Stem-Cell Consciousness
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Laurance Johnston, Ph.D. & Amanda Boxtel


Adapted from article appearing in June 2010 Townsend Letter: The Examiner of Alternative Medicine (For subscriptions, go to ).  

In the 21st century, stem cells are going to play an ever-increasing role in restoring function lost by disability, disease, or the entropy of aging. From conception until death, they are the cells of renewal and regeneration through which many growth and healing energies are mediated.

The expression of stem cells can be positively or even negatively influenced by numerous therapies. For example, acupuncture can stimulate their expression, while chemotherapy is more toxic to them than to the targeted cancer cells. From a holistic mind-body-spirit view, the most powerful healing comes from adopting a health-enhancing consciousness, whose overarching influence transforms the physical. This two-part article specifically discusses how life-force-rejuvenating stem cells may be key mediators of this transformation catalyzed by consciousness - both from a theoretical and personal perspective.

Many stem-cell transplantation programs are emerging throughout the world targeting a variety of disorders. For example, I’ve reviewed over 30 such programs for spinal cord injury alone. Because they often use vastly different procedures, success varies considerably. For these nascent programs, “God will be in the details” - probably not just figuratively.

One oft-ignored detail is that consciousness of individuals involved in the process of transplantation of stem cells may influence outcome. As living omnipotent holographic manifestations or determinants of our greater selves, the life force power of these cells will be affected by the consciousness of the stem-cell recipient, donor, and those who prepare, handle, and otherwise nurture the cells. As such, to maximize potential benefits, stem-cell patients should factor in the role of consciousness through the attitudes and emotions they adopt surrounding treatment.

Stem-Cell Primer

Briefly, stem cells are precursor or progenitor cells that have the potential to transform into a wide variety of tissue. Although often dichotomously categorized as either embryonic or adult, they actually represent a continuum of cell types that can transform into end-product tissue.  For example, as our central nervous system (CNS) develops, embryonic stem cells evolve into more specialized adult neural stem and precursor cells, which eventually can differentiate into a variety of neuronal cells or tissues.

Obtained from surplus fertilized eggs from in-vitro-fertilization programs, omnipotent embryonic stem cells have the greatest potential to differentiate into a wide range of cell types. Adult stem cells are found in most tissues, including, for example, CNS, bone marrow, skin, intestine, liver, muscle, hair follicles, and even teeth. Sometimes, they are robustly expressed, such as the bone-marrow’s ongoing production of blood-cell-replenishing stem cells; in other tissue, they are quiescent and need to be coaxed into action.

Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East

Ancient wisdom often has much validity even for the most contemporary scientific issues. For example, long before stem cells became a blip on modern science’s radar, the influence of consciousness on their expression was discussed in the Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East (Spalding BT. Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, Volume VI. Marina del Rey, CA: DeVorss & Company; 1996):

1) “As the cell divides and creates a new cell, our thought is implanted upon it…In the first cell, all is perfect. That cell was first known as the Christ cell.” (i.e., the anointed cell)  “It is always just as young as ever it was. It never takes on old age. It is the primal spark of life. When we implant in it our thoughts of limitation or old age, or any condition outside of perfection, the body responds. Cells born from the first cell take on its image. Originally it is the image and likeness of God. It is perfect in every way. But it becomes the form we carry in our minds…if we carry the image of perfection always, what will it do for these cells? It will build perfection.” (Page 78)

2) “The moment a cell divides itself from the parent cell, and the instant before it divides itself, it takes on the exact image of the parent. As it goes out, it comes under the influence of this imperfection that we think for ourselves. What happens? We see the vibrations of the cell lowered, and in some instances when it attaches itself to the organ where it belongs, it is a dead thing…The very thought influence of imperfection influences that cell until it dies. The vibrations go so low that the dynamic influence flows out.” (Page 92) 

Scientific Mechanisms

Scientists have proposed many physiological mechanisms by which emotions, attitudes, and overall consciousness can potentially transform our health and influence stem cells. For example, Dr. Bruce Lipton hypothesizes that our consciousness affects DNA expression through influencing proteins embedded in our cell membranes (Lipton B. The Biology of Belief. Santa Rosa, CA: Mountain of Love/Elite Books; 2005).  

