti-cancer drug. Unbelievable as it may seem his cancer recurred. His doctor then told him that he was now giving him a super-refined version of Krebiozen which was really effective against cancer. Actually this time he was just given injections of water. Incredibly, his cancer went into remission for the second time. Some time later an article in the newspaper appeared which stated that the FDA was withdrawing the drug from the market. Since reading this, the patient died within two days! Obviously the patient was horrified that he would have to die and the disturbed mind produced such negative images which led to harmful changes in his body thus killing him.
Researchers have even begun to use mental imagery in treating terminal cancer patients. They have found that patients can reduce the size of their tumors and sometimes experience complete remission of the disease. Dr.Bernie Siegel, assistant clinical professor of surgery at Yale Medical School, who has started teaching imagery to his cancer patients, was asked, 'Has surviving cancer as much to do with our mental attitude as it does with the extent of the disease? He replied, 'Yes, absolutely.'
Mind Rules the Body
The fact that the mind rules the body is, in spite of its neglect by biology and medicine, the most fundamental fact which we know about the process of life.
- Franz Alekander, M.D.
Norman Cousins's experience with suspected tuberculosis in Anatomy of an Illness:
My first experience in coping with a bleak medical diagnosis came at the age of ten, when I was sent to a tuberculosis sanitarium. I was terribly frail and underweight, and it seemed logical to suppose that I was in the grip of a serious malady. Later it was discovered that the doctors had mistakenly interpreted normal calcification as TB markings. X-ray at that time were not yet a totally reliable basis for complex diagnosis. In any case, I spent six months at the sanitarium.
What was most interesting to me about that early experience was that patients divided themselves into two groups: those who were confident they would beat back the disease and be able to resume normal lives, and those who resigned themselves to a prolonged and even fatal illness. Those of us who held to the optimistic view became good friends, involved ourselves in creative activities, and had little to do with the patients who had resigned themselves to the worst. When newcomers arrived at the hospital, we did our best to recruit them before the bleak brigade went to work.
I couldn't help being impressed with the fact that the boys in my group had a far higher percentage of "discharged as cured" outcomes than the kids in the other group. Even at the age of ten, I was being philosophically conditioned; I became aware of the power of the mind in overcoming disease. The lessons I learned about hope at that time played an important part in my complete recovery and in the feelings I have had since about the preciousness of life.
An exceptional example of the mind's profound capacity is of William Calderon, who recovered completely from the most dreaded disease of all AIDS! In December 1982 he was diagnosed as having AIDS and he would probably live only 6 months. He became depressed and anxiety set in. Simultaneously Kaposi's sarcoma, a type of cancer most associated with AIDS appeared and began to infiltrate his body rapidly. A hair stylist by profession, Calderon was attending his salon when a regular customer noticed his despair. After revealing his story, Calderon was told by the customer that, "William, you don't have to die. You can get well." The customer then showed him how to meditate and perform mental imagery on line with the method Dr.Simonton used. He began to have a positive attitude about life and people and since then his tumors began to shrink. Two years later Calderon was re-examined and he showed no signs of AIDS. This is the first documented case of complete recovery from AIDS and that too, without the use of any drugs or conventional cancer therapy.
In the final analysis it would seem that the more relaxed we are during our daily activities i.e. free of stress, the fitter we become. Dr.Herbert Benson, associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and president of Harvard's Mind/Body Medical Institute, has devised his own method of achieving relaxation. He advocates his method of focussing attention for 10 to 20 minutes once a day. Another such proponent, David Harp(M.A.), author of the new Three Minute Meditator,' suggests Mini-Meditations, each one lasting from a couple of minutes to as little as 30 seconds, as often as you can during the day. Similar to 'Maansi,' it is interesting to note that the principles behind 'Maansi Puja' advocated by Shriji Maharaj in 1829, are being verified and presented by the scientists of the 1990's as being beneficial not only to the physical body but also for attaining inner peace and tranquility.