As we posted earlier this month, Lynne McTaggart, has been using her investigative reporting skills to discover ways to use group thought, or intention as she prefers to calls it, to “make them better.” 1 An intention, as she describes it, uses the power of human thought to change things in our physical world. For some, this might be a prayer, meditation, or it could be just sending out good thoughts for an intended outcome.
In her experiments, making things better is what it has been all about. For example, McTaggart has shown improved growth in seeds given intention directly and from water that received intention and then given seeds, with a hope to improve food crops But other experiments have
Along the way she discovered the Power of 8, which she found was the best size to make intention work well. After discerning this she began regular intentions with her followers each Sunday
She also found something else: those trying to heal others with intention were themselves getting healed. Their own maladies and circumstances improved when they focused outside themselves.
In her book, The Power of Eight, she quoted Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at University of California at Berkeley, who says that “we’re healthier and happier in every way when we do the giving and not the taking. In his book Born to Be Good, Keltner quotes Confucius about the cultivation of
However, she wrote, “I was still puzzled about the healing effects of the Intention Experiments and why they would overcome long-standing conditions until I came across perhaps the most compelling piece of research of all about the transformational effects of altruism. It had been carried out by psychologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who wanted to examine the difference in likely future health between healthy people who live a fulfilling life of pleasure—what we’d normally define as the good life—compared to those who live a life of purpose or meaning.” Their conclusion: “choosing a life of meaning over one just chasing pleasure is undeniably better for your health.”4
She continued, “Our need to help other people is perhaps the one element that gives our life the greatest meaning …The altruistic acts of my participants have been performed within a giant virtual prayer group, and this appeared to offer some sort of amplification of healing power. Certainly, there is a long tradition throughout all the sacred writings of all the major religions describing the healing effects of spiritual belief and practice in a group. Those who regularly assemble in churches to pray together have been shown to have lower blood pressure, enjoy far stronger immune systems, spend far fewer days in the hospital, and are a third less likely to die, even when all other factors are controlled for.
“Scientists believe that those who are now age twenty who never go to church can expect to live seven years less than those who attend more than once a week. It isn’t just someone’s religious fervor or assembling as a community; the collective spiritual practice appears to be as important as the group effect.
“…Religious belief on its own is strengthening, but not as powerful, it seems, as the group experience of prayer. In fact, the collective aspect of the praying may be the essential factor in creating the healing effects …the powerfully transformational mechanisms at work in my healing intention groups appeared to be the unique power of group prayer coupled with a deliberate focus away from the self.”
“It had been there all along, in the early Christian teachings, all those homilies so familiar that they now sound like words on a Hallmark card: Do unto others. Love your neighbor as yourself. Focusing on someone else heals the healer.”5
In her Christmas Eve blog, McTaggart wrote:
“When I think of this Christmas season, I think of what Jesus may have been trying to tell us, in his instruction to the apostles in the Bible’s Acts to pray passionately with one voice.
“No matter whether you are religious or, like me, have a more secular sense of spirituality, his words continue to resonate.”
“Don’t play small when it comes to healing yourself or healing the world. This is too big an enterprise to attempt by yourself.
“May you find your group to heal
with this holiday season and new year”6
1 Lynne McTaggart, Harnessing the Miraculous Energies, The Gratitude Cafe Podcast, October 21, 2017
2 Lynne McTaggart, The Power of Eight: Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World, Atria Books, Kindle Edition, Prologue
6 Lynne McTaggart, How to create a miracle in these times of uncertainty, posted in Lynne Mctaggart Blog