Miracles: God's Invisible Hand

© 1997, Dennis Gersten, M.D. Excerpted with permission from ARE YOU GETTING ENLIGHTENED OR LOSING YOUR MIND? A Spiritual Program for Mental Fitness (Harmony, a Division of Crown Books, May 1997) This excerpt may not be reprinted without written permission from Harmony Books.

There is no limit to the range, type, or quality of miraculous events. The only rule is that these miracles defy the laws of cause and effect, the laws of physics, the laws of time and space, and our general concept of how things normally work in the world. These are what I call the "true miracles." These are the events that cannot be explained by mind-body medicine or the power of the mind to act at great distances. These miracles are the handiwork of a Greater Intelligence.

Miracles often come into our lives at times of birth, death, and major crisis. I experienced one such miracle before my daughter, Rachel, was born. I was driving about 35 miles per hour in Denver several weeks before Rachel's birth. Suddenly, a white dove flew in front of the windshield of the car, and just hovered in front of me for almost one full block. The dove hovered motionlessly as I continued to drive the car without slowing down. In other words, somehow the dove was not only hovering in front of my eyes, but was also flying at 30 or 40 miles per hour keeping perfect pace with the car. I knew instantly that the dove was sent as an omen . . . a sign that everything would be fine with the upcoming birth of my child. And so it was! After a hectic labor, the obstetrician discovered that the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around Rachel's neck three times. Suddenly, she was going into a distressed condition. But with the quick, if not somewhat terrified actions of the medical team, Rachel was born some 60 seconds after she went into distress, in "mint condition," and for me remains as one of the great miracles in my life.

Isaac Tigrett, founder of the Hard Rock Cafe and The House of Blues, has had his life divinely-spared on several occasions. On one occasion he fell asleep at the wheel while driving his Porsche at night. He woke up as he flew off a cliff. As he and his car hurtled through space, tumbling, spinning and slamming into the ground over and over again, his car was torn to pieces. The roll bar was ripped off. Both doors were completely ripped off. There was practically no front or back of the car left and there was no windshield. Just to add to the dangerousness of the situation, Isaac didn't have a seat belt. Certain death was averted by the sudden presence of a divine being who wrapped his arms around Isaac and exerted powerful pressure on his shoulders as if to keep Isaac firmly in place in the car . . . strong, gentle, incredibly powerful hands cradled him. Those divine arms held Isaac so tightly that he couldn't fall out of his convertible. Isaac walked away from the accident untouched, from a car that was totally and completely destroyed.

Sometimes miracles bring bad news, and may come as an omen of impending death. Linda Chavez, former White House Aide to President Reagan, had an unusual experience when she was 12 years old. Her sister Wendy, who was six, suddenly developed a severe kidney ailment. In fact, she got sick on Linda's birthday. Several weeks later, Linda was outside in the front yard of her family's apartment. Linda noticed a yellow bird, perhaps a finch or canary, flying around in a somewhat sickly manner. Linda put her hands out and was able to catch the bird in the air.

She brought it into the house, put it in a shoe box with grass, and poked holes in the box. She thought it might be injured because it wasn't very active. The bird lived for only a day or two and then died. According to Linda, her father was very "superstitious" and believed that a bird dying was a sign of someone about to die. Such, in fact, was the case. A few hours after the bird died, Wendy died of pneumonia and heart failure secondary to her kidney disease. Linda did not make a big deal of these events. However, her father experienced the bird as an omen that came true . . . a sign from God that something "bad" was about to happen. Nonetheless, if we consider that the bird's death was a miracle, it may mean that God's invisible signature was present in the family's life, showing the connectedness of life ... and the presence of God even in death.

