Are your thoughts really creating your reality?

in #steemstem5 years ago
Can you imagine how the world would look like if everyone was in control of their thoughts? Many people say how we need to control our actions or stay in control of our emotions. I disagree. The ultimate control of our life begins with controlling our way of thinking and being able to recognize a thought, stop its momentum and change it. I believe that people are not taking thought-control more seriously because they are unaware of how thoughts control their reality. People often forget or ignore the fact that thoughts are behind everything physical that we do.

CC0 image, Pixabay, author:stux, adapted

It is easy to describe something that we can see or hear but we have problems with attaching color or texture to our thoughts. They are considered non-physical even though they are, in fact, physical and what science has shown us, we can even see them. When different neurons fire up, you can see different patterns of your brain lighting up on fMRI. You can check some amazing research that has actually succeeded in decoding and reconstructing people’s dynamic visual experiences in the links below the post. There is a mind-reading’ algorithm that can decode the pictures in your head but let's start with simple things, if you do not believe that thoughts can create physical things, tell a sexy story to the first man next to you and see what happens. A healthy man does not need anything, not movies or pictures, nothing except for his own thoughts to get an erection. That physical response was triggered only by his thinking. We will obviously, get into hormone levels being controlled by thoughts too and talk about cortisol and endorphins but for now, keep an open mind, you just might learn something.

DISCLAIMER: I have no intention of going into the spiritual realms of things. With the utmost respect for your faith and religion, this will be about biology, chemistry, and psychology of your thoughts. My plan is simply to show you and convince you how your thoughts have more power over you than you realize but to also point out how that power needs action to reach its full potential. What to do with that information is up to you.

I will start off by giving you a bit of mind-blowing information, if you get through this part of the post, everything else will be as easy as a walk in the park. If this sticks with you, the rest will seem easy. Nobel Prize winner and often referred as the father of quantum mechanics Neils Bohr once said: “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real and if quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you yet, you don’t understand it well enough.” However, there are people, experts even in quantum physics who are neither shocked or dazzled by its beauty. Remember how I often say how you can either think that everything is a miracle or nothing is? This is what I was talking about. You can know something and be amazed by it and you can know something and take it for granted. Let's see if I can shock you...

The illusion we call reality...

Do you remember atoms and electrons and how those things look like or what you have been told they look like?

See the image to the right? That is actually the most accurate depiction. Quantum mechanics cannot predict the exact specific location of a particle in space. It can only predict the probability of finding it at different locations. Those bright areas represent a probability of finding the electron and the brighter they are the greater is the probability. The electron is not moving, it is teleporting from one location to another. Scientists even teleported photons 300 miles into space but that is a story for another occasion. Electrons can go from one spot to another without moving through the intervening space (quantum tunneling) and since everything is built of electrons, our entire universe is actually a series of probabilities. Let me write that one more time... Electrons are not moving, they are appearing and disappearing. 

You might be wondering how is this related to thoughts creating or not creating reality, easy there young grasshopper, everything will fall in its place, I promise. I have found that if you want people to accept a certain concept, you need to first introduce something more shocking or complicated. If they get that, your original message will become easier to accept and understand. Since you (hopefully) got how reality is just an illusion and a series of probabilities, thoughts influencing matter does not seem so far fetched now, does it? You may even think that in this world of probabilities, anything goes and there are no rules or control. Nope, my point is that you are actually pretty much in control. All you have to do is start acting like it and realize that your Newtonian world is built by a Quantum one.

No, not really :) Before I go into the specifics of chemistry and biology of our bodies, allow me to deal with philosophy and psychology first. Yes, I am well aware of the enthusiasm that some people have toward the "Law of attraction" theory but I have seen far too many get lost along the way so I have to make something crystal clear. Gravity always wins. I am optimistic about the evolution of humankind and there is no telling how our species and with what abilities, will look like in 1000 years but our minds are not able to instantly influence matter around us. You need actions for that. Thought alone is a trigger but without an action accompanying it, does little or nothing to change your life.

From thinking to doing...

