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The Science, Psychology and Metaphysics of Prayer

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posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:10 AM
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www.psychologytoday.com...

Some weeks ago, the students of Paramahansa Yogananda -- the teacher widely credited with bringing Yoga and Yoga Science to the West - approached me to write an article on prayer, coincident with their upcoming annual week-long Self-Realization Fellowship Convocation. An exploration into the subject reveals prayer to be a considerably more complex subject than the stereotypic image we tend to have of the ardent believer, fervorently casting forth pleas for help, forgiveness or some other momentarily pressing need. Prayer is not just a going out, but also a going in, and it is a practice woven deeply into the fabric of global culture -- a rich tapestry of science, psychology, metaphysics and, of course, faith and spiritual sojourn.

[...]

With collective prayer, we move from the egocentric to the ethno- and geocentric. Generalizing the individual experience of ethnocentric and geocentric prayer to the collective, along with its associated motif of neuroplastic change and the evident influence of intercessory prayer, it becomes clear where an effort like the Self-Realization Fellowship's Convocation finds its intention, and inspiration.

Remarking on prayer, meditation and the power of intention, Paramahansa Yogananda and his contemporaries drew not only on the core of spirituality, but also fundamental principles of psychology and specifically neuroplasticity to describe the transformation of the interior landscape. The exterior expression of that interior transformation extends the intention of transformation outward, with prayer, and most specifically collective prayer, providing, in part and quite literally, the vehicle, to quote Mahatma Gandhi, for "[Being] the change [we] wish to see in the world."



I think this kind of thing is the solution to our global problems. Not war, not new economic policies, not rallies, not technology, not money. Only the collective power of psychic prayer can put us in touch with each other and with the transpersonal ("God"). Through that we can literally heal the planet and ourselves. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the article.

[edit on 29-7-2010 by Student X]




posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:49 AM
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There have been scientific studies done on the ability/inability of prayer to change or manipulate an outcome. What they found was that prayer didn't change the outcome of anything - though it may have made the person praying feel better for doing so.

An interesting part of the study involved people dying of cancer. From memory, the prayer groups actually had more people die than the control group who nobody prayed for. Need I say, the irony was not lost on someone with a dark sense of humour such as myself.

IRM

[edit on 29/7/10 by InfaRedMan]



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:04 AM
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reply to post by InfaRedMan
 


I don't know what study you're thinking of, but if there was one with that outcome then it must have been flawed. They have studied the impact of prayer, and the outcomes where so significant and positive that there were articles in the news that medical schools were considering adding this. Note, it did not matter what religion or spiritual background the person had.

www.healingtherapies.info...
Here it says out of 131 controlled studies 77 found significant outcomes.


Lower-Life Forms: Through conscious intent, test subjects (i.e., normal volunteers with no special abilities) were able to influence the growth of fungus, molds, yeast and bacteria, often at great distances. These studies imply that prayer has the potential to fight infections.

With potentially profound implications, subjects were also able to alter the genetic mutation rate of bacteria. If prayer can alter the genetics of bacteria, it is conceivable that it could do so also in man. If this is indeed the case, man may not be limited to what was previously thought to be his born-with, genetic destiny. In fact, Gregg Braden in Walking Between the Worlds: the Science of Compassion (1997) presents a case that human emotion affects the actual patterning of DNA (the genetic material) within the body.

Humans: Prayer-like consciousness has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, protect red blood cells, alter blood chemistry, and increase blood oxygenation. In one study, skin wounds healed at a much greater rate when treated with a spirituality-related treatment (perhaps a therapy option for pressure sores).

In a controversial study carried out by cardiologist Randolph Byrd (Southern Medical Journal, July 1988), nearly 400 heart patients were randomly assigned to either a group that was prayed for by a home prayer group or a control group. This was a methodologically rigorous double-blind study designed to eliminate the psychological placebo effect. In such a study, neither the patient nor doctor knows who is receiving the intervention (i.e., prayer). Patients who received prayer had better health outcomes, including a reduced need for antibiotics and a lower incidence of pulmonary edema.

