Recently, I’ve been thinking about momentum. Do we gain momentum in our lives through mindful thought, taking purposeful action, or a combination of both?
Let’s take the first idea, which is that we gain momentum in our lives simply through mindful or meditative thought. In some esoteric manner does the universe listen to our ‘good thoughts’ and respond by giving us just what we want?
Can we create the reality we wish simply through creative visualization?
It would seem that if our thoughts are to have any impact on the universe, then they would have to have mass, right? The same way that if we blow on a candle that flame will most likely go out. The next logical question is, then, do our thoughts have mass? According to a PBS Nova video (link is below), our thoughts do have mass because thought, at its core, is electrical energy in our brains.
According to the video, when you recognize someone you know, a part of your brain known as the ‘fusiform face area’ lights up. That’s a hundred million neurons of electricity running through your brain. That activity has mass: about a billionth of a joule. Not a lot. And it doesn’t weigh much either: less and a trillionth of a trillionth of a pound. If we were to convert that to a measurement of information, the mass is even less. Far less. Like, the weight of a molecule. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/how-much-does-a-thought-weigh
So, does that mean that sitting around all day thinking good thoughts is a waste of time? Perhaps it’s more about cultivating a feeling of confidence and hopefulness. I’m sure we’ve all heard or read about the power of positive thinking. Smiling reduces stress and releases lots of free happy juice that neuroscientists call dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. If you expect good things to happen, psychologists call it ‘dispositional optimism.’ Those health effects have been linked to feeling less lonely. https://medium.com/thrive-global/how-positive-thinking-makes-you-more-successful-517263266664
So, at least for right now, it seems like meditation alone might be good for improving our outlook, but doesn’t have much influence on the physical properties of the universe, and therefore, won’t do much to help us gain that momentum we seek.
It may not be that simple. Let’s take a look at quantum mechanics.
The world of quantum mechanics is, well, spooky. According to an article in the Huffington Post (see link below), if our brain is a storm of electrical activity, then it follows that our brains are subject to the rules of quantum mechanics. Now we’re talking about weirdness involving entangled particles: changes to the spin direction of one entangled particle can change the spin direction of the second particle instantaneously - even if the two particles are light years apart.
Therefore, can setting an intention and creatively visualizing that intention actually cause the result we intend? Some researchers believe so, but the hard science isn’t yet behind this notion. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/-can-thoughts-manipulate_b_971869. We are locked into the private theaters of our minds’ eyes. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inviting-monkey-tea/201308/why-our-thoughts-are-not-real
Let’s take a look at our second idea, that we can gain momentum in our lives by taking purposeful action. Turns out there’s science backing this up as well. According to research compiled for an article in Inc. Magazine (see link below), confidence is a stronger indicator of success than competence. In other words, if you’re good at job but lack confidence, you may not do as well as someone who has more confidence than you do but does not do as good a job as you.
OK, as frustrating as that may be, we now know that if we want to gain momentum we need to gain confidence. We can gain confidence when we take action over our lives. Get out there and try … and fail. We learn from our mistakes. We gain confidence that way. Guess what: we gain competence that way, too. It seems, therefore, that getting out of the lotus position and grabbing life by the Kombucha can help us gain momentum. https://www.inc.com/sonia-thompson/science-says-taking-action-and-failing-often-will-increase-your-confidence.html
Now let’s look at our third idea, which is that we can gain momentum in our lives by combining mindful thought with purposeful action. Let’s boil that down to mindful action. In other words, it’s the old saying: ‘think before you act.’ According to an article in Frontiers in Neuroscience (see link below), we react positively to stimuli produced in our mind when we meditate - and that helps us make rational choices. We think, then we act. Making rational choices likely increases our success rate, which likely increases our confidence level, and therefore our competence. This can create additional opportunities for us. We gain momentum. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2011.00049/full
So, in order to gain momentum in our lives, it would seem that a combination of mindful thought and purposeful action is the best approach. That can come in different ways. We can meditate before the work day. We can meditate after work. We can keep focused all day long on our tasks, centering ourselves and choosing what we believe the best course of action.
Choose whatever works best for you — and go out there and gain your momentum.