BY JOYCE WHITELEY HAWKES, PH.D.

Early in my career, my passion was science. I completed my doctoral work at Pennsylvania State University in 1971 with a Ph.D. in biophysics. Moving to Oregon, my postdoctoral position with the National Institutes of Health took me to a regional Primate Research Center. Soon I was publishing and speaking at conferences from New York to Seattle, where I eventually set up an electron microscope research facility for the National Marine Fisheries Service. This was a busy and productive laboratory, as I had five research assistants and graduate students and was an adjunct professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Washington. My life involved traveling nationally and internationally, lecturing, publishing, and spending hours peering into an electron microscope to record the struggles of cells that had been poisoned by pollutants, such as PCBs and oil slicks. I published fifty scientific documents and was honored with a U.S. Department of Commerce National Achievement Award. Another highlight of my career was election to the position of Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an ongoing position that I hold presently.

My research depended on the sophisticated technology of the electron microscope to illuminate the ultrasmall world inside of cells. This type of microscope is as big as a baby elephant and weighs about one ton. Multiple steps are required to “fire up” the microscope, which pours 100,000 volts of electricity through a filament that showers electrons down a series of electromagnetic lenses. Magnified up to a million times, the images revealed my passion: the inner workings of cells. Still, something beckoned me beyond all my accomplishments as a scientist.

The components of cells are not unique to humans. In fact, the parts of our cells are indistinguishable from those of all other living creatures. However, our genetic code, contained in the molecules of DNA in each cell, is as different from other species as we are from each other. These individual, personal codes create each unique body shape and individual characteristic. All this finely orchestrated complexity comes from one single fertilized egg cell holding half of our DNA from our mother and half from our father’s sperm. Page 50 shows a sperm and egg at the moment before the amazing act of conception unites them as one, original cell, beginning the life of an individual organism.

As a scientist, I was dedicated to the pursuit of truth through scientific means. Religion and God were not part of my beliefs. Imagine my surprise one day when a decorative leaded-glass window fell off a mantel onto my head, initiating a classic near-death experience (often referred to as a “NDE”). I had never heard about the near-death experience, let alone been someone to whom out-of-the-ordinary or unexplainable things happened. I remember the oak-framed glass falling toward me and the crushing moment of impact.

Suddenly reality shifted, and I was no longer confined to my crumpled body collapsed on the floor. Instead, I was speeding down a long, dark tunnel, drawn to an incredible light in the distance. Without conscious control over the situation, a force outside myself stopped me at the entrance to the light. There, my mother and grandmother, long departed from this earth, greeted me. Overwhelmed with love and recognition, and amazed at their health and happiness, I was drawn past them over a threshold and into a whole other world.

Suddenly reality shifted, and I was no longer confined to my crumpled body collapsed on the floor.

No people or beings appeared. Rolling hills, the greenest grass, and colorful flowers glowed with light, seemingly from within each blade and petal. Colors appeared almost alive in their vividness. Utter clarity of image and hue surrounded me in all directions. Immersed in light and tranquillity, I soaked up these dazzling images and feelings, content to dwell forever in that place. Then the experience changed.

I was shifted instantaneously to standing in front of a Great Light. The overwhelming love and peace I had felt before this moment was only a minuscule taste of what emanated from the Light. The form was somewhat taller than a person, with the shape of a person but without distinct features. Everything and nothing seemed to exist simultaneously in this luminosity. I felt utterly blissful, alert, and full of love and joy. If this was God who greeted me, there was no judgment issued. I was totally loved, surrounded by peace and safety, and healed of everything that had ever caused disease or discomfort. The ecstasy of the moment suspended and transcended all time and space. It would later prove to be a bridge that I could access in order to return to this state of being at will.

There was no discussion about returning to Earth and no instructions were given. Just as suddenly as everything else had happened, I was thrust back into normal consciousness on the floor in my house—with a very sore head, a gash of fair proportions, and dried blood matted in my hair. Thus began my journey from my work as a scientist to my new calling as a Cell-Level Healer.

At first, my scientist’s brain discounted the experience as a hallucination, merely the consequence of a sound crack on the head and loss of consciousness. But, I soon discovered, it was the beginning of another form of consciousness that would prove to be more valuable than any career, status, or fringe benefits.

My head hurt too much to listen to music, read, go to the movies, or exercise—all of the forms of relaxation I had previously enjoyed. Trapped in a fit body with a sorely pounding head and a physician-imposed three weeks at home, I was utterly bored. When I had recovered enough to drive, I went downtown to Seattle’s waterfront area to visit my favorite bookstore, Elliot Bay Books. Creaking wooden floors and the aroma from decades of books comforted my senses.

