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Experience Giving PK Parties


Fall 2003


by: Lynn Barnes


Introduction


The belief systems we hold create a lens through which we filter the world. This lens often limits the possibilities of our experiences and renders us powerless to achieve different outcomes. In the realm of healing, acceptance of a disease or symptom can lead us to expect suffering and nothing else. However, we can alter our beliefs about ourselves and about our ability to enhance wellness. My interest in psychokinesis (PK) stems from the perspective that the power of the mind is important to the healing process. What we think can create balance or imbalance in our physical functioning. But what if we don‚t believe that we have that power? It often takes personal experience to move us beyond theory and into acceptance. The purposes of this paper are to document the experiences of those who tapped into that experience and to discover what new thoughts arose as a result.


At the Tai Sophia Institute Fall Symposium in September 2002, I was fortunate to hear Jack Houck, a researcher of PK, talk about the connection between PK and healing. He has developed an event called the "PK Party" where people learn and perform exercises in PK (Houck, 1988). These events seemed to be the perfect way to assist people in shifting their beliefs regarding their power to heal. PK parties are a way to open people‚s minds to their inherent abilities and to suggest applications for those abilities that can improve quality of life.

PK, according to Dale and White, is "the influence of mind on external objects or processes, without the mediation of known physical energies or forces" (1986). Such phenomena have been documented for centuries and their manifestation takes many forms. PK theories are used to explain paranormal events including miracles performed by mystics, spontaneous healing, the appearance of stigmata, apparitions or other materializations, levitations, and even the placebo effect (Talbot, 1991). Scientists have investigated countless PK events, recording both anecdotal and experimental evidence (Heath, 2003). Believers and skeptics alike continue to debate the validity of PK research. However, Braude (1991) suggests that the intention of the experimenter may induce PK in the most meticulously designed laboratory research, thereby unwittingly contaminating results. Regardless of the debate, PK phenomena continue to fascinate and confound people all over the world.



Methodology


Four PK parties were conducted over a six-month period. The parties varied in size and composition. One to three facilitators with previous PK party experience assisted me. The intended ratio was one assistant for every 20 participants.

The procedure for the parties closely followed guidelines established by Jack Houck (Houck, March 1982) and began with a history of PK parties. Since my personal interest is in the applications of PK to healing, participants were then guided through an imagery exercise to illustrate the mind-body connection. The exercise required participants to imagine that they were biting into a lemon and to notice what sensations arose, if any. Common responses included tightening of the jaws, spontaneous salivation, and grimacing. This opened up a conversation about the mind‚s ability to create physiological changes in the body.

Next, participants received an introduction to dowsing using a pendulum and a two-finger technique. Participants practiced dowsing and then used the techniques to select flatware for kindergarten bending. Instructions for the two-finger technique are as follows:

Extend the index and third fingers on one hand and move one finger up as you move the other finger down. Allow the fingers to gently touch as they move. Ask the fingers to show you Œyes‚ and Œno‚. Notice what feels different as the fingers make contact.

Participants were then given instructions on kindergarten bending. Bending at this level consisted of using PK to soften the metal of a spoon or fork and then manually bending the object. Houck calls this process "warm-forming" (1988). After participants bent two or three pieces at that level, they were encouraged to perform PK at the high school level (using two hands to bend objects that cannot be bent by normal human strength). This included manual bending of rods and buckling of silver-plated spoons. Participants were also given the opportunity to use PK to sprout seeds in their hands. The party concluded with all participants receiving and following instructions on graduate level bending. At this level, forks bent spontaneously without manual intervention. Each PK party ended with participants sharing their experiences with the group and offering ways they would use what they learned.

Bending Instructions

Instructions for performing PK included three steps: connect, command, and release. The connection step was a guided imagery exercise. Participants were instructed to concentrate on an imaginary point high above their heads. They were then to connect that point with a point in the middle of their brain and to allow that connection to intensify. Next they were to imagine that the connection was spreading down through the neck, shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers and into the flatware.

The facilitator then counted to three and all participants shouted the command, "Bend! Bend! Bend!" Finally, participants were instructed to release the intention and to go about interacting with others at the party. The procedure for sprouting seeds was similar except the command was "Sprout! Sprout! Sprout!"

