The idea that consciousness can affect reality is hardly new, if you think about it. Therapeutic intention expressed through prayer, usually through an intermediary deity or transcendental power, dates back into the mists of the past, its beginnings unknowable. And it is not just an article of faith. I and many others have carried out rigorous studies showing its effects. The studies number to several thousand each showing an effect on blood cells, bacteria, fish, and mammals, through nonlocal perturbation—affecting the well-being, for good or ill it should be noted, through conscious intention alone.
Some years ago I was the principal investigator on a study that took this a stage further. This research showed that therapeutic intention also had an effect on water, consistently altering its molecular structure by changing the H–O bonds as measured by multiple-internal reflection infrared spectrophotometry. And as these things go it was a pretty robust effect (P = .0004).
A second effect was also noted. Water samples that were in the room where the therapeutic intention was expressed, but unknown to either the healer of recipient also showed change although not as great as water immediately proximate to the palms of the Therapeutic Practitioners. This suggested two things: individual expressions of focused intentioned awareness could not only produce a therapeutic effect on the target organism—the person being healed—it could also alter the reality of the space in which the therapeutic intention was expressed in a way that could be objectively measured.
For as long as we have kept records as a species, people have talked about experiencing “sacred space” when they have gone into venues, whether buildings or groves of trees, where collective intention has been expressed through ritual, music, and movement. Indeed these earlier human cultures, before consciousness and science were rent asunder, deliberately planned for this effect. As modern researchers have discovered there is a science to it, and I have much respect for the power of empirical observation across generations, even centuries.
From an anthropological view if people from all cultures and times across the ages report an experience, and deliberately seek to evoke it, there is something to it beyond the myth and belief. I came to see it in the same way that I saw how acupuncture was developed through empirical observation over 5000 years ago.
And what we had seen in our infrared study water study made me remember a study done in the early 1970s, by biologists Graham Watkins and his wife Anita at Duke University.
They ran an unusually compassionate, particularly for the time, protocol in which a species of mice bred for research were anesthetised, placed in a small toy cradle, one mouse a control, the other the target of therapeutic intention. The goal of the participant’s intention was to awaken the treated mouse, while the control mouse’s anesthetic was allowed to just wear off. The measurement was the difference in the times of the two groups, and the Graham study showed that the mice that had been the focus of intention did in fact awaken significantly more quickly.
As it happened the same cradle without exception was always the “treated cradle” or the “control cradle.” Through this quirk of circumstance something else was revealed. One day the participant healer for a scheduled session did not show up. Since the mice were already anesthetized the Grahams decided to see what would happen if they just put the mice in the cradles. To their surprise once again the treated cradle mouse awoke before the control cradle mouse. They repeated the experiment again and again, and the mice assigned to the cradle that had been designated “treated” always awoke faster than the controls, whether a healer was present or not.
As with my water experiment, physical reality had been manipulated through consciousness, and the effect had at least two aspects.
And the results of these studies dovetails with remote viewing (RV) research, in which individuals are asked to describe in detail persons, places, objects, or events from which knowledge they are shielded by time, space or both. These studies have consistently shown that a target that has been the focus of multiple individual as well as collective acts of intentioned awareness is more often correctly selected and more accurately described than other targets that have not been the subject of such focused attention.
Literally millions of remote viewing sessions have been carried out, remote viewing has become a social movement and avocational activity, and they show that targets, which have been the focus of reiterated acts of intentioned awareness, particularly in a state of heightened emotion (whether positive or negative does not seem to matter), say for instance a religious shrine, are easier to perceive than other targets, perhaps a rice paddy, which may be visually more arresting, but harder to perceive in nonlocal awareness. It is easier for a remote viewer to see Chartres Cathedral than a warehouse of the same size. One has been the focus of highly emotional intentioned awareness for centuries; the other is a structure no one pays any attention to.
There is also a second phenomenon that occurs in RV sessions that must be considered. Viewers can provide data from the photograph, that is the target, but also as the physical target exists at that moment. A skylift in snow in the photo may be described by the viewer in May as the mountains being covered with spring flowers—which is accurate at that moment. Viewers can also provide information and sense impressions from other time periods, as archeological remote viewing studies have demonstrated.
Why? We don’t yet have a definitive answer but I believe we are looking at an information effect produced because multiple acts of intentioned awareness while they do not change anything physically, do enrich the nonlocal information architecture that is the designated target. And that enriching makes the targets numinous.
