If you’ve ever wondered if sending a positive thought or prayer to a friend has any real affect on their condition, wonder no more….
A growing body of research in the relatively new field of the Science of Consciousness indicates that simple intention-setting practices, such as prayer, meditation and compassionate thinking, can actually influence healing in yourself and others.
Social anthropologist, researcher and writer Dr. Marilyn Schlitz has been studying the Science of Consciousness for more than 30 years — dedicating much of her work to exploring the effects of prayer and “intentionality” on people or biological systems, like animals, plants and even crystals.
(And below, I share 3 practices based on her research and recommendations.)
What’s truly exciting is Schlitz and other pioneers in this arena have discovered that there is indeed a link, and in fact, we can use our minds — individually and collectively — to contribute to healing and wellness.
Here are just a few examples of this inspiring research:
In one study, volunteers focused healing intentions on a group of laboratory animals with cancer. The results were conclusive… the tumors in the animals given healing intentions were reduced compared to a control group without healing intentions.
In another study, a group which included Qigong masters, Reiki practitioners, Buddhist monks and Christian groups directed healing energy toward breast cancer patients undergoing reconstructive surgery after mastectomy. Even though the patients were in another geographic location, wounds among patients sent healing energy healed faster than the average rate!
And in a research project which Schlitz and colleagues called “The Love Study,” the husband of a cancer patient was trained in compassionate intention. When he practiced it, the patient’s respiration, heart rate and brain activity were monitored. The results indicated that the husband’s positive intentions did indeed have a measurable calming effect on his wife’s physiology!
If you’re intrigued, you, too, can tap the power of consciousness to heal. It’s often a matter of how and where you focus your mind...
Here are 3 Simple Consciousness & Healing Practices Based on Marilyn Schlitz's Recommendations:
1. Set Intentions
Everything originates out of consciousness. Just as you might set an intention to complete a specific goal, manifest a relationship or make progress on a lifelong dream, you can set intentions for healing. Here’s how….
If you or a loved one are facing a health challenge, practice your own form of intention-setting. You can create an ongoing prayer or mantra and consistently use it several times a day. If you prefer visualization, imagine you or your loved one in complete health, perhaps doing something that couldn’t be done before the health crisis.
One of our Shift Network team members who was using alternative approaches to heal from cancer, did a daily practice in which she imagined speaking with her parents and telling them she was cancer-free. The emotional relief she imagined in giving this news to her parents added potent fuel to this visualization and to her healing.
Within 4 months of doing this daily practice, she and her parents had that conversation, and they all wept with deep relief.
2. Cultivate Loving-Kindness in Your Relationships
The practice of loving-kindness stems from the Buddhist tradition, but can be used for anyone at any time. In essence, it means sending unconditional love and well-wishes to yourself or others without any expectations. And we now know that loving-kindness can actually facilitate physical healing.
To practice loving-kindness, you simply need to drop into your heart and cultivate a series of powerful, healing thoughts. The more commonly used loving-kindness words are, “May you be happy. May you be free from suffering. May you know peace and joy.”
However, you can use any kind of loving-kindness words which are true for you. They can be silently offered at a distance, or spoken aloud. As for your own healing, even when you’re feeling at your worst, you can muster up a few phrases such as “May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be whole and replenished.”
What makes you or a sick friend feel nurtured? Whether it’s words or acts of loving-kindness — such as a massage or cooking a nutritious meal — rest assured that these small acts do make a difference for yourself, friends, family and community.
3. Create Healing Rituals
Common in virtually every culture, ritual and ceremony can induce higher states of consciousness which reinforce healing intentions.
In indigenous communities, healing and spiritual practice go hand and hand. Within the Hawaiian Kahuna tradition, for example, the healer and religious spiritual practitioner are one and the same.
And ritual dances in shamanic traditions are used to “journey” to higher states of consciousness, an access point for animal archetypes or other guides who can help with healing.
While in the West we tend to retreat from the world and each other when illness strikes, research done by Schlitz and others shows that close relationships foster healing and a sense of wellbeing. In fact, the medicine man in many indigenous cultures draws on the entire community to bring healing to its members.
You can create your own healing rituals to suit your spiritual beliefs and personal preferences, for example:
Create an altar in your home and place a symbol or picture on it which represents the person in need of healing. Focus on that person or symbol during prayer or meditation.
We all wash our hands; Marilyn suggests that while running the water with mindfulness, you bring healing intentions to yourself and others.
Participate in conscious dance practices to physically imagine moving the “dis-ease” out of the body for yourself or someone you love. You can also practice this in communities where conscious dance is gaining in popularity.
The research into the link between consciousness and healing being done by Schlitz and pioneering consciousness scientists is truly cutting-edge….
Even traditional western medicine is taking notes from this field of study and beginning to recognize and implement non-traditional healing methods which were once ignored.
Some medical school curriculums include courses in “patient spirituality,” for example, while hospitals are embracing the benefits of spirituality and mind-body healing in their facilities — even offering meditation classes, acupuncture services and community support groups.
And while there is a lot more to discover about the relationship between consciousness and our health (and no doubt more research is on the horizon), we can set our intentions on healing now, through simple rituals and loving-kindness practices.
PS - Intrigued by the insights included above? You're invited to download a free, hour-long audio from Dr. Marilyn Schlitz, Using the Power of Your Consciousness to Heal: