JULIE LOAR: Good morning, and welcome to Satiama Radio. I’m your host, Julie Loar, and this morning we are really fortunate to be speaking again with internationally best-selling author, Lynne McTaggert. Today we’re going to focus on her new book, The Power of Eight. So Lynne is, in my own view, a person who defines the word ‘pioneer.’ She’s one of the central authorities on the new science of consciousness and the award-winning author of seven books, including the internationally best-selling The Intention Experience and The Field. She’s also the editorial director of What Doctors Don’t Tell You, one of the world’s most respected health magazines, and architect of the Intention Experiments, a web-based, global laboratory. Lynne is a highly sought after public speaker who is consistently listed as one of the world’s 100 most spiritually influential people. Lynne and her husband, author and What Doctors Don’t Tell You co-founder, Brian Hubbard, who live in London, have two adult daughters. Welcome this morning, Lynne. We’re so happy to have you.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: Thank you. It’s wonderful to be with you again.
JULIE LOAR: Great. Well, you know I was so struck reading the testimonials that you have for your book. Talk about a whole series of heavy hitters: Bruce Lipton, Greg Braden, Caroline Myss, Deepak Chopra, and I loved the comments in some of your testimonials that Masaru Emoto, author of Messages from Water, wrote that you are his twin soul, strongly connected on some resonance field. I love that.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: I know. That was really lovely. He was a lovely man.
JULIE LOAR: Indeed, and I was aware of his work early on. So I participated in the American Peace Experiment. I went through the whole thing, so was very grateful to see the wonderful videos that you did with the people and also sort of bringing us up to speed with the history of your other experiments and getting to see and sort of meet, virtually, some of the scientists and participants through that testimony and research. I have a question that maybe, that fascinates me on the one hand. It’s a two-prong question, and I guess I should say I was so struck, to set this up, by what happened in the Sri Lanka experiment, where in the early days you said that the violence quadrupled. So all of us who participated had to be struck by, about that same point in the experiment, Las Vegas happened. So I’m wondering if you’d comment on your feelings about that and any early returns. I don’t mean to put you on the spot negatively, but it seemed to me a striking parallel. Did you see it that way?
LYNNE McTAGGERT: No. A couple of people asked me about that and said, “Oh, then maybe if we were intended for peace in St. Louis, that caused the event in Las Vegas.” And I said, “Sit back and think about that comment for a moment.” Any time you’re praying for someone, does that mean someone else gets harmed? Does the idea of grace and prayer have some sort of limitation, so that if you focus your attention on one side, you deprive the other side of any kind of grace? It doesn’t make any logical sense when you sit back and think about it. Consciousness doesn’t have a limit, and it doesn’t mean that focusing on one place takes the light off of somewhere else. I think the two are completely unrelated. I think in Sri Lanka, the quadrupling of violence was a strange situation that actually proved pivotal in winning the war. I mean, the government which had been, the government of Sri Lanka, which had been losing, the whole northern part of the country had been taken over by rebels, and there was no end to the war in sight when we started our intention experiment. Then during that week, that very week that we sent intention over eight days, violence quadrupled and then plummeted to well below the levels that had been there before. Now I think the most interesting part of that experiment of all though is that that very week was the most decisive week of all the 25 years, the very week of our experiment. And the government recapturing, being able to recapture the country through those decisive wins, it was able to recapture the north a few months later as a result of that momentum, and about five months after that the war was finished. And Sri Lanka is a peaceful country now, and that was no end in sight. So all I’m saying is that we don’t know the mechanisms. We’re learning, hence the intention experiment. Why is it an experiment? To try to learn, but I try to shy away from any kind of speculation about what happened.
JULIE LOAR: But the nature of my question was not about whether if you focus grace on one point. The nature of my question, I don’t have televisions, so I’m very careful about the kind of input I receive. But the nature of my question, which of course is pure speculation, it’s just sort of wondering and asking the question, but certain things that I’ve read have mentioned that your experiments attract tens of thousands of people focusing in a very positive way. One of the interesting things that people have pointed out is that because of the numbers of people involved with the Las Vegas experiment, tens of thousands of people will also be affected by the domino effect of that experience. So what I have been wondering is, will that bring awareness of certain issues to a critical mass, and was the fact that the intention experiment, the peace experiment was going on at the same time, exponentially help what needs to heal in a sense about the awareness of violence? That’s where my mind was going.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: Oh, okay. I hope so, because one thing that’s really interesting about these experiments is the rebound effect that occurs with people. And that’s what’s so fascinating to me, and that was really why I wrote the book. The results of the experiment were interesting and intriguing, and I want to say right now that it’s pretty difficult to prove that, if not impossible, that when you run something like a peace intention experiment, and there’s a lowering of violence or an end to a war, that you actually did that, that we actually did that. All we can say is, “Wow, there were all these amazing things happening at the same time. Was that coincidence or something more?” But there’s too many variables to claim credit for that, just to make that uncategorical claim that, yes, we did this. So what I found though is when I surveyed the participants back in 2008 with the Sri Lanka experiment, what was most amazing to me was that they were having more peace in their lives. They were making up with people they’d been estranged from. They were focusing more on peace. They were hugging strangers. They were in love with everybody they were coming in contact with. Something major had changed for them, and the initial feedback I’m getting on the American Peace Intention Experiment from last week is exactly the same. I will know better when, we’re sending a survey tomorrow, and we find out for sure what happens. By next week we should have a good idea of whether or not this has translated into peoples’ lives too.
JULIE LOAR: I have my own little, I’m sorry, I keep stepping on your line. Sorry about that. But again, as I was saying, I was wondering, just reading some of the accounts of how people were so profoundly impacted, and of course I don’t know how many people behind the scenes, in a sense, with your experiments, and how then they were doubly, probably, impacted by the occurrence of something so awful. But that’s the way I was thinking of it. Did the fact that those two things happen at the same time have this amazing geometric effect? We’ll see, right? And we’ll never know, like you say. My own fun experiment for the week, I’ve been challenged myself lately with some health issues, nothing like cancer. I’m probably going to have some minor knee surgery. I’m going through dental work and just some other things. But on Thursday of this week, I was driving home, and it had been a challenging week, and my own feelings of peace, I’m a long-time meditator and other things. So that wasn’t new to me, but it may seem like nothing, pure coincidence, but to me it was profound. I was driving east, and the sky was black, and suddenly a rainbow arced all the way across the sky. And personally, I felt that there was a direct, in my own life, connection, that that in a sense was my gift of reciprocity from the week and from participating, in addition to everything else. It sounds like one small thing in a story of thousands of people, but for me it was profound. And I’m sure you’re so used to hearing all of these stories, that it’s probably one more little tick on the chart. But personally, Lynne, it was profound, and I felt, for myself, having gone through it for the time, that it was a message that yes, there is some, at the end of the rainbow, there is great promise. And it’s both personal and trans-personal in a very powerful way.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: Oh, you know, it’s very interesting. People get signs. They get experiences. They just find these experiences that are completely out of the ordinary that they keep reporting back. There’s a kind of difference between something that is just purely coincidence and some of the things that they report. They’re really interesting, and they have to do with all kinds of connections, new connections with people, feelings of peace, feelings of change and rejuvenation. That’s the key thing. What I was really fascinated about and reported on in the Power of Eight, my book The Power of Eight, was that people participating in this, in a peace experiment, when they wrote me back on the surveys, they were saying things like, “I felt I was wired up to a higher network. I felt like I was part of the tractor beam in Star Trek. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I had pins and needles down my arms,” on and on and on like that, and also amazing stories of healing relationships, being more peaceful in their lives. They had really all of the elements of say Abraham Maslow’s description of what a mystical experience is like or peak experience, has he called them, the overwhelming feeling of connection with everything in the universe, the physical change, the physical changes and feelings, that incredible sense of oneness, the blinding epiphany of meaning, and finally a big rejuvenation. They just felt like the grass is greener, the flowers smell more beautiful, and that is reported over and over and over again with all of these peace experiments. I’ve had them loads of times, and also physical healings. So that kind of big, big transformation that people undergo is the most fascinating part about this all to me, and that is about the peace that enters into their lives that, and that was the big idea about the Peace Intention Experiment was to make that something that would create, in its own little way, a ripple effect. People would become more peaceful. That will ripple out to everybody that they’re connected with and so forth.
JULIE LOAR: Absolutely. One of the things in the materials that I read that I found to be really interesting, I’ll read it from the materials. It says the biggest problem with the self-help industry is the danger of the self-help movement is that the focus remains squarely on the self. When you refocus on healing intentions outside of yourself that involve the wellbeing of others, an almost immediate shift in your own healing takes place. Can you kind of talk about that a little bit from what you’ve seen or even what the science around that might mean in terms of that shift of focus?
