Belief: Faith and Hope

Seeing it through

As North Americans, we have become accustomed to relying on our individuality, education and internal resolve to get us through the tough times in life. If that fails, we have a number of government institutions and insurance companies to hopefully rise to the occasion in our time of need. In developing countries, individuality and education are not as preeminent as they are in North America, Europe and developed Asia. The strength of the family and the belief in a higher power take on more significant meaning. Most governments in developing countries have proven unreliable thereby reinforcing tighter family units and religious affiliations. In North America, Europe and developed Asia, we require less faith and hope, as we have a strong belief in ourselves and our ability, as shown by the general decline in religious belief and church attendance. In developing countries, the opposite is true: faith, belief and hope manifest more as conversations commonly center on the supernatural. Church attendance is much more common, as is reliance upon powers outside of oneself (e.g. the Catholic Church, Islam or spiritism). When people could not make rational (educated) sense of the events of 9/11 or more recently hurricanes Rita, Katrina and Sandy, church attendance soared. People were once again becoming dependent upon a higher power as faith in the government failed; education and individuality were not sufficient to explain these tragedies.

The power of belief, faith and hope can have on your health should not be underestimated.  The connection goes beyond the institution of religion; “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. This of course can encompass personal spiritual views, but the capabilities of human intention have actually been studied in the area of quantum physics. There have been cases throughout the world of healers directing positive energy towards individuals suffering from disease and being able to remove the illness. Have you ever really hoped and strived for something that eventually happened? These are examples of intention. The ability of positive and negative thoughts, to affect outcomes is not something supernatural; it is a reality that has been demonstrated in science.

The quantum physicist Gary Schwartz demonstrated that direct intention can manifest as electrical and magnetic energy to produce both a visible and measureable stream of electrons. Being able to measure thought and intention has multiple applications especially when attempting to understand the strong influence it can have on actions. Early experiments connecting plants to polygraph equipment revealed that plants react when positive or negative actions towards them are intended. Cleve Backster in 1966 while working for the CIA, was the first to propose that plants are affected by human intention. His research showed plants were able to sense when a harmful thought occurred. Ongoing work on living organisms suggests that thoughts are comprised of a stream of photons and it is plausible that a plant could sense and be affected by intention signals; the plants reacted when someone just intended to do harm. Plants are not the only living organisms that can be affected by positive and negative thoughts. When you send an intention, every major physiological system in your body will be mirrored in the body of the receiver; in essence the two become one. This is evidence that our emotional responses are constantly being picked up and echoed in those close to us.

Research on the effects of thoughts has also been able to demonstrate that our bodies can anticipate and react to our future emotions before we are even consciously aware of it. In 1997, a lab at the University of Nevada monitored physiological changes in volunteers. Heart rate, blood pressure and skin conduction were measured while color photos designed to calm, arouse or upset the participant were randomly displayed.  The lab discovered that physiological responses registered before the photo was shown. This was the first documented proof that our bodies unconsciously anticipate events to act out our own future emotional states. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute examining Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences revealed in 2008 that decisions are made before we are aware of them. Researchers found micro patterns of activity in the frontopolar cortex of the brain 7 seconds before the participant was conscious of the choice. From a health perspective we know that negative thoughts or experiences can lead to physiological changes, but the idea that our body can react before we are aware that something terrible has occurred demonstrates the strong connection between the mind and body. In fact, we can further build on this to learn how to understand these reactions. Imagine the effect of avoiding harmful threats, maintaining positive thoughts and emotions and promoting optimization of health for not only ourselves but also for our family and friends. The intention that our body is sensing and that others are benefiting from is actually a form of energy that we are producing.

The ability of our thoughts to affect our bodies and those around us is quite remarkable. The power of intention can have a direct impact on your health and those close to you. A psychiatrist from California Pacific Medical Center performed a double blind experiment in 1999 with a mix of eclectic healers from America. The healers were asked to send healing thoughts to a group of HIV/AIDS patients. Each healer received a sealed packet of information about the patient and then held an intention for health for one hour a day for six days. The patient was then assigned to another healer. Eventually every patient in the treatment group was sent healing thoughts/intentions by every healer. At the end of the study each participant in the treatment group had significantly fewer HIV/AIDS defining illnesses, improved T-cell levels, fewer hospitalizations, fewer doctors’ visits, fewer new illnesses, a decrease in severity of disease and a better psychological well-being than the control group. The experiment found that the intention of healing promoted the actual healing. Adversely, negative thoughts can potentially do the opposite. Studies of couples showed that the stress of reliving a previous argument delayed their healing from a wound by at least a day. Having positive intentions, beliefs and thoughts toward your health can logically contribute to improving disease symptoms.

