Pay Attention to Intention

How Intention shapes the world we live in

by Patrick Quanten MD

Ever since our scientists have accepted that all is energy and that all comes from energy no time has been wasted in trying to find out more about energy. Of course there are a great variety of “energies”, as all is energy, but the human energy, the power of it and the way it governs our lives has intrigued many experimenter.

Since our knowledge has embraced and superseded quantum physics, scientists have busied themselves designing experiments that would take note of the already known. One of these important factors is the fact that the observer changes the observed. The sheer fact that one is looking at something or measuring it changes the object. A simple way of understanding this is that when we do not observe the behaviour of light it operates as a wave and from the moment we take measurements, it looks like it is made up of particles. We have since learned ways of looking at light as a wave, and consequently we observe it behaving like a wave and not like a series of particles. In more practical terms that means that by measuring your blood pressure the pressure changes. And many of you will confirm the fact that wondering about how high it might be, usually results in a higher reading compared with the one done at home. Although, if you put the cuff on being anxious about the result, once again you increase the measured figure. In fact, it is easy to get a feel for the idea that when you think about taking your blood pressure, it probably changes in relation to your attitude towards the testing.

These statements are no longer fantasy of some weird looking confused professors. They are accepted truths in science. Why not in life? Can you imagine what that would do to a society that is totally reliant upon measurement? The whole medical profession would have to stop taking pictures, blood tests and other analyses. What would it base it diagnosis on? Nothing? Just a hunch? How can anything be true if nothing can independent be measured?

All decent questions, and rest assured people have been asking these kinds of questions for quite a while now. They kind of got used to not having their regular tools to play with anymore. Serious scientists have included that knowledge into their research work and no matter how impossible it might seem at first glance, they have find ways forward. They are “measuring” energies and they are playing with energies and “observing” the results. Interpretation has changed a lot since Einstein.

In the modern experiments one is mostly trying to establish an effected size. This means that comparing, let’s say two different groups, one is looking for a sizable difference between them, establishing that one has made the change and the other has not. To give you an idea of what those changes might be, you need to know that an effect size is a statistical figure used in scientific research to demonstrate the size of change or outcome. It is arrived at by a number of factors, usually by comparing two groups, one of which has made the change. An effected size under 0.3 is considered small, a size between 0.3 and 0.6 is medium, and anything above 0.6 is considered large. To give you an idea of what it means when authorities tell us that this or that has been “proven” or “shown” to have this or that effect, it might help you to realise how they have reached that conclusion. Aspirin, considered the most successful heart attack preventive of modern times, has an effect size of just 0.032! Or you could say that the effect is almost negligible. And yet, we are told everybody needs to take it to prevent heart attacks.

This is the difference between what researches come up with and what authorities come out with!

Healing as Energy

Entrainment is a term in physics which means that two oscillating systems fall into synchrony. It was coined in 1665 by the Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens, after he discovered that two of his clocks with pendulums standing in close proximity to each other begun to swing in unison. In the same way do women’s menstrual cycles fall into synchrony when they work together in the same closed proximity of one another. You could even consider the fact that people that spend a lot of time together start to get similar ideas. How does it work?

Two waves peaking and troughing at the same time are considered “in phase”, or operating in sync. Those peaking at opposite times are “out of phase”. Physicians believe that entrainment results from tiny exchanges of energy between two systems that are out of phase, causing one to slow down and the other to accelerate until the two are in phase. It is also related to resonance, or the ability of any system to absorb more energy than normal at a particular frequency (the number of peaks and troughs in one second). Any vibrating thing – and what isn’t? – has its preferential frequencies, called resonant frequencies, where it finds vibrating the easiest. When it “listens” or receives a vibration from somewhere else, it tunes out all pretenders and only listens into its own resonant frequency.

Once they march to the same rhythm, things that are entrained send out a stronger signal than they do individually. You can notice this quite clearly with musical instruments, which sound amplified when all playing in phase. A similar thing is noted when looking at the effects of healing. The impact on the subject is much greater when the surrounding area, people that we are connected with, and that includes the number of healers one is working with, are directing their intention towards the same point. This is also the way authorities ensure that we all know the truth: the more times we hear the same statement, the more people that are expressing the same view, the more convinced we become that it is true. This leads to statements such as ‘Everybody knows we live longer now’.

Schwartz and his colleagues did a lot of research around healing intentions. In a variety of studies - some of them ingeniously thought out - they discovered that healers had a much more beneficial effect on days they felt really well. A practitioner’s own overall health was an essential factor in the ability to heal others. Other results showed that the act of healing and perhaps the healing context were themselves healing. In other words, healing someone else also healed the healer.

