Lynne McTaggart, one of the preeminent spokespersons on consciousness, the new physics and the science of spirituality, is the award-winning journalist and author of six books, including the worldwide bestsellers The Field and The Intention Experiment. As editorial director of What Doctors Don’t Tell You (www.wddty.com), she also publishes one of the world’s most highly praised health newsletters and runs highly popular health and spirituality teleconferences and workshops.
Lynne is also the architect of the Intention Experiments, a web-based ‘global laboratory’, involving an international consortium of prestigious scientists and thousands of people in countries around the world testing the power of intention to heal the world. Most recently her book The Intention Experiment and its website were prominently featured in the plotline of Dan Brown’s latest blockbuster The Lost Symbol.
Of Lynne’s latest book The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us, Deepak Chopra says, “Once in a very great while, a book comes along that shifts our sense of reality, or extols a new way of living. Lynne McTaggart’s extraordinary new book, ‘The Bond,’ does both.”
For hundreds of years our worldview has been shaped by a scientific story describing isolated beings competing for survival on a lonely planet in an indifferent universe. Life, as defined by modern science, is random, predatory, purposeless and solitary. From these paradigms – the universe as machine, man as survival machine – we have fashioned our world.
The latest evidence from physics and biology tell a radically different story: that we exist in a dynamic relationship of connection and constant influence — that cooperation, even sacrifice, is intrinsic to the biological makeup of all living things.
This revolution is not confined to physics. Extraordinary new discoveries in biology and the social sciences have profoundly altered our view of the relationship between living things and their environment. Frontier biologists, psychologists and sociologists have all produced evidence demonstrating that individual things are far less individual than we thought they were.
Between the smallest particles of our being, between our bodies and its environment, between ourselves and all of the people with whom we are in contact, between every member of every societal cluster, there is a Bond – a connection so integral and profound that there is no longer a clear demarcation between the end of one thing and the beginning of another. The world essentially operates, not through the activity of individual things, but in the connection between them — in a sense, within the space between things.
The most essential aspect of life is not the isolated thing, whether a subatomic particle or full-fledged living thing. It is the relationship itself: an inseparable, irreducible Bond. The connection itself – the space in between — holds the key to the life of any organism, from subatomic particles to large-scale societies, and indeed the key to our viable future.
In every way, individual things live life inextricably attached and bonded to an ‘other’.
The new story that is being written in tiny pockets of research around the globe adds up to nothing less than the beginnings of a recovery of our holistic view of ourselves, as inextricably bound to everything we see around us.
These discoveries not only hold vast implications about how we choose to define ourselves, but also vast implications about how we ought to live our lives. They suggest that all our societal creations, so invested as they are with a sense of competition and supremacy of the individual, run counter to our most fundamental being.
Excerpt of Chapter 11 from The Bond
The Power of Working Together
Tailholt, Oklahoma, represents one of the forgotten neighborhoods of America. The town name, derived from the pioneer habit of traversing a flooded river by persuading a horse to fjord the river while holding on to its tail, suggests a place hanging on for its very survival.
One-third of its population of 42,000 consists of Native American families, with an average per capital income of $27,000 and a house worth about $60,000. Those businesses that exist in Tailholt mostly cap employment at minimum wage. With a cemetery within each mile of a twelve-mile radius, the most prosperous activity in Tailholt is laying its inhabitants to rest.
The citizens of Tailholt had been trying and failing to get fresh water every year since 1999. Many members of the community had constant problems with their water sources. Wells ran dry, taps had low pressure, water was contaminated, or just smelled or tasted bad. The US’s
Environmental Protection Agency has strict guidelines about coliform bacteria, which give an indication of the amount of harmful microorganisms in the water, and the maximum number of coliform bacteria per milliliter that constitutes water fit to drink. Certain forms—called fecal coliform bacteria—can make people ill. Fifty-eight percent of Tailholt households failed the coliform test. Every annual application to the national Indian Health Services to fund a new pipeline through a grant available to Indian communities had been rejected on the grounds of expense. There was just too little federal money to go around.
Tailholt residents were also desperate for a large community center as a central meeting place for organized activities. Again, it looked as though the vast cost of the project would never be picked up by the federal government.
In 2004, a group called the Cherokee National Community Work Projects was formed as a citizen group to provide small amounts of funding to help Native American communities like Tailholt when federal funding isn’t available. Cherokee Nation’s Community Organization Training and Technical Assistance (COTTA) scheme was also set up to teach communities how to band together and maximize any little money they could get.