The term numinous, coined in 1917 by the German Protestant philosopher and theologian Rudolf Otto (1869–1937), is based on the Latin word numen, which term dates to early 17th century Latin and represents a pre-scientific attempt to explain the sense of nonlocal awareness associated with totemic things and places by imputing this numinous empirical experience to a divine power or spirit over that thing or place.
The particular quality that seems apposite to intention research was described by Carl Jung: “We should not be in the least surprised if the empirical manifestations of unconscious contents bear all the marks of something illimitable, something not determined by space time. This quality is numinous … numina are psychic entia …”
The effect is sufficiently strong that including such a target can cause a peculiar phenomenon known as displacement. In creating a typical target set of seven images one has in essence created seven possible futures, only one of which will be actualized by being the selected target. So you would think the viewer would either correctly or incorrectly describe the selected target. But across many sessions the data showed a third condition. You could displace. That is you could describe in accurate detail a notably numinous target in the target set, say seven targets, even if it was not the selected target. It was different than being wrong and we called it displacement.
But here’s the question. Where is the information about the thousands of focused awareness experiences these sessions represent? Viewers are clearly influenced by this information, but where is it? Nothing in the material domain of space time is changed by this awareness. Yet the data is clear numinousity can change a person’s behavior.
And there is other research regularly replicated showing that when someone stares at you or even a picture of you with focused awareness even though you know nothing about this consciously your brain activity changes. We know from meta-analyses of the data that the odds that this effect is happening by chance are better than one in a billion.
This is augmented by the therapeutic intentions studies done by the late Jeanne Achterberg who led a team which explored the hypothesis that at the moment a person came into focus as a target of therapeutic intention their bodies reacted. Individuals were placed in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) instruments, and while they lay there being monitored shamanic healers at a distance, at two-minute intervals selected by random number generators, would express therapeutic intention.
When that happened, and only when that happened, the brains of the recipients showed altered behavior. As their report put it, “Significant differences between experimental (send) and control (no send) procedures were found (P = 0.000127). Areas activated during the experimental procedures included the anterior and middle cingulate area, precuneus, and frontal area. It was concluded that instructions to a healer to make an intentional connection with a sensory isolated person can be correlated to changes in brain function of that individual.
Dean Radin, the Chief Scientist at the Institute for Noetic Sciences (IONS), got interested in another aspect of consciousness affecting reality and devised a protocol that allowed him to objectively measure subtle effects like one’s sense of beauty, or wellbeing, and headed several teams which carried out a series of studies to test the hypothesis that consciousness could alter one’s perception of reality.
He began by taking up a line of research begun by a controversial Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto. His protocol was ingenious, and his claim provocative. Emoto took water samples and had individuals focus what he called “beautiful thoughts” on them. A sample of the treated and control water was then frozen into crystals, like snow flakes. People who looked at pictures of the crystals deemed the treated crystals more beautiful than the control samples that had been given no such attention.
Radin found the Emoto experiments fascinating but also flawed. For instance the original studies were not properly blinded. So he decided to replicate the experiment, altering the protocol so that all the criticisms addressed at Emoto’s work were obviated. For one thing the intenders, 2000 of them, those seeking to alter the water, were in Japan, and the water was 5100 miles away in Northern California and in a Faraday cage to boot. There could be no question about blindness. The team had 100 people assess the beauty of the samples and to the surprise of many Radin’s team got the same results: (P = .001) Beautiful thoughts altered physical reality.
Then he did the whole protocol again a year later with 1950 participant intenders, only this time as with the infrared study he employed what he called a “proximal control” Fifty images were assessed by 2500 judges, for a total of 125,000 blind assessments. The results were similar and, as with my water study, the proximal samples which were at the venue where the target samples were kept showed some change although not as great compared with the control samples.
Radin then asked the important next question: If it works on water could it affect our perception of other substances as well? This time the target was chocolate. As he put it in the first study, “Do good intentions affect the mood elevating properties of chocolate?” Could nonlocally expressed intention alter the perception of a substance in space time?
The protocol he designed was “double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled” and notable for its rigor. As I hope you can see in this essay there is both an art and a science to designing these studies.
