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Science & Spirituality

'Dark Matter' - The Physical Basis for Mysticism

Deno Kazanis, Ph.D.The second part of a paper by Deno Kazanis, Ph.D, the author of The Reintegration of Science and Spirituality.

Energy healing or the laying-on of hands is an ageless tradition of therapy. It is believed to operate directly by transferring healing energy from one person to another. Most practitioners believe that this biofield extends outward from the body, so actual touching is unnecessary. They also believe that it is energized by an energy source which they mediate. Clearly we are dealing here with the "dark matter" etheric and/or astral subtle bodies.

The role of the etheric body is to "act as a receiver, assimilator, and transmitter of prana".(22) Thus the subtle bodies may supply a simple and direct way for healing via the prana-maya-kosa. A healing touch would presumably allow the qi or prana in that corresponding subtle body of the patient to flow properly, which in turn can have beneficial effects on the visible body.

Even healing techniques where there is physical manipulation of the body, such as massage and others, there can be balancing of the energy fields through the nadis or meridians. And because the major chakras are located along the spine and in the cranium, they can be significantly effected by spinal manipulation and cranial-sacral therapies -- even when the manipulation is very gentle, since the hands are immersed in the pranic/etheric or astral body of the client.

The power of prayer

There is considerable scientific evidence for the healing power of prayer and its effectiveness in medicine, as shown by Dr. Larry Dossey. However, Dossey also points out that "We simply don't know how the mind of one person can engage in 'action at a distance' to bring about the healthful changes...". Conventional forms of energy are an insufficient explanation for what we observe in spiritual healing experiments. In them the 'energy' does not fade away with increasing distance, and it cannot be shielded, as we would expect if ordinary forms of energy were involved."(23) Clearly "dark matter" and subtle body theory could present a simple explanation since "dark matter" not composed of charged particles is essentially unaffected by visible matter. Energy in the form of thought could be transmitted by the mano-maya-kosa of one person and received by the mano-maya-kosa of another person. This mental body is capable of transmitting thoughts from one mental body to another. Normally we are not aware of these thoughts, but if one is conscious of the mano-maya-kosa, one can perceive these thoughts. As C.W. Leadbeater puts it, "In man's physical body there is etheric matter as well as solid matter which is visible to us ... and this etheric matter is readily visible to the clairvoyant. In the same way a more highly developed clairvoyant, who is capable of perceiving the more refined astral matter, sees the man represented at that level by a mass of that matter, which is in reality his body or vehicle as regards that plane; and exactly the same thing is true with regard to the mental plane in its turn. ... Every time that we think, we set in motion the mental matter within us, and a thought is clearly visible to a clairvoyant as a vibration in the matter, set up first of all within the man, and then affecting matter of the same degree of density in the world around him. But before this thought can be effective on the physical [visible] plane it has to be transferred from that mental matter into astral matter; and when it has excited similar vibrations in that, the astral matter in its turn affects the etheric matter, creating sympathetic vibrations in it; and that in turn acts upon the denser physical matter, the gray matter of the brain."(24) The energy transmitted on this level of fine matter would not only be unaffected by visible matter, but the space-time relationships associated with the matter of the mano-maya-kosa are so different, that our normal sense of distance would be irrelevant. These thoughts (energy) received by the mano-maya-kosa could in turn effect the gray matter of the brain or organs and stimulate action on the psychoneuroendocrine pathway or the psychoneuro-immunological pathways. Psychic energy can enter through the chakras as well. This type of model elegantly accounts for nonlocal spiritual and psychic healing.


Mankind has invariably been intrigued with clairvoyance, but its status has always been in question, even though convincing evidence has been presented. The subtle body doctrine of mysticism has offered a simple explanation for clairvoyance. As mentioned, the mental body (or mano-maya-kosa) is capable of transmitting thoughts from one mental body to another. If we have physical subtle "dark matter" mano-maya-kosa's, clairvoyance is a distinct possibility.


Astrology is routinely dismissed by the scientific community because it cannot be explained in a causal way in terms of our present understanding of the physical universe. It is often suggested that only ancient or so-called "primitive" cultures that didn't know better, could believe such things. Typical arguments state that the ancients thought that celestial objects were only a short distance overhead, but modern man knows that the stars and the planets are enormously remote. However, this knowledge did not deter Sir Isaac Newton from finding value in astrology, or in this century Carl Jung, who attempted to explain phenomena such as astrology through a concept referred to as "synchronicity", an idea related to Swedenborg's Law of Correspondence.

