The Intuitive-Connections Network

Current Update as of May 16, 2006 

Inspired by The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies

Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.

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Your Science and the Akashic Field

Science and the Akashic Field

(An Excerpt, with permission of the publisher,
Inner Traditions)

Chapter 3

A Concise Catalog of Contemporary Puzzles

     Before embarking on the search for an integral theory of everything (TOE), we should review the puzzles that are emerging in the pertinent fields of the sciences.

We should be familiar with the unexpected and often strange findings that stress the current theories of the physical world, the living world, and the world of human consciousness, for only then can we understand the concepts that not only shed light on one or the other of these persistent domains of mystery, but also address the elements they have in common—and thus give us a new, more integral understanding of nature, mind, and universe.

1. The Puzzles of Cosmology

     Cosmology, a branch of the astronomical sciences, is in turbulence. The deeper the new high-powered instruments probe the far reaches of the universe, the more mysteries they uncover. For the most part, these mysteries have a common element: they exhibit a staggering coherence throughout the reaches of space and time.

     The universe is far more complex and coherent than anyone other than poets and mystics have dared to imagine. A number of puzzling observations have cropped up:

• The “flatness” of the universe: in the absence of matter, space-time turns out to be “flat” or “Euclidean” (the kind of space where the shortest distance between two points is a straight line), rather than curved (where the shortest distance between any two points is a curve).

This, however, means that the “Big Bang” that gave rise to our universe was staggeringly finely tuned, for if it had produced just one-billionth more or one-billionth less matter than it did, space-time would be curved even in the absence of matter.

• The “missing mass” of the universe: there is more gravitational pull in the cosmos than visible matter can account for—yet only matter is believed to have mass and thus to exert the force of gravitation. Even when cosmologists allow for a variety of “dark” (optically invisible) matter, there is still a great chunk of matter (and hence mass) missing.

• The accelerating expansion of the cosmos: distant galaxies pick up speed as they move away from each other—yet they should be slowing down as gravitation brakes the force of the Big Bang that blew them apart.

• The coherence of some cosmic ratios: the mass of elementary particles, the number of particles, and the forces that exist between them are all mysteriously adjusted to favor certain ratios that recur again and again.

• The “horizon problem”: the galaxies and other macrostructures of the universe evolve almost uniformly in all directions from Earth, even across distances so great that the structures could not have been connected by light, and hence could not have been correlated by signals carried by light (according to relativity theory, no signal can travel faster than light).

• The fine-tuning of the universal constants: the key parameters of the universe are amazingly fine tuned to produce not just recurring harmonic ratios, but also the—otherwise extremely improbable—conditions under which life can emerge and evolve in the cosmos.

     According to the standard model of cosmic evolution, the universe originated in the Big Bang, twelve to fifteen billion years ago (the latest satellite-based observations, made from the far side of the moon, confirm that the universe is indeed about 13.7 billion years old).

The Big Bang was an explosive instability in the “pre-space” of the universe, a fluctuating sea of virtual energies known by the misleading term vacuum. A region of this vacuum—which was, and is, far from a real vacuum, that is, empty space—exploded, creating a fireball of staggering heat and density. In the first milliseconds it synthesized all the matter that now populates cosmic space.

The particle-antiparticle pairs that emerged collided with and annihilated each other, and the one billionth of the originally created particles that survived (the tiny excess of particles over antiparticles) made up the material content of this universe.

After about 200,000 years, the particles decoupled from the radiation field of the primordial fireball, space became transparent, and clumps of matter established themselves as distinct elements of the cosmos. Matter in these clumps condensed under gravitational attraction: the first stars appeared about 200 million years after the Big Bang. In the space of one billion years, the first galaxies were formed.

     Until quite recently, the scenario of cosmic evolution seemed well established. Detailed measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation—the presumed remnant of the Big Bang—testify that its variations derive from minute fluctuations within the cosmic fireball when our universe was less than one trillionth of a second “young” and are not distortions caused by radiation from stellar bodies.

