Rupert Sheldrake On Prayer

(Relationship Mandala ~ Keith Allen Kay)

Rupert Sheldrake might not call himself a Mystic, but I find him so. He is a gentle soul exploring radical concepts (to present day science) of the Morphic Field. Here are a couple of extracts from some articles of his on Prayer.

Since ancient times, a strong and pervasive belief in the efficacy of prayer–for the living and the dead–reinforces the notion that consciousness is not limited to the physical body. Not only do traditions throughout the world share a belief that prayers may in some way help (or invoke help from) deceased ancestors, many cultures throughout history have believed that prayer can bring about changes in the physical circumstances of the living.

If prayer affects things in the physical world, its effects should be measurable, and science should be able to investigate it. There is a very scattered literature on this, but when you bring it all together as Larry Dossey has done in his recent book, Healing Words (HarperSanFrancisco, 1993), you see there is quite a large number of interesting experiments with challenging results. Out of 131 controlled experiments on prayer-based healing, more than half showed statistically significant benefits. One of the best known is a double blind study of 393 patients in the coronary unit at San Francisco General Hospital. In this experiment, 192 patients, chosen at random, were prayed for by home prayer groups, the others were not. The prayed-for patients recovered better than the controls, and fewer died.

In order to make sense of these data on the efficacy of prayer, science will have to change its underlying assumptions about the nature of causality. Currently, the standard view is still purely mechanistic–notwithstanding all the recent talk about chaos and complexity theory. When applied to the life sciences, chaos and complexity theory–even with the help of highly sophisticated computer modeling–still explain the world in terms of mechanical causes involving known physical and chemical processes.

The key to understanding prayer as a scientific phenomenon requires, in my view, getting away from the idea of the mind as somehow inside the brain. If we think our minds are confined to our brains–the standard view–then since what goes on in our brain occurs in the privacy and isolation of our own skull it can’t affect anyone else. However, I see minds being field-like in nature (part of my general view of morphic fields), and I see mental fields as the basis for habitual patterns of thought. Mental fields go beyond, through, and interface with the electromagnetic patterns in the brain. In this way mental fields can affect our bodies through our brains. However, they are much more extensive than our brains, reaching out to great distances in some cases.

As soon as we have the idea that the mind can be extended through these mental fields, and over large distances, we have a medium of connection through which the power of prayer could work. We are no longer dealing with a purely mechanical system in the brain, with absolutely no way of connecting the brain and the observed effect–for if that were the case the phenomenon of effective prayer would have to be dismissed as delusion or coincidence. With a mental field, however, we have a medium for a whole series of connections between us and the people, animals and places we know and care about–with the rest of the world, in fact. When we pray, those extended mental fields would be the context in which prayer could work non-locally.

For more read Here

The Cartesian view of the mind as being located in the brain is so pervasive that all of us are inclined to speak of our minds and brains as if they were interchangeable, synonymous: “It’s in my brain,” rather than “it’s in my mind.” In the 20’s and 30’s, various philosophers and psychologists, particularly Koffka, Uhler, and Wertheimer of the Gestalt school challenged this view.

I want to argue that our minds are extended in several senses. In previous articles, we discussed how our minds are extended in both space and time with other people’s minds, and with the group mind or cultural mind by way of their connection to the collective unconscious. Insofar as we tune into archetypal fields or patterns which other people have had, which other social groups have had, and which our own social group has had in the past, our minds are much broader than the “things” inside our brains. They extend out into the past and into social groupings to which we are linked, either by ancestry or by cultural transmissions. Thus, our minds are extended in time, and ‘t believe they are also extended in space.

If interested read Here

”Morphic fields are the fields that organize the shape or form of living organisms, like plants and animals.  They are like the invisible plans that shape them. The idea of morphic genetic fields, or short form shaping fields, was quite well known in biology for a long time, over 90 years. That is not an original point of mine, it’s a pretty mainstream idea. The key part of my theory is that there is a kind of memory in the field, and that each organism draws on the collective memory and in turn contributes to it.”

~ Rupert Sheldrake


Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Uncategorized, Western Mysticism

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