Outcomes

PK Party #1: April 13, 2003

The first PK party consisted of 65 participants who were graduate students, faculty and staff from Tai Sophia Institute and community members of various ages and backgrounds. Three of the participants were known to have attended a PK party before. Three facilitators conducted the event.

Results: All but 8 participants were able to perform kindergarten bending (Photos 1, 2, and 3). During this stage, one young girl‚s spoon bent spontaneously in her lap. At the high school level, one participant made a small bend in a rod; two others created heat and had the sensation of the rod softening. There were no reports of seed sprouting. Seven people noticed changes in their graduate forks˜one 13-year old boy and two younger children had noticeable bends in theirs.

Notes: The room for this event was quite large and the group was spread out in a circle. I observed that some of the attendees who were unsuccessful in bending were reluctant to mingle. Soybean seeds, recommended by Jack Houck (Houck, May 1988) were unavailable, so Blue Lake bean seeds were used. The lack of seed sprouting success raises the question of PK on different types of seeds.

Photo 1. Kindergarten bending at PK Party #1



Photo 2. Kindergarten bending by 13-year old


Photo 3. Various bent spoons and forks at PK Party #1


PK Party #2: July 12, 2003

The composition of the second PK party included a diverse group of 29 participants recruited from the community. Three facilitators led the PK party. Only one participant had attended a PK party before.

Results: Twenty-six participants bent flatware at the kindergarten level. No one bent at the high school level, although four participants sprouted soybean seeds. Five were able to bend forks at the graduate level to some extent.

Notes: Two people mentioned that they successfully bent at the kindergarten level once they isolated themselves from the group.

PK Party #3: August 21, 2003

The third PK party had 20 participants and was comprised mostly of community college students, faculty, and staff. Two facilitators conducted the party. One participant had attended a previous PK party. Due to the unavailability of soybean seeds, sprouting was not included in this PK party.

Results: Eighteen of the 20 participants successfully bent at the kindergarten level (Photo 4). No bending occurred at the high school level. Six participants reported fork bending at the graduate level.

Notes: During the dowsing instructions, it appeared that people became very relaxed and it was hard to bring up the energy in the room.

Photo 4. Kindergarten bending at PK Party #3

PK Party #4: October 2, 2003

The last PK party discussed in this paper consisted of 45 participants, mostly community college students and a small number of faculty and staff. Three facilitators led the PK party. One participant had attended the party in August.

Results: Forty participants bent flatware at the kindergarten level. Six participants sprouted soybean seeds. Two participants reported heat while applying PK to metal rods. Although only eight participants demonstrated graduate level bending, one participant had dramatic results (Photo 5).

Notes: This group was not entirely self-selected. The majority of participants were required to attend as part of a student development course. Many of the participants were in their late teens and did not seem to be serious about the activity.


Photo 5. Graduate level bending at PK Party #4

Summary of Results

Regardless of the number of participants at the PK parties, roughly 89% were able to bend at the kindergarten level (Table 1). This is in line with the success rates of 85% reported by Jack Houck (March 1982). High school level results were inconsistent. This is not surprising given that the success at this level was mostly due to seed sprouting which was not offered at all parties. No one was able to buckle a silver-plated spoon. Between 11 and 30 percent of participants reported PK effects at the graduate level. Interestingly, graduate level bending occurred more often at the party with the fewest participants.

Table 1. Comparisons of outcomes among four PK parties.



Testimonials

Participants were asked to write about their PK experiences, how these experiences shifted their beliefs, and how they continued to apply the principles of PK, if at all. The excerpts that follow are in their own words:

I was excited about going to my first PK Party, but had been thinking, "Great, I'll be the only one in the room who doesn't bend their spoon or fork."  At first nothing happened, but I continued to walk around the room, talking with others there, while trying to bend my fork.  All of a sudden, my fork bent!  I was really excited.  I realized I had relaxed and just let it happen.  I proceeded to bend a spoon, in no time at all. 

I have been to my second PK Party, and enjoyed it just as much as the first one.  And, I bent another fork and spoon!

