אהיה אשר אהיה
I'm doing research on The Holocaust. In 2013 the world will mark the 80th anniversary/memorial of one of the greatest tragedies in human history. I was asked to compose a monologue or short play in honor of this sacred time and have been trying to find something that struck my attention. In the past I've researched and written about Holocaust, Russian pogroms, and even the Spanish Inquisition for various theatre and museum project. The enormity of the tragedy and the ocean of information can some times make me think 'do I even have a voice in this?' As someone who can't claim to be Jewish what is my right to this history and the people? That's when I ran across the name: Jack Schwarz.
Jack Schwarz survived the Holocaust and went on to transform many lives. I've only known about Mr. Schwarz for a few weeks. He was footnoted in a book I was reading. Thanks to the modern miracle of the internet, a quick mention lead me down a rabbit hole of information and confirming sources about this amazing man.
Jack Schwarz was a Dutch Jewish writer who was captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp like millions of others. He was beaten and tortured beyond comprehension. And it was at that point that something unusual happened according to Schwarz. He realized he could control and regulate the pain he endured. He undertook a practice of meditation and prayer. He sharpened his mind to the point where he could withstand torture and horror.
At the end of WW II, Schwarz started speaking out about the power of love and prayer with a higher self. To demonstrate he would go around Europe and demonstrate on himself. Schwarz would press lit cigarettes into his flesh and no burn marks would show up. He would knives and needles through his organs and the holes would close up without bleeding or pain. He would press himself on to a bed of nails and speak on the power of prayer.
Schwarz wasn't trying to say he was exceptional. In fact he was making a point that his mind was the same as everyone else and it is there from which he was able to tap into that power. The power he was taping into was, according to him, God.
The past two years I've been fascinated with scientific anomalies and quantum physics theories. From Michael Talbot to Dr. Richard Bartlett, to Dr. David Hawkins I've been bouncing around reading about energy and holographic planes, morphic fields, and zero-pt energy concepts. In the course of this everyone has some pretty unusual stories. These are studies, surveys, and anecdotes from physicists, neurologist, psychiatrists, and researchers that don't match 'typical' science. In fact there is a mountain of evidence from Stanford University to Princeton University's PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research). I find this helps ground my Buddhist practices and meditation by giving it a scientific and Westernized explanation. My understanding of chakras and auras is enriched by reading Western research about the fields of energy emitted from the body and at energy centers.
One of my favorite stories is of the Jansen Miracles. In Michael Talbot's "The Holographic Universe" In the 18th century there was a Jansen deacon named Francois de Paris who was in a power struggle with the Catholic Church and French King Louis XV. Abbe Paris was known to perform miracles among his followers but few believed the claims outside of the sect. When he passed away many followers flocked to his tomb and thus began one of the widest recorded continuation of miracles in human history. The Paris parliament and the Catholic Church began documenting volumes of miracles. People cured on the spot of debilitating illnesses, cancers, blindness, as well as hundreds of people who began convulsing in seizures of rapture. These seizures were contagious and would spread through the streets.
Hundreds of people caught up in convulsing who -once under the spell- had supernatural powers. Some were forcibly lifted into the air and could not be put back down on the ground, while others were impervious to any sort of torture or pain. Volunteers were drafted to corral these followers who would number in the hundreds. Volunteers would strike the spellbound with hammers, blunt objects but nothing would happen. They would try to stab and gouge them with knives and swords but the instruments would merely break. King Louis XV eventually had to shut down the tomb of Abbe Paris because the miracles were getting out of hand. And still people flocked for years afterward to see these abnormalities which continued on for 20 years!
Catholic Church, French government, and scientist from around the world recorded these happenings with certified witnesses. A century before that King Louis XIV ran into his own miracle problem with a sect of Huguenots. When he sent troops to Cevennes to kill the Camisard Huguenots, his army officers reported back that they stumped as to how to kill these people. When shot, the bullets would be flattened against their bodies, When lit on fire, the people did not immolate. One of the colonels Jean Cavalier wrote a book about the experience (A Cry From the Desert). And the head of the Camisards was set on a blazing pyre and merely continued preaching.
Which brings me to Jack Schwarz and the Holocaust. Schwarz was tested at University of California and many other institutes. He would subject himself to a full battery of examinations by scientist to make sure he wasn't a hoax. And then would proceed to stab himself with needles and knives with no discernible effect.
Despite his supernatural ability, Schwarz looked at his abilities as a power derived from being connected to God. His torture awoke his understanding that he could control his mind. He could set his mind on an object with increasing intensity. And he realized that LOVE was the best meditation object for improving health, wellness, and protecting against violence. He realized that love IS the name of God. And by meditating on this aspect he could withstand Nazi torture, concentration camp living conditions, and living after the war with no feelings of hatred toward Germans.
Schwarz's story is not of freak-show abilities or the triumph of will power, or even an extraordinary man. it is a story of love's transcendental effect on our bodies and our world. In my own spiritual practice we have mantras (words invoked under meditative concentration) which endow the practitioner with energy. But really it's an energy which is coming from within that's being cracked open by these prayers and mantras.
The power of words is profound then. Words are merely keys that unlock the heaven or hell that lies within every mind. The very thing that starts off the Torah and many other books is true: it began with the word.
"I AM THAT I AM"
So what are some powerful words that a man like Schwarz could use in a concentration camp? In the Torah one of the powerful names of God is in the second book but it's often overlooked. When Moses goes to the Burning Bush he's told to remove his shoes because he's on sacred ground. He's given his lesson and mission from this voice. And when Moses asks for a name, the reply comes back: I am I am.
What if the highest name of God is how we identify ourselves in our minds and in our words every day: I am. Wayne Dyer speaks on this in many of his books and I can hear his voice in my head: what do I put after the name of God?
I am stupid.
I am ugly.
I am not good enough. Not smart enough. Not quick enough. Not in a good position.
I am anger.
I am crazy.
I am enraged.
All day and night, what are the words that I place after that declarative statement? And in this holographic model what is the power of doing this?
But what would be more appropriate?
I am smart.
I am gifted.
I am love.
As someone who has experience in mantra meditations, I can personally attest to the power of words spoken aloud and in thought. My mantras are in Tibetan and Sanskrit, but it's really just exotic-looking set of keys unlocking the same door.
I'm thinking about Jack Schwarz and the many others like him who endured through the power of the word. They had the keys to unlocking God within.
In recent weeks I've become even more careful about my words, especially how I identify myself and others. After all, in a quantum physics universe it's all coming from my holographic plate (Buddhist would call these plates, 'chakras'). So when I see someone and say 'they're crazy' I'm becoming aware that I'm -on some very subtle level- saying "I'm crazy" which then just unlocks the door to more of the same.
And when I say 'they are light. They are love. I am love,' then the door is unlocked to that as well. Can it really be that simple? As I read about Schwarz and all these cases of so-called 'normal people' I have to believe that, yes, it is REALLY that simple. It is, in fact, so simple that my mind looks for complications.
I'm cleaning up my words. I can still joke, go on Facebook, tweet, text, and be a contemporary person. But I can also step over to the side of light and love in all my actions and words.
7 NAMES OF GOD (in Torah)
- Eloah (God)
- Elohim (God)
- Adonai (Lord)
- Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh (I am that I am)
- YHWH (I am that I am)
- El Shaddai (God Almighty)
- YHWH Tzevaot (Lord of Hosts)