In the mid-1990s, when having HIV was akin to a death sentence Gail Ironson, a professor at the University of Miami AIDS researcher noticed that a number of patients like Kaplan never got sick. This piqued Ironson’s curiosity. And she was willing to listen to the most unusual answers from her interviews, because she kept hearing the same thing.
Ironson began to target the patient's relationship with God to predict how fast the disease would progress.
She watched two key indicators. Viral load tells how much of the virus is present in a person's body, and immune cells called CD-4 cells, which help fight off the AIDS virus.
Ironson found that those who turned to God after their diagnosis had a much lower viral load and maintained those powerful immune cells at a much higher rate than those who did not turn to God.
Kaplan was raised Jewish, but follows no formal religion now; she prays and meditates daily. She believes God keeps the virus at bay and that her faith is the reason she's alive today.
"Everything starts from a thought, and then the thought creates a reaction," Kaplan says. "And I have the power to control my mind, before it gets to a physical level or an emotional level."
Learning a meditative practice, such as the Art of Ascension, has many by-products. One of by-product is awareness of deeper levels of the mind. This is where our relationship with God begins and this is also where our thoughts form. As Kaplan describes, one can redirect the mind toward love and health even when one may notice thoughts based in fear.