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Excerpted from Healing Words by Larry Dossey. Copyright 1993 by Larry Dossey. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"In many experiments, a simple attitude of prayerfulness--an all-pervading sense of holiness and a feeling of empathy, caring, and compassion for the entity in need--seemed to set the stage for healing."

Larry Dossey, Healing Words, Part 3

A major event in this process was my discovery during medical school of the philosophies of the East, particularly Buddhism and Taoism. I read widely and insatiably the works of Eastern mystics and Western commentators. I was delightfully surprised to discover that their core teachings were not just Eastern but universal, appearing also in the esoteric traditions of the major Western spiritual traditions. I found that Western mysticism has periodically been just as vibrant as in the East, although not as well known. Feeling the need for a practice in addition to a philosophy, I began to meditate. This was somewhat difficult in Texas in those days. Unlike now, there were scarcely any meditation instructors, teachers, or gurus, and "meditation" was still a dirty word. But a few wise books on meditative practice had just begun to emerge, and I put their instructions to good use. With immense difficulty and struggle, I gradually adopted an eclectic philosophy that was more spiritually satisfying than anything I had grown up with.

Even so, the experimental data on prayer that I turned up caught me off guard. I really wanted nothing to do with it. Meditation was acceptable, but the thought of "talking to God" in prayer was reminiscent of the fundamental Protestantism I felt I had laid to rest. Yet the results of the prayer experiments kept forcing themselves into my psyche.

These studies showed clearly that prayer can take many forms. Results occurred not only when people prayed for explicit outcomes, but also when they prayed for nothing specific. Some studies, in fact, showed that a simple "Thy will be done" approach was quantitatively more powerful than when specific results were held in the mind. In many experiments, a simple attitude of prayerfulness--an all-pervading sense of holiness and a feeling of empathy, caring, and compassion for the entity in need--seemed to set the stage for healing.

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