Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spiritual Approach to Medicine

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spiritual Approach to Medicine

Article excerpt

Some coincidences are hard to explain -- or write off simply to chance.

For example: In 1950, there was a 7:20 choir practice scheduled one night at a church in Beatrice, Neb. Fifteen men and women were in the choir, and rarely was anyone late. Yet on this particular night, everyone was tardy.

All 15 people.

So when the church boiler exploded at 7:25, causing extensive damage to the choir box, no one was hurt. No one was even there.

Larry Dossey heard this story from Lyall Watson, a biologist. Watson's conclusion was simple: "This asks for an explanation," he said.

Dossey doesn't explain why in his new book, Reinventing Medicine (HarperSanFrancisco, $24), as much as he urges health practitioners to pay greater attention to everything from dreams to intuition to "coincidences" when treating patients. He sees accepting such actions of the "non-local mind" as the next major medical breakthrough.

This is a familiar challenge for Dossey. He wrote the best seller Healing Words (HarperSanFrancisco, $13), which made a solid scientific argument for prayer as a medical treatment. He cited more than 130 studies -- the number surprised even him -- and won over countless followers. Since then, about 60 U.S. medical schools have added courses exploring the effects of prayer and religious devotion on health.

Now Dossey says many Americans, patients and scientists alike, are ready for what he calls "Era III" in medicine to overlap with Eras I and II, both still going strong.

"(Era III and the non-local mind) are about the mind acting at a distance from the brain and body, and sometimes outside the present moment," Dossey said. "We should pay attention to Era III 'anomalies' such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, visions, prophetic dreams" and prayer on behalf of others who may not be aware of it.

Era I first took shape about 1860, when science began to dominate treatments in the form of drugs and surgery, and has broadened to encompass all sorts of high-tech medical procedures. …

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