     However, the standard cosmology of the Big Bang is not as established now as it was a few years ago. There is no reasonable explanation in “BB theory” for the observed flatness of the universe; for the missing mass in it; for the accelerating expansion of the galaxies; for the coherence of some basic cosmic ratios; and for the “horizon problem,” the uniformity of the macrostructures throughout cosmic space.

The problem known as the “tuning of the constant” is particularly vexing. The three dozen or more physical parameters of the universe are so finely tuned that together they create the highly improbable conditions under which life can emerge on Earth (and presumably on other suitable planetary surfaces) and then evolve to progressively higher levels of complexity.

These are all puzzles of coherence, and they raise the possibility that this universe did not arise in the context of a random fluctuation of the underlying quantum vacuum. Instead, it may have been born in the womb of a prior “meta-universe”: a Metaverse. (The term meta comes from classical Greek, signifying “behind” or “beyond,” in this case meaning a vaster, more fundamental universe that is behind or beyond the universe we observe and inhabit.)

     The existence of a vaster, perhaps infinite universe is underscored by the astonishing finding that no matter how far and wide highpowered telescopes range in the universe, they find galaxy after galaxy—even in “black regions” of the sky where no galaxies or stars of any kind were believed to exist.

This picture is a far cry from the concept that reigned in astronomy but a hundred years ago. At that time, and until the 1920s, it was thought that the Milky Way was all there is to the universe: where the Milky Way ends, space itself ends.

Not only do we know today that the Milky Way—“our galaxy”—is but one among billions of other galaxies in “our universe,” but we are also beginning to recognize that the boundaries of “our universe” are not the boundaries of “the universe.”

The cosmos may be infinite in time, and perhaps also in space—it is vaster by several magnitudes than any cosmologist would have dared to dream just a few decades ago.

     Today a number of physical cosmologies offer quantitatively elaborated accounts of how the universe we inhabit could have arisen in the framework of a Metaverse.

The promise of such cosmologies is that they may overcome the puzzles of coherence in this universe, including the mind-blowing serendipity that it is so improbably finely tuned that we can be here to ask questions about it.

This has no credible explanation in a one-shot, single-cycle universe, for there the pre-space fluctuations that set the parameters of the emerging universe must have been randomly selected: there was “nothing there” that could have biased the serendipity of this selection.

Yet a random selection from among all the possible fluctuations in the chaos of a turbulent pre-space is astronomically unlikely to have led to a universe where living organisms and other complex and coherent phenomena could arise and evolve!

     The fluctuations that led to our amazingly coherent universe may not have been selected at random. Traces of prior universes could have been present in the pre-space from which our universe arose.

They could have reduced the range of the fluctuations that affected the explosion that created our universe, fine-tuning the fluctuations to those that lead to a universe that can give rise to complex systems, such as those required for life.

In this way the Metaverse could have informed the birth and evolution of our universe, much as the genetic code of our parents informed the conception and growth of the embryo that grew into what we are today.

     The staggering coherence of our universe tells us that all its stars and galaxies are interconnected in some way. And the astonishing finetuning of the physical laws and constants of our universe suggests that at its birth our universe may have been connected with prior universes in a vaster, perhaps infinite Metaverse.

     Do we come across here the footprint of a cosmic “Akashic Field” that conveyed the trace of a precursor universe to the birth of our universe—and has been connecting and correlating the stars and galaxies of this universe ever since?

2. The Puzzles of Quantum Physics

     In the course of the twentieth century, quantum physics—the physics of the ultrasmall domain of physical reality—became strange beyond imagination.

The discoveries show that the smallest identifiable units of matter, force, and light are actually made up of energy, but not a continuous flow of energy: they always come in distinct packets known as quanta. These energy packets are not material, although they can have matterlike properties such as mass, gravitation, and inertia.

