The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World

The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World

by Lynne McTaggart


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743276962
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 02/05/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 156,347
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lynne McTaggart, one of the central authorities on the new science of consciousness, is the award-winning author of seven books, including the internationally bestselling The Intention Experiment and The Field. She is also editorial director of What Doctors Don’t Tell You, one of the world’s most respected health magazines, and architect of the Intention Experiments, a web-based “global laboratory.” A highly sought-after public speaker, Lynne is consistently listed as one of the world’s 100 most spiritually influential people. Lynne and her husband, author and WDDTY co-founder Bryan Hubbard, who live in London, have two adult daughters.

Read an Excerpt


This book represents a piece of unfinished business that began in 2001 when I published a book called The Field. In the course of trying to find a scientific explanation for homeopathy and spiritual healing, I had inadvertently uncovered the makings of a new science.

During my research, I stumbled across a band of frontier scientists who had spent many years reexamining quantum physics and its extraordinary implications. Some had resurrected certain equations regarded as superfluous in standard quantum physics. These equations, which stood for the Zero Point Field, concerned the extraordinary quantum field generated by the endless passing back and forth of energy between all subatomic particles. The existence of the Field implies that all matter in the universe is connected on the subatomic level through a constant dance of quantum energy exchange.

Other evidence demonstrated that, on the most basic level, each one of us is also a packet of pulsating energy constantly interacting with this vast energy sea.

But the most heretical evidence of all concerned the role of consciousness. The well-designed experiments conducted by these scientists suggested that consciousness is a substance outside the confines of our bodies -- a highly ordered energy with the capacity to change physical matter. Directing thoughts at a target seemed capable of altering machines, cells, and, indeed, entire multicelled organisms like human beings. This mind-over-matter power even seemed to traverse time and space.

In The Field I aimed to make sense of all the ideas resulting from these disparate experiments and to synthesize them into one generalized theory. The Field created a picture of an interconnected universe and a scientific explanation for many of the most profound human mysteries, from alternative medicine and spiritual healing to extrasensory perception and the collective unconscious.

The Field apparently hit a nerve. I received hundreds of letters from readers who told me that the book had changed their lives. A writer wanted to depict me as a character in her novel. Two composers wrote musical compositions inspired by it, one of which played on the international stage. I was featured in a movie, What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole, and on the What The Bleep Do We Know!? Calendar, released by the film's producers. Quotations from The Field became the centerpiece of a printed Christmas card.

However gratifying this reaction, I felt that my own journey of discovery had hardly left the station platform. The scientific evidence I had amassed for The Field suggested something extraordinary and even disturbing: directed thought had some sort of central participatory role in creating reality.

Targeting your thoughts -- or what scientists ponderously refer to as "intention" and "intentionality" -- appeared to produce an energy potent enough to change physical reality. A simple thought seemed to have the power to change our world.

After writing The Field, I puzzled over the extent of this power and the numerous questions it raised. How, for instance, could I translate what had been confirmed in the laboratory for use in the world that I lived in? Could I stand in the middle of a railroad and, Superman-style, stop the 9:45 Metroliner with my thoughts? Could I fly myself up to fix my roof with a bit of directed thought? Would it now be possible to cross doctors and healers off my list of essential contacts, seeing as I might now be able to think myself well? Could I help my children pass their math tests just by thinking about it? If linear time and three-dimensional space didn't really exist, could I go back and erase all those moments in my life that had left me with lasting regret? And could my one puny bit of mental input do anything to change the vast catalog of suffering on the planet?

The implications of this evidence were unsettling. Should we be minding every last thought at every moment? Was a pessimist's view of the world likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy? Were all those negative thoughts -- that ongoing inner dialogue of judgment and criticism -- having any effect outside our heads?

Were there conditions that improved your chances of having a better effect with your thoughts? Would a thought work any old time or would you, your intended target, and indeed the universe itself have to be in the mood? If everything is affecting everything else at every moment, doesn't that counteract and thereby nullify any real effect?

What happens when a number of people think the same thought at the same time? Would that have an even larger effect than thoughts generated singly? Was there a threshold size that a group of like-minded intenders had to reach in order to exert the most powerful effect? Was an intention "dose dependent" -- the larger the group, the larger the effect?