I was walking slowly along the rows of shelves, browsing the titles, when a book nearly jumped into my hands. It was Ray Moody’s Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon—Survival of Bodily Death, and it contained page after page of detailed near-death experiences. I purchased the book, and reading it forced me to look closely at the evidence presented by the many others who had experiences similar to mine. I could no longer dismiss what had happened to me. Wonder and curiosity began replacing my grouchy self-pity at having a wounded skull.

Another man named Ray, a podiatrist, showed up in my life. Trained by the Super Learning group at Ohio State University, Ray taught memory skills via deep relaxation and visualization techniques. Don’t ask what this had to do with feet! Seemingly unrelated to my recent experience, I embarked on memory training to help keep authors and citations straight in my work as a publishing scientist.

In our session one day, I reclined in a big, comfortable chair in Ray’s office, listening to a tape describing in detail the features of a small, gray kitten. I was a little surprised when, in my mind’s eye, I saw myself walking around a room looking at specific things: a chair with blue velvet upholstery, a fireplace that was open on two sides into the room, and pictures on the wall. Even more surprising was the look on Ray’s face when I described the room. We were both astonished when I described with precise detail the setting in which he had produced the memory tape. Put two scientists together and you launch a truthseeking mission. We decided to discover how my inner sight worked in a real-time situation. I would go to Ray’s office and relax in the big chair, and after we had chatted for a while, Ray would go down the hall and examine one of his podiatry patients. When he returned, I could tell him details about the person’s foot, the pathology, and anything else that had caught his attention during the examination.

Put two scientists together and you launch a truth-seeking mission.

We also established an informal mini-study in mind reading. Ray would think about a particular color as he walked to the room where I was waiting, and my head would be filled with that exact color. I was not guessing; I saw the color accurately every time. My view of myself as a levelheaded, rational scientist became unhinged. Perhaps you, too, have had some unusual experiences that scared you, at first, and then opened you to far-reaching possibilities in your life.

I began to look for information about other strange phenomena, such as the sixth sense, inner sight, and remote viewing. I joined a class given by a local healer. The meditations in class helped me establish a deep meditative practice at home, which led to visionary encounters with angels, animals, and other galaxies.

The teacher invited me to accompany him during his work with clients one afternoon a week, and people began responding positively to my touch. They told me they felt heat in the areas where I had touched them and that tingling shot through their body. They said their health improved as a result.

Others wanted to come to me for healing sessions, so I converted a former study in my home into a place where I could see a few clients each week. Never imagining anything but an avocation of heart, I enjoyed both worlds: science and whatever this new arena might be.

I continued to be challenged to reach deeper and deeper into the cells of the body in order to assist those who sought my help. The results astonished both my clients and myself.

During a long weekend trip to Mount Shasta with my teacher and two other students, my life changed precipitously, once again. We climbed to Red Butte from Panther Meadows on the south side of the mountain. Still snowy, the spring days were enchanting as we chopped steps in icy slopes, heated pots of snow to melt for drinking water, and settled into intensely blissful meditations at the 9,600-foot elevation.

On the drive back to Seattle, we four grubby pilgrims stopped at a Catholic shrine, the Grotto, on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. I had no previous exposure to the Catholic church or theology, having grown up mildly Protestant. My companions went to pray in a small chapel, while I wandered alone and eventually stood in front of a room-sized cave that had been naturally formed in the side of a steep cliff. Candles flickered around a replica statue of the Pieta. Mary seemed almost alive as she sorrowed over the crucified body of Jesus.

As I approached the cave and knelt on a bench provided for worship, I felt the air shift and become charged with power and energy. I felt a tingling all over my body when I heard a woman’s voice say, “You are called to heal.”

It felt like the near-death experience all over again. Love, peace, and awe surged through me. How could I contain this emotion, this energy, this blessing? My life changed forever in those few moments. The loving authority in the voice left no room for doubt or delayed action. When I returned to Seattle and work the very next day, I began my resignation process to leave the laboratory.

The world of healing did not come naturally. I could not “think” my way to solutions as I had with science. I meditated regularly, sought divine guidance, and received it every step of the way, usually no sooner than the instant it was needed. My path evolved daily in the healing room and took quantum leaps during time spent with indigenous healers in Southeast Asia. Now, after twenty years of learning how to reach deeply into the cells of the body with healing energy, I am eager to share the wonder of weaving together the spirit world and physical healing.

My near-death experience established a connection between me and something much, much bigger than myself. If it is a part of God, the Source of Creation, the bond has never failed. I lost my fear of death, and with it, my fear of separation from the Source. I lost any notion that the Source is available to only the few who belong to a specific religion. The Healing Presence of the Source is for everyone.


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