They seem like objects, but they are not ordinary, commonsense objects: they are both corpuscles and waves. When one of their properties is measured, the others become unavailable to measurement and observation.

And they are instantly and nonenergetically “entangled” with each other no matter how far apart they may be. At the quantum level, reality is strange and it is nonlocal: the whole universe is a network of time- and space-transcending interconnection.

• In their pristine state, quanta are not just in one place at one time: each single quantum is both “here” and “there”—and in a sense it is everywhere in space and time.

• Until they are observed or measured, quanta have no definite characteristics but instead exist simultaneously in several states at the same time. These states are not “real” but “potential”—they are the states the quanta can assume when they are observed or measured.

(It is as if the observer, or the measuring instrument, fishes the quanta out of a sea of possibilities. When a quantum is pulled out of that sea, it becomes a real rather than a mere virtual beast—but one can never know in advance just which of the various real beasts it could become it actually will become. It appears to choose its real states on its own.)

• Even when the quantum is in a set of real states, it does not allow us to observe and measure all of these states at the same time: when we measure one of its states (for example, position or energy), another becomes blurred (such as its speed of motion or the time of its observation).

• Quanta are highly sociable: once they are in the same state, they remain linked no matter how far they travel from each other. When one of the formerly connected quanta is subjected to an interaction (that is, when it is observed or measured), it chooses its own state—and its twin also chooses its own state, but not freely: it chooses it according to the choice of the first twin. It always chooses a complementary state, never the same one.

• Within a complex system (such as the whole setup of an experiment), quanta exhibit just as sociable behaviors. If we measure one of the quanta in the system, the others become “real” (that is, similar to a commonsense object) as well. Even more remarkably, if we create an experimental situation where a given quantum can be individually measured, all the other quanta become “real” even if the experiment is not carried out . . .

     Classical mechanics, the physics of Isaac Newton, conveyed a comprehensible concept of physical reality. Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, demonstrated with geometrical precision that material bodies move according to mathematically expressible rules on Earth, while planets rotate in accordance with Kepler’s laws in the heavens.

The motion of all things is rigorously determined by the conditions under which it is initiated, just as the motion of a pendulum is determined by its length and its initial displacement and that of a projectile by its launch angle and acceleration.

With mathematical certainty Newton predicted the position of the planets, the motion of pendulums, the path of projectiles, and the motion of the “mass points” that in his physics are the ultimate building blocks of the universe.

     Somewhat over a hundred years ago, the mechanistic, predictable world of Newton ran into trouble. With the splitting of the atom in the late nineteenth century and of the atomic nucleus in the early twentieth, more had been fragmented than a physical entity.

The very foundation of natural science was shaken: the experiments of early-twentiethcentury physics demolished the prevailing view that all of reality is built of blocks that are themselves not further divisible. Yet physicists could not put any comparably commonsensical concept in its place. The very notion of “matter” became problematic.

The subatomic particles that emerged when atoms and atomic nuclei were fissioned did not behave like conventional solids: they had a mysterious interconnection known as “nonlocality,” and a dual nature consisting of wavelike as well as corpuscle-like properties.

In addition, the famous “EPR” experiment (the experiment originally suggested by Albert Einstein together with colleagues Boris Podolski and Nathan Rosen) demonstrated that particles that at one time shared the same system of coordinates remain instantly and enduringly correlated.

Such correlation extends to entire atoms: current “teleportation” experiments show that when one of a pair of correlated atoms is further correlated with a third atom, the quantum state of the third is instantly transferred (“beamed”) to the other of the initially correlated pair—no matter how far away that atom may be. . . .

     The remarkable fact emerging from this sea of quantum mystery is that particles and atoms are not individual beasts. They are sociable entities, and under certain conditions they are so thoroughly “entangled” with each other that they are not just here or there, but in all pertinent places at the same time.

Their nonlocality respects neither time nor space: it exists whether the distance that separates the particles and the atoms is measured in millimeters or in light-years, and whether the time that separates them consists of seconds or of millions of years.

