In 2007 I carried out a little experiment in one of my workshops. I put people in small circles of eight, had them hold hands and asked them to come up with a common intention—a little like a common prayer—for a member of the group with a health challenge.
I figured it would be nothing more than a feel-good exercise—like having someone give you a backrub. That emphatically was not what happened. When the 'receivers' of the intention reported on their experience the following day, the lame may as well have been walking. People with crippling arthritis were moving normally. Migraines and IBS disappeared. A woman announced that her cataract was 80 percent better. The extreme pain experienced by another woman with scoliosis disappeared, and her back eventually straightened.
And in the hundreds of workshops I've run since that time, I have been stunned to witness the same experience: story after story of extraordinary improvement and physical and psychic transformation.
For a decade, I refused to write about these effects, like a nervous sentinel with a sacred amulet, carefully protecting it from the wrong hands. Before unleashing it en masse, I wanted to understand more about what it was that I was witnessing, while trying to work out how on earth I'd managed to embroil myself in delivering it to the world.
By the summer of 2017, I felt I understood enough about this process to begin having groups run themselves in a carefully protected way. My first opportunity to do so arose in August 2017, when I was filming a program about the Power of Eight for Gaia television, and I found a willing community in the Mile Hi Church in Denver.
I'd decided to set up a few Power of Eight groups, film them during healing and then minutely record any changes among the participants. The Reverend Kay Johnson of the Mile Hi Church gamely agreed to collect 16 volunteers. We held our first session on Monday, August 28, in a small conference room at a Hyatt hotel in Boulder the day before our three-day shoot, and the second one with the participants seated around a stone labyrinth at Gaia's headquarters outside of Boulder.
At the Hyatt, the group of eight focused on Linda Wilkinson, a woman who'd been diagnosed in 2013 with inoperable stage 4 lung cancer, a disease that kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. Linda had already beaten the odds—the majority of people with her cancer are dead within a year—largely by following an integrative approach, taking very low-dose chemotherapy along with a change of diet and supplements, plus a great deal of mental and spiritual work.
By the time the Power of Eight group met, the lymphatic system in her chest, which had been filled with cancer, was clearing, and her levels of a tumor marker, which had measured 6.2 when she was first diagnosed, stood at just under three, or "high normal."
Within weeks after the Power of Eight group, the cancer marker had dropped to two, within the "low normal" range, with at most two small active spots on her lungs.
During the circle, she said, "I could feel a shift, and I could feel that people really wanted me to be well. It wasn't just my desire—it was the desire of everyone around me. To me, it was a feeling of being lifted and assisted, holding each other up in a higher vibration of a way to be."
One of the receivers around the labyrinth at Gaia was Connie Wiggins, who asked for help healing a misaligned temporomandibular joint in her jaw. Connie had pain all over her head and back, and especially in her neck. On a scale of one to 10, she said, "I live in the seven to eight range."
During her Power of Eight group, Connie found an extraordinary sense of peace entering her body, and an intense outpouring of love. Immediately afterward, Connie's pain level dropped to one or two out of 10. Two days later, Connie reported that her pain was nearly gone.
But the strangest thing was that after the circle had finished, she continued to feel the energy throughout her body. "It wasn't just in that 10 minutes," she said a few hours afterward. "I'm aware of a lot more peace, and it seems to be continuing. Something happened in that group."
In both of the two circles, many of the 'senders' of the intentions also underwent major transformations. Wes Chapman, a burly 65-year-old with a big-hearted laugh, was among the eight at the Hyatt. Although he'd suffered from depression for years, he didn't want to put himself forward as the receiver, as he felt that Linda's needs were greater.
But Wes had ample reason to be chosen as the receiver. In 1971, he'd been in his sophomore year at Colorado State University studying physical science, with hopes of either going to medical school or carrying out medical research, when the US government abolished draft deferments for college men. Wes was reclassified as 1-A, and as his number in the draft lottery was lower than those who were drafted the year before, he realized that he would likely be sent to Vietnam that year.
To avoid being drafted into the Army infantry and facing ground combat, Wes enlisted in the Air Force, but he scored so highly on his vocational tests that the Air Force assigned him to combat intelligence training, and he ended up serving in a combat zone during the final chaotic years of the war.
The experience proved so traumatic that Wes returned home deeply depressed. "I had a lot of dreams and hopes, but somehow the prospect of being drafted just made me give that all up. I went into survival mode, just to make it through wartime," he said. "And then my life after that seemed to continue in patterns of darkness or suffering and even death to a surprising extent, and an exercise in survival for years."
The one bright spot in his life was his marriage in 1999 to his second wife, but she developed a fast-growing cancer, and he lost her just seven years later.
Her death left him devastated, both emotionally and financially. The cost of her treatment had been so exorbitant that he'd had to give up their house. He worked as a long-distance trucker for six years until her medical bills were paid off, sleeping in the truck's bunk every night and relying on truck stops across the country for washing and laundry.
After retiring a few years ago, that pattern of depression continued, he said, and by the time I met Wes, he'd descended into many years of "what's the use" despondency. The smallest chore—even making breakfast for himself—had become a difficult ordeal.
The only activity he enjoyed was attending the Mile Hi Church and his 15-year practice of contemplative morning rituals. "Frankly, my meditation practice is what's kept me going."
During the Power of Eight group session, Wes felt a strong energy running through the group's hands and a change in the energy of the room.
