Yesterday my friend Anita Moorjani, the author of Dying to be Me, had an amazing conversation live on Facebook, which was recorded and which you can watch here:
If you don’t know about her, Anita had terminal cancer spread throughout her body and close to total major organ shut-down when she lapsed into a coma and had a near-death experience for some 30 hours.
After she was revived, within a few days, amazingly her cancer was healed.
So we talked about one of my favorite topics – spontaneous healing – the conditions necessary for those kinds of amazing transformational experiences.
What fascinated me was the similarity between what happens during a near-death experience and what happens during Power of Eight group intentions.
Five keys to the mystical experience
The more I have studied this phenomenon, the more I have come to believe that a key element for this kind of instantaneous healing is an altered state of consciousness – what A Course in Miracles calls ‘the Holy Instant.’
Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist formerly of the University of Pennsylvania has spent his career examining the neurobiology of the Holy Instant. He’s studied the brainwave studies of Tibetan monks and Franciscan nuns during deep prayer and also sufi masters during ecstatic chanting.
He’s also carried out a survey of more than 2000 people who’d undergone this type of mystical experience and discovered that they share five characteristics:
- a sense of unity
- an extraordinary intensity of experience
- a sense of clarity and new understanding –a blinding epiphany of meaning about life
- a surrender to not being in control
- a sense that “something—one’s beliefs, one’s life, one’s purpose—has suddenly and permanently changed.”
During our chat, Anita described having experienced all five during and after her NDE.
But these are also the identical descriptions I get from people who regularly meet in Power of Eight groups. And now I know why.
Several years ago, I worked with neuroscientist Dr Stephanie Sullivan on a study of brain-wave of participants in Power of Eight groups. For our study we had student volunteers – all total novices who’d never even meditated before – and when we were done, we found something extraordinary.
The brain waves of people in Power of Eight groups were nothing like those that get recorded during meditation.
Instead they showed evidence of immediate and major global brain changes – a highly significant decrease in activity in the right temporal lobes, the frontal lobes, and the right parietal lobes of our participants during the intention sessions.
The greatest changes occurred across the entire right parietal lobe of the brain—the part that distinguishes our sense of self from everything that is not self—the temporal lobes, including occipital region, which usually relates to vision—and the right frontal regions of the brain, those parts of the brain that are involved in negative thinking, fear, worry, and depression.
Amazingly, the brain waves of our participants resembled the very signatures of many of the groups Andrew Newberg has studied who experienced extreme altered states and mystical experiences.
They also showed evidence of greater brain coherence – an increase in communication between the different parts of the brain as though they were operating as a greater whole.
Participants also demonstrated reduced activity in the sensorimotor strip and association areas, the location for sensory and motor processing, the area of the brain that gives meaning to sensations.
This would suggest that the Power of Eight members had entered another dimension in which they were far less aware of their immediate surroundings.
A moment of ecstasy
Our study suggests that the participants in Power of Eight groups experience something akin to a moment of ecstasy, which is probably the reason they then go on to have spontaneous healing and other major transformations in their lives.
But unlike Newberg’s nuns, monks, or Sufis, the process doesn’t require hours of priming – or years of devoted practice to achieve that state.
As our study shows, participants enter into into this state within a few minutes of beginning a Power of Eight group.
And unlike your typical religious or indigenous experiences, there are no mantras, no fasting, no self-denial or deprivation, no sweat lodge, no yoga or prostrations, no speaking in tongues, no icons, no ayahuasca.
In every case our participants had been transported into that state in an instant.
All you need – the only thing you need – is a small group and a common intention and you have a fast track to the miraculous.