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But if an idea under the qigong umbrella such as distance healing turned out to be a sham, wouldn't it be worth exposing to maintain the integrity of qigong?
"Who am I to judge?" he said. "If one of his patients says he had a tumor, and he says he was healed, who am I to judge? I have nothing to say to that person or to challenge a person on the efficacy of their treatment. If a patient says he was healed by Adam, who am I to say he wasn't?"
At one point during his demonstration at the Qigong Congress, Adam called upon a volunteer to sit in a chair and undergo an individual treatment. But when the volunteer said he felt no significant difference -- he still couldn't lift his injured right arm above his head -- Adam told the audience, "I know everybody wants him to raise his arm and see a difference in the range of motion, but it probably wouldn't be best right now." Adam prescribed rest, and told him to expect a "release" sensation in the next few days.
Later, Adam offered to perform a "group healing," during which he made some requests of his audience. He asked that we all squeeze in close to one another without touching. He then had the lights dimmed so he could see the colors of the group's aura, and see where it needed to be manipulated. He asked two people to switch seats. "Even if there's nothing wrong with you," Adam told the crowd more than once, "you're going to benefit from this."
One audience member asked what they should hope to feel. Adam said, "It's okay if you don't feel anything." Then he added, "But if you feel something, that's okay, too." Given these choices, he had the bases covered -- there was no way not to have a positive experience.
Adam asked that we close our eyes and allow our feet to sink into the earth like tree roots. He stood in front of the crowd, which was now grouped around him in a tight crescent. He sank into a trance state, his head bobbing from shoulder to shoulder. Then, like Tom Cruise's character in the movie Minority Report, he raised his hands wide in front of him and began jabbing the air around him like an orchestra conductor. With the room still silent and dark, Adam made quick, sweeping motions. At times, he looked as if he'd ripped a piece of taffy from the wall, tangled with it, and then thrown it aside, only to find another.
After five minutes of silence, Adam stopped, then reached for a glass of water. He said that healings left him fatigued, and he looked as plowed as Superman stumbling away from a box of Kryptonite. Adam declined an offer to raise the house lights. "No," he said, shading his eyes and making his way to the podium. "I'd like to hear what people experienced."
One woman said that when she closed her eyes, she saw an image of Adam.
"That's a common experience," he replied.
Another woman said she felt a warm flow run up and down her back. "Me too!" another person called out from the other side of the room. Adam said that was also common.
Adam told us he'd need a few minutes to collect himself, but that we were free to go; the session had ended. He said he was still practicing his skills with group healings. In the future, he said, after he graduates from high school, he hopes to incorporate the group healings into his distance-healing schedule. Adam foresaw a day when he would gather thirty like-minded people together in a room, say in Berkeley, while he would be in Vancouver, sending positive vibes south, based on nothing more than thirty photographs and his personal energy.
After the lights went up, UC student Michael Joyce was milling around, pleased with the experience. He said the group healing was much like his private session with Adam. He felt relaxed, almost sleepy. In general, better.
Adam had given Michael a new way to consider his pain: That his hand wasn't degenerative or hopeless, that it could actually get better with positive thoughts. That healing is a state of mind -- first Adam's, then Michael's.
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