When you think about an extraordinary event that took place in Chicago in the context of guided meditation, it is remarkable.
Even to the person who has no interest in learning how to meditate, what happened at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is intriguing.
Here’s the headline from the September 26, 2013 Wall Street Journal.
“A Man Controls Artificial Leg With Only His Brain”
The man was Zac Vawter, and the Journal explained what Zac did…
“Aided by sensors receiving impulses from nerves and muscles that once carried signals to his missing knee and ankle, the patient was able to climb and descend stairs and walk up and down inclines much as he could with a natural leg, based on directions that came from his brain.
This documented relationship between body and mind probably comes as no surprise to people who use guided meditation exercises. They know that there are mind-body achievements and breakthroughs that scientists are challenged to document that indeed take place.
The work done at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago supports this belief in meditation.
Zac is 32. He comes from Seattle. In 2009, a motorcycle accident cost him his right leg from the knee down.
In the fall of 2012, he climbed 103 floors of the Willis Tower in Chicago with an earlier prototype his bionic leg. Since then, the software has been refined to provide a full range of motion.
This motion begins with thought, not terribly different from guided meditation, although much simpler. Two nerves in his leg have been attached to hamstring muscles with wires. When nerves communicate with sensors located in the socket of the prosthetic limb, the message is sent to an onboard computer.
The computer then takes this information and commands the knee to go straight or to bend.
For everyone who had learned how to meditate by following patterns of breath, and have then worked on planting thoughts into unconscious with the goal of making these thoughts influence action and behavior, the work at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is both fascinating and inspiring.
It reminds us not only of the power of a thought, and of visualization,but of the connections between mind and body... the connections that make guided meditation so meaningful, so powerful, and so rewarding.