Animals, and pets in particular, have long been associated with the miraculous. My black cat, Leo, now 17 years old, (who has stepped on my computer keyboard far too many times while I've been writing this book), was quite a magical fellow in his "youth." On one occasion, Stanley, an out-of-town friend was visiting. I semi-jokingly warned him, "By the way, watch out for Leo. He can do some very strange things, like walk through walls and closed doors." The evening of July 4th, Stan and I and my daughter Rachel headed out to watch the local fire-works display. I like to keep Leo inside on July 4th, because there are people who consider black cats evil and have been known to attack them on July 4th (and on Halloween). As the three of us stood on the front porch, I held Leo with one hand, and the front door knob with the other. I then tossed Leo inside the house, and quickly slammed the door shut. The three of us turned to leave and were stunned to see Leo "pop" into existence right in front of us. He didn't run in front of us. He spontaneously appeared. Stanley's eyes grew wide as saucers. I said, "See, I warned you." Rachel was speechless.

Of course, stories abound of cats and dogs traveling thousands of miles over entire mountain ranges, finally finding their lost owner in a new home. No one knows how these animals find their way to an old home, nor to a location to which they've never been. One can theorize about powerful extra-sensory perceptions of animals, but I think it all boils down to love. Our pets love us so much that they follow their hearts until they find us.

From time to time, people schedule an appointment with me because they're looking for a real miracle, especially cancer patients. I've never promised a miracle, nor performed one, but miraculous events have occurred in the lives of patients under my care. The most amazing of these miracles came into the life of Carmen, a long-time friend of mine whose sister, Anita, had died of ovarian cancer four years before my first official visit with Carmen. Anita had been given six months to live from the time she was diagnosed, but lived for four years by using a host of traditional and complementary techniques.

Carmen was not worried about her lung cancer, which was so advanced by the time I met with her that her doctor had given her only one month to live. She was not afraid to die, but couldn't bear the thought of her mother losing her two daughters to cancer, so Carmen was interested in fighting the cancer for her mother's sake.

I taught Carmen mantra meditation and some imagery techniques in which I had her imagine that she was filling up with healing golden light. Carmen imagined the cancer dissolving in the heat of the light. I also suggested that she take a variety of nutritional supplements. During that session, we spoke about Sai Baba and I gave her a bottle of "holy water." I had been the recipient of some very rare lingham water, which had been produced by pouring water over a lingham, an egg-shaped stone, which Sai Baba had materialized, or manifested, and which he had created expressly for the purpose of healing. Even though the water is rare, stories like the one that follows are common when it comes to the miracles surrounding Sathya Sai Baba. I told Carmen that I would stand by her whether she lived or died . . . and it seemed almost a foregone conclusion that she would soon die.

Carmen was scheduled to have surgery a couple of days after our first appointment. Her surgeon had planned on removing her entire right lung, which was full of cancer, but when he "opened her chest" during surgery, he discovered that the cancer had spread across into her left lung and was wrapped around the great blood vessels - the aorta and the pulmonary artery and veins. They "closed" Carmen, gave her a single radiation treatment and sent her home to die.

I didn't hear from Carmen for a few weeks after our session and I feared the worst, but was stunned to hear her sweet, energetic voice one day. "Dennis," she said, "I have had the weirdest, most amazing experience with Sai Baba. I was meditating a few weeks ago, right after our session. Suddenly I had a vision of Sai Baba. It was as if he were standing right in front of me. He began reaching into my chest pulling cancer out. I didn't actually see cancer coming out of my body, but I experienced it in this vision. And all day long, even with my eyes open, I could feel him putting his hand inside of me, pulling out the cancer. And you won't believe this. Or maybe you actually will believe this. My cancer has shrunk by 75 percent. My surgeon simply cannot believe it. I believe it but I don't understand at all why Sai Baba is doing this for me. I don't even know him, and hardly know anything about him. I was raised a Christian and I'm still a Christian. Why would he help me? Why would he save my life?"

Because I've known of so many miracles surrounding Sathya Sai Baba and the people and circumstances around those miracles, I've learned not to try to explain the miracles. "Carmen, there is simply no way of knowing why this has happened to you. Perhaps, it was your good karma. Perhaps, it was because your motivation to live arose from completely unselfish motives. I have no idea. But I am so happy for you." Carmen called me a few months later to tell me she was continuing to improve. And then she called a year later to say that the cancer had entirely disappeared...

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