LYNNE McTAGGERT: Well, the science is very clear about altruism. And that was what was really fascinating to me, because when I was running Power of Eight groups, which are small groups where I’ve put people into groups of eight and asked them to send healing intention to a member of the group with a health challenge, I was astonished to find constantly that people were getting better. There were big healings in these groups. And that was shocking to me because I’m not a healer. I’m a journalist. I’m a writer. And that was shocking to me over, that every time I did it, and I’ve run hundreds of them now, the same thing happens. I was just in Denver last week at Mile High Church, and I ran one with 450 people in the room. We split them into groups of eight. We had many, many, many amazing healings. A woman with strokes who couldn’t focus her eyes, and after this she could focus her eyes, and another accident victim who couldn’t move her shoulder, and it was back to normal, and on and on and on, that kind of thing. The other interesting piece of it is that the senders also feel physically better, in many cases experience some sort of healing, some sort of big rejuvenation. And when I’ve looked at that, and I’ve looked at probably why, the science is clear. When it comes to altruism, you’re better off being the giver than the receiver. There’s a study, a really interesting study of healing depression with prayer, and the psychologist and priest, he was both, who ran the study, wanted to see if prayer could also affect mental illness, not just physical illness. So he got about 400 volunteers who had suffered from depression, and he put them into two groups, one group were to get the praying, and the other group were to do the praying. And he then looked at and measured with all kinds of measurements how they were doing afterwards in terms of their depression. And the people who got the prayers said for them were doing much better, but the people who did the praying were doing better still. And he had to conclude that praying for someone works better than being prayed for. And when you go and look at all the science of altruism, it’s very, very clear. Altruism is like a bulletproof vest. It protects you in every way. You are healthier. You live longer. You’re happier. Just every part of your life is better when you do for other people in any little or big capacity. It’s really quite amazing. And I also looked at one study that was very convincing to me. It was looking at people who were pursuing a life of pleasure, the good life, the me-focused life, and looking at them compared to people who were living a life of meaning, which was really about helping the world, helping other people. And they found that the people who were focusing on the good life, the American dream, all of that stuff, they had terrible immune system markers. These guys were soon going to have Alzheimer’s, heart disease. They were going to drop like flies. And the other guys had really powerful immune system markers. These guys were going to live forever. And that really convinced me about this whole self-help thing, the potential danger of it, that all this focus on the self is possibly very dangerous. The best way to heal your life is to get off of yourself, it seems to me.
JULIE LOAR: That makes so much sense to me. I’m forgetting the author’s name. Anyway, there were a couple of people quite some time ago, it might have even been in the ‘80s, someone who did a whole program saying that there were only two states of consciousness, fear and love. And then the amazing research that was done, I’m sure you’re aware of it, of the mental hospital in Hawaii where one of the Shamanistic healers introduced into the psychology and 12-step programs, the process called Ho’oponopono, which is healing through forgiveness and so on. Again, it makes me wonder as I listen to you, and your book is fantastic, I need to do about ten plugs. Everyone needs to absolutely read your book, and I’m going to become an advocate with a sandwich board about groups of eight.
LYNNE MTcAGGERT: Thank you.
JULIE LOAR: Well, it’s really true. As I said, you really are a pioneer. And of course one of the things that, anyway, sorry, I sidetracked myself for a second. But as I’m listening to you, I wonder about is it because the senders in a sense have raised their frequency, if you will, by participating in a group, they’ve changed their resonant frequency, they’ve had this focused intention, and from everything I’ve read and participated in myself, there’s a quality of heart that occurs, and that perhaps the people who are receiving aren’t in some way at that same, some of them may be, and perhaps the effect lies in the power of that frequency. But your book…
LYNNE MCTAGGERT: Could be. Could be.
JULIE LOAR: I should let you respond to that. I don’t know that. That’s just kind of a perception.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: Sure. I mean, what I do know is, again, the journo in me always goes to what I have evidence for. I don’t speculate much. And what I do have evidence for that we did in a study of looking at what happens to the senders in a Power of Eight circle is their brains go through a major change. They have the experience, and we’ve found this over and over again, in groups where we had people who were total novices, who had never done this before, in fact a lot of them had never even meditated, and they were asked to do the Power of Eight thing where they were sending intention to some member of the group with a health challenge. And we measured them, a neuroscientist working with me at Life University, the largest chiropractor university in the world, found that there’s a global quieting of the areas of the brain that are involved in very much distinguishing self from not self. And all those feelings of separation we have filtered through these particular parts of the brain and amplified. And she found that was turned way down, as were the areas of the brain that get us involved in things like worry and doubt and negativity. So these are the signatures of people in an ecstatic state of oneness, and that’s exactly what they reported over and over and over again. There were also the same exact brainwave signatures of people like Sufi masters or Buddhist monks who were in the midst of ecstatic prayer and measured by Dr. Andrew Newburg, formerly of the University of Pennsylvania. So he found a very similar, if not identical, brainwave signature. But here was the interesting part about it. With my groups, to get into this ecstatic state, this mystical state usually requires years of disciplined practice if you’re a Buddhist monk or a Sufi master, or hours of priming beforehand to get you in the state. And all of my people, all they have, the people we studied at Life University, only had a 13-minute video of me telling them how to do it. And after that, they ran this, and we recorded these states. They were transported into the state virtually in an instant and also without any practice, which made me realize that you don’t need, we always think you need these years of disciplined practice to become a mystic. You don’t need that, and you don’t need ayahuasca or sweat lodges. All you need is a group. All you need is a group and a common intention to transport you to the miraculous.
