I was mesmerized the other day listening to a story on NPR’s Radiolab about a woman suffering from chronic pain. She had entered an experiment that hooked her up to an EEG where she could see her brain activity as it unfolded. The areas that showed her pain centers were visible in a flaming red.
In the experiment, she tried to soothe herself by remembering and identifying with the fate of certain spiritual people she admired. As she was able to calm herself down, she saw with astonishment how some of the red spots in her brain were extinguished.
Excited and motivated by what was unfolding right before her eyes, she continued her visualizations until all the red spots on the image were gone. For the first time in years she was pain free.
The main thing that struck me when I heard the story was how powerful our beliefs are. Initially, the woman’s belief in her religion and spirituality made her calm down. Then, when she saw on the computer screen how it visibly helped her with the pain, her trust in science reinforced just how effective the method was until the pain was fully gone.
As they say, faith will move mountains.