reported major life transformations. “One man healed a
suicidal depression,” Mc Taggart says. “A woman healed
15-year-old chronic fatigue. Another woman regained
a good part of her hearing. It goes on and on like that.
Others said they got their dream jobs or received
financial windfalls when they needed them.”
For some, however, nothing worked. One master class
participant named Andy was going through a divorce,
had sold her gift shop, and couldn’t find a new job. “I
finally said, ‘Andy, just get off yourself. Start intending for
someone else,’” Mc Taggart remembers. Andy felt deeply
touched by the story of a young man named Luke who was
in the hospital, and she began sending regular intentions
for his healing. Luke’s situation improved—and a few days
after Andy started focusing on Luke, she got a call out of
nowhere and got her dream job. “That happened over and
over again,” Mc Taggart says. “When people took their
attention away from themselves, amazing things started
to happen. Once you get away from yourself, the universe
starts working for you.
“I’ve never seen a situation where we haven’t had amazing
responses both among senders and receivers,” Mc Taggart
says. “Meeting weekly is key. The group dynamic seems to
hugely amplify the effect.”
The Science of Intention
Mc Taggart, author of The Power of Eight (Atria Books,
2017), The Bond (Free Press, 2011), and The Intention
Experiment (Free Press, 2007), didn’t set out to prove
intention groups work. But that’s what happened.
“I was the ultimate doubting Thomas,” she says. However,
through carefully designed scientific experiments and
research with leading scientists, Mc Taggart could no longer
ignore or deny the powerful evidence. Still, it took her 10
years to write The Power of Eight because she didn’t believe
it herself—at first passing it off as simply a placebo effect.
Of the 30 experiments she’s conducted to date, 26 have
shown significant positive effects. “No prescription drug
has that kind of consistent track record,” she notes. She
found the rebound effects even more fascinating.
“I studied group effects, brain science, the science of
altruism, the science of intention,” Mc Taggart remembers,
finally deciding altruism had a lot to do with what was
happening. Studies from the University of California at
Berkeley, she points out, have shown that altruistic acts
make you more compassionate toward people who are
not like you. “When you do something altruistic, you
activate the vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve in the
body,” Mc Taggart explains. “It winds around the top of the
compassion, love, and caring because it triggers the release
of the bonding hormone oxytocin. This also causes the
immune system to go through an amazing reboot. Lots
of fabulous stuff happens in our bodies once we take our
attention away from ourselves.”
She adds that a French scientist calls group healing
soirée miracles. “I think that’s it,” she adds. “When we come
together with a common prayer, miracles just happen.”
Something about praying or collectively intending
together amplifies the power of intentional prayer,
seeming to tap in to a mystical and divine state that’s
beyond our small, individual selves. In the groups I
participated in via Skype, my friend Nick was one of the
people selected as a receiver. “Our intention,” we affirmed,
“is that Nick in Locarno be free of all cancer and pain and
is able to sleep and rest well. We further intend that he is
well and healthy in every way.” The group facilitator, Lea,
suggested we imagine our receivers happy and well, doing
things they love.
We went through a two-minute “powering up” that
included some gentle breathing exercises and getting in
touch with the body before focusing on the intention itself,
which lasted for about eight minutes. During that time, I
felt a powerful energy surge through my body. When we
did a group check-in at the end, others said they’d felt heat
or power flowing through them, but there wasn’t a sense of
ownership of the experience or any expectation or demand.
Instead, the experience seemed to be happening as part of
a universal life force or God and we were like instruments
allowing it to come through.
Nick had been in a constant-care facility with very low
energy due to inoperable cancer. But during the week after
the intention, he was able to write a story and attend a
concert—the first time he had left the care facility in more
than four months. We’ll never know for sure if this miracle
happened as a result of our intention, but it doesn’t really
matter—to me or to Nick.
As for me, my sense of possibility has been transformed
by these experiences. Before joining the intention group,
my spiritual life had been feeling stagnant and insular.
Connecting with the group to send healing intention has
brought me a sense of expansion and connectedness that
feeds my spirit. A sense of purpose and deep peace with a
great night’s sleep follows every time.
If you’re curious and it feels right and good, try an
intention group yourself. Maybe you, too, will discover
the extraordinary miracles that happen when even just a
handful of people come together with prayerful intention.