But Schwartz and Brooks went even further. They found, in a double-blind study of healing on cardiac patients, that the best outcomes were amongst those who had received healing and believed they had received it. The worse outcomes were amongst those who had not received healing and were convinced they had not had it. The other two groups – those who had received it but did not believe it and those who had not received it but believed they had – fell somewhere in the middle. This result tended to contradict the idea that a positive outcome comes entirely down to a placebo effect: those who wrongly believed they received the healing did not do as well as those who rightly believed they had received healing.

Schwartz’s studies uncovered something fundamental about healing: both the energy and intention of the healing itself and the patient’s belief that he/she had received healing promoted the actual healing. Belief in the efficacy of the particular healing treatment was undoubtedly another factor.

Carroll Nash, the director of the parapsychology department at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, came to an interesting conclusion when studying the effects of sending positive (healing) energy and sending negative (destructive) energy. Looking at her data, she noticed that negative intention was most effective when it was sent from a remote site. Positive intent worked best in the presence of its object.

Conventional wisdom also has it that the best state for performance is a state of relaxation, but that is not necessarily true. In a study of karate, using relaxation techniques, before carrying out the intentions, did not improve performance. It was useful only if the participant was nervous and needed to be calmed down in order to perform better. Relaxation and hypnosis used with intention have worked to improve aim – like in basketball shots or accuracy in chipping in golf. The most successful athletes, however, manage to work themselves into peak intensity, a state of calm hyperawareness. Experienced athletes engage all their senses in their mental rehearsal. They not only have a visual internal image of the future event but also hear it, feel it, smell it, and taste it – the ambience, the competitors, the sweat of their bodies, the applause. Of all the sensations, the most vital for athletes appears to be mentally rehearsing the “feel”. The more experienced the athletes are the better they are at imagining the feel of their bodies when engaging in their sport.

But how can simply thinking about a future performance actually affect performance on the day of the event? Electromyography (EMG) has not only be deployed to diagnose epilepsy and to record electrical impulses sent from motor neurons to specific muscles, but also to measure whether or not the brain makes a distinction between a thought and an action. Does the thought of an action create the same patterns in neurotransmission as the action itself? This was tested by wiring a group of skiers up to EMG equipment while they were carrying out mental rehearsals. As the skiers mentally rehearsed the downhill runs, the electrical impulses heading to the muscles were just the same as those they used to make turns and jumps while actually skiing the runs. The brain sent the same instructions to the body, whether the skiers were simply thinking of a particular movement or actually carrying it out. Thought produces the same mental instructions as actions.

Nevertheless, there are a few important differences between mental and physical practice. With physical practice, when you practice too much, you become fatigued, and fatigue causes electrical interference and blockages along the tracks. With mental intention, no roadblocks ever appear, no matter how much you practice in your head.

The other difference concerns the size of the effect; the neuromuscular pattern laid down with mental practice may be slightly smaller than that of physical practice. Although both types of practice create the same muscle patterns, the imagined performances have smaller magnitudes.

There is also no such thing as cross-training in mental rehearsal: intention facilitates just the type of athletic event that is being mentally rehearsed and is not transferable to other sports, even when those involve similar muscle groups. Specific imagery enhanced only the specific task that had been imagined.

The kinds of vivid visualisation techniques used by athletes are also highly effective in treating illness. People have boosted treatment of an array of acute and chronic conditions, from coronary artery disease and high blood pressure to low-back pain and musculoskeletal diseases, including fibromyalgia, by using mental pictures or metaphoric representations of their bodies fighting the illness. Visualisation has also improved post-surgical outcomes, helped with pain management and minimised the side effects of chemotherapy. Indeed, the outcome of a person’s illness has been predicted by examining the types of visualisation used to combat it.

If the brain cannot distinguish between a thought and an action, would the body follow mental instructions of any sort? Literature about biofeedback and mind-body medicine indicates that the body will follow such instructions as to lower the blood pressure, reduce the pulse rate, lower blood sugar levels, increase circulation in a finger, and many others belonging to functions of the autonomic nervous system, which are thought off as being beyond our conscious control. The more conventional view of biofeedback maintains that it has something to do with relaxation. However, the sheer breadth of control would argue that the mechanism has more to do with the power of intention. Virtually every bodily process measurable on a machine – even a single nerve cell controlling a muscle fibre – appears to be within an individual’s control. Volunteers in studies have achieved total mental mastery over the temperature in their bodies, or even the direction of blood flow to the brain.

The Arrow of Time

The physical evidence of our own ageing delivers the most tangible proof of the direction and pointedness of the arrow of time; first we are born, then we grow old and die. Similarly, we believe that the consequence of our intention can occur only in the future. What we do today cannot affect what happened yesterday.

Researches have demonstrated clear instances of time-reversed effects, where effects precedes cause. Leibovici’s study was unique among prayer research in that it was conducted “backward in time”. He showed that people recovered better and quicker from an operation when they were prayed for; only the praying was done at least ten years after the operation took place! Studies like Leibovici’s offer the most challenging idea of all: that thoughts can affect other things no matter when the thought is made and in fact, may work better when they are not subject to a conventional time sequence of causation.

