‘The inquisitive reader is bound to ask about how to develop the power of intention. The fact is we all try to manifest things through our intentions, sometimes they work, but less often than not. Now we see that this is because we are in our ego when we intend. But how do we change that?’
– Amit Goswami
This question posed by physicist Amit Goswami in the above quote, was answered by him thus: ‘we allow our intentions to become a prayer’, and if the original intention ‘resonates with the intention of the whole, of God, then let it come to fruition.’ This idea of ‘resonating’ with the intention of God, and your prayer (as he puts it) ‘passing into silence’ is another way of saying we must trust wholly in the hidden forces of the Unconscious, in the Universal Mind (or World Soul, if you prefer). But he’s also saying that whilst we are ‘in our ego’, the Power of Intention may not work. You can’t just demand something from life and expect it to materialise – you need to work with the Universe it and harness its energies, as any trained magician can tell you. (And there is a correct way of doing this.) But why would a physicist be concerned with the Power of Intention, or Law of Attraction? Well, Quantum Physics deals with hidden forces in the Universe that make your life what it is – namely, Mind and Consciousness. It shows how you create or shape your reality at its deepest level via meditation and mindfulness. And it starts with our friend the atom.
Though it’s a baffling notion, the atoms studied by physicists don’t simply ‘exist’ out there: we have to be observing or measuring them. For atoms are actually energy, patterns of movement, states of potential, all those abstract things we can’t pin down. They’re represented as either ‘particles’ or ‘waves’, but only for convenience sake, since everything in the Universe is in vibration (at differing frequencies). The world’s solid nature is merely an appearance. In fact, it has been asked whether or not we create atoms or subatomic ‘particles’ simply in the act of looking. If this is so, we have a definite impact on the world ‘out there’ by the mere act of observation. Take electrons (negatively charge subatomic particles) about which physicist Heinz Pagels said:
‘There is no meaning to the objective existence of an electron at some point in space … independent of any actual observation. The electron seems to spring into existence as a real object only when we observe it!’1
Quantum Physics has implications for the Power of Intention, the ‘magical’ ability to change our circumstances via ‘unconscious force’ or belief. If we remember that ‘matter’ isn’t really solid and see it as ‘information’ (or energy), then isn’t this what thoughts are, too? Quantum Physics, in fact, clears up some old misunderstandings about the Law of Attraction, that our ‘material reality’ is ‘caused’ by our thoughts. This is what gets so much criticism – the notion that a certain mind-set magnetically ‘attracts’ something (fame, money or love) from ‘out there’. Some people think the New Physics ‘proves’ the Law of Attraction, but it does no such thing, and here’s why: the border between ‘me in here’ and ‘world out there’ does not even exist.
Subjectively, this duality seems quite real, but only because your ego has built a wall between ‘you’ and the world over the years. That sense of ‘oneness’ you feel with others at times of emotional crisis, or when you’re in love, is no illusion – the real illusion is your separateness! Our selves (our minds) aren’t confined to our brains and it’s more helpful to think of Mind and Matter as essentially the same, as a part of the ‘quantum field’. This is the ‘medium’ which contains both. Physicist Fritjof Capra in the Tao of Physics writes:
‘In these ‘quantum field theories’, the classical contrast between the solid particles and the space surrounding them is completely overcome. The quantum field is seen as the fundamental physical entity; a continuous medium which is present everywhere in space. Particles are merely local condensations of the field; concentrations of energy which come and go, thereby losing their individual character and dissolving into the underlying field.’2
The Power of Intention and the Law of Attraction
We might say, then, that matter – solid objects like you and me – ‘emerge’ from this quantum field, that it’s merely a concentration of energy. All matter can be considered as different intensities of the quantum energy field, and we – our minds – inhabit it. Physicist Fred Alan Wolf also mentions the quantum field when he says that:
‘how the universe works is not based upon the Law of Attraction. What it is based upon is that there seems to be the presence of something called Mind, or something outside of the physical world, which seems to be needed or present in order to explain, completely, the observations of reality that we have been able to carry out up to now … And once you make that statement that there is something called a “Universal Mind,” or you might call it “a quantum field of action,” or some presence which is not material, but which is capable of shaping matter, or even giving birth to matter, in terms of the way fundamental physics works, you then run into the so-called dangers that people think, “Well, if the universe can do it, then why can’t I?”’3
For some people, Positive Thinking and the Power of Intention can achieve miracles, an attitude Wolf himself may have unwittingly fostered. Back in the 1970’s he proclaimed that “we create our own reality,” which led to the fantasy that instantaneous manifestation of houses, money or cars could be a reality – a kind of quantum creation. Though we aren’t yet at the stage where matter responds to our desires immediately, the jury is no longer out over the Mind-Matter connection – the immaterial world of atoms and the immaterial realm of mind are both part of the same process, a hidden spiritual reality.
For New Thought pioneer Christian D. Larson, the Unconscious is a fine ‘mental force, having distinct powers, functions and possibilities, or as a great mental sea of life, energy and power, the force and capacity of which has never been measured.’ It has a formless potential that can be shaped into life with the help of our conscious mind: something that can be ‘moulded’ into life (like a potter’s clay). Hence philosopher William James wrote that ‘our thoughts have a plastic power over our body.’ There is a direct parallel, too, with the quantum world: the Unconscious is a hidden ‘energy’ beyond the everyday world, making its presence felt in our lives. Similarly, the ‘quantum field’ is a hidden force out of which matter ‘arises’. Like the wind that shakes the trees. Here is what twentieth century biochemist Joseph Needham had to say:
‘The opinion, therefore, which seems to me to be most justifiable is that life in all its forms is the phenomenal disturbance created in the world of matter and energy when mind comes into it. Living matter is the outward and visible sign of the presence of mind, the splash made by the entry of mental existences into the sea of inert matter.’4
Some recent scientists sound more like spiritual teachers or magicians, with their emphasis on holistic thinking and the role our minds play in shaping the world. William Tiller, a former Stanford University Professor, has said our consciousness is a ‘by product of Spirit entering dense matter.’ The power of human intention ‘can move chi’, which he describes as ‘magneto-electric energy’ and which comes from our ‘human bio-field’. In other words, our minds are immensely powerful if we did but acknowledge it. For Amit Goswami, too, Mind is everywhere, ‘in here and out there’, for both are linked in some mysterious way our intellect can have difficulty grasping. Though it’s a sweeping statement, everything in this ‘mind-like’ Universe from the tiniest ‘fragment’ to the largest body, is connected to everything else. And we can, and do, shape our lives in unknowable ways with the Power of the Unconscious.
Whenever there exists the Power of Intention or Positive Thinking towards a goal the ‘information’ generated by your mind creates a new ripple or wave in the Quantum Field. But the ripple occurs ‘non locally’ – beyond our perception of space and time. If you like, it’s in the Eternal Now. When this information is generated anew and repeated (as with visualisation exercises) it has the potential to become an event. Like Quantum Physics’ indeterminacy principle, we can’t predict just how and when. In the end, we have to trust it! To believe. And we do know – if not quite why – that belief has a very potent effect. Remember this: your mind is vastly more powerful than you think!
1. Pagels, The Cosmic Code, New York : Simon and Schuster, 1982.
2. Quoted in Capra, Fritjof, The Tao of Physics, Flamingo, 1983 (p.153).
4. Needham, Joseph, ‘Mechanistic Biology And The Religious Consciousness’ in Science Religion And Reality, The Macmillan Company, 1925.