Good afternoon. It is a joy and privilege to meet and exchange ideas with so many healers! Thank you again, Herb Benson, for calling us back for a second time. I'm heartened by the number of calls I've received from those who attended last year's conference. I've loved the visits I've had with several of the faculty since then. It's wonderful to see a growing acceptance of spirituality in healing.
Something important is going on today. We see it in the number of magazine and newspaper stories, books, TV shows, and news coverage—all pointing to the growing interest in spirituality. Just last week I saw the results of a survey of bookstore customers. I was especially struck by the increasing commitment of time people are giving to spiritual self-discovery and self-care. For example, here in Massachusetts, of women who read books on spirituality, nearly half of them spend more than twenty minutes a day "thinking spiritual thoughts," and one in eight invests at least two hours a day in spiritual thinking.Massachusetts Science and Health Spirituality Survey (Summus Ltd. Research). Three quarters of all adults want to have a "close relationship with God."See Robert Bellah, et al., Habits of the Heart (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), p. 226. Ninety percent pray with some regularity,LIFE Survey on Prayer (Gallup Organization), December 1993. and more than seven in ten adults (73 percent) believe that praying for someone can help cure illness.Time/CNN Survey. See Christian Science Sentinel, December 16, 1996, p. 5. So people are getting very serious about prayer. They are relying on it more and more in every aspect of their lives.
I often think of one of the most vivid and historical examples to me of the power of prayer. It occurred seven years ago while I was in Leipzig, then still East Germany. I'd been there before, but this time it was different. This particular visit was just a few days before the fall of the Berlin Wall. There was a quietness in that city, yet one could feel an urgency in the human spirit.
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