However, in dealing with "dark matters", which have a different sense of time and space, astrology could also be explained causally as well. If astrology is based upon causal effects on our subtle bodies (and it is traditionally regarded as such) produced by "dark matter" energy (qi), then indeed, the "dark matter" energies directed at us from "distant" parts of the universe (say in the directions of constellations and planets) which seem so distant in terms of our visible matter, may not be so distant in terms of "dark matter" time-space. These energies could, therefore, have a causal effect upon our subtle bodies. What we might see with our "dark matter" subtle body vision as we look out upon the Universe would be quite different. In the time-space of "dark matter", perhaps celestial objects are only a short distance overhead.

Ancient Egyptians

When it comes to other peoples beliefs, be it so called primitive cultures or ancient cultures, the western world with its scientific perspective regards those views often as superstitious, and seldom suspects that there is anything of significance (particularly of scientific significance) that these cultures have to teach us. The tendency has been to disregard all mythic concepts as superstitious. We have "taught" other cultures to suppress their beliefs or understandings of the universe in our presence, and they obligingly do so. As a result, we miss out on some valuable concepts, knowledge, and wisdom. We always (and naturally so) try to analyze their lives in terms of our present understandings of the universe, i.e. in terms of what we presently "know". To do so is to ignore the great potential for mystery, and may lead us far from our present limited understandings.

The ancient Egyptians had a system of knowledge which accommodated the world we can see with our normal vision, but also included matter not visible to our ordinary vision. To them subtle "dark matter" was apparently as visible and as much a part of their world as visible matter, and they lived accordingly. They were aware of numerous subtle bodies and prepared well for the life they would live after death. This was paramount to their thinking, and how they lived, and how they died. A highly evolved culture, they knew that there were ways to affect the subtle matter through meaningful actions, such as spiritual ritual. The mummies of Egypt were symbols of transformation - preparation and assistance for the dying in the after death existence. They apparently had a better sense of the totality of their being than it seems we have today.


Carl Jung has written considerably upon the subject of alchemy, exploring the incredible images presented to the world through this system. As an Analyst he found great value in the structure and source of these rich symbols and utilized them accordingly. Alchemy seems to hold such contradictory information that logic and common sense are of limited value. It is a journey, a path. All of our present day sciences grew out of Alchemy - our chemistry, physics, medicine, astronomy, etc., had there birth in Alchemy. Newton himself was a great explorer of alchemy and spent much more time in these subjects then he did in the traditional western sciences.

The words and images utilized by the alchemists are easily misunderstood. One might mock the idea of 5 "elements" in this system, but the use of "elements" is not at all the way we use the term "elements" today in science. The term is used to represent the 5 basic constituents of both the objective and subjective universe. That is, the 5 "element" theory needs to be understood through Swedenborg's Law of Correspondence, and not from logical science. In the system of subtle bodies, we find that the chakras are related to each phase of energy represented by an "element". In ascending order they are named earth, water, fire, air, ether. The root center (Muladhara chakra) is "associated with the 'element' earth, [whose] 'quality' is cohesiveness and inertia. This level is one in which one may remain content, experiencing no desire to change or expand into any other state." The Svadhisthana chakra is connected with the water "element" (an energy that tends to flow downward), the Manipura chakra with the fire "element" (an upward, consuming movement like flames), Anahat with the air "element" (characterized by a tendency to revolve in different directions and to relate itself to other possibilities), and the Visuddha chakra with the "element" ether (like a vessel in which all the "elements" mingle).(25) The 5 "element" theory applies to both the objective world and the subjective world of personality and consciousness. The idea here is not one of manipulation, but to simply see or experience the world from the 5 "element" perspective which is a great spiritual exercise.

Near death and reincarnation

The knowledge of the subtle bodies makes an existence after death comprehensible. The subtle body doctrine provides a vehicle (the soul) for our existence after the death of our visible body. It makes it easy to believe and understand, and is consistent with human experiences.

A. Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences

We cannot give adequate attention to this subject here, but briefly, people having near-death experiences report experience of: leaving their visible body and observing themselves from a distance; having a form which varied from an amorphous cloud to energy patterns, or pure consciousness, or having a body, but one that was permeable, invisible, and inaudible to those in the phenomenal world; having feelings in some cases of confusion, in other cases ecstatic feelings of timelessness, weightlessness, serenity and tranquillity; passing through a dark enclosed space such as a cave or tunnel; encountering other beings, such as dead relatives or friends, "guardian spirits", "spirit guides" or a "light being" who shows qualities of love, warmth, compassion and a sense of humor; communication through thought; a life review, self-judgment or divine judgment in which they describe an understanding of the consequences of their past actions and thoughts during their life. They frequently have knowledge of events which occurred at some distance away.

