I used to believe that we must choose between science and reason on one hand, and spirituality on the other, in how we lead our lives. Now I consider this a false choice. We can recover the sense of sacredness, not just in science, but in perhaps every area of life. (Larry Dossey, M.D., from Reinventing Medicine)
There is a whole universe of powerful resources that go untapped, even by strong believers in the power of the spiritual realm of life. The power of meditation and prayer is seldom mentioned outside of the walls of a church, synagogue, or other religious institution; yet scientific research has repeatedly shown the effectiveness of prayer and meditation in changing lives for the better in many areas of life, especially physically. One amazing fact is that it has been shown to be highly effective, even for “non-believers” and others who do not consider themselves to be “religious.”
Physicians Larry Dossey, Herbert Benson, Harold Koenig, and several other prestigious medical practitioners and researchers have been conducting thousands of control group studies on the power of prayer in assisting in healing (along with medicine); and the power of meditation in healing and overall well-being in life. The results show significant physical changes in people who, for example, are prayed for without their knowledge and without their being believers in prayer themselves. The people doing the praying in many of these studies were from a variety of religious traditions: Jewish; Christian; New Thought; and others. Other than being a believer in the power of prayer, the religious beliefs of the people doing the praying had no effect on whether the prayers were effective in assisting in the patients’ healing. Bottom line: The group of patients who received prayer for healing showed significantly more complete and rapid healing than the group which was not receiving prayer.
Other studies show that people who meditate and who pray live in a state of significantly greater peace, happiness, and life-fulfillment than people who do not practice prayer and/or meditation as a part of their daily lives. The practices of prayer and meditation have specifically been shown to be effective “anti-depressants.”
I personally and professionally know numerous people who reported to me that they had not believed that prayer or meditation were in the least effective; but because they had heard so much about it, they decided to just give it try . . . “Why not?” Each of the people who told me this (there have been dozens) said that, much to their surprise, their lives began to dramatically change for the better.
I must admit that even though I was reared in a very devout home, was healed at age 11 of literally being brain-dead after a rock landslide, and being healed of a heart condition after literally being given 3 minutes to live in the ER, I still occasionally forget the power of prayer and meditation until I am desperate for an answer. I recently had one of those “dark-night-of-the-soul” existential crises. I did not even feel like praying or meditating; but finally did out of desperation. Instantly, I received an undeniable sign from God (Higher Power, Spirit, Life Force, if you prefer). I have that image seared into my mind. All of the heaviness of that existential crisis lifted instantly, and has been replaced with peace, hope, and happiness.
Remember, there are resources beyond our understanding for whatever you truly need in your life.
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D. February 1, 2017