Prayer researcher Jack Stucki has carried out double-blind studies evaluating the effects of distant prayer on the body’s electromagnetic fields. In these studies, the electrical activity in both the brain and body surface were measured in subjects in his Colorado Springs laboratory. Nearly a 1,000 miles away in California, spiritual groups would either pray or not pray for a subject. The electrical activity measured in the prayed-for subjects was significantly altered compared to controls.



Amongst some of the findings.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:10 AM
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There have been studies done on meditating for peace both in cities that have affected crime rate, and also, warzones. These also have had outcomes.

istpp.org...


Analysis of 1993 data, controlling for temperature, revealed that there was a highly significant decrease in HRA crimes associated with increases in the size of the group during the Demonstration Project. The maximum decrease was 23.3% when the size of the group was largest during the final week of the project. The statistical probability that this result could reflect chance variation in crime levels was less than 2 in 1 billion (p < .000000002). When a longer baseline is used (1988-1993 data), the maximum decrease was 24.6% during this period (p < .00003). When analyzed as a separate variable, robberies did not decrease significantly, but a joint analysis of both HRA crimes and robberies indicated that violent crimes as a whole decreased significantly to a maximum amount of 15.6% during the final week of the project (p = .0008). Analysis of 1993 data, controlling for temperature, revealed that there was a highly significant decrease in HRA crimes associated with increases in the size of the group during the Demonstration Project.


www.dubrovnik-peace-project.cro.net...
www.invinciblemilitary.org...


Unite with us in the Great Intention!



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 10:09 AM
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There have been a number of studies of hospital patients being prayed for. The results offer a range of outcomes and conclusions, which suggests that the phrasing of the null hypotheses in the whole field needs to be refined.

There used to be an excellent journal of these studies, called something like "Quarterly Journal of Theology and Scientific Inquiry." I used to subscribe to it--it was enthralling reading, regardless of your own particular beliefs about the supernatural. I think it either went digital or went out of business about 2 years ago. I will see if I can find an old copy lying around, or find it online.



posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 07:20 PM
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I believe in the power of prayer. We must acknowledge that there has to be something bigger than ourselves and then realize that together we can create a power through collective prayer that can connect us in a way that hasn't been explored on a grand scale due to the lack of knowledge and skeptics etc etc the list can go on and on from there.....but there is something to it! I don't think it......I KNOW IT!



posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 10:02 PM
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reply to post by iLoGiCViZiOnS
 


And that's the whole problem. I know from purely personal experience that prayer changes things. But I don't believe it will ever be reduced to a set of variables that can be manipulated or even quantified in a laboratory. Materialists will always have the ammo to say "you haven't proven a thing objectively." And I think that what Jung called synchronicity, and what Platon called "meta phusica" simply cannot be studied profitably from a reductionist world-view.

ESP studies suffer from the same problem. My own experiments with card-calling is that most people show a startling number of hits at first, but then it soon fades, and the "law of large numbers" means that you are down to (or usually below) statistical probability after 20 games or so.

Now, the materialist says, "sure, you had a few hits (in the beginning), but you did well within the laws of probability long-term. You've proven nothing." While the person with an imagination looks at the results and intuits that, for a moment, we brushed up against a kind of hidden boundary of our waking world, that while the subject was excited and fresh, unusual things were happening.

Like a dreamer momentarily waking up, but then slipping back down within their own dream.

Now, because it was only momentary, a materialist will say it was meaningless....



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:43 AM
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Originally posted by Unity_99
reply to post by InfaRedMan
 


I don't know what study you're thinking of, but if there was one with that outcome then it must have been flawed. They have studied the impact of prayer, and the outcomes where so significant and positive that there were articles in the news that medical schools were considering adding this. Note, it did not matter what religion or spiritual background the person had.


End of Quote

Remember a Miracle is nothing less than a shift in perception.
I see faith and its rituals as a template that actually taps into certain spiritual absolutes. Effective prayer, regardless of the belief behind it, is all the same thing, except they are missing the Peace, which I call the Christ Truth. Christ the man condemn the church at the time at no time did he set up any ecclesiastical hierarchy or specific rules in my opinion, except one which he calls the sin against the spirit, I understand it to be Outlining when you use your personal will to generate a specific outcome regardless of the consequences to others

edit on 30-3-2012 by SirLance because: I messed up trying to quote someone




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