After a night's sleep, Wes woke up feeling profoundly different. "The first thing I felt was this energy—I could do what I needed to do, and do it happily. The second thing was amazingly heightened sensory awareness, as well as the emotions that go with those sensations. I had a cup of herbal tea, and it knocked my socks off. And I went outside, and I noticed that the flowers and trees were just so beautiful. It was like all my senses were multiplied by five or 10."
The second night after his Power of Eight group, Wes had an extraordinarily lucid dream—more like a vision, it was so real.
"I found myself back on the campus where I was drafted, and there was a chapel there I'd always liked and walked past every day, the only sacred space on that campus. My 19-year-old self was waiting for me, and I felt the most powerful emotions of love and connection and joy.
"All of his high hopes, all of his beautiful dreams, all of his optimism, all of his youthful energy, somehow, I'd left all that behind, in that trauma. But to meet him again and he's been waiting there so patiently for me, it was like I got it back. My 19-year-old self has been salvaged and plugged back in."
Wes's younger self also came with a message—not so much with words, but with some sort of intuitive understanding—that he shouldn't feel sad about his lost years, and there was still time to enjoy his life. "Now, with my experience and wisdom and strength and toughness, and his optimism and hope and joy, it's like, hey, I get to start life all over again, at 65."
In the months that followed, Wes's shift continued, and the chronic depression he'd lived with for so many years lifted. He began writing every day and found himself engaging in 90-minute power walks and lengthy bouts of weightlifting. It was as though his 19-year-old energy was affecting his metabolism and enabling his body to condition more rapidly.
Through all his spiritual practices, Wes had never experienced anything like it before. "I've done a lot of work over the years, but this was the most phenomenal, the most powerful and the most direct."
Six weeks later, I returned to Mile Hi Church to help the church form Power of Eight circles among an audience of 500. Once again, I was witness to dozens of people undergoing instant, extraordinary healings.
Sixty-three-year-old Sande Cournoyer had been a lifelong athlete, but one of her knees was now shot. "When I walk, I can feel when my knee is going to pop out, which it does, and then I fall. I'm in a lot of pain." She'd scheduled knee replacement surgery for the following month.
During the intention circle, tears rolled down her cheeks as she felt pressure around her knee on both sides, "as if somebody with big mitts was holding my leg. It was warm, not hot. I've never felt that before. It went down my whole leg, going down to my ankle. When we opened our eyes, we looked at our hands, and everyone's hands were vibrating, with lots of tears."
When the intention was finished, I asked the audience to share any experiences, and Sande was the first to put up her hand. "Look," she said, "I can bend my knees." She leaned over and squatted down. "I could not do that before."
Three days later, she reported, "When I walk, I don't get that feeling that the knee will pop out. I can go upstairs without pain." Since the Power of Eight group experience, Sande has no longer needed her brace, and when the improvement persisted, she was able to cancel her surgery.
Beverly Sparks, a massage therapist, hadn't even planned to come to the session because she'd been recovering from a car accident. "My crunched ribs were uncomfortable," she said. "My shoulder was singing a high-pitched, exquisite pain and wouldn't stay in place without support." Nevertheless, a church group member was particularly persuasive, and Beverly arrived, holding her shoulder in place.
During the Power of Eight circle, she was the receiver. "I felt all the tension of the car wreck fall out of my left side. Supported by my group mates, bubbling, Kundalini-type energy poured out onto the floor through my arm. My shoulder slid back to normal position, my ribcage released, and I took a full breath for the first time in the six weeks since the accident."
Nearly two months later, Beverly reported that her shoulder had remained in place and was "almost exclusively pain-free."
And there were many others that night: Joan, who'd had two mini-strokes and could no longer focus her eyes, was able to see normally; a man with bursitis could suddenly raise his arm all the way up, like normal; another woman who'd arrived with a migraine said that after the circle it had completely cleared; one of the senders who'd arrived with a cane walked away from the event no longer needing it.
During her group circle, Faith Cole felt the ache in her back immediately begin to dissipate—to her great amazement. "I'm a real skeptic," she said, "and yet
I didn't consciously choose this path. I carry on measuring, documenting, refining our understanding of the nuances and outer boundaries of this ancient miracle, offering the scientific proofs that are palatable to the modern Western mind.
I remain the Power of Eight's gatekeeper, charged with protecting its integrity, but the treasure inside ultimately belongs to the world. Healing in a group is a natural part of your birthright, a capacity that you were born with and that was there all along for you to make use of.
Don't squander this gift. Find your group of eight and discover it for yourself.
Tell the Universe Exactly What You Want
In your group, make your intentions highly specific and directed—the more detailed, the better. If you are trying to heal the fourth finger of your left hand, specify that finger and, if possible, the problem with it.
State your entire intention, and include what it is you would like to change, to whom, when and where. Use a reporter's checklist to ensure you have covered every specific: who, what, when, where, why and how.
Don't be shy about announcing your intention openly to your group and allow them to hold it for you while you hold intentions for them. Make a vow, out loud to your group, that you will do everything in your power to make this intention a reality.
As many of my group members say, having to make a public commitment "to the universe" through the group forces them to keep working harder on their intentions and follow through.
Excerpted from The Power of Eight, by Lynne McTaggart (Atria, 2018; the UK edition is published by Hay House), now out in paperback with full instructions about how to conduct your own Power of Eight group