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AN INTERVIEW WITH JACK SCHWARZby Janice Stensrude
published in Uptown Express September 1989
reprinted in Through Your Body August 2012
Jack Schwarz is internationally recognized as an authority on holistic health and voluntary control of human energy systems and internal states. His unique ability to directly accelerate and complete physical healing of his own body within minutes, as well as to control pain, bleeding, heart rate and brain waves, has been studied at the Menninger Foundation and at Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute. Dr. Schwarz is Founder and President of the Aletheia Psycho-Physical Foundation and author of The Path of Action, Voluntary Controls, and It's Not What You Eat But What Eats You.
"It is a pretty lonely life to be the only one in the Western world who can do these things with his body," declares Jack Schwarz. "These things with his body" were studied at the Menninger Institute and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, and 96 books have been written by others about his unique abilities. Observers who have seen the tapes of the Menninger sessions describe their own incredulous discomfort and even nausea as they saw Schwarz push a metal shaft completely through his arm, and then ask the doctors if they wanted him to let it bleed. One drop of blood, and the researchers watched the puncture close and heal before their eyes.
In his pleasant accent, a remnant of his native Holland, he tells of his accident in 1980 when "through circumstances I jumped off a driving motor scooter at 55 miles an hour. I rolled over the road and I had to put a stop to that, so I put both my hands down as brakes, and I lost the heels and the fingertips of my hands." Jack could see the bones as the doctors carefully cut the pieces of tissue from his wounds and dressed them. He was told that the healing would take five to six months and that he would never again have normal use of the hands that would be scarred for life.
"I kind of grinned to myself," he said, "and I thought they don't know what they're talking about." Jack set to work immediately to construct a Japanese garden in his backyard. "I just swaddled my hands a little heavier and put some leather gloves on," he recalled, "and I acted like these hands were normally there."
He took a spade to his lawn, dug a river and laid marble, all the while seeing his hands as normal and healthy. In a week and a half, his hands were normal with no signs of scar tissue. "I don't have any abilities which the average person doesn't have," he declares. "It was just that I put my attention to the idea that I could do that creatively and just imagine that these hands are normally there."
Most people, he claims, put more energy into their disease and injuries than they do into their healing processes. "The healing process can only be activated if you really start paying attention to what we can do if that part of the body is functioning well."
Despite his protestations, Jack Schwarz is a remarkable human being. Born with a gift for healing that was discovered quite by accident at the age of nine, he has spent a lifetime studying to discover the scientific basis behind his gift of healing, and now he teaches what he has learned through books, lectures and teaching at the Aletheia Center, the organization he founded in 1958. "I am only the master of my own life and nobody else's, so I don't want to be a master nor do I want to be a guru," he says. "People always are kind of surprised that I don't go for all the ritualistic aspects."
He views his childhood in Holland as quite normal. It never occurred to him that other people were not also visually taking in the energy fields of their neighbors. "I had no idea that I was doing anything unusual," he states. But when he began talking about his experiences, he found that most people found it very unusual, even weird.
When his mother became ill with tuberculosis, the family was unable to afford to send her to Switzerland for treatment. She stayed in a screened gazebo in the back yard where she could get sunlight and fresh air. One day after school, Jack went to greet his mother and leaned his hands against her legs to support his reach to give her a kiss. "Hold your hands there—it feels so good," she said. They made it a game. Each day after school Jack pressed his hands to his mother's pain, and in three months she was out of bed.
"I became at that time a little bit of a miracle kid of the neighborhood, and they brought their frogs, and their pigeons and their grandmothers, and I just didn't know what I was doing really."
World War II ended Jewish life in Holland. At 17, Jack went to a forced labor camp, and at 19 found himself in the camp "where they pulled all the teeth and several million people were killed." Here he used his abilities to survive and shared them with "people who were with me in the same trouble."
When asked about people whose horrible memories of these camps have come to rule their lives, he replies, "It is ruling my life, too. Only not in the way it rules their lives. They are full of hate. They are full of guilt. They are full of grief. They have graduated from the school and don't recognize it. They are still hangining on to all the things." There are two groups of people, he relates, one who identified with the hunger, the torture, the experimentation, and "the big rats who were all so willing to nibble on your nose and your ears and your toes when you were asleep" and another group "which thank God I belong to, who thought about nothing else except escaping for the sake of survival, but not for survival for self, but to make sure we got out so we could let the world know what was happening and that it would never happen again."