As shown in Menninger Clinic experiments, individuals are able to shift consciousness in a way that can alter the body’s electromagnetic dynamics. Lipton hypothesizes that this alteration changes the physical configuration of membrane proteins, in turn, affecting communication between the outside and inside of cells. Roughly speaking, this consciousness-driven energy is like a radio signal triggering the garage door to open. This opening initiates a cascade of physiological events which regulate gene expression and, in turn, cell fate, potentially in a life-enhancing direction.

Scientists, indeed, have shown that the subtlest of energies affect stem-cell expression or viability. For example, these cells are exceptionally sensitive to cosmic radiation (Encinas JM, Vazquez ME, Switzer RC, et al. Quiescent adult neural stem cells are exceptionally sensitive to cosmic radiation. Expl Neurol 2008; 210(1): 274-279.). In another example, the acupuncture system and stem cells are closely linked through a network composed of under-differentiated, electromagnetically sensitive cells created early in embryogenesis before the formation of other body systems (Shang C. Electrophysiology of growth control and acupuncture. Life Sci 2001; 68(12): 1333-1342 & personal communication).

If such subtle influences can affect stem-cell expression, undoubtedly embracing a health-enhancing consciousness that opens up the spigot for divine, life-force energy in its many rose-by-any-other-name manifestations can do so also (e.g., qi in China, prana or akasha in India, nilch’i or Holy Wind by the Navajo or Diné, Yesod in the Jewish Kabalistic tradition, or the Christian Holy Spirit).

Forgiveness: “Arise-and-Walk” Consciousness

Forgiveness is a state of consciousness conducive for healing in many spiritual traditions. For example, a 2006 article entitled “Healing in Islam,” discusses how forgiveness, a superior moral trait in the Qur’an, promotes a healing consciousness (Imam YO. Healing in Islam. Available at  Accessed October 4, 2009).

Perhaps the most well-known example - especially relevant to co-author Amanda Boxtel’s experience - is Jesus’ healing of paralysis through forgiveness (Matthew: 9:2-7):

“…and he said to the paralytic, Have courage my son; your sins have been forgiven…. For which is easier to say, your sins have been forgiven, or to say, arise and walk?  But that you might know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins, then he said to the paralytic, Arise, take up your quilt and go to your home. And he rose up and went to his home.”

Healing forgiveness can be contextually understood within the ageless wisdom of the “Perennial Philosophy.”   In introducing The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita (The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita. New York, NY: Mentor Books: 1951), Aldous Huxley described this philosophy in which our individual consciousness is part of a Divine Ground referred to differently in world religions (e.g., Godhead, Pure Light of the Void, Unity of Allah, etc):

“First: the phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness – the world of things and animals and men” (including their injured spinal cords and stem cells) “and even gods – is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and part from which they would be non-existent.”

Basically under this philosophy, condemnation creates a perceptual prison in which you are separated from your fellow man, greater unity, and larger self. Through your duality-based judgments of good and bad, this prison isolates you from the healing energies available as part of your inherent connection to the “Divine-Ground.”

Through true non-judgmental letting go and not just righteously forgiving the “jerk” who caused your problems, you are forgiving your greater self. From the Perennial Philosophy viewpoint of unity, when any “Son of man” forgives another, he forgives himself of his greatest sin: a belief that we exist in separation from the Divine and all of its expressions.

Although real forgiveness is challenging, you do it in self interest under the golden-rule reciprocity principle emphasized by most religions. Through true forgiveness, the perceptual prison tumbles like the walls of Jericho, you reestablish at-one-ment with the Divine Ground, and healing energies previously held in abeyance flow in. In a twinkling of an eye your consciousness is healed, which – as above, so below - percolates into the physical.

Forgiveness & Stem Cells

In 2007, Amanda Boxtel traveled to India for treatment with human embryonic stem cells. In India, the use of such cells is allowed if the condition or disorder is considered incurable, as is the case with spinal cord injury. The stem cells implanted in Amanda were derived from a surplus fertilized egg from an IVF program. In other words, they were developed with the intention to create life and, hence, were endowed with the life-force consciousness of that purpose.

As someone whose paralysis had been unchanged since injury over 15 years earlier, Amanda regained impressive function. Medical professionals consider such improvement extraordinary for a long-term injury like she possessed.

