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Friday, 21 January 2011

Mind Over Matter

A simple statement that can be used in a lot of different contexts. The most popular usage for if someone is encouraging someone to do something, overcome a fear for example. But people never really think about just how true that statement is.

The mind has always been elusive to the sciences. Even though we are learning more about it nowadays (though there still is no where near enough research in this field) the truth is we still don't know much more now than say when Aristotle was writing his most famous of works. The mind is one of my favourite topics and I will write about it a lot, but the purpose of this post is to think about how we really do control things with our mind.

OK so first up, you are reading this and all of a sudden you blink. Why? To protect the eye from dirt by re-coating it with a thin layer of fluid. You didn't think about blinking, it just happened. The truth is that your mind made it happen 'subconciously' because it is a fundamental requirement to your existence, it is a natural and automatic response to our environment.

How did it make it happen if you didn't 'think' about it? The truth is that about 80% of our actions are subconscious decisions, i.e you are not making a 'conscious' decision to do it. Things like breathing, fight or flight responses, blinking, telling your body you are tired, regulating hormones etc.

The human body is one of the most complex machines on this planet, and your brain is the most complex controllers. The way it achieves this level of control is it stops you thinking about very large numbers of tasks, so that you don't get overloaded, think of it like a piece of software running in the background on your PC. It will do everything you programme into it until it gets to something it doesn't know how to, then it switches to 'conscious' mode and you take control. Otherwise if you tried to make all the decisions yourself you will soon forget to breath, pump blood, clean your waste etc. etc.

OK so that was quite  a big digression but it will come in very useful in the future. So you have unconscious responses, but you also have conscious responses. Right now there is no reason for you to lift your arm above your head whilst you are reading, but if you think about it and want to, then you will make it happen. How?

Well we will not try and answer yet what 'thought' actually is, lets just start from the point where you have thought about it. This initiates a chain events, starting with electrical signals inside your brain. This electrical signal consists of a lot of little tiny electrons bumping into one another and passing on its energy, which then flows down a conductor i.e. your nerves just like the electricity flowing from your mains through to your PC to power it. The electrons keep on moving until it reaches the muscles, tendons, ligaments etc. and the increase in energy makes your arm move, in this case by your deltoid muscles in your shoulder.

The very nature of you moving your arm, means you are interacting with your environment, you are displacing the air around you which will result in a change of pressure and temperature, it may have enough energy to blow a piece of paper off of your desk for example.
Now if energy cannot be created or destroyed, and the air and everything around you is made of particles just like you are, and energy cannot be created or destroyed, then if you bring all of these together you can come to the conclusion that your thoughts do literally shape your reality and your environment around you. You may be familiar with a term called the 'Butterfly Effect'; well this term is often misused but essentially that is what we are   talking about here, if a butterfly flaps its wings in Mexico, then it will start a chain of events that may culminate in Japan say.

We will be covering all the things mentioned in the last paragraph in more detail, but for now just remember and try understand that Mind really does precede matter in all forms of existence, and you will soon be coming to realise the greater truths of the Universe that Man has been trying for Millenium to come to terms with.


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