Sixty participants were screened “for the psychological trait of neuroticism a known covariate of mood, and randomly assigned to one of four groups, 15 to a group. They were asked to “record their mood each day for a week by using a standard instrument “For days three, four and five, each person consumed a half ounce of the same brand of dark chocolate twice a day at prescribed times. Three groups blindly received chocolate that had been the focus of intentioned awareness using three different techniques all with the intention, “An individual who consumes this chocolate will manifest optimal health and functioning at physical, emotional and mental levels, and in particular will enjoy an increased sense of energy, vigor and well-being.” The fourth group blindly received untreated chocolate as a placebo control.
As the team describes it: “three intentional imprints were produced by (1) a pair of experienced meditators, (2) an electronic device “imprinted” by six experienced meditators, and then used to treat the chocolate, and (3) a ritual performed by a Mongolian shaman.” The meditators were Tibetan Buddhist monks.
All three treatment modalities produced better mode responses than the controls, but it is more subtle than that. As they reported, “Primary contributors to the mood changes were the factors of declining fatigue (P = .01) and increasing vigor (P =.002).” It was a psychophysical response, once again showing consciousness manipulating reality.
If it worked for water and chocolate would this nonlocal perturbation effect work on a drinker’s perception of his tea? Yung-Jong Shiah at the National Kaohsiung Normal University in Taiwan, asked that question and invited Dean Radin to join him in seeking an answer. Once again it was a mood test.
Two hundred and twenty one adult members of a Buddhist book club in Taiwan volunteered to participate, which meant that for seven days in a row they recorded their mood, as in the chocolate study. On days three, four, and five they all drank 600 ml/20.29 oz in the morning and again in the afternoon. The drinkers had been randomly assigned to the treated or control condition, and the treated were given that portion of the Oolong tea that had been the focus of intention.
As the report describes it, “The intentional treatment was produced via focused concentration by Master Lu Cheng, a well-respected monk in Taiwan along with two other senior monks from the same foundation. All three were accomplished meditators with experience in maintaining prolonged concentration. The intention they were asked to use was as follows: “An individual who consumes this tea will manifest optimal health and functioning at physical, emotional and mental levels, and in particular they will enjoy an increased sense of energy, vigor and well-being.”
The result: “Tea treated with good intentions improved mood more than tea derived from the same source but not the focus of intentioned awareness. Belief that one was drinking treated tea produced a large improvement in mood, but only if one was actually drinking the treated tea, indicating that belief and intentional enhancement interact. This also suggests that the esthetic and intentional qualities associated with the traditional tea ceremony may have subtle influences that extend beyond the ritual itself.”
And there’s more. Mechanisms can be affected through a nonlocal process arising from collective focused awareness, but not in the way attempted in the chocolate study. Purposed intention can cause changes in random number and random event generator (RNG/REG) performance not on intentioned purpose, but simply as an artefact of reality being manipulated.
When there is collective intentioned awareness about an event such as Princess Diana’s death, or the Japanese Tsunami in 2012, or Nelson Mandela’s funeral, events which coalesce individual awarnesses into a collective focused intention, there is a measurable difference in the behavior of a network of devices to which the world population as a whole is blind; the RNGs are simply out there operating. Experimental psychologist Roger Nelson, who runs the Global Consciousness Project now has more than 500 events in his database, and the odds that the anomalous performance his network registers is occurring by chance is now 3 trillion to one.
As I hope I have made clear a wide range of protocols and methodologies, all are telling us that conscious intention manipulates reality in subtle but real ways. And I say this after carefully assessing the criticism of this research, a subject I have published on repeatedly. The hallmark of this now several generational debate is that it has become a false equivalency. The criticism is notable for its mediocrity, sometimes laughably so, while the research has improved year after year and is now significantly more rigorous than many psychological or drug studies.
The central belief of materialism is that consciousness arises from physiology; it is entirely brain based. That really is not a sustainable position; it fails not because it is wrong, no one is denying the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Materialism fails because it is inadequate to explain observed phenomena. And this inadequacy and the worldview it has created, a very real assumption of dominance over nature, and seeing other beings and the Earth itself as exploitable resources, which is Materialism’s shadow is the source of the crisis—climate change—that confronts human civilization.
Eliminating consciousness is a form of willlful ignorance we can no longer afford. Physician Larry Dossey frames it very well I think: “I am not saying that awakening to the One Mind is the only way out of the dilemmas we face, but it is a way, a very potent path that is available to everyone.” The choices we make both individually and as the collective of all our cultures must change, and part of that change is to embrace consciousness as the fundamental of reality. Max Planck appears to be correct: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.”
This article has been republished from Explore Journal