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Subtle energy shifts lead Levin to new locale

The Capital Journal

On one hand Jeff Levin considers himself a mild-mannered epidemiologist, gerontologist, researcher and academician; on the other, he is highly spiritual and considers himself an evangelist for bridging medical, metaphysical and religious communities with hopes of creating new paradigms.

"And at 39, I'm real surprised to be where I am," said Jeff Levin, president of the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy and Energy Medicine, which concludes its eighth annual conference today in Boulder, Colo.

"Actually I'm delighted to be where I am, especially Topeka," the Chicago native said. Levin moved to Topeka last year with his wife, Lea Steele, who is a Kansas native and a scientist and researcher.

He left his post after eight years as a social epidemiologist and associate professor of family and community medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, to continue his research, write books and fulfill his work with the National Institutes of Health, where he is on the Committee for Alternative Medicine.

"I've always had a deep interest in religion and spirituality. I never had to be dragged into spirituality," Levin said. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University in religion and sociology, his master's in public health from North Carolina School of Public Health and his doctorate in preventive medicine and community health from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

"It seems the whole idea of mind /body/spirit is embraced more fully by the alternative and holistic medical community," he said. "So when I was speaking at conferences about NIH research on spirituality and health, these were the groups interested in hearing about it."

Levin said his mother, Judith Citrin, has been a healer and transformational therapist half of his life.

"Since I was a teen, I've had my chakras balanced and known what bioenergy felt like," he said. "And you might say I'm a second generation Council Grove attendee."

His mother and stepfather have attended for many years, and Levin made his first trip to the conference during his mid-teens, he said.

The Council Grove Conference, a gathering co-founded by Elmer and Alyce Green, to study voluntary controls of consciousness, recently had its 30th annual meeting. The conference encourages individual growth and has spawned organizations, such as the Biofeedback Research Society, now called the Association for Applied Psychophysiology, and Biofeedback and ISSSEEM. The conference also has influenced other organizations, such as the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

The International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine is an interdisciplinary organization for the study of basic sciences and medical and therapeutic applications of subtle energies.

Levin said it was organized as a not-for-profit public benefit corporation based in Colorado. Its membership totals 1,300. Levin said the society's purpose is to improve human health and welfare through the advancement of education, practice, training and research in subtle energies and energy medicine.

He defined subtle energy as an energy difficult to measure by conventional means but called by many names by ancient and modern-wisdom traditions, names like chi, ki, prana, etheric energy, fohat, orgone, odic force, mana, homeopathic resonance, each believed to move throughout the so-called "etheric" (or subtle) energy body.

Many alternative therapies involve the flow of subtle energies through the dense physical body.

It is traditionally accepted that expansions of consciousness are related often to changes in subtle energies that can't be quantified.

"This is where, as a scientist doing empirical research, things can get exciting," he said. "Studies proving or disproving just how these energies work are necessary."

These energies, which are said to be associated with interactions and with transcendence, may not, in fact, be involved with known physical fields.

In addition to various therapeutic energies, energy pulses from the environment influence humans and animals in various ways. For example, low-level changes in magnetic, electric, electromagnetic, acoustic and gravitational fields often have profound effects on biology and psychology, he said.

It has been documented that humans are capable of generating and controlling subtle energies to influence both physiological and physical mechanisms, he said.

Levin said ISSSEEM is moving into the forefront as a bridge between the experiential realm of mystics and psychics and the medical and scientific community.

"It is a true scientific and medical research organization geared to synthesize and join the mystically inclined scientists and the scientifically inclined mystics," he said.

"Nurses and health care providers are hungry for knowledge that will help their patients gain better health," he said.

He said ISSSEEM is moving more toward a membership of mainstream health care professionals.

Levin said that as a medical professor and NIH scientist, he is embraced by both organizations. He now is doing IONS research on love and health.

"I'm not a psychologist," he said. "I'm more of a sociologist -- an epidemiologist."

Levin said he hopes ISSSEEM will become more outspoken within the scientific and medical community to set this new medical paradigm.

"This will happen, not just with scientists, but with others in the health care field," he said. "And it will take the next generation to carry it off by creating programs and doing more valid research."

Copyright 1998 The Topeka Capital-Journal


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