His experiences are the challenges that he says moved him forward in his knowledge and the development of his abilities. "This was not the best choice for schooling," he says, "but since I was in that school, I took the benefit from it."
He is grateful that he survived and is able to fulfill his purpose—sharing with others how he performs his "miracles" and helping them to create those miracles in their own lives.
Jack lives the holistic lifestyle that he espouses. Sleeping only two hours each night, he eats five or six meals a week (week, dear readers, that is not a misprint). "That is physical eating," he explains. "But when I'm excited and I'm in front of a group of people, I'm eating and drinking practically like the trees photosynthesize, because the energy which radiates from them comes from the chemistry in my body which has the molecules setting free the atoms which then become electrical charges which radiate from my skin and thereby resonate with the same particles which are in an energy field which are coming from the sun and are coming from our atmosphere." Proof that he is "eating without eating" comes from three or four normal bowel movements each day that occur whether he has eaten or not. "So we know," he emphasizes, "that the energy gets in there and becomes molecular and goes through a normal assimilation, metabolic and digestive process."
Most people, Jack claims, only get 24 to 48 minutes of sleep (he calls it "mind/body harmony sleep") during their eight to ten hours in bed each night. "I sleep only two hours a night," he says, "but I sleep. I have been doing this for 50 years, so I have gained 12 1/2 years of creativity which other people are putting away in bed, not even sleeping at all." His comic answer for people's questions concerning his sleeping habits is that his mother always told him that most people die in bed and he's scared to stay there very long.
When others are sleeping, Jack is enjoying his solitude. "I do creative meditation, meaning I activate . . . when I center, I center into the center of the universe and perceive new ideas, poems—believe it or not, fashion design comes up, new ideas, writing, playing music, anything creative . . . you see, the word spiritual to me means spirit essence. A spiritual act is totally involved with the soul, mind and body—the soul as the causator or container of the energy, the mind which directs it, and the body which expresses it. To me the spiritual aspect lies in the process, not the result. Whatever happens to the result is not as important as the joy I get out of the process of doing it."
Jack thrives on challenge. Outside authority (and he includes our belief systems in this category) is not his cup of tea, and being told that something cannot be done is the bread and breath of his life. "Everything they said I couldn't do I challenge and did." What other people consider blocks are his challenges—challenges that are meant to be overcome. "I took advantage of being in those camps during the war. That was another challenge for me. And, you know, we have been called heroes, but that's a lot of baloney, because we were adventurers of life. Sure it was a lot of sadness, but it was challenge at the same time to overcome it. And when the war was over in Europe, I was sent for three and a half years to fight the guerilla warfare in Indonesia. I got another challenge again there."
The word control, Jack says, is ambiguous, "because when you reach control you don't have control anymore . . . You don't control the pain, you just create a state by which the pain doesn't need to last because it has done its job." Pain is the body's means of warning us something is wrong, and he compares his method of pain control to shutting off the alarm in the morning when we have heard it enough to get the message that it's time to get up.
"We are all members of the cosmic AAA," he says wryly. "We've all got our jumper cables with us and our grounding wires. I have never healed a single person in my life yet except myself. But I have been instrumental for them to start the healing process by getting them started and giving them some little bit of energy. I didn't give it away, but I just shared it with them."
"Psychophysical rehearsal" is the term used at Aletheia for one of the types of training that clients and students receive to train themselves in Jack's methods. Anything that you can mentally do, he claims, you can do physically. "For instance," he says, "let us say a person is in a cast of the leg, so they cannot run, they cannot really walk very well either. We ask them to start imagining themselves as really experiencing, not just a mental picture, but really experiencing to be, let us say, on the beach and running and playing with the ball or going into the waves and to really perceive and to smell the sea air, to feel the warm sand on their feet—anything that can make it more real to them, so that even for a moment they forget they are actually in a chair. Through that, they actually activate their muscles and their blood circulation, and the instruments show that they are responding as if they really were walking or running and playing with the ball."
The Aletheia, his dream come true, has an internship program where, he says "one of the most important prerequisites is to awaken their own potential to become useful in this society and to put their life on the spot for that." Students who arrive without an appropriate scientific background can avail themselves of extra courses offered in such subjects as physiology and anatomy.
"Now I can put all my energy in my work that comes from it, as long as I stay alive and can manage. That's fine with me. There's a purpose behind it. The purpose is the pursuit of happiness and that can only happen through a healthy body. I'm 65 now, and I feel I'm just starting. That's exciting."