Collective Intention in Healing

Excerpted from Subtle Energy: Awakening to the Unseen Forces in Our Lives by William Collinge, Ph.D., Warner Books, Inc., 1998 

Howard, 72, was suffering from metastatic prostate cancer, and was living in constant pain despite the medication he had been prescribed. He described the pain as "like two five pound weights hanging from my testicles." 

He was in the third day of a seven day group retreat at the Cancer Support and Education Center in Menlo Park, California, with his wife Bonnie. The participants were undergoing group therapy for coping with the stress of cancer, and were also learning techniques of mind/body medicine to cope with symptoms and promote healing. 

This particular afternoon, when it was particularly apparent that he was in great discomfort, I asked if he would like to receive some direct support from the other group members, to which he agreed. I asked him to sit in the middle of the circle, and the other eight participants brought their chairs close around him. I then instructed the others to each gently place one hand on Howard, close their eyes, and, in their own way, begin visualizing the pain leaving Howard's body. 

As we sat there with eyes closed and maintaining contact with him, we then went around the circle with each person in turn slowly describing out loud their own personal imagery of the pain leaving Howard's body. It took about thirty minutes to make it all the way around the circle. 

At the end of this exercise, Howard was beaming. He reported that he was completely pain-free, for the first time in months. Three days later, he was still pain-free. 

Was the relief of his pain simply a result of the power of suggestion, or did something happen on an energetic level? Studies have found that when one person contacts another person's energy field with a healing intention, with or without contacting their physical body, a state of coherence and synchrony between the brain waves of the healer and the recipient develops -- they literally become unified in one energetic field. Other studies have found this kind of communion to reduce the severity of pain, reduce anxiety, heal wounds more rapidly, and even raise the level of hemoglobin in the recipient's blood. 

To me this experience showed that all support groups could be easily transformed into healing groups. We all have the potential to be a healing presence for one another, if we will just set our intention to do so, and follow a few simple guidelines. I believe that what happened in Howard's case was that the collective intentionality of the group, coupled with their direct energetic and physical contact with him, transformed the energetic dynamics that were creating pain in his body. 

We have no way of knowing what happened on the physiological level to his disease process or the mechanisms that were leading to his perception of pain. However, as I see it, what mattered here was that Howard had the clear intention to receive, the others had the clear intention to give, and the images formed in the minds of the participants were somehow potentized by the collective intentionality of the group. A strong, coherent field of energy was created, he received it, and it had a lasting impact on the coherence of his own field for an extended period, overriding the forces of incoherence being produced by the disease process.