     Could the nonlocality of the most basic elements of the universe be due to a fundamental field that records the state of particles and atoms and conveys this information to particles and atoms in corresponding states? Could it be that an Akashic Field is active not only at the cosmological scale, but also at the ultrasmall scale of physical reality?

3. The Puzzles of Biology

     The superlarge as well as the ultrasmall domains of physical reality turn out to be amazingly correlated and coherent. But the world in its everyday dimension is more reasonable. Here things occupy but one state at a time and are either here or there and not in both places simultaneously.

This, at any rate, is the commonsense assumption, but in regard to living beings, it turns out not to be true. This is surprising, for the living organism is made up of cells, which are made up of molecules, which in turn are made up of atoms, made up of particles.

And even if particles themselves are weird, the whole made up of them should be a classical, commonsense object: one would expect that quantum indeterminacies would be canceled out at the macroscale.

     But in the living world, macroscale objects are not classical—or not entirely so. Instant, multidimensional correlations are coming to light between the parts of a living organism, and even between organisms and environments.

Cutting-edge research in quantum biology finds that atoms and molecules in the organism, and even entire organisms and their environments, are nearly as “entangled” as microparticles that originate in the same quantum state.

• The living organism is extraordinarily coherent: all its parts are multidimensionally, dynamically, and almost instantly correlated with all other parts. What happens to one cell or organ also happens in some way to all other cells and organs—a correlation that recalls (and in fact suggests) the kind of “entanglement” that characterizes the behavior of quanta in the microdomain.

• The organism is also coherent with the world around it: what happens in the external milieu of the organism is reflected in some ways in its internal milieu. Thanks to this coherence, the organism can evolve in tune with its environment.

The genetic makeup of even a simple organism is so complex, and its “fit” to the milieu so delicate, that in the absence of such “inside-outside tuning,” living species could not mutate into a viable form before being eliminated by natural selection.

That our world is not populated solely by the simplest of organisms, such as bacteria and blue-green algae, is due in the last analysis to the kind of “entanglement” that exists among genes, organisms, organic species, and their niches within the biosphere.

     That the living organism is coherent as a whole is not surprising— what is surprising is the degree and form of its coherence. The organism’s coherence goes beyond the coherence of a biochemical system; in some respects it attains the coherence of a quantum system.

     Evidently, if living organisms are not to succumb to the constraints of the physical world, their component parts and organs must be precisely yet flexibly correlated with each other.

Without such correlation, physical processes would soon break down the organization of the living state, bringing it closer to the inert state of thermal and chemical equilibrium in which life as we know it is impossible. Near-equilibrium systems are largely inert, incapable of sustaining processes such as metabolism and reproduction, essential to the living state.

An organism is in thermodynamic equilibrium only when it is dead. As long as it is living, it is in a state of dynamic equilibrium in which it stores energy and information and has them available to drive and direct its vital functions.

     On closer analysis it turns out that dynamic equilibrium requires a very high degree of coherence: it calls for instantaneous long-range correlations throughout the system.

Simple collisions among neighboring molecules—mere billiard-ball push-impact relations among them— must be complemented by a network of instant communication that correlates all parts of the living system, even those that are distant from one another.

Rare molecules, for example, are seldom contiguous, yet they find each other throughout the organism. There would not be sufficient time for this to occur by a random process of jiggling and mixing; the molecules need to locate and respond to each other specifically, even if they are distant.

It is difficult to see how this could be achieved by mechanical or chemical connections among the organism’s parts, even if correlated by a nervous system that reads biochemical signals from genes through DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, and neural transmitters and activators.

     In a complex organism the challenge of order is gigantic. The human body consists of some million billion cells, far more than stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Of this cell population, 600 billion are dying and the same number are regenerating every day—over 10 million cells per second.

