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Awaken Your Sleeping Genie

I’ve always had a nagging sense that we humans hold far more power than we realize—yet we keep it out of reach, always just around the bend. For me, when things feel a little off, it’s like there’s an inner genie ready to “blink” her way into ideal circumstances. But when my instinct moves to execute—*Poof*—it disappears. Earlier this year, however, I discovered something that taps into the superpower aspect of us that seems long gone. And in the midst of so much unsteadiness in our country and our world, I’m excited to share an accessible practice that can change your life for the better. It’s calming, centering… and at times mind-boggling.

The Power of Eight concept is quantum physics meets your grandmother’s prayer circle, atheists welcome. It’s explained in a book of the same name, written by Lynne McTaggart, a journalist who has long been fascinated with the idea of how thoughts can change physical matter. The Power of Eight builds on earlier books and is supported by an array of university-level experiments and studies that quantitatively explore the power of the human mind on the physical world.

My skeptic radar often flares at such things, even as mind-over-matter experiments pique my curiosity. My doctor-father and teacher-mother raised me to hold traditional science and knowledge in high regard. At the same time, the Catholic world of my upbringing made me perfectly comfortable with stories of angels and miracles. The tension between these oppositional values means I’m skilled at walking a tightrope that stretches over an abyss many don’t dare tread.

However, as more of us stay open enough to brave new (or even ancient) territory, I believe we are discovering an unrealized human power. And since becoming part of a Power of Eight circle earlier this year, I don’t need to be convinced this new realm holds treasures worth exploring.

What is a Power of Eight circle?

Similar to the Heal Faster protocol my daughter did for her surgery prep and recovery, the Power of Eight aims to heal. A group of eight or so people meet regularly to meditate on a specific intention for about eight minutes. The intention itself doesn’t have to focus on physical health, but could focus on any need (e.g. a relationship, a work situation, a bad habit, a specific societal issue). The goal is to set a precise, even measurable, intention on a healing need—with the aim of having an improved and lasting outcome. And as a byproduct of the process, both the givers and receivers of the intention can expect to benefit.

Our group, which began with five of us, has been meeting online since the start of the pandemic lockdown. It has grown to 12 women, geographically dispersed along the Pacific Northwest. Not everyone can participate each week, but on average eight of us join our Zoom calls.

We try to be efficient with time and do two intentions each week, written beforehand: one for an individual need, and one for a broader community need. After each eight-minute intention, we report our experiences as prescribed in the book. This includes sharing visuals of what we see in our mind’s eye and/or what we sense during these mini-meditations. The sessions last about an hour, with a few minutes at the top to check in, and a few minutes at the end to discuss the following week’s intentions.

Our intentions follow the course of the protocol’s design. That is, we frame them in the positive, and not against something (e.g. “walk easily, free of pain” vs “get rid of pain”). The theory is that whatever energy you put out in an intention will boomerang back to you. So we use positive verbiage to create an ideal scenario: knowing what needs to happen and intending that it will happen (even without knowing how improvement will come about). To that end, we often include the phrase “for the highest good of x” in our intentions. It’s like we knead the dough, but leave the dough to rise on its own.

Results from our P