By Amit Goswami, Ph. D.
The actress Angelina Jolie, by her radical mastectomy because of a high probability for contracting breast cancer, has increased our awareness of the suffering that this tragic disease brings to women worldwide. The truth is, every year roughly 3 million people contract this disease, and thousands die.
Angelina’s case was special because her situation was hereditary. But many cases of breast cancer are not hereditary, (due to any genetic abnormality), and the question arises, could it be that in these cases the physical symptoms—cancerous growths—are not due to any physical cause at all? If there is a nonphysical cause, and we can understand it, can we treat the disease at the root and heal it? Furthermore, if we can understand the cause of these cases of cancer, could we prevent the cancer by eliminating or minimizing the cause in the first place?
Conventional medicine practitioners are not very friendly to such questions because of their “everything is matter” and “genetic abnormalities cause most disease” philosophy.
Quantum physics leads us to a different philosophy: Consciousness is the ground of being in which there are four worlds of quantum possibilities: material, vital, mental, and archetypal (which I call supramental). Choice by consciousness from material possibilities gives us material objects of sensing. When consciousness chooses from the possibility-movements of the vital world, we experience vital energy movements of feeling. Choice from the mental world (mind) gives us meaningful objects of thought. And choice from the supramental gives us the archetypal objects of intuition such as love.
The individual manifest worlds of our experience do not interact directly but only through the intermediary of consciousness with nonlocal, signnalless communication (quantum nonlocality).
This scientific validation of our subtle experiences of feeling, thinking, and intuition, opens the door for the validation of alternative practices of medicine that postulate an important disease-causing role to imbalances of the subtle movements of our experience. (Read my book The Quantum Doctor.) For example, vital body medicine practices such as Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM], the Indian Ayurveda, and homeopathy claim that many diseases are caused by imbalances or blocks of vital energy movements associated with our organs and their interactions. Mind-body medicine practices hold that imbalances and blocks in our processing of mental meaning cause some of our diseases. And so forth.
TCM and What Quantum Physics and Avant-garde Biology Add to TCM Model of Breast Cancer Treatment and Prevention
Now back to breast cancer. According to TCM, breast cancer is caused by imbalances in the movement of vital energy in the breasts and in the related organs of importance to healthy breast functioning. Also of importance in TCM is the movement of vital energy in the channels called meridians that connect interacting organs.
In the early days of medicine, when Traditional Chinese medicine was formulated, very little was known about the vital body. Boldly, the Chinese thinkers used a modified version of the five-elements theory of matter and space (the classification in terms of earth, water, air, fire, and vacuum or empty space) to get a grip. But being good empiricists, they also took into account what they empirically knew about the organs. They discovered that organs affect organs in two ways, either in a supportive role or in a controlling role. Accordingly, they renamed the corresponding vital energy elements as: earth, water, wood, fire, and metal. Earth nourishes metal in a supporting role, but metal cuts wood in a controlling role.
In this way, TCM practitioners would say that the female breasts, liver, and stomach are connected by support and control. Therefore, they emphasize the importance of keeping the flow of vital energy in these organs and between these organs unblocked and balanced. This means we pay special attention to the flow of vital energy in their channels of communication, namely, the liver meridian and the stomach meridian. Balance in the conceptualization of TCM means a balance between the complementary aspects—yin and yang—of vital energy (chi).
TCM is especially effective as a preventive medicine. If we keep the vital energy balanced and unblocked in the way described above, we can prevent cancer, is their point. Empirical data supports their view.
Modern science improves the theory quite a bit. I have already spoken of how quantum physics and the concept of psycho-physical parallelism make the concept of vital energy scientific. Balance in this approach means a balance between particle and wave modality of the flow of vital energy, a balance of what is and what is possible, in other words, a balance between conditioning and creativity in the mode of movement.
Now add new insights in the biological theory of form-making, morphogenesis. The biologist Rupert Sheldrake noted that morphogenesis (how a one-celled embryo, through cell division that creates identical replicas, can grow all the different organs of the body with differentiated functions depending on where in the body the organ lies) gives rise to a paradoxical question—how does the cell know where it is in the body? Accordingly, there must be new nonlocal, and therefore nonphysical, organizing principles, call them morphogenetic fields, that are instrumental in biological cell-differentiation and form-making.
When we combine the lesson of quantum psychophysical parallelism with Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields, we can see clearly that the morphogenetic fields are the blueprints of biological form that consciousness uses to make organs. Each organ then has a “correlated” (through consciousness and quantum nonlocality) morphogenetic blueprint in the vital body. The conglomerate of these morphogenetic fields associated with all our organs is what we call the vital body.
As the physical body grows through childhood and early adulthood, the movements of these associated morphogenetic fields become conditioned to act in a certain predictable way. These are yin movements of vital energy. But the cells die and are replaced from food molecules, disease comes from various sources, environmental changes with seasons and places; in this way, the movements of the morphogenetic fields has to have creative dynamism, a balance of the yang component of chi.