The average skin cell lives only for about two weeks; bone cells are renewed every three months. Every ninety seconds millions of antibodies are synthesized, each from about twelve hundred amino acids, and every hour 200 million erythrocytes are regenerated.

There is no substance in the body that is constant, though heart and brain cells endure longer than most. And the substances that coexist at a given time produce thousands of biochemical reactions in the body each
and every second.

     The level of coherence exhibited by organisms suggests that quantumtype processes take place in them. For example, organisms respond to extremely low frequency electromagnetic radiation, and to magnetic fields so weak that only the most sophisticated instruments can register them.

But radiation below molecular dimensions could not affect molecular assemblies unless a large number of molecules were supercoherently linked among themselves. Such linkages could come about only if quantum processes complement the organism’s biochemical processes. The living organism, it appears, is in some respects a “macroscopic quantum system.”

     Correlation within the organism embraces the set of the organism’s genes, the so-called genome. This is an anomaly for mainstream biology. According to classical Darwinism, the genome should be insulated from the vicissitudes that befall the rest of the organism.

There is to be a full and complete separation of the germ line (the genetic information handed down from parent to offspring) from the soma (the organism that expresses the genetic information). Darwinists claim that in the course of successive generations in the life of a species, the germ line varies randomly, unaffected by influences acting on the soma.

Evolution proceeds by a selection from among the randomly created genetic variants according to the “fit” of the soma (the resulting organism) to its particular environment. Thus biological evolution is the product of a twofold chance: the chance variation of the genome and the chance fit of the resulting mutants to their environment.

To cite the metaphor made popular by the Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins, evolution occurs through trial and error: the work of a blind watchmaker.

     However, the classical Darwinian tenet regarding the isolation of the genome is not correct. It has been proved false indirectly, through statistical probability, and empirically, by way of laboratory experiments.

Genome, organism, and environment form an integrated system where functionally autonomous parts are so correlated that the organism can survive, and can produce offspring that prove viable under conditions that would have been fatal to the parent.

     The connection between genes and environments is demonstrated in laboratory experiments. Gene–environment connection can be conveyed even by mechanical means.

The cell biologist A. Maniotis described an experiment where a mechanical force impressed on an external cellular membrane was transmitted to the cell nucleus. This produced a mutation almost instantly. The experimentalist Michael Lieber went further.

His work demonstrated that mechanical force acting on the outer membrane of cells is but one variety of interaction that results in a genetic rearrangement: any stress coming from the environment, mechanical or not, triggers a global “hypermutation.”

The genome is dynamic and highly adaptive. When challenged it creates a complex and practically instant series of rearrangements, producing even in-themselves-unnecessary steps if they facilitate the necessary steps.

     The recently discovered “adaptive response” of the genome is also evident when electromagnetic or radioactive fields irradiate the organism: this, too, has a direct effect on the structure of its genes. In many cases the new arrangement shows up in the offspring.

Experiments in Japan and the United States show that rats develop diabetes when a drug administered in the laboratory damages the insulin-producing cells of their pancreas. These diabetic rats produce offspring in which diabetes arises spontaneously! It appears that the alteration of the rats’ body cells produces a rearrangement of their genes.

     Even more striking are experiments in which particular genes of a strain of bacterium are rendered defective—for example, genes that enable bacteria to metabolize lactose. When these bacteria are fed a pure milk diet, some among them mutate back precisely those of their genes that enable them to metabolize it again. Given the complexity of the genome even of humble bacteria, this response is astronomically unlikely to occur purely by chance.

     Exposure to chemicals also produces adaptive mutation. When plants and insects are subjected to toxic substances, they often mutate their gene pool in precisely such a way that detoxifies the poisons and creates resistance to them.

     The German theoretician Marco Bischof summed up the key insight currently emerging at the frontiers of the life sciences. “Quantum mechanics has established the primacy of the inseparable whole. For this reason,” he said (and the emphasis is his), “the basis of the new biophysics must be the insight into the fundamental interconnectedness within the organism as well as between organisms, and that of the organism with the environment.”

