Everything is energy. Ask any Quantum Physicist and they will tell you that there is no difference between matter and energy. What does this mean for you?
Most things work in synchrony. The wind affects the weather. The moon impacts the tides. Your thoughts affect your moods and levels of energy. This is very important, because your thoughts are things. They impact your biochemistry and therefore your health, but they also impact mine too.
The work of Dr. Dan Siegal at Harvard University on interpersonal neurobiology has shown that your energetic state has direct ramifications on mine. Your wellbeing impacts my wellbeing. If you are stressed out, your body is producing cortisol (the stress hormone). If I interact with you, I actually start producing more cortisol in my system just through our ‘energetic’ swap. This is because our electromagnetic energy field doesn’t stay within our bodies, but actually radiates outward. Animals sense this. This is why a dog can tell if you are scared or not; this is why you can get a creepy feeling when on the elevator with a stranger with bad intentions.
The work of Candace Pert on Molecules of Emotion has shown that what you believe causes your brain to release neurochemicals and that this transaction with your environment is completely perceptual. If your beloved says “I love you,” and you happen to be in the middle of a fight, you may perceive this as a “snarky” or sarcastic remark. This perception and attribution will then cause a flood of cortisol (the stress hormone), adrenaline, and acetylcholine – among other chemicals. If you perceive this “I love you” statement as a reconciliatory action with genuine positive intentionality, then your brain will produce a “feel good” cocktail of endorphins, oxytocin, and GABA. The sad reality is that the person honking his horn when the light turns green because you didn’t go fast enough will be much more likely to die of heart disease. That’s the sad, but real truth.
Our beliefs have a profound impact on our biochemistry. There have been hundreds of studies showing the remarkable impact of placebo effects, which science treats as a type of statistical error. Time and time again we have seen that the power of the mind produces the same effect as the substance of the pill. Numerous studies have shown that people will lose their hair when taking a sugar pill believed to be a type of chemotherapy treatment.
Thoughts are things. They have energy that we can measure on an EEG or an MRI. They don’t stay ‘inside’ your brain/body. Others can sense them and pick them up in much the same way as the radio picks up the FM or AM signal.
This is now being proven by Science. We now know that much of what the ancient, Tibetan and Taoist doctrines referenced as the state of reality has been proven by Quantum physics. Time is relative. You are energy. There is a unified field of consciousness. Mood is contagious. Matter is just another expression of energy. What you think impacts me directly – even to the level of my endocrine (hormone) response.
It turns out that the world is round. Turns out, the Earth rotates around the Sun. Turns out, we’re all connected in a giant web of consciousness and emotion.
Your beliefs create your biological experience of reality. Your beliefs can make you sick. Or healthy.
“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it…” – Ernest Holmes.
In the ancient texts it is said that where attention goes, energy flows. Your attention - what we in the consciousness field call “mind” – is a spotlight on the nutrient-rich soil of creation and where it goes, that which it shows … grows. Your attention impacts the outcomes that you will get. If you focus on the negative, you actually grow the negative in your life. The ancients call this the “Law of Attraction.” Psychologists might call it a “Self-Fulfilling Prophesy” or “Confirmation Bias.”
Quite literally, what you think - you become – AND you create in the world. You attract those with similar thought waves and fields. If you are listening to country in your soul, then you tend to pick up the signals and attract to others on the same “station.”
Why does this matter? Because the only difference between a rut and a grave is the size of the hole.
Your brain has about 100 billion neurons – give or take a few million. Every experience you have creates new neural connections; these connections also create new emotions, which shape those connections. As experiences are repeated, these connections get stronger, while others get weaker (a process called synaptic pruning). Quite literally, this means that what you think and do has a “Bobcat” effect on your brain, landscaping your brain based on your thinking. This entire process is known as neuroplasticity. In essence, what we know from neuroscience research is that your brain is not stagnant, but is changing every single day. Your brain is a process, not a thing. That means you are busy creating new highways and byways and potentially even interstate connections based on what you do, think, and feel regularly.
Through the process of synaptic pruning, certain behaviors – like riding a bike or swinging your golf club – can become automatic. However, so can emotional patterns or thinking habits. If you view the glass as half empty for long enough, guess what? Your brain will actually start “pruning” those centers for optimism, hope, positivity, etc.
Virtually any talent or skill can be developed through training. Musicians who practice start linking neural pathways from the right to the left brain, allowing them rapid fluidity in the ability to create and play music. Professional ball players can handle that bad hop with ease and grace because their muscle fibers actually fire faster than those unpracticed.
Whatever you are doing – at any time – you are physically modifying your brain to become better at it. So, if you are worrying, you are getting better at worrying. If you are fighting, you are getting better at fighting. If you are cleaning, you are getting better at cleaning. If you are loving, you are getting better at loving. If you are leading, you are getting better at leading…
This is a foundational property of the brain. It’s a strange notion to realize that the hard wiring of the brain is to be soft-wired. The Operating System of the brain allows for frequent downloads of new software.
Becoming self-aware, mindful, “awake,” … to find Moksha, then, is critical. Because by doing so, we can actively rather than passively shape our brains, our thinking, our emotions, our abilities. And, what an empowering notion! But, to be not awake or aware, means that we are reshaping our brain with what the Taoists call our “monkey mind.”
Your monkey mind is that chattering voice that chirps at you the entire car ride home reminding you of your to-do lists, replaying situations from the day, scenario planning conversations that haven’t yet happened. If we are not aware, our monkey gets fed - our ‘to-do’ list brain gets bigger muscles and sharper eyes… it gets better at worrying and planning and … feeling anxious, less centered, and more depressed.
So… how do we move forward?
First, you must realize that in order to have clarity, the water has to be still. Slow down. Pause. Breathe. Find your presence in THIS now. Develop a sense of warmth and gratitude. Acknowledge where you are at and be thankful – simply – for the awareness of it. Start “practicing” Mindfulness in all your routines. Taste the food you are eating. Drink in the hot shower as though you have been stranded in Alaska for weeks. Really look into the eyes of your fellow human beings. You know … stop and smell the roses.
Our beliefs reflect back to us again and again as experiences and relationships until we know that we are creating what we see and what we experience. We experience patterns of experience based on our patterns of thought and behavior. Our lessons are learned through trial and error and trial again.
The cycle is a closed loop. It reinforces itself. You have a belief. You attract experiences based on this belief. The belief is reinforced. Our belief becomes truth and truth is reinforced over and over again. Until it doesn’t.
Enlightenment is not eternal bliss. It is not euphoria. Eckhart Tolle will be the first to tell you that the experience of enlightenment is not an experience at all. It is not a place out-of-time or ever-after. It is not a place outside of this world or outside of you. It exists right now and within you. It exists as an “aha,” or “oh, that’s what I have been believing?” moment. It is Moksha. It is insight and learning. It is the knowing that that you are the thinker and that your world will be what you believe it to be.
You are what you believe yourself to be.
You are your thought habits.
Change your thought habits and change your life!
Dr. Ryan Pride is the owner of the Moksha Institute, a firm dedicated to improving the wellbeing of individuals, teams, and organizations through culture transformation and leadership development. A profit-for-purpose company, the Moksha Institute applies Ancient Teachings for the Modern Time in order to transform striving into thriving.