Time-displaced intention has also been successfully applied to living things. German parapsychologist Elmar Gruber carried out a series of ingenious experiments examining whether the movement of animals or humans can be influenced after the fact. Every revolution of a gerbil’s activity wheel was recorded as a clicking sound, or every time a human volunteer walked through a laser beam in a certain area was recorded as a click. These tapes were copied and stored to eliminate fraud. Between one and six days later, volunteers were asked to listen to the tapes and attempt to mentally influence the gerbils to run faster than normal or the people to run into the beam more often. Success was measured by a greater number of clicks on the volunteers’ tapes than on the tapes made during the running sessions when the animals and human were not subjected to outside influence. Four of the six batches of trials achieved significant results, and in three of these, the effect size was larger than 0.44. (Remember the aspirin!)

Lots of studies have already been carried out, and many more will follow, into retrocausation and the fact that there is evidence to suggest that there is such a thing as time displacement. Dean Radin concluded from a number of studies he conducted that our thoughts about something can affect our past reaction times. He showed that, somehow, the time it took to carry out a second task affected the time it took to carry out the first one. The implications of this are enormous.

Physicists no longer consider retrocausation inconsistent with the laws of the universe. One of the ways to comprehend this effect is to view all information in the universe – information is energy – as available to us at every moment, and time as existing as one giant smeared-out present. If you simply reverse presentiment and call it backward influence, so that all future mental activity influences the present, you maintain the same model and results as the retrocausation studies. All precognition might be evidence of backward-acting influence; all future decisions may always influence the past.

There is also the possibility that at the most fundamental layer of our existence there is no such thing as sequential time. Pure energy as it exists at the quantum level does not have time or space, but exists as a vast continuum of fluctuating charge. We, in a sense, are time and space. By creating time and space, we create our own separateness and indeed our own time. According to Dick Bierman retrocausation is simply evidence that the present is contingent upon future potential conditions or outcomes, and that non-locality occurs through time as well as space. Our future actions, choices and possibilities all help to create our present as it unfolds.

This seems like plain common sense. Look back at major events in your own life and see how unlikely some of them are to actually have occurred in your life, and yet, without those occurrences, your life could not have ended up where it has. In other words, the fact that it was already going to go where it did, shaped the previous events so that it effectively did go where it was supposed to go. The probability of some of those events happening the way they did is practically nil in our current understanding of nature. The future determines to a large degree the past.

Caslav Brukner and Vlatko Vedral showed that instantaneous cause and effect occurs not only through space but also back and possibly forward through time. They offered the first mathematical proof that the actions of every moment influenced and changedthose of the past. It may well be that every action we take, every thought we have in the present, alters our entire history. Even more significant, their experiment demonstrated the central role of the observer in creating, and indeed changing, reality. The very act of measuring an entity at one point of time changed its earlier state. This may mean that every observation of ours changes some earlier state of the physical universe. A deliberate thought to change something in our present could also influence our past. The very act of intention, of making a change in the present, may also affect everything that has led to that moment. It may be that our future already exists in some nebulous state that we actualise in the present. This makes sense, since subatomic particles exist in a state of potential until observed or thought about. If consciousness operates at the quantum frequency level, it would naturally reside outside space and time, and we would theoretically have access to information, past and future.

Bierman also showed that the first person to make an observation “collapses” the field of possibilities into a state of reality. If consciousness is the crucial ingredient for “collapse” to occur, humans, and their ability to “reduce” reality to limited states, are completely responsible for the idea that time is an arrow in one direction. If our future choice of a particular state is what affects its present “collapse”, the reality may be that our future and present are constantly meeting up with each other. This accords with what is understood about the observer effect in quantum theory, that the first observation of a quantum entity “decoheres”, or collapses its pure state of potential into a single state. Thereafter it is less likely it will change greatly as future observation are more and more likely to “collapse” this particular potentiality into a similar single state. Hence, the world seems to all of us more or less the seem, because we buy into the picture that others before us have created out of all the possible ways the world could have looked.


Modern science is rapidly unravelling realms that have long belonged to fantasy. Things believed to be impossible are coming closer to being understood. The more we learn the stranger this world becomes and the more it opens its doors into a weird and wonderful future. I hope one day we will comprehend what we went through and why.

Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known in nature. (St. Augustine)

October 2007


Patrick Quanten has been a general practitioner since 1983. The combination of medical insight and extensive studies of Complementary Therapies have opened new perspectives on health care, all of which came to fruition when it blended with Yogic and Ayurvedic principles. Patrick gave up his medical licence in November 2001.
Patrick also holds qualifications in Ayurvedic Medicine, Homeopathy, Reiki, Ozon Therapy and Thai Massage. He is an expert on Ear Candling and he is also well-read in the field of other hard sciences. His life's work involves finding similarities between the Ancient Knowledge and modern Western science.

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