Interview with Lynne McTaggart
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London, England, on the intention experiment. Lynne McTaggart is the author of The Field and more recently, The Intention Experiment.
Lotus Guide: When we read The Intention Experiment and realized it was an online global experiment we knew we needed to talk with you about it.
Lynne McTaggart: Well, this is the great thing; technology can be used in a positive way for so many things like this and thousands have already signed up to be part of it.
LG: There’s something about validation, too. Once something’s validated in somebody’s mind, he or she can then take the next step to even greater things.
LM: Exactly. I think that really is important to people who are interested in conscious exploration.
LG: It seems as though the science of conscious exploration includes a lot of neuroscientists. Why do you think this is?
LM: There are many scientists who are biologists and physicists and they are looking into how we know what we know and how it is that we are conscious and sentient beings. There are scientists now looking at what happens to the brain when we perceive certain things and have certain beliefs. And they now have the equipment to measure what goes on in the brain, so they’ve been a really interesting and important resource for this kind of information.
LG: I suppose with the rapid evolution of technology it gives researchers a whole new way to research the finer energies that up to this point were entirely theoretical.
LM: Exactly. For instance, there’s a story in my book about what is going on when people are hypnotized and told something that in reality is not true. In one case, they were shown pictures of Mondrian paintings, which have lots of colors in them, but they were told there were no colors in them and were in black and white. They could actually measure their brain receptors for color draining away, and the receptors for black and white picking up. And so they were able to measure the effect of planting this conscious intention in their minds that was actually contrary to reality.
LG: Yes. I remember reading in The Holographic Universe, where a hypnotist hypnotized a father and told him, “When I wake you up and your daughter comes into the room, you will not see her.” And he could not only not see his daughter, he could actually see through his daughter to the hand of the hypnotist, indicating that our minds have the ability to phase out objects in our three-dimensional world. It’s amazing when you stop to consider what our minds may be capable of. Somebody asked me the other day, “What do you find most amazing about life?” And I said, “Well, life itself is amazing, but what I really find amazing is that everybody isn’t walking around completely amazed about it.”
LM: I know. It’s not only amazing; it’s unbelievable sometimes.
LG: How do you think something such as the intention experiment could affect people’s beliefs about reality?
LM: Well, I think this is probably going to forever change their view of reality. First of all, we’re testing whether mind can influence matter. Then we’re choosing targets that go against the natural order, so to speak, of modern classical science. For instance, we are going to see if we can raise the temperature of a controlled mini-Gaia experiment. And if this is successful, it will demonstrate that mind can affect a physical process, and also we’ll be testing whether or not lots of minds thinking the same thing at the same time will have an even bigger effect. This has huge ramifications for things like global warming, for instance. Through this type of validation the group mind could be changed in ways we can’t even imagine at this point.
LG: Yes, there are so many things we are learning about our reality that we know intellectually, but no matter how many times I hear, for instance, “The world that’s out there is actually in me” I’m not sure I really “get it” on a deep level.
LM: Exactly. Maybe an easier way to think of it is that we’re all connected, and that we’re all part of something bigger, which is this giant energy field, a zero-point field that connects everything like an invisible web. And so if we think of it that way, we can see that we’re really just a little part of the whole.
LG: The Dalai Lama brought something up a few years ago when he asked if changing our thoughts and beliefs could physiologically change the physical structure of our brains. I think there’s enough evidence now indicating that we do. What do you think the implications of this are in regard to our consciousness?
LM: Well, the Dalai Lama was right. It demonstrates that the brain is a servant of our thoughts; it was some of his disciples who were tested by the University of Wisconsin’s Richard Davidson, who looked at experienced meditators to see if anything was different about their brains and found that over time their brains were lighting up the happiness portion of their brains. And the structure of their brains had become larger, according to other studies. There’s a lot of evidence demonstrating that we are transmitting and receiving little particles of light in every moment, what they call the biophoton emission.
LG: Well, this is a good segue for the next question then. It seems obvious to a lot of people on this planet that we are on the verge of taking a leap forward in our evolution in the area of spiritual consciousness. What are your thoughts on this?
LM: I think that’s very true. Science is leading us there, in a sense. They’re leading us to a final realization, through validation, of what spiritual masters have known for centuries. That we are a lot more than we seem, that we are all part of a whole, that we have far greater extended potential than we make use of or understand. For many centuries now, we’ve been told the Newtonian story, that things are separate and we don’t have any effect on “things.” This new evidence that quantum physics is giving us demonstrates that we are all connected, what many native and Eastern cultures have been saying for centuries.
LG: So what do you hope to accomplish with the intention experiment?
LM: One is to always target philanthropic targets and say, “Okay, how far can we take intention? Can we stop a train with our thoughts, in its tracks? And does more than one mind have a bigger effect than a mind sending out an intention individually?” I want to direct a lot of attention toward this important consciousness research. Through providing scientific evidence I hope to help create a paradigm shift that would show that we have, at best, a limited view of our world.
LG: What struck me while reading your book was your intellectual honesty to go into this courageously, and not really know if it’s going to even work. And having the courage to step out there and give it a try and ask the difficult questions.
LM: Well, as I say in the book, it’s important to be able to simply ask the questions. Every single advance in science comes about because of courage to ask a question, an outrageous question. Like “Can a large heavy metal object fly if it goes fast enough with the right design?” People’s worldviews are changed when they see that something unbelievable is possible. Airplane flight is now taken for granted. And so all wonderful advances start with an outrageous question.
LG: So what is your outrageous question?
LM: “Can thoughts change the world?” And if it’s true, the answer will change everything.
LG: So tell me, what is it that’s driving you? What is it that’s supplying the passion behind what you are doing on a personal level?
LM: On a personal level, I love this subject, and I really got excited while asking my own outrageous questions a number of years ago when I started working on my book The Field. I was trying to work out why energy and spiritual healing works and went on a journey of discovery talking to physicists and scientists all over the world. But I guess what drives me is that there’s a lot of talk about intention, it’s a big buzzword now, and I wanted to really look at it scientifically and ask, “What is intention, and are there certain conditions that will make it work better than others?” And I also wanted to look at intention masters and what makes their intention work better than others. By looking at this scientifically we can learn what it is and how to make it work in our lives.
LG: I have one more question that I like to ask people. If you had a magic microphone allowing you to speak to everyone on the planet and you knew that whatever it was that you would say would be understood and it would have a profound effect, and you only had 30 seconds, what would you say?
LM: What a great question. Okay, I think I would say the evidence demonstrates now that thoughts are not the private sort of musings of an individual mind—that our thoughts have an effect on the world around us. We are constantly receiving and transmitting at every moment and this has enormous implications for everyone and everything. We need to realize that we are observers and creators, and in every moment that we are observing our world, we’re constantly remaking it at every instant, and that we have to understand too that every last thought we have, every judgment we hold, is having an effect whether it’s conscious or not. So of course the most important thing of all is to be aware of what we are thinking and to realize it has an effect on the world around us.
LG: Well, I’m sending you the best of thoughts, Lynne.
LM: Thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate it and I appreciate your support. And what you are doing.
LG: Whether we believe it or not, we’re all in this together.