In 2008, in one of my early workshops, I placed participants in small groups of about eight, just to see what would happen if group members tried to heal one of their group through a collective healing intention.
I thought the group effect would be a feel-good exercise – something akin to a massage or a facial – but I was shocked to listen to more than an hour of instant, near-miraculous healings the following day.
Throughout the next year, in every workshop we ran, whenever we set up our clusters of eight or so people in each group, gave them a little instruction and asked them to send intention to a group member, we were stunned witnesses to story after story of physical and psychic transformation.
Mary’s multiple sclerosis had made it difficult for her to walk without aids. The morning after being the target of a Power of Eight group, she arrived at the workshop without her crutches.
Marsha suffered from a cataract-like opacity blocking the vision of one eye. The following day, after her group’s healing intention, she claimed that her sight in that eye had been almost fully restored.
Diana in Fort Lauderdale had such pain in her hip from scoliosis that she had to stop exercising. During the intention, she’d felt intense heat and a rapid-fire, twitching response in her back. The next day, she declared, “It’s like I have a new hip.”
For many years I believed I was witnessing a placebo effect – until I began to realize that the senders were getting healed too.
Walter, for instance, was in college working on a science degree when he was drafted and sent to Vietnam for the final year of the war. The experience so traumatized him that he did not finish his university degree, and was left in a state of depression. His bad luck seemed to carry on; even the high point in his life – his second marriage – was quickly extinguished after his wife died from cancer.
At 64, he’d gotten to the “what’s the use” stage where it was difficult for him to even make breakfast. In August, he joined a Power of Eight group, but sent healing intentions for two group members. Afterward, he said, he experienced his own amazing shift – a feeling of intense joy. All the activities that would have debilitated him in the past, he was able to handle with ease.
During a dream shortly afterward, he met his 19-year-old self, who told him “there’s still time.” Suddenly he felt compelled to re-engage in writing and even intense exercise, including weight-lifting and 90-minute power walks. “It feels like I’m 25, not 64,” he said.
Anita had tried everything to remove old patterns that had interfered with her ability to make a good living. When she joined a Power of Eight group, she shared her intention to find a dream job with ample income.
None of intentions the group tried were working for her. Anita then started shifting her intention to a young boy who’d tried to commit suicide.
“Two days after that, I got an unexpected offer to do product development and strategy for an online organization involved in human development, a job that would joyfully bring me money doing work I love!” said Anita.
Working in a large or small group and doing something altruistic activates the vagus nerve, one of the longest of the body, which connects with all the communication systems involved with caretaking. It slows down heart rate, calms the effects of any fight-or-flight autonomic nervous system activity, and initiates the release of oxytocin, a neuropeptide that plays a role in love, trust, intimacy, kindness, or compassion.
Increased levels of oxytocin also have a marked healing effect on the body; it lowers inflammation, boosts the immune system, aids digestion, lowers blood pressure, heals wounds faster, and even repairs damage to the heart after a heart attack.
Other evidence from neuroscience studies carried out on Power of Eight groups shows that members of the group undergo major brain-wave changes that are akin to those of a Sufi master during a state of ecstatic prayer: a feeling of blissful oneness.
The powerfully transformational mechanisms at work in healing intention groups appeared to be the unique power of group prayer coupled with an amazing mirror effect. Focusing on healing someone else brings on a mirrored healing.
Adaptation by Lynne McTaggart, best-selling author, researcher, and journalist. Her books include The Field, The Bond, and her latest, The Power of Eight, which includes full instructions about group intention and constructing your own Power of Eight group. Visit lynnemctaggart.com
This article is a part of the 2018 February / March issue of Whole Life Times.