My rice experiment

I read a wonderful book by William Bengston, Ph.D., called The Energy Cure, which inspired me to want to more scientifically study the results of energy healing. I’ll write a book review in a future post, but for now, know that William Bengston’s open-mindedness and enthusiasm for energy healing inspired me to think of ways to achieve more quantitative results (rather than the subjective feedback offered from clients).

So, here is my first experiment: energy healing with rice.

I began on January 2nd, 2011, when I cooked a pot of Jasmine rice. I separated equal portions into three glass canisters (which are typically used for spices). Here is a picture of this first step:

From there, I took two of the canisters of rice and put them on a shelf by our kitchen table. There they should have a completely equal climate. Here they are on January 2nd. The one on the left is the control (it will be ignored), the one on the right will receive energy healing/attention.

Because Dr. Bengston writes that controls that are kept in the same room (at least with the mice he worked with) are often influenced by the energy, I took the third canister of rice to my parents’ house, which is in the same town, but, I assumed, far enough away to make a difference in the influence of the energy. I placed the rice there on the top of their piano, in a room that gets almost no traffic. It would be completely ignored.

Thus the experiment began. For the first week, each night I took the one canister of rice and sent it energy. I used my Reiki training (I am a Reiki master teacher), and I incorporated some of the Bengston method pointers that I learned from his book. I stayed positive, I stayed inspired, and I worked on having a focused detachment. I felt quite connected to the rice during that first week.

However, after that first 5 days or so, I began to get bored. Nothing was happening to the “healed” rice nor to the “ignored” rice. Both were white and still. As my interest waned, so did my schedule. I missed one night. Another night I just held the rice as my partner and I watched a show on TV, intentionally sending it energy, but quite distracted by the TV. A couple of nights I forgot completely, so I grabbed that rice at midnight and took it by the bed, holding it and giving it energy as I was falling asleep.

I liked the idea of the experiment, but I was beginning to doubt that much of anything would happen for quite some time and wondering if I could keep up the nightly healing (in whatever informal way I could find).

Surprisingly, just yesterday, Monday the 17th, I was visiting my parents, and it occurred to me to check on the canister that I had placed on their piano. I picked it up (I had not looked at it in two weeks), and, to my surprise, it was not white and pristine at all as the two at our house were. There was an orange blob in the middle of it, and many of the grains of rice were beginning to morph together into a paste like substance rather than the nice individual grains that could still be seen on the “healed” rice with which I was so familiar. Here is a picture of the rice that had been completely ignored at my parents’ house (picture taken on January 17th):

What a surprise to me, as I had wondered if anything was really happening in this experiment. When I returned home, I thought I had better check the control canister at our house, too. When I picked it up and looked closer, sure enough, there was some orange, mold-like stuff within that rice, too. Here is a picture, taken on the same day, January 17th:

I believe you can tell from the picture, but this control was slightly less molded than the one that was kept at a different house. Perhaps this was due to temperature difference, perhaps it was due to its proximity to the energy/attention, as the Bengston control mice demonstrated.
The “healed” rice canister (which I do admit did not have a regular schedule of healing, but it certainly had consistent attention and energy that the others did not have) still looks pristine as of yesterday, January 17th and today, January 18th. Here is a picture of the healed rice taken on January 17th:

Though you cannot see all sides of it, the healed rice is completely white on all sides with, at present, no hint of the orange. Both controls have the orange blob in just one spot, but the rice is a bit less distinct all the way around.
So, I cannot say exactly what I have learned, but I have proved something to myself, which is what I set out to do. The energy healing and the attention you give something does matter. Being ignored is painful and harmful to health.

I will continue to send energy to the one canister and give you an update as it goes. Let me know if you have any thoughts about this!

And, by the way, I cannot claim to be the originator of this experiment. I saw an interesting youtube video months ago where they kept rice in a jar and sang to it and gave it all sorts of attention – the other jar they ignored. In the video they got dramatic results that the positive attention helped the one jar stay healthier. So, it has been done before in a different sort of way, but it was nice to see for myself and to be able to use specific energy healing/attention methods.

End note:
Another week has passed since I wrote this first post. The control canister at my parents’ house is looking worse every day. The control at our house is also looking worse, though not quite as bad off as the one at some distance away. The rice that has consistently been healed/given attention has still not molded and looks beautiful. Here are a couple of pictures from the rice at our house:

On Wednesday, January 19th:

Wednesday, January 19th: 17 days after experiment start

And here they are on Sunday, January 23rd, exactly three weeks after the experiment started (and one week after the control showed signs of mold).

Here they are on Tuesday, February 8th:

Tuesday, February 8th 2011

Let me tell you the interesting way that this experiment concluded:

I was becoming quite fond of the rice, and I appreciated the pattern that was developing.  Each night I would hold the canister as I was falling asleep, and I would give it Reiki.  Usually I would fall asleep as I was holding it and wake up an hour or so later, putting the canister on the bedside table.  Each morning I would look and sure enough, the rice was looking good, white and mold free as far as I could tell.   The other two rice canisters were showing progressive mold and decay – the one at the alternate house was especially in poor shape.   In fact, it was in such poor shape that around the middle of February I had to throw it away for it was starting to emanate some kind of fluid onto the paper towel upon which it was sitting.