One thing I noticed was that the children were some of the first who were able to bend their forks and spoons.  I believe that is because they are a lot less inhibited than adults are. -LS

I have discovered through your PK workshops (and other experiences) that we haven't yet begun to understand what the mind, spirit and body, together in harmony, are capable of doing. This experience has inspired me to investigate further how the mind can be utilized to a far greater good than I first thought possible. - RM

I think the PK experience occurred at the perfect time for me. It helped me to know how powerful my intentions are, and, when I'm aware of my connection to the universe, I am empowered to do things that might seem impossible. I believe this realization helped prepare me for my vision quest last summer. I thought, "If I can bend a spoon with my mind, I can do a vision quest" - and I did!  I've learned through these experiences that there is nothing to fear in life. There is an inexhaustible source of energy available to me to use to heal and strengthen myself and others. I'm doing my second independent study in medical QiGong, and I realize that the energy that I bring through my body to cleanse and heal it when I practice QiGong is the same energy I used to bend spoons! Learning PK opened up exciting new possibilities for me. Thank you! - BB

What I thought was even more incredible than realizing the power of thought and recognizing that I can alter my physical experience was learning what it feels like to literally let go.  We use that concept so often and yet realizing what it feels like to let go was really powerful.  When my first fork would not bend and I could not figure out how to let go (I think my exact words were..."I am here to bend forks, how do I just forget about it !?") you told me that perhaps I needed a different fork.  As soon as I went to put it down, the metal got warm and I was able to bend it.  The fork allowed me to identify the moment where the letting go took place. Now I know and can identify the physical sensation of 'letting go'. - MK

The PK experience was a confirmation of the energy within to transform without. It also spoke to me about allowing the Source to move the intention and when it is from love and partnership it is profoundly healing. I have since accessed this energy frequently, especially in fear. - LG

The most important thing I learned was that matter and life circumstances are not as solid and intractable as I had assumed before I bent my first fork and spoon. While I have not yet progressed to the bar, I have enjoyed staying present to phenomena with more patience while doing my hands-on bodywork and acupuncture, with better more immediate results for my clients. I now have a commitment to maintaining the connection between my hands and taking advantage of the windows of change as soon as they arise. - LM

I will tell you that my older daughter wrote a paper about the bent spoons and forks that sit on top of my dresser. It was a powerful experience that rippled out to serve the children and the 7 generations. Thank you so much. - DF

I felt that the PK experience heightened my awareness that intention along with energetics can create change. It often was a concept used in acupuncture school and obviously being an acupuncturist I believe in energetics and changing energetics. What was new was seeing how intending and voicing this intention then allowed the group to bend the spoons. This was an invaluable practical way to see something that seems so vague to be more tangible. - TD

Implications from a Five-Element Perspective

Five-Element Theory is an ancient Chinese way of looking at phenomena in the world. It has its roots in the observation of nature and its cycles. Each of the elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) has associations and gifts that can be used as metaphors for understanding any aspect of life (Connelly, 1994). The following paragraphs reflect questions based on each of the elements as a way to integrate this study of PK.

Wood -What new possibilities exist?

At the beginning of each PK party I asked the following questions: 1) Who thinks that it is possible to use PK to bend spoons and forks, and 2) Who here thinks they can do it? Almost all participants reported they believe in the power of PK. The percentage that thought that they could perform PK, however, was consistently 25 percent or less. Since the success rate at kindergarten level is over 85%, the shift in beliefs was remarkable!

One of the most powerful benefits many participants gained from their PK experience was increased self-confidence and self-awareness. A number of participants suggested the value of hosting PK Parties for school children. Being able to perform a task that may have been unthinkable opens up the possibility for students of all ages. So much of education focuses on linear, predictable thinking patterns. PK bending could encourage people to think outside of their usual paradigm.

Fire -What partnerships can evolve?

The premise of the PK Party is to create a Peak Emotional Event that increases the probability of the mind influencing matter. The effectiveness of PK to heal the body could therefore be intensified through the group experience. The synergy of a group has long been recognized. People often comment that they become inspired when learning self-healing techniques; however, they often become fearful or complacent when they return to their lives. By supporting one another and creating group energy, participants could build a practice around self-healing. The intention, therefore, is to establish small community healing groups using PK principles.

Note: The fire element is associated with the emotion joy. Any strong emotion can be used to produce a Peak Emotional Event. For the purposes of the PK Party, joy was the emotion that was created for the Peak Emotional Event.

