Quantum Karma

In the spirit of blending popular science with philosophy, this week’s post is an experiment that you can perform anytime, anywhere.

Let’s start with a simple hypothesis:

How we think directly affects what happens to us.

It might seem like an obvious conclusion. Thoughts precede action => action precedes behaviour => behaviour precedes fate. It’s the old ‘you are what you think’.

But is it as straightforward as it seems? How direct an influence can our immaterial thoughts have on our material environment?

Decisions are usually made on internal thoughts and instincts. These, in turn, are based on experiences, prejudices, beliefs, and so on. The psychology that pulls the strings is deep and peculiar to everybody, but it is safe to say that the subconscious mind interacts with our realities at a fundamental – and often unknowable – level.

But is the mind just a supporting role – a bit player and victim of our surroundings? Like a great ark on a sea of crashing waves, is the mind shaped and battered by the often-indifferent environment which causes us to respond and think in a certain way, or do our thoughts directly craft our environment?

It’s is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, but let’s say that if our realities are a projection of the mind, how can we conduct our lives to our advantage and ensure good results?

You’re going to reap just what you sow

Quantum Karma. Two words. Each associated with antipodal fields of enquiry. One rooted in science, and the other in philosophy. But they are more closely entwined that they seem.

To consider a ‘quantum’ state is a bit like accepting two opposing truths at the same time. It really refers to potential, the point before the determination, and is often decided by observation or action. Like George Orwell’s doublethink, to consider something in its quantum form is to knowingly accept a paradox.

Let’s take an example of choosing what to have in our lunchtime sandwich – cheese and tomato or tuna mayo. We balance the variables in the mind (factoring in previous experiences, dietary preferences, how much money we have in our wallet) and make a decision before we enact it in the physical world.

However, the second we choose one filling over the other, we automatically narrow all future potential to a single reality which follows on from choosing tuna over cheese, or cheese over tuna. By selecting one possibility over the other, we have determined our ‘life path’ to one which is a direct descendant of that decision. For example, we cannot get knocked over by a car with a tuna sandwich in our hand if we chose the cheese!

This is not a disguised way of saying that meat is murder, but I am illustrating that by quantumly confirming a decision as A or B, one eliminates the other. We may, therefore, be able to deduce that:

Decision A = Decision A’s consequences.

Decision B = Decision B’s consequences.

This is simple logic, and unless one has the much sought-after Time Machine it is not possible for us, as humans, to transit from A’s consequences to B’s once the quantum footpath has been followed. This might be getting a little deep for something as trivial as what to have for lunch but understanding this at a basic level gives us a great power to use in our daily lives.

And this is where Karma comes into play.

Many think of Karma as the summation of time passed. We might imagine ourselves standing before the great Pearly Gates, watching our personal highlight reel before a verdict is given. “You lived a good life,” He might say, as though Karma is a result to be arrived at. In a way it is, but humans tend to define things by observing it as a finished or concrete article. But this is wrong. We must remember that Karma, much like quanta, is fluid. It is dynamic. As long as a person exists he has the potential for good or bad. We cannot pin down and define a thing which never stops moving and evolving. In that sense, we can begin to understand how this relates to our decision making, and our thoughts.

We tend to consider our thoughts as inconsequential, unavoidable, or even unchangeable. We are so frequently bombarded by thoughts that they can become background noise – a nagging presence in the back of our heads, the ‘monkey mind’ that we struggle to turn off. Our monkey mind offers unwanted commentary on our actions and is often most active when we lay in bed, trying desperately to fall asleep at the end of the day.

But to say our thoughts are inconsequential is wrong. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful, and if we lack control over the mind we can inadvertently create chaotic, directionless, and unfavourable circumstances for ourselves. Without clear and constructive intentions, our thoughts are unbridled and whimsical. The monkey’s mind can become a monkey’s life.

In simple terms, if you make all ‘good’ decisions, it is more likely that you will experience ‘good’ outcomes, whereas if you make all ‘bad’ decisions, you will experience ‘bad’ outcomes. Much of the time, this is dictated by the state of mind at the point the decision is made. If you’re generally a glass-half-full kind of person, a good decision may come naturally to you as your thoughts are constructive, fluid, or optimistic, having already trained your mind to seek a positive spin on any situation. Or, if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, you may already have determined, in your mind, that bad things can (and therefore will) happen to you. This predetermined mindset, whichever it may be, influences our decisions, and thus, our actions.

For example, if a person chooses to lead his life as though the hypothesis at the beginning of this article is true (that his thoughts directly affect his environment), then he might realise that he should think only optimistic/constructive thoughts – as it would be illogical to think in any other way. He would be wary that, by thinking negatively, destructively, or carelessly, he may receive backlash from a poorly-executed decision, thus narrowing his future to one which exists as a result of the bad decision. Once he learns that his positive thoughts manifest as positive events (perhaps he wishes for clarity, courage, or stability and subsequently receives it), he eventually learns to act with his best intentions in mind. 

But what is ‘Decision A’?

It is important to remember that before any conscious action is performed, the thought comes first (such as with the optimistic/pessimistic mindset, or rigid/unchallenged belief systems). We can also see that by choosing one eventuality over the other, we halve the number of potential future timelines available to us. Finally, we can recognise that a favourably-minded approach is more likely to yield favourable life events. So, what is the key? How can we ensure that we are acting with our best intentions without quantumly shooting ourselves in the foot by making poor decisions?

I have come to realise that Decision A is – for me – the one made with Love in mind.

This may sound confusing. After all, how much love does it require to select cheese and tomato over tuna? But to act from the heart is to act consciously and with compassion by weighing up the factors available to us and determining the result as a balancing act. We must, therefore, ‘live in love’ to give us the best chance of a favourable future path.

Living in love does not mean we treat everything in a blindly positive way – such as showering praise on those we don’t like or denying our feelings about something we don’t agree with, nor does it mean we must love everything indiscriminately until our capacity to love is exhausted. Living in love is about having compassion for the people and events around you. It requires heaps of patience and a careful weighing up between the needs and desires within you as well as those around you. This is the trickiest element.

It means that we must remain mindful before we act – at the moment of the action’s conception in the mind. Every day, we balance on fate’s narrow precipice and make decisions which first shrink our quantum field to Decision A/B’s consequences, before it balloons back out into a realm of new and infinite possibilities. The key is to identify which thing or person needs most love at that moment – before we act. It could mean love for another (such as a partner, a parent, a colleague, or lover) or love for oneself.

Self-love (not to be confused with selfishness) is something I deeply encourage everyone to explore. As we love and accept ourselves, positive energy is fed back to us in many rewarding and rejuvenating forms. In practical terms, we can enact love by doing something simple as choosing not to shout at a loved one when we are annoyed, not to judge a stranger in the street, or instead of bowing down to others, choosing to put our own wellbeing first.

Perhaps, then, you could say:

Decision A = Living in Love.

Decision B = Living in Ignorance.

We must realise deeply that by making decisions, we effectively shut out all opposing possibilities. We cannot unsay something, unhurt somebody, or unrespect ourselves once the decision has been made. Once a thing has happened, there’s no going back. I’m not saying that mistakes cannot be corrected – they can, but they often take double the amount of love and intention to do so.

If we all choose Decision A – to act mindfully and in love, we could narrow our quantum field of eventualities to exclude all the bad decisions, all the times we acted unconsciously, all the times we forget about compassion for ourselves or others. Our collective future could be one built on good quantum karma, instead of bad.

And what about the result of the experiment? That’s for you to decide.

Is Karma real? Reply below!

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1 thought on “Quantum Karma”

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