An enormous body of literature, starting with Think and Grow Rich,1 by Napoleon Hill, arguably the first self-actualization guru, has been generated about the power of thought. Intention has become the latest new age buzzword. Practitioners of alternative medicine speak of helping patients heal "with intention." Even Jane Fonda writes about raising children "with intention."2

What on Earth, I wondered, was meant by "intention"? And how exactly can one become an efficient "intender"? The bulk of the popular material had been written off the cuff -- a smattering of Eastern philosophy here, a soupçon of Dale Carnegie there -- with very little scientific evidence that it worked.

To find answers to all these questions, I turned, once again, to science, scouring the scientific literature for studies on distant healing or other forms of psychokinesis, or mind over matter. I sought out international scientists who experimented with how thoughts can affect matter. The science described in The Field had been carried out mainly in the 1970s; I examined more recent discoveries in quantum physics for further clues.

I also turned to those people who had managed to master intention and who could perform the extraordinary -- spiritual healers, Buddhist monks, Qigong masters, shamans -- to be able to understand the transformational processes they underwent to be able to use their thoughts to powerful effect. I uncovered myriad ways that intention is used in real life -- in sports, for instance, and during healing modalities such as biofeedback. I studied how native populations incorporated directed thought into their daily rituals.

I then began to dig up evidence that multiple minds trained on the same target magnified the effect produced by an individual. The evidence was tantalizing, mostly gathered by the Transcendental Meditation organization, suggesting that a group of like-minded thoughts created some sort of order in the otherwise random Zero Point Field.

At that point in my journey, I ran out of pavement. All that stretched before me, as far as I could tell, was uninhabited open terrain.

Then one evening, my husband, Bryan, a natural entrepreneur in most situations, put forward what seemed to be a preposterous suggestion: "Why don't you do some group experiments yourself?"

I am not a physicist. I am not any kind of scientist. The last experiment I had conducted had been in a tenth-grade science lab.

What I did have, though, was a resource available to few scientists: a potentially huge experimental body. Group intention experiments are extraordinarily difficult to perform in an ordinary laboratory. A researcher would need to recruit thousands of participants. How would he find them? Where would he put them? How would he get them all to think the same thing at the same time?

A book's readers offer an ideal self-selected group of like-minded souls who might be willing to participate in testing out an idea. Indeed, I already had my own large population of regular readers with whom I communicated through e-news and my other spin-off activities from The Field.

I first broached the idea of carrying out my own experiment with dean emeritus of the Princeton University School of Engineering Robert Jahn and his colleague, psychologist Brenda Dunne, who run the Princeton Engineering Anomalous Research (PEAR) laboratory, both of whom I had gotten to know through my research for The Field. Jahn and Dunne have spent some thirty years painstakingly amassing some of the most convincing evidence about the power of directed intention to affect machinery. They are absolute sticklers for scientific method, no-nonsense and to the point. Robert Jahn is one of the few people I have ever met who speak in perfect, complete sentences. Brenda Dunne is equally perfectionist about detail in both experiment and language. I would be assured of no sloppy protocol in my experiments if Jahn and Dunne agreed to be involved.

The two of them also have a vast array of scientists at their disposal. They head the International Consciousness Research Laboratory, many of whose members are among the most prestigious scientists performing consciousness research in the world. Dunne also runs PEARTree, a group of young scientists interested in consciousness research.

Jahn and Dunne immediately warmed to the idea. We met on numerous occasions and kicked around some possibilities. Eventually, they put forward Fritz-Albert Popp, assistant director of the International Institute of Biophysics (IIB) in Neuss, Germany, to conduct the first intention experiments. I knew Fritz Popp through my research for The Field. He was the first to discover that all living things emit a tiny current of light. As a noted German physicist recognized internationally for his discoveries, Popp would also be a stickler for strict scientific method.

Other scientists, such as psychologist Gary Schwartz of the Biofield Center at the University of Arizona, Marilyn Schlitz, vice president for research and education at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dean Radin, IONS' senior scientist, and psychologist Roger Nelson of the Global Consciousness Project, have also offered to participate.

I do not have any hidden sponsors of this project. The website and all our experiments will be funded by the proceeds of this book or grants, now and in the future.

