The Spirit of Ma'at
Vol 1 August 2000


The Isaiah Effect A Message of Hope and Possibility
    Excerpt from The Isaiah Effect: Decoding the Lost Science of Prayer and Prophecy*

    Copyright 2000
    by Gregg Braden (see biography)
Gregg Braden
    "Only now, nearly two millennia after the Great Isaiah Scroll was written, are we able to authenticate its reference to a lost science with the ability to . . . end suffering and bring a lasting peace to our world."

    Could there be a lost science that allows us to transcend the visions of war, disease and the greatest tragedies ever to face humankind? Is it possible that somewhere in the mists of our ancient memory an event occurred that has left a gap in our understanding of how we relate to our world and one another? Twenty-five-hundred-year-old texts, as well as modern science, suggest that the answer to these and similar questions is a resounding "yes!"

Additionally, in the languages of their times, those who have come before us remind us of two empowering technologies with direct relevance to our lives today. The first is the science of prophecy, that allows us to witness future consequences of choices that we make in the present. The second is the sophisticated technology of prayer, that allows us to choose which future prophecy we live.

The secrets to our lost sciences appear to have been shared openly by societies and traditions of our past. The last vestiges of this empowering wisdom were lost to western traditions with the disappearance of rare texts referencing them in the fourth century. Through the eyes of modern science recent translations of texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi Library and Gnostic manuscripts discovered in Egypt have shed new light and opened the doors to possibilities hinted at in ancient folklore and fairy tales.

Only now, nearly two millennia after they were written, are we able to authenticate the power of a force that lives within us, a very real power with the ability to end suffering and bring a lasting peace to our world. The visions of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, for example, were recorded over five hundred years before the time of Christ. The only manuscript discovered intact among the Dead Sea Scrolls, in 1946, the entire Isaiah scroll is unrolled and mounted upon a vertical cylinder displayed in Israel at the Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem. Considered to be irreplaceable, the exhibit is designed to retract into a vault covered by steel doors to preserve the scroll for future generations in the event of nuclear attack.

    "[T]he prophecies follow a clear pattern: descriptions of catastrophe are immediately followed by a vision of life, joy, and possibility."

The age, completeness, and written nature of the Isaiah Scroll provides a unique opportunity to consider it as representative of many prophecies regarding our time in history. Beyond the specifics of precise events, a generalized view of ancient predictions reveals threads of a common theme. In each glimpse into our future, the prophecies follow a clear pattern: descriptions of catastrophe are immediately followed by a vision of life, joy, and possibility.

In the oldest known manuscript of its kind, Isaiah begins his vision of possible futures by detailing a time of global destruction occurring on an unparalleled scale. Clearly catastrophic in scope, Isaiah describes this ominous moment as a time when "the earth is utterly laid waste, utterly stripped." Ironically, his glimpse into a time yet to come closely mirrors the descriptions of many other prophecies from varied and distinct traditions, including those of the Native North American Hopi, Navajo, and the Maya of Mexico and Guatemala.

In the verses that follow Isaiah's description of devastation, however, his vision shifts dramatically to a theme of peace and healing. He writes that, "Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools and the thirsty ground, springs of water." Additionally, Isaiah suggests that "On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see."

For nearly twenty-five centuries, scholars have largely interpreted such visions as a description of events expected to occur in precisely the order as they are described in Isaiah's scroll: first, the tribulation of destruction; then a time of peace and healing. Is it possible that these visions from another time were saying something else? Could the insights of the prophets represent the skills of adept masters slipping between the worlds of possible futures and recording their experiences for future generations? If so, the details of their journeys may offer powerful clues to a time still to come.

    "[B]y changing our course of action in the moment, sometimes in a very small way, we may redirect an entire outcome in our future."

Echoing the beliefs of twentieth century physicists, ancient prophets viewed time and the course of our history as a path that may be traveled in three directions; vertically, as well as reverse and forward. Seers of our past recognized that their visions merely portrayed possibilities for a given moment in time, rather than events that would occur with certainty. Each possibility was based upon the conditions at the time of prophecy. As conditions changed, the outcome of each prophecy would reflect the change. The same line of reasoning reminds us that by changing our course of action in the moment, sometimes in a very small way, we may redirect an entire outcome in our future. This principle applies to individual circumstances such as health and relationship as well as the general well being of the world around us.

The science of prophecy could allow a visionary, in our example of war, for instance, to project their sight into a future time and alert the people of his or her day to the consequences of their actions. Many prophecies, in fact, are accompanied by emphatic pleas for change in an effort to avoid what the prophets have seen. Modern scientists give careful consideration to such possibilities, creating names for the events themselves, as well as the places where the worlds are connected. Through the language of time waves, quantum outcomes, and choice points, prophecies such as those of Isaiah take on powerful new meanings. Rather than being forecasts of events expected one day in our future, they are snapshots into the consequences of choices made in the present.

Such descriptions often bring to mind the image of a great cosmic simulator, allowing us to witness the long-term effects of our actions. Surprisingly similar to quantum principles suggesting that time is a collection of malleable and diverse outcomes, Isaiah goes one step further, reminding us that the possibilities of our future are actually determined by the collective choices in the present. By sharing a common choice many individuals amplify the effect and accelerate the outcome.

Some of the clearest examples of this quantum principle are found in mass prayers of miracles: sudden jumps from one future outcome into the experience of another. In the early 1980's, the effects of a specific technique of prayer, focused in a specific manner, were documented through controlled experiments in urban areas of crime. Through such studies, the localized effect of prayer has been well documented in the open literature.

Do the same principles apply over larger areas, perhaps on a global scale? On Friday November 13, 1998, a mass prayer was implemented, on a worldwide basis, as a choice of peace during a time of escalating political tension in many parts of the world. Of specific interest that day was the expiration of a timeline given to the country of Iraq to comply with United Nations' demands for weapons inspections. Following months of unsuccessful negotiations for access into sensitive sites, the nations of the West had made it clear that Iraq's failure to comply would result in a massive and extended bombing campaign designed to damage suspected weapons sites. Such a maneuver would certainly result in the loss of life, civilian as well as military.

    "Confirming a tenet discovered in centuries-old texts, the evidence simply states that the choice of many people, focused in a specific manner, has a direct and measurable effect on our quality of life."

Linked through the miracle of a global community accessing the World Wide Web, several hundred thousand people chose peace as a specific mode of mass prayer, carefully synchronized to precise moments that evening. During the time of the prayer an event occurred that many consider to be a miracle. History books will show that thirty minutes into the aerial attack [on Baghdad], the president of the United States issued a rare order to "stand down," the military term to abort the mission. Having received a letter from Iraqi officials stating that they would now cooperate with the requested weapons inspections, the reason for the attack no longer existed.

The chances of such an event happening by coincidence in the same time-window as the global prayer are small. Confirming a tenet discovered in centuries-old texts, the evidence simply states that the choice of many people, focused in a specific manner, has a direct and measurable effect on our quality of life. Appearing outwardly unexplained, quantum principles allow for such change as the inner force of collective, or group choice. Perhaps encrypted in ancient traditions until the thinking of our day could recognize it, the lost science of prayer offers a course of action now to avoid experiencing predictions of sickness, destruction, war, and death for our future.

Our individual choices merge into our collective response to the present, with implications that range from a matter of days to many generations into our future. Now we have the language to bring this powerful message of hope and possibility into each moment of our lives.

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*To purchase Gregg Braden's books, see Books.