The most serious situation, of course, is created when certain movements of vital energy are entirely blocked; in quantum parlance, these movements are never actualized or collapsed. We can see, that such blocks of vital energy movement that prevent the functioning of organs would have grave disease-producing consequences.
Now add another relatively new insight of modern biology and medicine, the discovery of the immune system that keeps the body healthy by killing off intruders. Naturally, modern medicine recognizes the importance of keeping the immune system functioning normally. Because of occasional mistakes in cell division mechanism, the body is always creating abnormal cells that the immune system kills off routinely as intruders. But if the immune system does not function properly, these abnormal cells can grow and become malignant causing cancer.
However, modern medicine has only a few legitimate scientific mechanisms for immune system malfunctioning. The principal one is genetic; if there is a defect in the gene structure, the immune system will go awry with high probability. This was suspected to be the case with actress Angelina Jolie.
Another mechanism sometimes suggested is the action of a bacteria or a virus that trips off the immune system. However, there is no concrete case of this happening. Recently, a red flag was raised in proposing that oral sex can lead to throat cancer through bacterial infection. The actor Michael Douglas made himself the butt of many jokes when he claimed that his throat cancer was caused by HPV contracted through cunnilingus.
Vital energy medicine can do better. Blocking of the vital energies associated with the immune system is a likely mechanism for immune system malfunctioning. What can produce a vital energy block of this kind.
What feelings are associated with immune system functioning? The job of the immune system in the form of the thymus gland –- its geographical location roughly the same as the female breasts — is to distinguish between “me and not me”. When we fall in love with someone, the movement of the morphogenetic field associated with our immune system is temporarily suspended, suspending immune system functioning as well. This is experienced as an intense yearning for physical union, a part of all episodes of romantic love. When the union is achieved, movement of the morphogenetic field (vital energy) resumes, and the immune system functioning returns to normal.
In this way, certain situations in women’s lives can lead to prolonged suspension of immune system functioning, such as a woman in grief from bereavement. This then can produce breast cancer.
In Eastern psychology, the presence of certain feeling centers along the spine was discovered long ago. These points are called chakra points. Notice that the location of the thymus gland is roughly in the same area as the heart. The corresponding chakra point where we feel romantic love is called the heart chakra. There are seven such major chakra points.
The identification of unfulfilled romantic love as the source of immune system malfunctioning gives us an extra handle. It brings to the fore the role of the mind in causing vital energy blocks. To starve the heart chakra of romantic love until fulfillment is achieved with only the desired partner is often a mental decision that suppresses the feeling of love towards others. Thus, certain types of cancer, breast cancer in particular, can be recognized as a mind-body disease.
Again, from the perspective of mind-body disease, prevention is the best policy to deal with the problem. In the olden days, people were encouraged to grieve more than they naturally would. Now with a cancer-prone environment and an exponential increase of mental stress, we should do the opposite and discourage prolonged mourning.
Is there any healing along these lines once one has contracted breast cancer? The best results are achieved if we try changing the context of the mental thought that contributes to the negative emotion of grief.
The physician Deepak Chopra discovered the phenomenon of quantum healing as an explanation of many cases of spontaneous healing without medical intervention. Quantum healing occurs as a discontinuous transition of the mind to the archetypal world to discover a new context for mental thinking that is causing the vital energy block. Such quantum leaps are part of the creative process. In the case of mind-caused breast cancer, the quantum leap will let you love again.
The quantum leaps of quantum healing of cancer bring about the normal functioning of the immune system back with such fury that overnight all the cancerous mass is destroyed.
Can we do even better, life-long prevention, once we have rediscovered love? In TCM, it is recognized that the vital blueprints of the three organs of the lung, liver, and stomach form a special trio of circular hierarchy: the liver blueprint controls the stomach; the stomach blueprint does not control the liver back directly; instead, the stomach blueprint supports the lung blueprint, and the lung blueprint controls the liver blueprint. Thus the vital blueprints of the three organs form a causal circularity, a situation called tangled hierarchy which produces self-identity. What this means is that when consciousness collapses the possibility waves of these organs and their associated blueprints (morphogenetic fields), it identifies with the trio as a whole giving the system apparent autonomy. There is no evidence for any autonomous functioning of the lung, but there is such evidence for the immune system. Clearly, ancient Chinese thought has validity if we substitute immune system for the lung. In other words, the immune system, the liver, and the stomach form one autonomous system of identification for consciousness. And it is important to keep each member of the trio and their vital connections healthy to ensure proper immune system functioning.
So the quantum recipe for forever healthy living: discover love and expand your center of functioning from your neocortex to include the heart (immune system) center also. As John Lennon wrote, “all you need is love”.