Near-death and out-of-body experiences, from the point of view of the subtle bodies and "darkmatter" are the spontaneous awareness and identification with the subtle bodies, and the separation of these bodies from the visible body. It is not clear at what level this separation occurs, which may vary depending upon the experience. Generally, for out-of-body experiences, the subtle bodies could separate at the level of the astral body, but for the near-death experiences, the separation would probably occur at the mental body or mano-maya-kosa

B. After Death

It may seem difficult to believe that knowledge of after death could be obtained, but if we have a physical soul composed of a very fine form of "dark matter", then it becomes more possible to accept that some knowledge of after death could be acquired. The after death events appear to be very similar to near-death experiences. Discussions of the experiences which take place after death can be found in such books as Rudolf Steiner's Life Between Death and Rebirth, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, and Sogyal Rinpoche's book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Although there appear to be differences in the specifics of the after death happenings, one must remember that the experiences of these states have a very different time-space relationship associated with them and far beyond our ability to comprehend from our present state of consciousness. Symbolic and representational art are therefore utilized to convey these after death events, as is some iconographical art of Tibetan Buddhism and shamanism.

The death experience has been examined physically as well. Over the years, various researchers have attempted to show a loss of weight of the human body upon death. The most explicit research of this phenomena occurred at the Technical University of Berlin which reported that after weighing over 200 terminally ill patients just before and immediately after death, there was a weight loss of 1/3,000th of an ounce.(26)

C. Reincarnation

Another common belief in mysticism and also numerous cultures throughout the world is reincarnation. In many cultures it is not unusual for individuals to recall a previous existence, and to know about the people who lived in the village of this previous existence. It is believed by mysticism, that upon death the causal body (made from part of the mental body) the soul (and the more subtle bodies) have a relatively longer existence. The more dense subtle bodies (prana-maya-kosa), and astral body do not leave the visible body immediately upon death. With a "dark matter" subtle body which does not die at death (the soul), then reincarnation is clearly a possibility. It is generally believed that the kind of rebirth a person has is determined by the nature of our actions in this one. However, "Those who master the laws of karma and achieve realization can choose to return in life after life to help others."(27)


One hundred years ago atoms were thought to be solid, indivisible particles and therefore could not interpenetrate with other atoms, but mysticism still maintained that the subtle interpenetrating bodies made of "matter from other planes", did exist. With the development of Quantum Mechanics, the atom was no longer viewed as solid in terms of mass, but did have a solid appearance from the point of view of the electric field. This means that if there were "atoms" held together by some force other than the electromagnetic force, these "atoms" would be invisible to our normal vision and could interpenetrate with our visible atoms. These "atoms" could interact with each other through their own respective binding force, much like visible atoms interact with visible atoms through their binding electromagnetic force. In some ways it is surprising that such an idea has never been suggested by modern scientist.

If humankind was indeed composed of subtle bodies made up of different types of subtle "dark matter", and if we were capable of "shifting" our consciousness to these other subtle bodies, then we would indeed experience the world of that type of matter, much like mysticism states.

This type of subtle matter would fall into the broad category of "dark matter" because it would not be visible to our ordinary vision, but could produce gravitational effects. We could be immersed in it and would not know it. It seems, therefore, that we cannot rule out the physical description of the universe which the mystics provide. As evidence for the existence of such subtle "dark matter", we need only look at the growing scientific evidence for phenomena such as qi or prana, the power of prayer, psychic phenomena such as clairvoyance and other paranormal phenomena, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, reincarnation, etc.

The subtle body doctrine of mysticism has passed the test of time, being a part of our most ancient to modern cultures, throughout the world. It provides an excellent foundation for the explanation of numerous phenomena (as included in this article) so that even without a physical basis it is a valuable system well worth exploring and utilizing. Its success in mystical traditions and the scientific verification of much of the phenomena mentioned here are sufficient to warrant subtle body theory as a valuable doctrine. Truly, it needs no further proof. However, the recent scientific concept of "dark matter" provides a new understanding of what the mystics refer to as subtle matter and so the possibility for a connection between mysticism and western science is quite real and could be of great benefit.

This would suggest that we have a soul, and it is physical, even though it is a very fine form of physical "dark matter". But we must be aware that intellectual understanding of this doctrine will not enlighten mankind; we must obtain an experiential awareness of the subtle bodies in order to truly benefit from these teachings. In so doing, we will be able to live our lives from a deeper understanding of the nature of man and of our position in the universe. We will better understand the repercussions of our actions and decisions, on a personal level, a social level, and a global level.

