While attending Mass one Sunday surrounded by nuns (Sisters of Providence) at St. Mary of the Woods, Indiana, prayer suddenly became easy for me. I felt my prayer lifted up on a great wave of prayer created by the sisters around me. Another time, I was attending darshan with healer Mother Meera and suddenly my meditation went very deep – deeper than I had ever achieved myself. In both instances, I realized that these spiritually rewarding experiences were a direct result of my being among a spiritual group.
What is it about group prayer/meditation that makes it so healing and powerful? Physicist John Hagelin believes that a principle in physics called, “constructive interference”, may occur in group prayer and meditation. In this process, prayer would radiate from each person, like a wave, and the radiations of the group would combine or superimpose to make one big, powerful wave. According to Hagelin, each of us is part of a Unified Field of consciousness (i.e., God), but we are only likely to feel or experience the Unified Field when we are radiating together in a coherent fashion.
Can the effects of group prayer be measured? Researchers at Maharishi University have studied the effects of group meditation on crime and violence in large cities (Hagelin, 2007). They have observed a significant reduction in violence when the size of the meditating group reaches a certain threshold, namely 1% of the population of which it is trying to influence.
Several years ago, I observed a significant group effect at a spiritual healing ceremony led by Fr. Ron Roth and Lakota Medicine Man Warfield Moose. Roth and Moose conducted a spiritual healing ceremony in a large auditorium on the McDonald corporate campus outside Chicago. I recorded magnetic field activity throughout the day at two locations in the auditorium: in the front 1/3 of the auditorium where participants were clustered, and in the rear where only a few people were seated. While Roth and Moose talked and gave spiritual teachings, the magnetic field was very quiet (Figure 1). When the healing ceremony began, magnetic field activity in the front 1/3 of the auditorium quickly and dramatically increased. On my computer screen, I observed a beautiful undulating series of magnetic field waves, which at times resembled a braid or triple helix. Throughout the ceremony, the magnetic field displayed strong coherence with peak frequencies ranging from 50-70Hz. The magnetic field was strong enough, with biologically active frequencies, that some individuals in the audience may have experienced physical or emotional effects.
A question arises: what is the role of spiritual leaders, like Roth and Moose, in large group healings? I believe that they focus the energy and intent of the participants, so that coherence is achieved, permitting the development of a large magnetic field wave, a wave with potential healing properties. Spiritual leaders often have a “magnetic” presence and are themselves coherent with the God-force, which may act as a seed, triggering coherence of the group. But it is important to realize that the wave is a group effect. I have observed similar waves during Healing Touch with Healing Touch practitioners and their clients. My research suggests that, as Roth describes, “the electromagnetic energy of the Spirit of God” is particularly strong when a group of people get together for prayer and healing.
Figure 1. A 10-second snapshot of magnetic field activity during the Roth-Moose morning teaching (top trace) and during the afternoon healing ceremony (bottom trace). Note the large, complex magnetic field wave present during the ceremony.