     Could a field, sometimes called “biofield,” instantly and continuously coordinate the myriad interactions of the organism’s myriad molecules, genes, and cells, and correlate entire organisms and species with their environment?

Could it be that the Akashic Field we have encountered in microphysics and in cosmology is also active in the domains of life—that it interconnects organisms and ecologies, much as it interconnects quanta at the ultrasmall scale of reality and the universe at the superlarge scale?

4. The Puzzles of Consciousness Research

     Consciousness is the most intimately and immediately known fact of our experience. It accompanies us from birth, presumably until death. It is unique, and seems to belong uniquely to each of us. Yet “my” consciousness may not be solely and uniquely mine.

The connections that bind “my” consciousness to the consciousness of others, well known to traditional—so-called primitive, but in fact in many respects highly sophisticated—peoples, are rediscovered today in controlled experiments with thought and image transference, and the effect of the mind of one individual on the body of another.

• Native tribes seem able to communicate beyond the range of eye and ear. As shown by the customs, buildings, and artifacts of diverse peoples who lived on different points of the globe, and may have lived at different times, entire cultures appear to have shared information among themselves, even though they were not in any known form of contact with each other.

• In the laboratory also, modern people display a capacity for spontaneous transference of impressions and images, especially when they are emotionally close to each other.

• Some images and ideas—universal symbols and archetypes— occur and recur in the culture of all civilizations, modern and ancient, whether or not their people have known each other or have even known of each other’s existence.

• The mind of one person appears able to act on the brain and body of another. This faculty, known to traditional peoples, is verified today in controlled experiments and forms the basis of a new branch of medicine known as telesomatic or nonlocal medicine.

     Current findings at the farther reaches of human consciousness recall Einstein’s pronouncement half a century ago.

“A human being” he said, “is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a sort of prison for us, restricting us to our personal decisions and to affection for a few persons nearest us.”

While in the conservative view human communication and interaction is limited to our sensory channels (everything that is in the mind, it is said, must first have been in the eye or ear), leading psychologists, psychiatrists, and consciousness researchers are rediscovering what Einstein realized and ancient cultures have always known: that we are linked by more subtle and encompassing connections as well. In current scientific literature these connections are called transpersonal.

     Traditional cultures did not regard transpersonal connections with distant peoples, tribes, or cultures as illusion, but modern societies do. The modern mind is not ready to accept anything as real that is not “manifest”—not literally “ready to hand” (manus being Latin for “hand”). Consequently, transpersonal connections are viewed as paranormal and admitted only under exceptional conditions.

     One of the exceptions is “twin pain”—when one of a pair of identical twins senses the pain or trauma of the other. This phenomenon is well documented. Guy Playfair, who wrote the book Twin Telepathy, noted that about thirty percent of twins experience telepathic interconnection.

He cites a 1997 television program where the production team tested four pairs of identical twins. The brain waves, blood pressure, and galvanic skin response of the four pairs of twins were rigorously monitored. One of the unsuspecting twins in each pair was subjected to a loud alarm fitted to the back of the chair in which he or she was sitting.

In three of the four pairs, the other twin registered the resulting shock, even through he or she was closeted some distance away in a separate and soundproof room.

The successful pairs were used for the show that went live on the air, and they again showed the telepathic information transmission, although the receiving twin could not give an account of what it was that the other twin had experienced. The technical supervisor of the show concluded that the twins “certainly picked up something from somewhere.”

     Identical twins are only the top of the tree of bonded pairs. Some form of telepathy has been observed among all people who share a deep bond, such as mothers and children, lovers, long-term couples, even close friends.

In these cases all but the most conservative psychologists are forced to recognize the existence of some transpersonal contact. But only exceptionally broad-minded psychologists admit that transpersonal contact includes the ability to transmit thoughts and images, and that it is given to many and perhaps all people.