This is where philosophy comes to play. What has greater value, the thought that you had about cooking lunch with different ingredients or the action of you cooking lunch? Your thoughts can be seen as those who made you or triggered you to do it and you might say that without thinking, there would be no action. You would be right. You would also be right that without action, there would be no lunch. Which is more important then? Could they be equally important? Bingo, Eureka, _____ (insert your happy realization word). For something to be done, there needs to be an idea, plan, thought process behind it and there needs to be an act of actually doing it.

Some things are manifested into physical reality by thought process alone. Yes, they do exist and we will go through them later. That erection thing from the intro is one of them. You need to be aware of what your thinking is capable of producing and what it is not. You can get "a boner" simply by thinking of someone, raise your hormone levels, get sick/healthy, change your behavioral patterns, influence your emotional state etc. but if you want that sandwich, you will need to get up and make it. You getting up is triggered by a thought so I will go on a limb here and say how that kind of manifestation of a sandwich is semi-created by a thought process while you lowering your cortisol levels with thoughts of waves splashing on a sunny beach is directly-created by a thought process.

By controlling your thoughts, you are controlling your emotions and by controlling your emotions, you are controlling your physical body. A leads to B that leads to C. It cannot get simpler than that. Emotions reach far beyond the simple feeling and are influencing people in more ways than one would expect. When it comes to embodied cognition, scientists are well aware of the body-mind and mind-body relationships. Yes, your body can influence your mind too, words you speak and even the things you hold in your hands. For example, did you know that if you hold a warm drink in your hand, you will perceive people around you as warmer in charter and colder if you were holding a colder drink?

Physical and mental
influence one another

Feelings and thoughts can even have an effect on your taste or various other sensations. People induced to feel lonely rate the temperature of the room as colder and those who think a book is important may perceive it as heavier. The most interesting thing is that even water tastes sweater if you are experiencing feelings of love. Keep in mind, your receptors on the tongue are not influenced, your brain's processing of the taste information is. Evolutionary biologists and behavioral psychologists share a conclusion how it is because of breast milk that we had as children. It was sweet and our first connection to love. From there, associating love with sweetness stuck around. There are many very interesting findings on this topic and I suggest you give this one a read:

The effect of emotional state on taste perception by Corinna Noel and Robin Dando

We have covered how thoughts can change your perception of food, the heaviness of an object, give you an erection, produce your emotions which then too affect your physical state. What else, what else can your thoughts produce and/or generate?

A couple of posts ago, I have mentioned how mindfulness meditation has been proven to boost your immune system. Some of you contacted me privately for more information and what I have found is that additional explanation is in order. The exact mechanisms involved in the mindfulness-immune system connection are not known. We see the effect but can only speculate about the reasons behind it. A combination of available potential reactions might just be a valid explanation.

Emotional regulation,
the prefrontal cortex,
and the gut

There are 3 explanations for mindfulness meditation being so good for your immune system. The first one deals with increased emotional regulation. Our thoughts and emotions impact our immune system via chemical messages from the brain that affect our hormone levels, especially cortisol. The second explanation deals with direct communication between our brain and the immune system. While practicing mindfulness meditation, the activity in the prefrontal cortex, right anterior insula, and right hippocampus is increased. Those are the areas of the brain acting as our immune system’s command center. The third explanation is our gut, often called our second brain. Trillions of micro-organisms called the gut microbiota, help distinguish between foreign microbes vs. those that are endogenous. Stress reduction with this type of meditation impacts our immune system by helping to maintain healthy gut microbiota diversity. Forget about that old saying "An apple a day..." and start living by "Meditation a day keeps the doctor away." You can check the scientific research done regarding mindfulness meditation on these links:

Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials by Black DS, Slavich GM

Mindfulness meditation training effects on CD4+ T lymphocytes in HIV-1 infected adults: A small randomized controlled trial by J. David Creswell, Hector F. Myers, Steven W. Cole, and Michael R. Irwin

Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation by Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller D, Santorelli SF, Urbanowski F, Harrington A, Bonus K, Sheridan JF.

Everything that you think, feel, or do is because of chemicals being transmitted from one neuron or nerve to another one. We classify those neurotransmitters into two major categories; excitatory that are stimulating brain activity and inhibitory that have a calming effect. All of them are important but 4 of them need some extra attention.

