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The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention: Sports, spirituality and science come together at the old ballgame Paperback – May 23, 2010
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About the Author
Eric (Rick) Leskowitz MD, ABHM is a board certified psychiatrist and directs the Integrative Medicine Project at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. He holds appointments with the Departments of Psychiatry at Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools. He has studied energy healing, meditation and hypnosis for over 20 years, and has presented workshops nationally and internationally on the integration of subtle energy techniques and theories with the allopathic medical model. He serves on the Advisory Boards of three journals, and has written widely for medical and lay journals. He has edited two textbooks: Transpersonal Hypnotherapy: Gateway to Body, Mind and Spirit (Transpersonal Press, 2010) and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Rehabilitation (Churchill Livingstone, 2003). His documentary film, "The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention" is now in production; information is available at www.TheJoyOfSoxMovie.com
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It is personally very satisfying, and a bit fascinating, that the author supplies a book's worth of evidentiary support in arguing for something that has been around for ages, although (and unless I missed it) he never names the practice specifically....something truly reliant on interconnectedness and intention. The essence of the book (perhaps not "intentionally" - pun "intended") argues for the viability and reality of witchcraft. The outline and summary of "five steps to energy intending" given on pages 266-267, which mimics any number of beginner texts on the craft, best illustrate this point.
The Joy of Sox -- the title is a takeoff on The Joy of Sex, the 1972 bombshell bestseller by Alex
Comfort that's still in print -- is about the 2004 Boston Red Sox baseball team which, after 86 years without a championship, won the World Series, taking four games straight from the St. Louis Cardinals. In the playoffs, the Red Sox won four games straight from the New York Yankees, after being down three games to none. As baseball fans know, the odds against this happening were astronomical -- but especially sweet as well, since the Yankees are the Sox's archrival. By any measure it was a dazzling season, one for the books.
Dozens of books have been written about this improbable accomplishment, but author Eric Leskowitz does something the other authors don't. He probes below the surface, examining the intangible forces that made the '04 Red Sox team special -- factors like team chemistry, fan prayers, and the collective energy and intentions of groups. As he says, "These are the missing pieces that transport this story from the mundane confines of a noisy baseball stadium to the universal dimension of healing energy and the farthest reaches of human potential."
Leskowitz's background as a psychiatrist, integrative medicine specialist, and expert in meditation and hypnosis, with more than twenty years of clinical practice at Boston's Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, qualify him for the task. As a result of his deep clinical knowledge, it was obvious to Leskowitz that many of the key factors responsible for the Red Sox's championship season had parallels to the basic principles of holistic or integrative medicine.
The book project was given a major boost after Leskowitz published a fascinating article in the Op-Ed section of the Boston Globe in September of the '05 season, with the quirky title "Can Weird Science Save the Sox?" The article was a huge hit across New England. All the pieces began to fall into place. He was granted access to Fenway Park and the team, which meant intimate contact with the players themselves. Soon the book project took on an additional face -- a documentary film, "The Joy of Sox," now in production [...]
The book deals deftly with the various ways in which human intentionality influences events in the world. Leskowitz takes the reader through research in concepts such as fan energy; how heartfelt enthusiasm in the ballpark gets transmitted to the team; the contagiousness of positive emotions; the sacredness of certain places such as, perhaps, legendary ballparks such Boston's Fenway Park; the home-field advantage; fan mojo; the effects of groups and crowds; prayers; and hexes and curses. Along the way readers meet pioneers in the research of healing intentions, such as Dean Radin, Marilyn Schlitz, William Tiller, and others. He examines the nonlocal nature of consciousness, and how a nonlocal image of the mind provides a template for the effects of fan intentionality. In other hands, these discussions might be serious and tedious, but Leskowitz handles his material with a light-hearted, personal, humorous style. While reading this book, I often found myself laughing aloud, surprised on every page. This is a feel-good read.
In describing how these issues affected the individual players and the team's success, Leskowitz manages to provide a gentle review of mind-body and transpersonal research. Individual team members come alive, and their personalities and idiosyncrasies leap from the page. This information is woven together so skillfully that the reader hardly realizes she's getting a research brief in addition to a fascinating read. An attractive element is the photographs that pepper the book.
In the book and the online discussion [...], Leskowitz provides a psychological analysis of the team. He examines the different techniques the players used to manage stress during the intense `04 season, such as being pranksters who live spontaneously in the moment, adopting a self-described "idiot" persona to keep them from over-intellectualizing, and showing unconditional love and support for one another. He covers topics such as the infamous "Curse of the Bambino," a hex that was said to doom the team since they sold the legendary Babe Ruth (not a legend at the time), known as the Bambino, to the New York Yankees in the 1919-1920 off-season.
In keeping with full disclosure, I was one of the individuals interviewed for the book and the film, and my endorsement is on the book's back cover. I confess that I was an enraptured Red Sox fan growing up playing Little League baseball in Texas. My twin brother and I worshiped Ted Williams, the most famous Boston Red Sox player ever, and one of the greatest figures in all of baseball history. An autographed photo of Ted Williams remains one of my brother's prized possessions.
So, although I may not be completely objective, The Joy of Sox is nonetheless my nomination for the most original book of the year. And no, you don't have to be a Red Sox fan to enjoy it, although Yankees fans might not agree.
-- Larry Dossey, MD
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Whether we are in Fenway Park or in a Gothic Cathedral, we are never very far from the presence of Spirit. It is everywhere, and it is especially felt in those times of heightened awareness--reverently partaking of the Last Supper or frantically cheering for the home team in the Last Half of the Ninth. It's all the same--and the Joy of Sox makes this abundantly clear.
On a more practical level, this book conclusively demonstrates that we have a profound, albeit invisible influence on each other. We learn that it is indeed important to root for one another, hoping and praying for the best. This is not just "a nice idea." Rather it reaches to the very core of our existence and reveals just how deeply we are connected to each other. While we no longer pay much attention to Voodoo doctors, we do know that thoughts have energy, and that the uplifting thoughts of people who love us and care for us can lift us to higher levels of accomplishment than we ever thought possible. This is the story of the amazing Red Sox championship year. But it is also the story of each of our lives, when seen spiritually.
Thanks for a great book, with a message that has come just in time for the 21st century! May it help to usher in a new civililaztion where each of us realizes that thoughts really do matter, and that we can be spiritual life-givers for one another.