The human species is constantly striving for more. More food, more friends, more love, more money, more sex, more power to get all good things. You and I are not unique in this regard. We want to have more of the things which please us.
In our striving for more, mankind has created various systems of knowledge (sciences) which help us to attain the most we possibly can. We have the sciences of mathematics, chemistry, physics, aerodynamics, psychology, astronomy, biology, zoology, economics, and many more. These sciences are well respected, and for good reason. They help us attain more than we could without them.
But how well respected were these sciences before they were called a science? Before there was chemistry, it was called alchemy and it's practitioners were ridiculed. Before mathematics was numerology (which still exists today). How serious do we take those who practice this 'art'. And before astronomy was astrology.
What difference is there between the sciences of today and their predecessors of yesterday? Only one thing differentiates them. One has been proven to work and the other hasn't. Many people today ask "do you believe in astrology?" suggesting that there has not been enough proof to substantiate its validity as a science. No-one asks "do you believe in astronomy?", do they?
Today, we have new sciences being born. The field of psychology has learned much from it's predecessor, parapsychology, and still does. New technologies in psychology are being tested and added to the science. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is one such technology, and even hypnosis was not identified as a distinct technology until this last century. Psychology is a science that is still fairly young, with a extensive list of scientific laws yet to be discovered.
In fact, scientists realize that they know less about the human mind than they do about the galactic systems of the Universe! What is the mind actually capable of? This is one question that remains unanswered, because new discoveries of the mind's capabilities are constantly being made. How does the mind work? Another unanswered question.
Coming from a different direction, religion has been another area which promises to give us more of the things we want. We are taught in many religions that if we are good, and have faith that God will answer our prayers, then we will receive the thing asked for.
But each religion specifies a different set of criteria as to what it means to be 'good'. In some religions we must avoid eating certain types of food, or at least on certain days. In other religions we must acknowledge the creator in every action we perform or we have failed. In still other religions we must perform specific rituals and ceremonies, speak predetermined prayers, and live our lives according to the 'revealed wisdom' of the holy leaders. And in some religions, we are allowed to do anything we want, as long as it doesn't hurt another human being.
When we lived in small communities and rarely had contact with outside influences, it was easier to believe that our religion was the "One True Religion". Now that we are a global community, and we have constant contact with other belief systems, this is not the case. We find ourselves asking "Am I following the right path?"
In the last several decades, science has attempted to apply its methodologies to religion in the hopes that clear answers would appear. While we do not yet have all the answers, there are many patterns becoming clear.
One pattern that is becoming clear is that prayers made by followers of many religions seem to have an equal chance for success. This means that none of the religions that exist today are the "One True Religion". And the experiments which showed us this also showed that there are specific qualities that contribute to a successful prayer. And of course, as in any science, if you know the variables and how they influence the outcome, you can manipulate those variables to give you what you want.
The process for growing a science is simple. You collect tons of information. You filter that information through various processes to determine if there is a pattern behind the data. If you think you've found a pattern, perform an experiment to see if you can predict the outcome based on your hypothesis. If the experiment works, perform a few more to make sure. If the experiment doesn't work, try to determine what caused the difference.
Over the past century or so, there have been many researchers trying to grow a science around the mind's abilities. This pre-science has been called various names. Human-potential, parapsychology, psychology, metaphysics, and New Thought are a few of the names this science has had.
Here are some of the findings of the hundreds of researchers. The mind is capable of transmitting and receiving information across vast distances to and from other minds without any discernible means of communication. The mind is capable of traversing not only space, but time as well. The mind can see into the past and the future, in places it has never been physically. The mind is capable of creating definite conditions, and directing the course of events to bring these conditions into existence And the mind is capable of tapping into the same Power which created and sustains the Universe!
Many religious figures have been seen to perform what have been called miracles. Do we really know that the Power to create miracles is outside of the capabilities of the human mind? Scientific discovery says that the human mind is completely capable of performing these miracles unaided by any outside agency.