Earth - How does this serve?

Connection is the first step of this particular PK methodology. At a time when connection often appears to be lacking, people often create the illusion of connection through technology such as email, chat rooms, text messaging, and voicemail. The PK Party creates genuine connection at many levels. First, it reminds participants of the connection we have to the universal energy source. For many people this is interpreted as a spiritual connection. Second, it allows participants to connect with the material being worked. As one participant remarked, connecting with the material reinforced her belief that everything is energy, everything is connected, and everything comes from oneness. Finally, it creates a connection among people as they interact and form new relationships. Bonding occurred among many participants as they experienced success and encouraged each other. Also, many people reported being pleased to be among others who did not view PK as "weird". It serves for people to know that they are not alone.

Metal - What is the lesson of letting go?

Numerous PK Party participants commented that the most challenging part of PK is the third step, releasing the intention. In a culture that emphasizes being in control in order achieve, this challenge is understandable. However, the analytical left side of the brain often interferes with the psychic right side of the brain. Trust is required when accessing PK abilities. When we set the intention, we must allow the intention to be carried out. Attempting to control all stages of a process may restrict energy flow and impede natural process. As L.S. noted, "I realized I had relaxed and just let it happen." How much stress do people experience as a result of micro-managing their lives? Setting intention, taking necessary action, and then relaxing may be the best way to create what we really want.

Water - What new questions arise?

The demonstration of the mind‚s ability to break down physical structures (as in the case of warm-forming) forwards the question of the mind‚s ability to strengthen dense physical structures, as well. As Talbot reported, PK has been successfully used to heal bone fractures (1991). How effective could PK be in rebuilding tooth enamel? Given the toxicity of many substances used in dentistry, this may be an area worthy of study.

Another topic for exploration would be the effect of the Peak Emotional Event on healing in hospitals. Dr. O. Carl Simonton, among many others, has discovered the positive influence that optimism has on healing (Talbot, 1991). However, my limited personal observation is that hospitals tend to be filled with negative emotion˜fear, grief, sometimes anger. Although any strong emotion can be used for PK, do these emotions facilitate or hinder the healing process? Would the introduction of joy as the prevalent emotion create more successful outcomes?

Applications for Project of Excellence

One of the most profound discoveries of the PK party observations is the shift in beliefs that occurs. When asked, most participants believed that the mind could bend metal; however, only a small percentage believed that they, themselves, had that ability.

A key component of my Project of Excellence is to help others to examine their belief systems and how those beliefs facilitate or create barriers to their healing. Spoon bending can be an embodied experience of suspending beliefs and letting go.


Conclusion

Bending spoons and forks is more than a parlor game. It is a study of the mind‚s potential power for healing. As mind-body medicine takes a more prominent role in healthcare, accessing this power becomes paramount. There is increased acknowledgement of the effect of thoughts on wellness. Focused intention, therefore, takes that effect into a constructive direction.

References

Braude, S. E., The Limits of Influence: Psychokinesis and the Philosophy of Science, Routledge: NY, 1991.

Connelly, Dianne M., Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements, 2nd edition, Columbia, MD: Traditional Acupuncture Institute, 1994.

Dale, Laura A., and Rhea A. White. "Glossary." In Handbook of Parapsychology, edited by B. Wolman, L. Dale, G. Scmeidler and M. Ullman, 921-936. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 1986. Original work published New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1977.

Heath, P. R., The PK Zone: A Cross-Cultural View of Psychokinesis (PK), iUniverse: Lincoln, NE, 2003.

Heath, P. R., "The PK Zone: A Phenomenological Study". In Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 64, March 2000 (pp. 53-72).

Houck, J., "PK Parties", May 1988.

Houck, J., "Psychic Healing", May 1983.

Houck, J., "PK Party Format and Materials Required", March 1982.

Siegel, C., "The Effect of PK Parties on Individuals and Society". In Applied Psi, Vol. 3, Spring 1984, (p. 5).

Siegel, C.E., "Experiences and Changes in Belief Among PK Party Participants", October 1983.

Talbot, M., The Holographic Universe, HarperCollins, NY, 1991.

   
 

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