Science seems to be in a perpetual state of believing it has the truth, despite its history of conceptual revolutions. This failure to accept the idea of "mysterium" is surprising, because there will always be a great mystery out there waiting to be discovered. The Universe is not so small, nor so comprehensible as to lend itself to total analysis by a logical science. This does not diminish the value of science, but simply places it in an appropriate perspective. Science provides one type of insight into the workings of the universe, but not the only insight. The Arts certainly provide another experiential route to knowledge, and mysticism provides yet another. Perhaps this overlap between science, art and mysticism will help us to understand our role in the universe, and to appreciate the universe as the extraordinary multifaceted phenomena it is. If we can equate the subtle bodies and subtle energies with the concept of "dark matter" this will give us a conceptual basis from which to work.

"Dark matter" is just as real as visible matter, all be it a subtler form of matter. With "dark matter", science will have many new frontiers to explore. The impact that "dark matter" will have on science in the 21st Century may be greater than the impact of quantum mechanics and DNA in the 20th Century. We will be exploring a subtle matter and a subtle human anatomy and physiology. Although there have been significant explorations of subtle energies, further explorations of the subtle energies may be more successful and expansive in view of this new understanding. We can better approach this problem perhaps by using meditative techniques to shift our consciousness to the subtle bodies and observe the world objectively from that perspective. This may aid western scientists to better understand the interactions which "dark matter" has, particularly with visible matter. Mainstream scientist are not presently looking for "dark matter" in man. They need to. The details of how the subtle bodies and chakras interact with the world around them and the visible body need to be better understood, although we have a great legacy of mysticism to aid us. I suspect that we will not be able to apply western scientific methodology effectively until we can experience subtle matter directly. Even then, science and medicine will undergo a significant revolution in its thinking and its methodology.


1. Kazanis, D. The Physical Basis for Subtle Bodies and the Near-Death Experience, The Journal of Near-Death Experiences; Winter, 1995: 101-116.
2. Ibid.
3. Schramm, D.N. Cosmological Implications of Light Element Abundances: Theory. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., Vol. 60, 1993:4782-4788.
4. Trefil J. Dark Matter. Smithsonian, 1993: 29.
5. Govinda, A. Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism. New York, N.Y.: Samuel Wiser; 1974:147.
6. Ibid., p. 148.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid., p. 149.
9. Ibid., p. 135.
10. Ibid., p.140-141.
11. Ibid., p. 156.
12. Leadbeater, C.W. Man Visible and Invisible. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House; 1987: 10.
13. Ibid.
14. Tansley, D.V. The Subtle Body. New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, Inc.; 1984: 80.
15. Kazanis, D. The Physical Basis for Subtle Bodies and the Near-Death Experience. The Journal of Near-Death Experiences; Winter 1995: 101-116.
16. Trefil J. Dark Matter. Smithsonian, 1993:29.?.
17. Scientists Find Missing Matter: New York Times; 1996.
18. Mookerjee, A. Kundalini. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books; 1991: 9.
19. Dossey, L. Healing , Energy & Consciousness: Into the Future or a Retreat to the Past?: Subtle Energies, 1994:5
20. Ibid.
21. Mookerjee, A. Kundalini. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books; 1991: 9.
22. Tansley, D.V. The Subtle Body. New York, N.Y.: Thames and Hudson, Inc.; 1984:23.
23. Dossey, D. Healing Words, The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco; 1993:198.
24. Leadbeater, C.W. Man Visible and Invisible. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House; 1987:10-11.
25. Govinda, A. Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism. New York, N.Y.: Samuel Wiser; 1974
26. Human Soul Weighs 1/3000th of an Ounce: I to I (London), July-Sept. 1993:11.
27. Rimpoche, S. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 1992: 98.

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Keywords: spirituality and science, spirituality and physics, physics and religion, belief systems, consciousness, spirituality and quantum physics, spiritual, spirituality

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Science and Spirituality
Deno Kazanis was born in Chicago and educated at the University of Illinois and the University of Cincinnati in physics, and at The Pennsylvania State University in biophysics.

In addition to his western academic training, he has studied Tibetan Buddhism under Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Dr. Yeshi Donden, former physician to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

He has also studied Taoism under Master Mantak Chia and Tai Chi Chuan.
Journeys Out of the Body
The Reintegration of Science and Spirituality
by Deno Kazanis, Ph.D.

The Reintegration of Science and Spirituality, in a surprising manner, provides a basis in physics for mystical/spiritual phenomena.

New discoveries from science regarding dark matter are used to explain unanswered questions on the nature of paranormal phenomena, non-local mind, the power of prayer, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and a whole range of mystical phenomena.

Dr. Deno Kazanis also presents an inspiring perspective on the traditional teachings and practices mankind has utilized to experience these phenomena.
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