told me. And let me add that at that time at the Mayo Clinic the authorities were very kind and wonderfully supportive. In fact, I became a good friend with the Mayo family then, in 1950. But, I could not accept that death sentence. So I began to study everything under the sun. I went to lectures, and then started to actually practice on my friend. So that is the way it happened. Usually, it is a drama, a trauma that pushes us into something else, because I never thought I would be involved in psychology. It was completely out of my field.
RMN: So did it help her?
LAURA She lived twenty-three years longer. She is written up in all the case reports.
DJB: Wow. Well, I wanted to ask you about something that you talk about in your book Between Heaven and Earth–a recipe for living that involves the transmutation of energy through the imagination, the will, and the body. Can you tell us about this?
LAURA A powerful triangle: the imagination, the will, and the body. I mean the will is ultimately what is us. We are not speaking about that stiff will that betrays the body and does not accept the imagination, but the will that is attentive to the urging of imagination, and the needs of the body. That is a triangle that responds in all ways–because the body responds to the imagination. If you two would just imagine that there is a big tiger that is going to come right out and chew you.
DJB: The body responds.
LAURA Immediately. Because the imagination and the body are so close, the will has to take an overview and direct it. I have exercises for this triangle in my book Between Heaven and Earth. The will is basic, as are the two cooperators of the will–imagination and body. The will is the conductor of the rich vast orchestra of imagination and body.
DJB: Had you heard of this model from anyone else, or did you come up with it yourself!
LAURA No. I never heard it from anyone.
DJB: Well, I’ll tell you, one time while I was in the midst of an altered state I wrote the following down in my notebook: Everything that exists comes through the imagination, is directed by the will, and expressed through the physical body. I considered it to be a profound insight.
LAURA Exactly the same thing, and so well expressed
DJB: Then I opened up your book and found it there several months later.
LAURA Oh really? Well, that’s extremely interesting. You and I seem to be the only people, because no one has paid much attention to this concept.
DJB: It is a good model for understanding how everything comes into existence.
LAURA Including the placebo effect. Years ago, if a patient’s symptoms could not be given a diagnostic label, the doctor would say, “It’s just your imagination.” As you know a certain percentage of the population is cured by taking a medicine that has no curative property; it is just a pill with nothing in it. How do these people get well? It seems to me that their will to get well directs their imagination which on its own, in turn, influences body chemistry. This is again the triangle we’re discussing. I suppose that those people who are healed by a placebo have a closer connection, maybe a direct line from the will to the imagination and body.
I remember when I was fourteen years old, I read a book entitled Things Greater Than Himself, by an Italian author by the name of Zuccoli. It recounts the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who had fallen in love with an older woman who was hardly aware of his existence. Well, I was a fourteen-year-old girl who had fallen in love with an older man who was hardly aware of my existence. The boy became so sad, so desperate that he died. I became so sad, so desperate; but I did not die. And even then, I wondered: why did he die and I didn’t? Now I think that maybe his connection of will (in this case the will to die) to imagination and body was stronger than mine! Actually that feeling of being surrounded, propelled, sometimes, exhausted by things greater than myself is often with me; by now I should be used to it! But I am not.
DJB: I know that you’re fascinated with the subject of nutrition. What have you ]earned, in a nutshell, about how one’s diet can affect one’s physical or mental well-being?
LAURA When I was helping my sick friend, I went to Rancho La Puerta, a spa on the Mexican border. Now it is a very well known, beautiful, and elegant spa. Then it was only a few houses. I think we paid five dollars a day. There was Professor Szekely–he’s dead now, but his wife and son are constantly improving the spa. I learned from Professor