JULIE LOAR: And that is, for me, the most profound aspect of what you have learned and what you have discovered. I thought that was truly amazing, and for those of us who have done any sort of group work. So it is as if that state of consciousness, if we call it that, or that level of reality, is always there, and we are able to step into it. But it is facilitated, of course, or perhaps even enabled by the group. And honestly, it’s such a tremendous realization of how we can change the world and ourselves and to move forward into something that will be much more positive.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: I think that is the really interesting part of it. And I’ve continued to be mystified by this and fascinated by it myself, that this has this great power, and we’re just trying to, for me, it’s been a real journey of trying to understand why.
JULIE LOAR: It makes me wonder as well, I mean, I’ve been on this journey of sorts myself since I was 20 years old and had a full-blown near-death experience which blasts you into sort of another terrain and paradigm as well. But it’s, in a way, this is of course, I have to tell you, I’m a writer, but I’m probably the exact opposite of you. I like nothing more than to speculate, but of course it’s the process for me and asking the questions and not ever rushing to judgment. But I so respect the manner in which you have taken this journey. But part of me also wonders whether mathematicians now, if I can remember the name of the mathematicians that I believe have in some cases identified the potential of 27 dimensions or something like that. And it’s as if we can move and shift from our ordinary awareness that we call 3D when we take this journey with a group and step into a different dimension, a different faculty of our own awareness that’s there all the time, but we’re not able to use it. So again, I salute you. Everyone out there, please rush out to any bookseller and get The Power of Eight, the subtitle, Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World. And truly it is. And as you’re embarking on this journey, what final words might you have for us today? I’m sure you have plenty of work ongoing, but at this point in time, what is left to say for us?
LYNNE McTAGGERT: Well, I think just to try it for yourself. I think that’s the real key. Power of Eight groups are springing up all over the place. I know a lot of churches, I mean after I spoke at the Mile High Church last weekend, about half of the audience decided they were going to form their own Power of Eight groups. And I think this is, it’s such a simple way, and it’s such a simple way to connect and change your life. And what I think is so exciting for me is seeing not just healings between recipients and senders, that they all get healed, but their lives improved too. I mean, I followed 250 people for a whole year. That was my own little Petri dish, and I was fascinated to see that of the 150 who stayed in their groups, met every week, intended together, pretty much 100% of them had major life transformations. So it was about intending for each other, being supportive, getting off of themselves. It was the power of intention, it was the power of altruism, it was the power of the group, all kind of rolled into one in creating this vortex of healing. And I invite everybody. Get yourself seven other people and try it for yourself or on our website, LynneMcTaggert.com. We have a community site going live probably towards the end of this week which will enable people to join virtual Power of Eight groups.
JULIE LOAR:Wonderful. Well Lynne, personally and for everyone, I’ve sort of become an advertiser for you in some way. Everybody I speak to I’m telling about this process. I’m beginning to recruit and think about this, and I’m going to do a program later this year hopefully at our local Unitarian Universal church on the subject.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: Oh, wonderful.
JULIE LOAR: I love the idea of the proliferation of this and its capacity to transform, to bring us to a critical mass of healing in a world that desperately needs it.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: I think, Julie, that talks to your first question. The feeling that, if we’re going to heal things like Las Vegas, it’s going to happen in these little vortices of healing, these little groups.
JULIE LOAR: That’s right, and each of these, as I said, 22,000 people were present at that conference, and we know how many were injured or died. But as I said, through the families, the friends, the healing workers, the trauma workers, all the other people they speculated, as I said, that tens of thousands of people were impacted. And so how lives are changed and how they’re transformed and how setting an intention, for example, to pray, to intend for the healing of that in the most positive way, through small groups and through one person affecting someone else and how it all spreads, I think is the potential for your pioneering work. And we are so grateful. In Texas there’s an expression that the pioneers are the ones with the arrows in their back.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: I love that.
JULIE LOAR: I’m sure you know, it’s not great, but I’m sure that you’ve had to take that at times from scientists or people who weren’t involved. And your courage to finally face your own skepticism about whatever was happening here and share it with all of this, that needs to be noted too. We’re very grateful, all of us, and I thank you so much for being with us this morning.
LYNNE McTAGGERT: I really enjoyed it, Julie. Thank you so much.
The Power of Eight is available at Amazon: CLICK HERE to learn more.