I've often wondered how it would look if someone like
Jack LaLanne or Anthony Robbins—whom I've always admired
for their indomitable spirit, incredible self-discipline, and
joie de vivre—became enlightened. When I discovered Peter
Ragnar, I think I found out.
The amazing Peter Ragnar is a modern-day shaman,
Taoist wizard, natural life scientist, and self-master par
excellence. He lives in the Tennessee mountains with his wife,
and he claims to be a “senior citizen” but refuses
to give away his age because he “doesn't believe in
it.” He does strenuous two-hour strength-training workouts
seven days a week and performs record-breaking feats. He's been
a martial arts practitioner for over fifty years, and he has
developed his own version of Taoist energy practice called
“Magnetic Qi Gong,” which he claims is the key to
immortality. He has healing powers and is renowned for his clairvoyant
and telepathic abilities. He lives
on a strict diet of raw foods and juices and has spent a
lifetime studying the relationship between the body and the mind
at all levels. And his most remarkable attainment is his
profound awakening to the energetic dimension, or
“bio-electric-magnetic” field, of life. While this
dimension of reality and experience is one that many have heard
of, it's a world that Peter actually lives in.
All this being said, Peter's most compelling and
inspiring message is his steadfast and passionate call to
self-mastery based upon the relentless cultivation of intention.
This foundational element of his teaching is clearly a
contemporary expression of the great American New Thought
tradition, championed in the early twentieth century by Napoleon
Hill, author of the all-time bestseller Think and
Grow Rich,and later by Norman Vincent Peale, known
for his widely acclaimed, inspirational classic The
Power of Positive Thinking. Hill wrote in 1937,
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can
achieve.” At the beginning of the new millennium, Peter
Ragnar is proving that it's still true!
ANDREW COHEN: Peter, why is it that you
declare that there is no explainable reason why a person should
die, other than his or her belief in death?
PETER RAGNAR: Because I feel that we have
ultimate control to the degree that we're conscious. If we are
conscious enough, we can make anything happen in our body. We
can preserve this body or we can kill this body.
It's very simple to see how people kill their bodies with
their thoughts—it's a product of their unconsciousness of
causes and effects. If we're conscious of our thoughts—I
mean luminously conscious of our thoughts—those
thoughts then impregnate the cellular structure of our body in a
way that is very, very difficult to explain. When you have an
abundance of life force inside you, it pours out of your eyes.
It comes out of the palms of your hands as heat, as healing
heat. It radiates as if you swallowed the sun, and you are
different. Now, with that type of dynamic and powerful energy
inside of you, how can you die?
COHEN: Interesting question!
RAGNAR: It's a working hypothesis, of course. But
the more life we have running through our body's energy system,
the more alive we are. Life is not death, life is the opposite
of death. So embracing life is the situation. How many people
embrace life with every thought and every
action and every decision they make? Only a very, very
You see, we've been conditioned to believe in death. Right
from the very first breath we take, we feel like life is a march
between the womb and the tomb.
COHEN: (laughs) Well, it does seem that everything
in the universe that is born and takes on physical form goes
through a maturation process and ultimately degenerates and
RAGNAR: That's true. But let's look at it from
the standpoint of a caterpillar in the process of becoming a
butterfly. Andrew, do butterflies come out of deformed cocoons,
or do they come out of cocoons that are fully perfected?
COHEN: Cocoons that are fully perfected.
RAGNAR: Exactly. So I feel that we should
endeavor with every ounce of strength that we have to create a
perfect life, to become fully perfected as human beings, and
then see if we fly. Now, we may not. I may be wrong. But the
quest is to be a perfect human.
That may sound rather egotistic. People might say, “Oh
no, just give up, don't do anything. You're efforting
too much.” But it's not effort—it's our evolution.
Our evolution is to get better and better and better at every
single thing that we do. For example, I'm well past my athletic
prime, according to the experts, and yet I keep breaking my own
personal records. I don't believe in age; I'm ageless. But I
will say that I'm a senior citizen, a pre-baby boomer.
And I continue to break records I couldn't have done when I
was in my twenties and thirties. Why? Because I don't believe in
limitations. And because I don't believe in them, I'm free. I'm
free to do anything I want to do. If I want to break world
records, I can break world records, if that's what's
COHEN: What you seem to be saying is, “Let's
make the effort to transcend all of our self-limiting thoughts,
all of our convictions of emotional, psychological, spiritual,
and physical limitation. Let's first try to discover, at least
as far as we can humanly imagine, what a perfectly full and
absolutely positive embrace of the human experience is. And then
let's see what the result is going to be on every level,
including the physical.” Is that what you mean?
RAGNAR: Absolutely. You put it as good as it can
COHEN: So therefore, you don't actually mean that
if you strive to live a perfect life, you will live forever. But
that if you strive to live a perfect life, you don't exactly
know how long you're going to live, but let's find out. That
kind of thing?
RAGNAR: Exactly, let's find out. It's a working
hypothesis. Let's find out if this life is a definite one of
eighty to ninety years, or seventy to eighty years, however
gerontologists might want to estimate it—or whether it's
an indefinite life that you can go on living as long as you stay
in that space. If you can live the “perfect life,”
how long would that life span be?
COHEN: What would it mean, then, to live a perfect
RAGNAR: Well, first, it would be free of all
limiting beliefs, because we are not limited creatures unless we
believe we're limited. And how do we drop all
limitations? By becoming more conscious. By adding more
conscious energy and life force to our physical organism until
we literally see it glowing; we see it glowing in the dark.
COHEN: Peter, what is the life force? Where does
it come from?
RAGNAR: I wish I knew that. The Chinese Taoists
call it chi, and a lot of people refer to it. But these are just
words. It's an oscillation that is absolutely physically
measurable. To the degree that your body oscillates with its
vibration, it can be measured. But what it is . . . they're
still arguing about what electricity is! We know how to create
it, but we don't know what it is.
Every time you have an electrical field, you also have a
magnetic field, so you can't really talk about electricity
without bringing magnetism into it. But what's beyond that?
They've discovered that maybe the smallest quantum of energy is
actually what is defined as chi. It's an oscillation of
something that gives off a bio-electric-magnetic field.
The stronger that bio-electric-magnetic field is, the more
vitality the individual has, the more life force. And of course,
you'll see it in the electricity in the eyes; you'll hear it in
the voice; you'll see it in the way the body flows without
hesitation; you'll see it in the posture. I don't know what it
is; all I know is that I am that.
COHEN: You make a distinction, I think, between
prenatal and postnatal chi. Could you explain what the
RAGNAR: Basically, we come into this life with a
battery that has a certain amount of juice in it. I call this
prenatal chi. If you don't do a thing and you just
continue to run with your lights on and the radio blaring,
eventually the battery will wear out, depending upon how much
demand you put on it. And that's generally seventy to eighty
years. So we've got a battery that is meant to last at least
that long. However, if you plug the battery in at night and you
charge it, there's no end in sight—that's
postnatal chi. I have a concept that says: If you go to
bed with more energy than you woke up with, then all night long,
you've got the battery charger on. And that's the secret to
life. It's that simple.