In Beyond Science, Epoch Times explores research and accounts related to phenomena and theories that challenge our current knowledge. We delve into ideas that stimulate the imagination and open up new possibilities. Share your thoughts with us on these sometimes controversial topics in the comments section below.
People who talked of a thoughts as influencing a person’s health were once ridiculed. But the placebo effect helped change that. Now it’s commonly accepted that some such connection and impact exists.
When Guglielmo Marconi developed long-distance radio communication at the turn of the 20th century, he had to go to great lengths to prove that it worked. When he said he could transmit his voice many miles, through the air, people thought he was lying. When he demonstrated it, they even accused him of trickery, of hiding the wires.
These are two examples of advances in science—initially viewed as woo woo—that Jason Yotopoulos brought up in setting the background for a study his Merraki Institute is currently helping sponsor.
The study combines the power of the mind to influence health and communication at a distance: advanced meditators are directing positive intentions at people from a distance and the impacts on those people are being observed, measured, and studied.
Stanford Professor Emeritus William Tiller has spent decades researching intention. He is working with psychotherapist Dr. Gabriele Hilberg and Dr. Paul Mills, a behavioral medicine professor at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine, to conduct the current study.
The study is also supported by Body Mind Me, a new digital wellbeing company co-founded by famed author, physician, and alternative-medicine advocate Deepak Chopra. Yotopoulos is a former venture capitalist, who founded the Merraki Institute when he realized the importance of consciousness studies and decided to help researchers in this field.
Over the course of 18 months, meditators will focus positive intentions on study participants spread across the world. A control group of half the participants will not be the target of any intention for the first six months. This ensures it is not the placebo effect at work. Based on previous intention experiments, the effects are expected to include positive shifts in overall wellness among participants.
Chopra wrote in an invitation to garner participants: “No effort is required on your part. While the mechanism of this subtle energy effect is not yet fully understood, it appears fundamentally to be a non-local resonant energetic process, which may catalyze shifts at multiple levels of your being.”
Subtle energies are defined by Tiller as “all those [energies] beyond those active via the four fundamental forces of today’s orthodox physics.” Hilberg explained that Eastern traditions have long talked about qi or prana, and this may also be considered “subtle energy.”
But Tillerian physics has brought these concepts into modern times and put them in modern terms.
Tiller’s experiments have shown that human intention can cause fruit fly larvae to grow 30 percent more quickly; it can change the pH-level of water by one point.
Yotopoulos underscored the significance of the experiment: “If we change the pH of the blood in our bodies by one point, we die.”
Tiller has theorized that a moiety, or new type of particle which he calls a deltron, may exist in the space between molecules and atoms. We can’t see deltrons with our conventional measuring devices, but they are activated by human intention and then have an impact on things we can measure (like pH levels).
Like a Prayer
Several studies over the last few decades have also found that praying for someone’s health may help that person’s health improve. For example, Leanne Roberts at the University of Oxford’s Hertford College conducted a meta-analysis published in 2007, titled “Intercessory Prayer for the Alleviation of Ill Health.”
Roberts found significant results: the odds that the improvement was due to prayer and not chance were greater than 100,000 to one. She concluded: “The evidence presented so far is interesting enough to support further study.”
Hilberg described the intention sent out in the current study as a “non-denominational, technology-amplified prayer.” The technology comes in with the use of a so-called “intention host device.” This is a machine Tiller says can be imprinted with human intention, and then can broadcast that intention 24/7.
Intention Host Device, Previous Experiments
It is an electromechanical crystalline-based device. In a white paper on Tiller’s website he explains: “It is important to note that the specific electric circuit … is not properly connected to operate efficiently in our normal physical reality, spacetime. However, it functions very well for subtle energy purposes in domains of nature beyond spacetime.”
Tiller had used similar devices for more conventional purposes in his study of lasers. He decided to go out on a limb and try using this one to store intention in his pH-level changing experiments.
He found the device, when imbued with the intention, had the same effect as a person directing intention. Other devices he tried did not show the same results. He doesn’t yet know exactly how it works, but he says his results have shown that it does have an effect.
Others have used the device to conduct intention experiments. Among them is Dr. Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
Radin conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled experiment to investigate “whether chocolate exposed to ‘good intentions’ would enhance mood more than unexposed chocolate.”
His findings were published in 2007 in a study titled “Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood,” in the journal Elsevier. He found that the chocolate purportedly imbued with intention via the device led to significantly improved moods among the participants, as compared to the chocolate that was not imprinted with intention.
Cynthia Reed and Norm Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., tested the device on people with anxiety and depression, publishing their findings in the journal Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine. They found a significant reduction in both conditions.
Tiller has also tested his device on autistic children. His findings are detailed in white papers on his website; he found that the odds against the childrens’ improvement being due to chance instead of due to the intention were 1 to 10,000.
Hilberg helped conduct a study in 2014 with the device that provided a good basis for her work on the current study. The 2014 study was a pilot study without a formal control group and did not follow all the top-notch protocols. But the preliminary data indicated statistically significant outcomes. And to her, the many testimonials were important.
“I’m a clinician, I’m here to help people,” she said. Whatever the mechanism behind it, however air-tight the proofs are or aren’t, if participating in intention experiments helps people and they report positive changes in their lives, that’s what’s important to her.
Her study focused on helping the participants increase self-compassion, which Hilberg feels is at the root of many problems people face.
One of the testimonials read: “I did not get the email that the study had started, but last week I woke up with intense thoughts ‘nobody gets to criticize me, nobody gets to put me down.’ That was an epiphany, and I don’t have these often. I also had the thought that I am fine without a romantic relationship; I don’t feel so needy and desperate.”
Another read: “I have been getting things done. My procrastination has decreased tremendously. I go through the day being more organized. … It’s not who I used to be at all.”
The current study has about 200 participants, and the researchers are looking to recruit another 100 or so in the next few months. It uses an innovative crowd-funding approach, having the participants also help fund the study. They pay $33 per month for the potential benefits of positive intentions and to help the science of intention progress.
The study has been sanctioned by an Institutional Review Board, a type of committee that approves, monitors, and reviews biomedical and behavioral research in the United States.
Anyone interested in participating can find more information at www.ConsciousnessFieldProject.org.
Hilberg also recommends the self-compassion test at Self-Compassion.org and the personal values assessment tool at ValuesCentre.com.