When the Tailholt community failed to secure the federal funds for their projects, they met with Billy Hix, director of Cherokee Nation’s Engineering and Sanitation Facilities Construction Program within COTTA, who convinced them to be active participants in the construction of the waterline. The community needed “points” to help them qualify, and one measure of adequate points was how much of the project they were willing to do themselves.
The Tailholt community began holding regular meetings, with up to 200 people attending. Of those, a core group of thirty agreed to work on the community’s goals of a town meeting center and a fresh water pipeline. They agreed to provide most of the manpower to dig and bury the ten-mile pipeline into a four-foot ditch — a process that would take four to six months — with the county’s water department overseeing the project and providing technical assistance.
Although the water line would have cost some $579,000 to lay down, more than half of that cost was deferred because the citizens offered to do digging themselves and provide their own equipment. By subtracting what the labor would have cost, Hix was able to drastically reduce the federal funding necessary to get the project approved.
Because of Tailholt’s willingness to invest in “sweat equity” to build the community center as well, the Cherokee Nation offered $72,000 to provide the basic materials for the 3,700-square foot building. Tailholt’s request for small amounts of federal funding again made it through the fierce approval process precisely because volunteers offered to carry out the construction for free.
The community began scouting out potential locations for the building, but once again they were faced with money problems. Where would they get the funds to buy the land? At one of the evening meetings, 80-year-old Pauline Sanders stepped forward. She had the perfect site for the building on her substantial acreage, and she was willing to donate nearly five acres, on the proviso that the center offer a literacy program for children and a nutrition program for the elderly.
The building and pipeline were both operational by 2006. Tailholt had clean water and a community center with a library, with free computer use, and a place for everyone to meet.
But the bigger payoff in Tailholt was the effect on the community of engaging together in a common goal. Before the building work had begun, the town’s population had felt isolated from each other. “The whole process of getting this community building started has brought our community together,” said Jeremy Marshall, who is president of the Tailholt Community Organization. While the men showed up with hammers, squares, and levels, Pauline and other women from the community would show up at the site every day to cook lunch for the volunteers.
As soon as it opened, the center immediately became a fulcrum for the entire town. Further plans are afoot for a playground for the children, Cherokee language classes, an afterschool program and other activities for young and old. “It puts the future for the kids in the community, ” says Pauline Sanders. Community involvement in the two projects became infectious in Tailholt; community members began to volunteer in other ways — for the rural fire department and fundraising.
Psychologists call this a superordinate goal – a goal only achieved by large cooperative teamwork of two or more people. Engaging in sharing and teamwork tends to transcend differences, because it emphasizes the very heart of humanity — we are all in this together. And if we are all in this together we are no longer competing for scarce resources.
From a scientific point of view, the true power of leaving our small space of individuality and coming together as a group to achieve a superordinate goal stems from a collective resonance effect. The electrical activity of each individual in the group begins to resonate on a common wavelength — a choir perfectly in tune. Like a coherent group of electrons that begins to vibrate as one giant electron, the group creates a resonance that magnifies the individual effect.
Psychologists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, and the University of Salzburg, Austria, wished to examine whether our brains act “in tandem” with others when we’re engaged in a common purpose. The German scientists were inspired by recent studies examining the brain-wave rhythms between two people when they socially interact, demonstrating that one type of brainwave rhythm was associated with independent behavior, while another brainwave rhythm showed up and was shared by both parties when the behavior was coordinated.
The German and Austrian scientists decided to study the brain activity of pairs of guitarists playing a short melody together to see to what extent cortical activity is synchronized between people when they are, as they put it, “swinging in concert.” The scientists placed an EEG cap on each of the musicians as they played together as a group and recorded each individual’s brain activity.
Using special algorithms to analyze the brain activity of each person individually and in relation to his partner, the scientists found that the brain waves of each pair were highly synchronized and “in phase” – that is, the waves peaking and troughing at certain key moments, when they were practicing setting the tempo with a metronome and then when they began their coordinated play.
This study has vast implications, considering that so much of our interaction with the world consists in synchronized and goal-directed actions with other people. The researchers concluded that, whenever people do things together in a synchronized fashion, their brain waves must follow suit.
Like a jazz group working together as a superorganism to produce a common sound, we get on each other’s wavelength whenever we’re working together to produce a common result. Ultimately, this is likely to be the basis of all successful group relationships. We are able to get on with each other — no matter how different — simply by sharing an activity or goal.
Scientists now understand that neurons become more efficient and operate as a unit when they are repeatedly and persistently stimulated together: neurons that fire together wire together. What may be also true is that people who fire together wire together.
Praise for The Bond
“Once in a very great while, a book comes along that shifts our sense of reality, or extols a new way of living. Lynne McTaggart’s extraordinary new book, The Bond, does both.”