Back at the ranch, I kept up the nightly attention process.    I noticed a few things.   For one, I am a tennis player, and my wrists often bother me from the twisting I use to spin the ball.  One day it occurred to me that my wrists were feeling much better, and the twinges of pain I often felt were infrequent and almost nonexistent.   I surmised that holding the rice each night could have something to do with that as the energy should affect both the recipient and the sender.   Secondly, I found that I had a much deeper sense of gratitude for my connection with food in general.  Before I eat now, I almost always give a silent or spoken message of gratitude to the food – a blessing of sorts — but this blessing has a feeling and an understanding that rote blessings never held for me.    Finally, I also realized that I appreciated the routine of giving energy and attention to a living being each night.   It made me feel somewhat purposeful to realize how connected I was to this small amount of rice that sat by the bed.   I began to feel its life force in a way I never had before with food – or most things.

So how did this end?   One night – a somewhat emotional and tired night for me, I might add – I fell asleep, as usual, rice in hand.   When I awoke in the middle of the night, I realized that some kind of liquid was on my hand.   From the healing or the holding, the rice had gotten hot and the liquid had oozed out of the top of the canister.  I found it interesting and somewhat unpleasant as the smell was not pleasing, like flowers – rather it was the smell of, gosh, I don’t know – a strange kind of strong, smelly cheese?   It was, of course, the smell of rice that was slowly molding, I am sure.   Yet I have to admit, there in the middle of the night as I scrubbed my hands like Lady Macbeth (it was nearly impossible to get the offending smell off), I felt marked somehow by this being, as if we were now connected in a permanent way.   It was a bit like a baptism.

The next day I took the canister to the compost bin and I let the rice free to decompose as it should.   I also took the control canister that was in our house to the compost bin.

Here are the last pictures I took of the rice – I took these on February 22nd, but the actual experiment did not end until February 26th, when I composted the rice.  On the last day, it was still white as ever, though obviously fighting the natural tendency to mold (judging by the smell).  Bless the rice!

February 22nd, 2011, last picture of the rice experiment

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7 responses to “My rice experiment

  1. Great experiment – it has been my observation the same is true in gardening. Here in Canda where by nov 23 it has snowed already twice – there were still strawberries growing in a certain garden that was treated with love.

    • Hi Victor – I love hearing about the strawberries! Love can change all the limits that we place on our reality, it seems.

  2. Sounds like you had as much success following experimental protocol as Dr. Bengston did 🙂 In the book everyone kept looking in on the control mice even when they knew they weren’t allowed. But I agree with your conclusion (and Victor’s). I had raspberries growing in October!

    • Hi Sandra – Yes, it is hard to ignore the control when it’s right there near the experimental group! It was interesting that the control in a different house fared a little worse than the control in our house. Love that you had raspberries in October! I will have to work on my garden this spring!

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  4. Great post!!! I’m also a RMT although when it comes to Reiki, I only do distance healing (since i have another full time job). Likewise, I just started reading the Energy Cure. I’m curious how you send Reiki and how it differs from using Bengston’s method. I’ve done the Reiki rice experiment too; however, my Reiki container (although better than the control) still developed mold pretty quick. Appreciate hearing back from you! Thanks – Jackie

    • Hi Jackie –
      Thanks so much! My Reiki training focused strongly on traditional, fundamental Reiki, so I would say I send Reiki using the distance symbol and intention. I work to really connect with the recipient, never pushing the energy, just offering it gently.
      Bengston’s work opened my mind to the idea that focusing on my own internal “mood” or outlook could actually enhance the session much more than trying to concentrate on the recipient. In other words, if I focus on things that make me happy and peaceful, I’m likely to send better energy than if I focus on the recipient’s specific problems or needs (or if I get lost in thought about my own problems and needs!). It is like focusing on a general state of well-being, and trusting the universe to do what needs to be done. I believe the best sessions come with that sort of humility – knowing that we don’t know what needs to be done, but that we can be conduits of energy if the universe desires to use us in that way.
      In my rice experiment, I really felt connected with the rice after a while. It was an interesting process – it felt sort of like a loving energy that I was sending. Many times, though, I was thinking about other things while sending the energy, but I held the canister somewhat lovingly even when I was doing or thinking about other things – I tried to do things that kept me happy and my thoughts positive. I felt connected to that canister much more than to the other ones, and I gave it attention every day.
      I hope that helps! I believe that it will always feel a bit like a mystery, the process of giving and receiving energy, but I also believe that it is happening all of the time with all living beings. I am glad to hear of you doing distance work. I think that all that any of us do is helpful and good. Best of luck!
      Namasté, Jennifer

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