Part 2 describes Amanda’s story of forgiveness and healing.


June 25th, 2007 marked a new beginning and my journey of awakening my body after fifteen and a half years of paralysis.  On this day exactly nine months ago (in a time-frame akin to pregnancy from conception to birth) I received my first human embryonic stem-cell injection in Delhi, India.  In essence, I infused my body with the divine beginnings of life.  Today I continue to visualize my little baby embryonic stem cells bringing new life to my body; gestating into fully developed neuronal cells, and rewiring my spinal cord creating intricate dendrite pathways that will one day enable me to walk again. 

I have matured in the course of these past nine months and I have a greater understanding of what it takes for the human body to truly heal.  My journey of awakening and healing my body is more than just the physical.  I marvel at the possibility of how I can actualize divine consciousness within my own physicality.  I believe that my physical body itself has its own consciousness, with each organ, tissue, and miniscule cell displaying their own consciousness respectively. 

If I try to dissect my healing, my practice encompasses every aspect of my inner and outer self.  I understand that my mental consciousness, which is manifested in my thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and ideas, affects both the cells in my physical body and influences the expression of the human embryonic stem cells that have been injected into me.  I consciously think in my mind: perfection manifests perfection.  Through meditation, visualization and energetic healing I have explored tapping into my soul and intuitive or karmic self—depicted as seeds of perception and inner knowingness—to manifest healing on a deeper cellular level.  My healing practice also addresses my spiritual, and energetic self that I describe as a holographic matrix of vibrational energy that bleeds in and out of my physical self; and my emotional self, which stems from my feelings and opening my heart like a lotus blossom with a thousand petals that is filled with love, truth, and forgiveness. 

While I believe that my consciousness and every consequent action in my waking life have the potential to affect and sculpt my reality now and every moment forward, I never understood the power of forgiveness to heal my physical body until I experienced this phenomenon first hand.  I discovered that by exposing my deep emotional self to the vulnerability of true forgiveness and acceptance, such paranormal healing is possible for the layperson like me…not just the yogis of the Himalayas. 

I discovered that I was a prisoner in my own body.  I had to set myself free mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for true healing to take effect in my physicality.   Forgiveness set me free.  Forgiveness meant choosing to love the individuals in my life who had caused me such pain over years past.  Mostly, this act of forgiveness meant renouncing my pent up anger toward my father by resolving to love him with compassion combined with a genuine willingness to forgive.  

Writings through the ages and various alternative healing therapies such as Yoga and Pranic Healing bring light to the fact that unresolved emotions can manifest as dis-ease on the cellular level in the physical body.  Could my paralysis rooted in the lower half of my physical body be a result of years of suppressed emotions and my inability to speak up for myself at a young age?  I had an epiphany that possibly the severe trauma of my spinal cord injury complete at the eleventh and twelfth vertebrae blocked the life force energy flow to and from my root chakra, and consequently affected the back-support of my life.  Interestingly, I learned that the root chakra is located in the bones, feet, knees, legs, perineum, and coccyx.  It is also associated with revealed anxieties and feelings of victimization from shame or a lost connection with family and roots.  Could the suppression of my father’s abuse as a young child have played a critical role in my paralyzed adult body?  These are all mind boggling thoughts.

My life pattern has been suppression.  During a powerful meditation on the seventh week of receiving human embryonic stem cell treatment in Delhi, India, I surrendered to this life pattern.  The date was Sunday, August 12, 2007.  I sat in an oversized chair with my eyes closed.  I began voicing out aloud abundance and prosperity in my life, thinking good things, accepting myself as I am and feeling truth resonate as a song in my heart.  I praised myself with self-love understanding that my body is a miraculous divine temple.  I was at peace and I affirmed that I was willing to release the pattern that created my paralysis.  I whispered to myself,

“I am whole, I am healthy, and I am very secure in this eternal life.  I have no fears.  I know that life always supports me.  I let go and I accept myself.” 

At this point I began a quiet meditation and visualization.  In my mind I affirmed:

“I accept myself.  I love ME.  I have abundance.  I have prosperity.  I am beautiful.  I have a clear face.  I have strong powerful legs.  I can pee all on my own.  I can empty my bowels.  I am happy.  I am loved by Dale and I am in love.  I have everything I want right here, right now.  I am an author.  When I write, I touch hearts and souls.”