— Deepak Chopra, New York Times bestselling author, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You.
"Lynne McTaggart is the Malcolm Gladwell of the new science. This visionary book offers pioneering discoveries told in compelling stories, as well as hope and an action plan in these troubled times. Read this book and change your life and the life of everyone around you."
– Jack Canfield, New York Times bestselling author, The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.
"There is something on every page of this book to make you jump for joy. It’s like things you’ve secretly suspected but figured must not be true since no one else seems to think them are suddenly proven to be true! You don’t even realize how thirsty your soul has been for another way of looking at the world, until it’s given you and you can’t stop drinking it in. Rarely does a book so tell it like it is."
— Marianne Williamson, New York Times bestselling author, A Return to Love.
“We all want a better world, a better life, but many people don’t have the courage to take that first step. Lynne McTaggart’s The Bond is so full of wisdom, truth and science that it whispers to your heart, and screams at your brain: reclaim your life, and create a better way to live for your sake, and your children’s, and your children’s children.”
— Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, Happy for No Reason and Love for No Reason.
“Lynne McTaggart’s new book, The Bond, brilliantly reveals the essence of who we are in a way that is backed by rigorous new science and is expressed through her amazing ability to communicate with clarity and power. She is a visionary and an extraordinary scholar of the heart. In this seminal book, she communicates a life-altering message that has the power to transform the way we see ourselves and therefore the way we see the world. Read this book. It will open your heart, and change your life.”
– Lynne Twist, bestselling author of The Soul of Money and cofounder of The Pachamama Alliance.
“Lynne McTaggart has elegantly and boldly caused us to look at the world we are living in through a new set of lenses. Her truth in this book shook me to my core, inspired me in my soul and called me to action like no other book has ever done. Lynne is brilliant, and this book is a work of genius that can guide us back to ourselves and to each other.”
—Lisa Nichols, New York Times bestselling author, No Matter What, contributing author to The Secret.
"In The Bond, the brilliant and wise Lynne McTaggart gives us a life-changing blueprint for a new way to live. This astonishing book, based on discoveries from the new sciences, sings to our hearts and speaks to our minds. The vitally important message that this mind-blowing book delivers has the power to heal our relationships, our neighborhoods, and our world, inspiring us into a whole new future at a time we need it most."
— Debbie Ford, NY Times bestselling author, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.
“A bold paradigm-buster of a book full of scientific revelation, but also hope and inspiration, offering a road map of how to live in harmony with each other and with our truest nature, as givers and sharers.”
– Janet Atwood, co-author of the bestselling The Passion Test.
“The Bond takes us inside a luminous reality of connectivity at every level of existence where we witness the core of the evolutionary impulse. In the heart of this design we are able to recover pathways to deep empathy, social harmony, and wholeness. You will bask in the afterglow of Lynne McTaggart’s brilliantly interpreted science, and the visionary depth, moral coherence and healing power of The Bond.”
— James O’ Dea, social healing activist, past President of Institute of Noetic Sciences, author of Creative Stress: A Path for Evolving Souls Living Through Personal and Planetary Upheaval.
"In The Bond, Lynne McTaggart smashes the myth that connection between people is a touchy-feely business. Using compelling stories and solidly researched data, she demonstrates in no uncertain terms that we need each other, and that our ability to thrive and perhaps even to survive depend on making this reality a fundamental organizing principle for our lives. The Bond is fascinating, inspiring and provocative—and McTaggart’s eloquence and reader-friendly style make this journey not only informative but engrossing."
—Ocean Robbins, Founder, YES!, author, Choices For Our Future.
‘Lynne McTaggart has once again hit a home run for the human potential movement. The Bond is a compelling compilation of fascinating and enthralling discoveries that awaken us to the interconnectivity of all of life, woven all together in a way that inspires each of us to happily take up the task at hand: the midwifing of deeper levels of relatedness and care back into our lives and back into our world.”
— Katherine Woodward Thomas, co-founder/co-leader of the Feminine Power Global Community.
“Lynne McTaggart has done it again! The Bond is her tour de force. Everyone loves to feel love, everyone craves deep connection, but we don’t always know how to live it. This simple but powerful message from the frontiers of modern science is a milestone that will appeal to the sceptic as well as the zealous. It shows us how to recover wholeness and heal our world.”
—Arjuna Ardagh, author of the bestselling The Translucent Revolution.
"Lynne has once again cared, dared and shared a timely and transcendent message for the sake of all of us who are mysteriously bonded across the world.”
— Dr. John Demartini, human behavioral specialist, educator and bestselling author, Inspired Destiny: Living a Fulfilling and Purposeful Life