The implications of negative thoughts can even be found in one of the world’s oldest texts. In the Bible, we find multiple examples of people’s disbelief impeding Jesus’ ability to heal: “And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them”. In another passage, it was not until Jesus sent everyone with negative thoughts out of the house that he was able to restore health: “When Jesus arrived at the official’s home, he saw the noisy crowd and heard the funeral music. ‘Get out!’ he told them. ‘The girl isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.’ But the crowd laughed at him. After the crowd was put outside, however, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up!” While the above examples certainly address the importance of eliminating negativity and creating a positive environment, there is an additional step that has been suggested. Positivity on its own is not enough; faith must be placed in something or someone.  The 1999 experiment with eclectic healers was successful not only because of the positive intentions but also because of the healer’s faith. Being positive and upbeat is merely an emotional state without any connection to a spiritual realm. The healers had a connection point to a spiritual reality. The positive atmosphere of belief must therefore be connected to that something or someone.

In the 1990s, the water experiments by Dr. Masaru Emoto, is another example of the power of thoughts. The series of trials observed the physical effect of prayer, music, words and environmental factors on the crystalline structure of frozen water. The focused intention altered the expression of the water ice crystals. Water from clear springs and water exposed to positive loving words appeared brilliant, complex and in a colorful snowflake pattern. Adversely, polluted water or water exposed to negative thoughts was asymmetrical, dull and incomplete. Dr. Emoto’s work is evidence of the effect of thoughts and feelings on physical reality. It is remarkable to consider the extent intention can have on the events of our lives. The implication of the water crystal research creates awareness of how positivity can impact the earth, interpersonal and personal health.

Intention is a true energetic relationship. This is not something that only well-trained energy masters (Qigong, Tai Chi, etc.) have the power to harness; this is the same electric and magnetic energy that Gary Schwartz was able to measure from thoughts. Electric and magnetic energy are very prominent and important aspect to the planet. The Earth is one giant magnet with two poles, a North Pole and a South Pole, surrounded by a magnetic field. This geomagnetic field is affected by the solar system and geological changes on the Earth. Storms on Earth and in space can cause fluctuations to the field. Homing pigeons and dolphins are two examples of creatures that sense this energy; they use the Earth’s geomagnetic field to navigate. In 1991, studies of water showed that basic signaling between molecules is not chemical but actually electromagnetic. There is evidence that natural geomagnetic fields have a pronounced effect on all cellular and chemical processes in living things. The heart is very susceptible to changes in geomagnetic fields. For example, during periods of increased activity, the viscosity of the blood increases, slowing down circulation. In fact, heart-attack rates rise and fall according to solar-cycle activity. Research has shown that a person’s emotional state can also be communicated to the external environment by the electromagnetic field of the heart. On September 11th, 2001, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration space weather satellites that monitor the earth’s geometric field (seismic activity) displayed a significant spike from a stress wave created by the global human emotion on that horrific day and for a few days after. The “global grief” of 911 caused a stress wave that was detected in space. The heart and the brain are particularly sensitive to geomagnetic fields. These fields affecting the physiology of the body are the same energy produced by thoughts.

Intention needs to be directed and is an energetic relationship involving the sun, atmosphere, earth and all living organisms. In the Old Testament God used intention to create the world: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. Your current state of mind carries an intention that has an effect on life around you. The ability of your thoughts, beliefs, faith and hope to positively affect your health is often underestimated. This is a power that you can access daily and is something that can help revolutionize your mind, body and spirit.




  1. Backster, C. “Evidence of a Primary Perception in Plant Life.” International Journal of Parapsychology.1968; 10(4): 329-48.
  2. Jacques Benveniste chapter from The Field, 59
  3. McTaggart, Lynn. The Intention Experiment. Free Press, New York, NY. 2007
  4. Radin, D.I. “Unconscious perception of future emotions: An experiment in presentiment.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 1997; 11(2): 163-80.
  5. Schwartz, G.E. and Russek, L.G. “Dynamical energy systems and modern physics”. Alternative Therapies, 1997;3:46-56.
  6. Sicher, F., et al. “A randomized double-blind study of the effect of distant healing in a population with advanced AIDS: Report of a small scale study.” Western Journal of Medicine, 1998; 168(6): 356-63.
  10. Proverbs 23:7
  11. Mark 6:5
  12. Matthew 9: 23-25
  13. Genesis 1:3