I visualized the adult Amanda extending my arms out to a little child Amanda.  That child became a speck that I placed into a corner of my heart.  I avowed, “I will always be there for you, Little Amanda, no matter what.”  I then imagined the same for anyone else I wanted to forgive, shrinking them to a speck and placing them in my heart and stating, “I love you, I forgive you.” 

Lastly was my father.  I pictured him through the eyes of my eleven-year-old self before Dad committed suicide.  As I shrunk Dad into a speck and placed him into my heart tears streamed down my face.  I voiced out aloud,

“I forgive you Dad.  I release you.  I set you free.  Go.  Be free Dad.  You are now free of pain and turmoil.  You are a free spirit to soar.  I forgive you.  I love you.  I bring you into my heart with love and forgiveness.” 

I sat in silence and I cried gut-wrenching sobs.  As my heart opened I felt a huge release.  I felt whole.  I was changed. 

Since receiving HESC treatment, my legs showed signs of renewed muscle power for the first time in fifteen and a half years.  I had flickers of quadriceps, gluteals, and hip flexors in both legs, a hamstring in the left leg, and toes that wiggled ever so slightly on the left foot.  I was beginning to void my bladder on my own, which was a miracle in itself.  My right leg was less responsive however.  I desperately wanted the hamstring to fire in my right leg and for my right toes to wiggle.  I tried relentlessly, willing with all my might…yet nothing.

The very next day after my powerful mediation of forgiveness, I witnessed true healing take place in my body—my right leg came alive!  On Monday, August 13, 2007 I underwent the final spinal procedure of my two-month HESC treatment.  I recorded the series of events that took place that day in my journal:

After receiving my final big dose of stem cells, Dr. Ashish made a pact with me, which was settled with a firm handshake.  He said, “Lie flat on your back until 7:30 p.m.  Do not move your body at all.  At eight o’clock I want you to move your right hamstring with the same intention that you used for your left.  Deal?”

“Yes Dr. Ashish.  Deal!  I’ll move my right hamstring, I promise!”  I made this statement with complete confidence…and in front of Dale, with both of our eyes focused on my lower right leg as I lay on my side isolating my upper body and hip flexors; I moved my right hamstring on command!  My leg and foot moved backwards from the knee down.  The movement was slight (an inch or two is all) but it was there.  I then sat up with glee and said, “Let me try my toes.”

With the same intention, I moved my right toe repeatedly.  Dr. Ashish came in to check after 8 p.m. and upon hearing my news he high-fived my right hand in the air with elation. 

“See, I told you.  Anything is possible Amanda.  You will continue to see improvements.”

As I lay flat that evening on a thin hospital bed, Dale curled up next to me.  He was exhausted and jet-lagged.  His feet lay next to mine.  All of a sudden I felt a deep sensation in my right foot as though he had rubbed it with his foot.  I sat up and looked at our feet.  They were still.

“Did you rub my foot with your foot?”  I asked inquisitively. 

“Yes, did you feel that?”

“Yes, do it again!”  And Dale rubbed the bottom of my foot over and over.  I could feel a deep sensation and I knew he was there, rubbing away.  My leg didn’t spasm at all.  I could simply feel his rubbing deeply underneath my skin.

“Can you feel it now?”  He asked.

“No….”  I hesitated as I looked at him with disappointed eyes. 

“Hah!  I was testing you…I stopped.  What about now?”

“Yes….yes….and yes!”

Dale had witnessed three little miracles in the span of an hour.  He was speechless.  He couldn’t believe what he was seeing with his own eyes…my body was coming alive.  

The forgiveness that flowed through me created the divine ground which nourished the transplanted embryonic stem cells so they could thrive and bear the fruit of restored function.  I realize that forgiveness has the potential to affect my consciousness and heal my body on levels that were once unimaginable.  Forgiveness allowed my spirit and soul to soar, and freed me from the prisoner that was me, shackled in my own body.

Adapted from article appearing in June 2010 Townsend Letter: The Examiner of Alternative Medicine (For subscriptions, go to ).