Serotonin, Dopamine,
Glutamate & Norepinephrine

What constantly goes on in our brains is absolutely amazing and extraordinary. Serotonin plays a major role in sleep, depression, appetite, arousal, and many antidepressants are targeting its receptors to influence your mood. Most of your serotonin is not even in your brain, it is in your intestine. Dopamine is influencing our behavior, emotion, motivation, movement, and cognition. This is the thing that many drugs are stimulating. Glutamate that is in the brain and spinal cord is also in charge of your cognition, brain development, learning, and memory. Norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline) is your body’s stress response. It works with adrenaline and creates the “fight-or-flight” state but it also maintains blood pressure.

Imbalances in neurotransmitters lead not only to bad moods but to some serious conditions and health problems and what you can do to maintain your health to some extent is eating healthy balanced food, exercising, reducing stress and having healthy and happy thoughts. Yes, your thoughts can influence your chemistry throughout your body. It is a two-way street. You are influenced by them but you can be the one who influences them so they can influence you in another way.

To conclude this attempt of convincing you that your thoughts are shaping your reality and to urge you to be careful of what and how you think, let me finish off with neuroplasticity and social influence. Two things that it all comes down to.

Your thoughts are sparks
that light the fire of your actions

Your thinking shapes your inner reality and outward perceptions of things, we call this neuroplasticity. Thoughts can rewire our brains affecting the way we experience and interact with the world. We constantly influence others based on our own attitudes and experiences and others, in return, influence us in the same way. By focusing our attention to reshape our own minds, we can directly, and indirectly, communicate our thoughts to affect others and in that way shape our reality in terms of perception and ideology which leads to real-world effects. By focusing on something, we are increasing the probability of that happening. Your thoughts are extremely powerful, maybe more than you dare to admit but they are worth nothing and will produce nothing unless they are accompanied by attention, intention, effort, and action. No action means no manifestation. Remember that.

If you are still, after all this puzzled by the notion that your thoughts are creating your reality, consider this example. When you stop thinking about negative things in your life and focus on the positive aspects, being happy and treating people well, you will notice a lot of things changing. People will pick up your "vibe" and respond positively with their positive feedback in words and body language. The experience you will create and witness will rewire the synapses in your brain to favor that sort of experience. Happy behavior will become habitual behavior. Your active thinking, good intentions, physical and mental effort will change your reality. Thought, attention, intention, and effort is all you need to change your life and guess what, you are able to create all of those four things.

If you are interested in learning more on this subject, check out these REFERENCES:

Train Your Brain to Boost Your Immune System from mindful.org

How Brain Chemicals Influence Mood and Health from upmc.com

Brain Researchers Can Detect Who We Are Thinking About from scientificamerican.com

Using fMRI to decode true thoughts independent of intention to conceal by Zhi Yang, Zirui Huang, Javier Gonzalez-Castillo, Rui Dai, Georg Northoff, and Peter Bandettini

Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind from berkeley.edu

Can Thought Create Reality? from factmyth.com

Until next time,
KEEP YOUR SMILE ON!

Image sources AND LICENCES in order of appearance:

- all images used in this post are free for commercial use, they are royalty free with the links to original images provided under them
- titles are made with the CC0 image from Pixabay that can be found here
- line divider that I use is from FREE CLIPART LIBRARY, and is here
- my bitmoji avatar was created on https://www.bitmoji.com/, visit the site to create yourown

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There was a person coming to a new village, re-locating, and he was wondering if he would like it there, so he went to the zen master and asked: do you think I will like it in this village? Are the people nice? The master asked back: How were the people on the town where you come from? They were nasty and greedy, they were angry and lived for cheating and stealing said the newcomer. Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village, said the master.

Another new comer to the village visited the master and asked the same question, to which the master asked back: How were the people on the town where you come from? They were sweet and lived in harmony, they cared for one another and for the land, they respected each other and they were seekers of spirit. Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village, said the master.

Blatantly copy and pasted from an online source as no time to write it myself oh, but this is what I have been contemplating this year a lot. I will leave that one with you xx

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Awwwww. I love it. It has so much wisdom in it and really speaks volumes about how the world outside us reflects that one within us. Thank you for sharing darling, much love! 💚💚💚

It's a good one, isn't it? Glad you like it. I keep breathing to myself: what do you want your village to look like!!!!