Yet this is the finding of recent experiments. The telepathic powers of people—their ability to carry out various forms of thought and image transference—is not just wishful thinking or a misreading of the results. A whole spectrum of experimental protocols has been developed, ranging from the noisereduction procedure known as the Ganzfeld technique to the rigorous “distant mental influence on living systems” (DMILS) method.

Explanations in terms of hidden sensory cues, machine bias, cheating by subjects, and experimenter incompetence or error have all been considered, but were found unable to account for a number of statistically significant results. It appears that almost all people possess “paranormal” abilities.

     Not only can people communicate with the minds of other people, but they can also interact with other people’s bodies. Reliable evidence is becoming available that the conscious mind of one person can produce repeatable and measurable effects on the body of another. These effects, in turn, are known as telesomatic.

     Telesomatic effects were known to so-called primitive peoples: anthropologists call them “sympathetic magic.” Shamans, witch doctors, and those who practice such magic (voodoo, for example) do not act on the person they target, but rather on an effigy of that person, such as a doll.

This practice is widespread among traditional peoples. In his famous study The Golden Bough, Sir James Frazer noted that Native American shamans would draw the figure of a person in sand, ashes, or clay and then prick it with a sharp stick or do it some other injury.

The corresponding injury was said to be inflicted on the person the figure represented. Observers found that the targeted person often fell ill, became lethargic, and sometimes even died.

     There are positive variants of sympathetic magic today that are increasingly widely known and practiced. One variant is the kind of alternative medicine known as spiritual healing.

The healer acts on the organism of his or her patient by “spiritual” means—that is, by sending a healing force or healing information. Healer and patient can be directly face to face, or miles apart; distance does not seem to affect the outcome.

The effectiveness of this kind of healing may be surprising, but it is well documented. Renowned physician Larry Dossey calls the corresponding medical practice “Era III nonlocal medicine,” suggesting that it is the successor to Era I biochemical medicine, and Era II psychosomatic medicine.

     Another form of positively oriented sympathetic magic is healing by intercessory prayer. The effectiveness of prayer has been known to religious people and communities for hundreds and indeed thousands of years.

But the credit for documenting it in a controlled experiment is due to the heart specialist Randolph Byrd. He undertook a ten-month computer-assisted study of the medical histories of patients at the coronary care unit at San Francisco General Hospital.

As reported in the Southern Medical Journal in 1988, Byrd formed a group of experimenters made up of ordinary people whose only common characteristic was a habit of regular prayer in Catholic or Protestant congregations around the country.

The selected people were asked to pray for the recovery of a group of 192 patients; another set of 210 patients, for whom nobody prayed, made up the control group. Neither the patients, nor the nurses and doctors knew which patients belonged to which group.

The people who were to pray were given the names of the patients and some information about their heart condition. As each person could pray for several patients, all patients had between five and seven people praying for them. The results were significant.

The prayed-for group was five times less likely than the control group to require antibiotics (three compared to sixteen patients); it was three times less likely to develop pulmonary edema (six versus eighteen patients); none in the prayed-for group required endotracheal incubation (while twelve patients in the control group did); and fewer patients died in the former than in the latter group (though this particular result was statistically not significant).

It did not matter how close or far the patients were to those who prayed for them, nor did the manner of praying make any difference. Only the fact of concentrated and repeated prayer was a factor, without regard to whom the prayer was addressed and where the prayers took place.

     Intercessory prayer and spiritual healing, together with other mindand intention-based experiments and practices, yield impressive evidence regarding the effectiveness of telepathic and telesomatic informationand energy-transmission. The pertinent practices produce real and measurable effects on people, and they are more and more widespread. But mainstream science has no explanation for them.

     Could it be that our consciousness is linked with other consciousnesses through an interconnecting Akashic Field, much as galaxies are linked in the cosmos, quanta in the microworld, and organisms in the world of the living? And could this be the same field we have encountered before, manifesting itself in the realm of mind, in addition to the realms of nature?

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