Scientists involved in experimental research often cannot venture beyond their findings to consider the implications of what they have uncovered. Consequently, when assembling the evidence that already exists about intention, I have tried to consider the larger implications of this work and to synthesize these individual discoveries into a coherent theory. In order to describe in words concepts that are generally depicted through mathematical equations, I have had to reach for metaphoric approximations of the truth. At times, with the help of many of the scientists involved, I have also had to engage in speculation. It is important to recognize that the conclusions arrived at in this book represent the fruits of frontier science. These ideas are a work in progress. Undoubtedly new evidence will emerge to amplify and refine these initial conclusions.

Researching the work of people at the very forefront of scientific discovery again has been a humbling experience for me. Within the unremarkable confines of a laboratory, these largely unsung men and women engage in activities that are nothing short of heroic. They risk losing grants, academic posts, and, indeed, entire careers groping alone in the dark. Most scratch around for grant money enabling them to carry on.

All advancements in science are somewhat heretical, each important new discovery partly, if not completely, negating the prevailing views of the day. To be a true explorer in science -- to follow the unprejudiced lead of pure scientific inquiry -- is to be unafraid to propose the unthinkable, and to prove friends, colleagues, and scientific paradigms wrong. Hidden within the cautious, neutral language of experimental data and mathematical equation is nothing less than the makings of a new world, which slowly takes shape for all the rest of us, one painstaking experiment at a time.

Lynne McTaggart

June 2006

Copyright © 2007 by Lynne McTaggart

Table of Contents





Chapter 1: Mutable Matter

Chapter 2: The Human Antenna

Chapter 3: The Two-Way Street

Chapter 4: Hearts That Beat as One



Chapter 5: Entering Hyperspace

Chapter 6: In the Mood

Chapter 7: The Right Time

Chapter 8: The Right Place



Chapter 9: Mental Blueprints

Chapter 10: The Voodoo Effect

Chapter 11: Praying for Yesterday

Chapter 12: The Intention Experiment



Chapter 13: The Intention Exercises

Chapter 14: Your Personal Intention Experiments

Chapter 15: The Group Intention Experiments





About the Author

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"If you want to explore the latest science behind The Secret, look no further. Science and wisdom collide and make friends in this real-world adventure that is ultimately a guidebook for living." — Drew Heriot, director of "The Secret"

"Lynne McTaggart has zeroed in on a wonderful collection of experiments and events that shatters our normal materialistic assumptions of time, space, and everything in between (if there is an in-between). It's as mind-bending as it's meant to be." — William Arntz, producer, writer, and director of "What the BLEEP Do We Know!?" and author of What the BLEEP Do We Know!? - Discovering the Endless Possibilities For Altering Your Everyday Reality

"Very few books are able to transform information into inspiration—concepts into action—word into deed. The Intention Experiment does exactly that. In a style that is highly entertaining and accessible, McTaggart reminds us of an eternal truth too often overlooked: Each of us possesses the power of the Universe WITHIN. Now that is a transformational read!" — Ward M. Powers, Filmmaker and Director, "ONE: The Movie"

"The Intention Experiment is an extraordinary advance in our understanding of consciousness as a field of all possibilities where intention orchestrates it own fulfillment. If you want to empower yourself and use the laws of intention to manifest your material reality, read this book." — Deepak Chopra, author of Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment

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Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a mind-altering trip into the power of intention, whether you think so or not. Skeptics, don't bother. You already know it all. It is a shame people come into new knowledge with preconceived notions that limit them. This book stretches horizons! Proof that it is a serious scientific attempt to change the world with mind power can be found in the 50+ pages of bibliography and footnotes Lynne's well-researched effort displays. All of her work is meticulously boiled down into comprehensible everyday 8th grade science class graduate language. Having said that, it does not lack in scientifically explaining the most profound aspects of our existence, and the power we potentially hold in changing the very form of matter. If that sounds crazy, prepare to wear a straight jacket while reading this one. The science is undeniable. The conclusions are mind-boggling. Regardless of whether you are a housewife or a quantum physicist, you will come away from this and other books by her, with a different view of the cosmos and the power we have to connect with others. This is NOT new-agey moon-gazing. Get a grip! You'll need it. I highly recommend both noted books from this solidly grounded author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Intention Experiment' gives convincing evidence of influence of intentions from research reports in the emerging field of consciousness. The challenge with researching intention is that its effects vary with the state of mind of individual due to various factors involving surroundings, what they ate, temperature in room, mental alertness, fatigue and other factors. McTaggart looks at the definition of 'intention' and then moves into how to create results we want. The key to effective intentionality involves creating peak intensity and developing mindfulness. I found the fact that we can influence the past through our intention and visualization for athletes alone leads to 13 and 16 percent increase in muscle mass even without exercise fascinating. Interestingly compassion is also emphasized as an important attribute of our intentionality.
CynthiaSueLarson More than 1 year ago
The long-running paradigm of good intentions paving the road to hell has been brilliantly overturned by investigative journalist Lynne McTaggart's new book, THE INTENTION EXPERIMENT. McTaggart provides dazzling evidence of the spectacular power of intentions from a wide variety of peer-reviewed, statistically significant research reports as she takes us on a tour of cutting-edge research currently underway in the relatively new field of consciousness. One of the challenges of studying the mind's effect on matter is that intention demonstrates variable effects depending on the state of the host and the time, place, and manner by which it is initiated, which McTaggart addresses by presenting a number of ways that various types of intentions produce different effects, as well as ways to help ensure better outcomes. THE INTENTION EXPERIMENT takes us on a journey to discover what, exactly, is meant by 'intention,' and how we can produce results we'll most appreciate. Whereas seasoned meditators can demonstrate remarkable command over their physical processes and remotely influence others, McTaggart describes how anyone can learn to achieve noticeable results. The key to achieving an effective state of intentionality lies in powering up, reaching a state of peak intensity, developing mindfulness, merging with what is to be influenced, being compassionate, and specifically stating an intention. When we follow these instructions after reading a thorough overview of relevant research, we can find it a lot easier to believe that it may be possible for us to send our intentions to far-off places and times. Some of the more startling facts in THE INTENTION EXPERIMENT are research findings about how our intentions can influence the past, and that athletes who do not physically exercise but only imagine their workouts can increase their muscle strength between 13 and 16 percent. The world's top athletes depend on mental rehearsal to help guarantee their competitive edge, and everyone can see tremendous improvements in our lives by rehearsing specific activities before actually doing them. High points in THE INTENTION EXPERIMENT include a description of the way: atoms can become entangled and behave as one single giant atom, a heated fullerene molecule can exhibit wavelike behavior in which it interferes with itself, human bodies can act as transmitting and receiving antennas, living things demonstrate awareness of the well-being of other living things around them, biofields change when receiving and sending healing intentions, physical health improves when others send focused healing intentions, different forms of meditation produce strikingly different brain waves, brain waves can be manipulated to initiate transcendent and terrifying experiences, sun and geomagnetic activity influences telepathic and telekinetic abilities, and places and things can become harmoniously aligned with healing intent. THE INTENTION EXPERIMENT becomes an interactive experience for readers interested in participating in an on-going series of philanthropic and scientific intentionality experiments at theintentionexperiment dot com
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many books along the same lines, but this one puts it in a way that captures the true essence.... and that leads to true understanding.
nai000ian More than 1 year ago
I bought this book out of interest for the subject and enjoyed it a lot!
CoachDave More than 1 year ago
When you read this book AS IF IT WAS ALL TRUE then you will be the creator of your own life! This is a manual for you living your own life ... good luck!
PKShreeman More than 1 year ago
It's quite scientific in its approach of defining, finding, documenting, and presentation of "intent"...For some impatient people, it may appear quite redundant in expressing numerous research and experiments. However, the author made the time to build up the case to a remarkable conclusion. Personally, as a PhD student, I really appreciate the amount of work that went into it to validate the unconventional (and outrageous to some) concepts with sound base of science. It is not a how-to book, nor self-help book at all. It is a book that will challenge the reader to really think beyond him/herself.
carolectsc More than 1 year ago
A must read for everyone who want to move forward in their lives. Lynne is able to explain scientific research as she asks those questions we want answered.
solri on LibraryThing 21 days ago
The cover of this book has the tag-lines "Using your thoughts to change your life and the world" and "take part in the world's largest mind-over-matter experiment." Do not be put off by this. Although the book is background reading for a series of on-line experiments and contains advice and exercises, 196 of its 222 pages consist of a review of research on distant influence, most of which is very interesting.
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