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You are what you eat then, in all manners of the metaphorical translations. Good shit Petra, am curious if you'll go into the photon space story. I also don't even a need a woman to tell me a sexy story. The right eye contact or body movement and I'm ready steady go😋

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Oh honey, you are adorable beyond words and yeah, I do plan to get into photons, dark matter, and all kind of stuff a bit later. You be a good little boy and stay patient ;)

He he thanks hun😘🤗I will keep my big boy pants on, or at least my underwear, and look forward to the dark matter😋

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What an amazing article :O I feel quite astounded by the powers that our brain has, now that I've read it, and also slightly a little concerned about my thought processes.... I definitely will try not to let my negative thought processes affect my brain too much since it is obvious that it may have further repercussions due to the brain's actual capabilities !

Thank you for such an informative article <3

Great write up! I would pretty much agree with the fact that meditation or any activity closely resembles it, can boost your immune system. I'm a little bit confuse with the quantum mechanic fact but I understood the message you wanted to convey. The main thing that I'm struggling with is even when I'm thinking "no, I wouldn't/shouldn't do it", I did it and later, regret it. Oh boy, if anyone can come up with an explanation of how to deal with that, I would be grateful.

Hihi, I was struggling with that one for a long time too. What I have learned is that our brains are not that good with negation. It is very obvious at childrens age but it does stick around. When you say to a child "Do not eat that" they do not perceive the word "not" and act like you did not say it. It is a strange mechanism and there are many parenting books written where advice to substitute no and not with STOP, is given. There is stop and there is diverting attention.

As adults, we still struggle with no and my suggestion is that we also use the stop method but some others too. Instead of repeating a thought about not doing something, try repeating one about doing something else. It is not ideal and I will not swear that it works all the time lol but it does help occasionally :)

A very brave post tackling a HUGE subject!! Yes. The interplay of mind-thought-chemistry-neuroplasticity-mindfulness is totally where it's at. Well done, you.

Thank you! It took me a couple of days to sort everything out and remove/add some things but I am quiete satisfied with how it turned out :)

Well written and great sources!

It's like the evidence base for....

'Think or act with a troubled mind and misery will follow as your shadow, unshakeable.

Think or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow, as surely as the cart follows the ox.'

A couple of versus from the Dhamapada (sxuse spelling)

Although I think there are certain situations where mindfulness alone cannot produce positive effects (at least not if yer an ordinary person without many years of hardcore discipline)....

EG As a teacher no amount if positivity could protect me from the extreme systemic stress - now I've quit it's all fine!

I still think most of us need help to do mindfulness properly... why do monks cut themselves off after all?!?

Nice article. I'll have to check out those sources.

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Nothing is ever simple until we make it simple but a lot of us expect results over night. There is no miracle answer, mindfulness meditation is not it either but it does help. Whatever way we find to work on ourselves and keep our thoughts and actions in check, is fine. Mindfulness can be practiced for decades and still not show results. For some, additional help is needed, for some it takes time and there are those who find it natural. For me personally, in more than 10 years of doing it... I still feel there is more. I am proud, but never satisfied, there is always room for improvement :)
Thank you for your lovely comment, I am glad you enjoyed the read. 💚

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Such an interesting piece @zen-art and I do feel people aren't really aware just how much of our (their) world is manifested by both their over all belief, their expectations and then fleshed out with their daily forefront thought process.

Many might think, "Well then I'll just think I want to be This or have That" but then if they ever just stop themselves randomly through the day and consider what their current thoughts were, they'd find the building blocks of their world right there.

This is why I have 'no social media/unplugged time' each day after a certain time. I'm not sure I want my world being created by some of the stuff I see and hear online :)

Congratulations! This post has been chosen as one of the daily Whistle Stops for The STEEM Engine!

You can see your post's place along the track here: The Daily Whistle Stops, Issue 416 (03/02/19)

I love reading about, considering implications, practicing the art of thought control over my reality! You’ve done a great job laying out the premise, with wonderful resources to support, for those new to the concept.
Have you ever read James Allen ‘As A Man Thinketh’ or much of his other works?

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