Friday, February 25, 2022

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, February 26, 2022 - The Physics of Saying Grace

I admit, I’m terrible at remembering to ‘say grace’ before a meal. Of course, that statement, in and of itself, is quite self-judgemental. For, after all, who says we need to say grace in the first place? 

Remember that, despite those who’d prefer we obey without question, questioning has value too, so long as it is done with an open mind. I’ve always been curious about the physics behind religious obligations. I approach them with an assumption that there’s some potentially intrinsic human benefit to be discovered.

Often, when exploring various rituals, traditions, and ceremonies, I remember the things I’ve learned about quantum physics. Granted, I’m no expert, but some of it is quite rudimentary and accessible to even a non-scientist such as myself. 

In particular is the evidence that an observer’s expectations influence the outcomes of atomic particles. That seems hard to believe, but it’s proven to be the case. Atomic particles behave differently when observed, and when the observer (typically a scientist of some kind) has an expectation about the behavior of the particles.

This has implications much larger than most of us have the capacity to perceive. But at its most basic level, we know for a fact that the building blocks of our physical reality are vulnerable to our desires. That’s huge.

It brings to mind the work of scientists like Masaru Emoto and his experiments with water. His scientific methodologies have been brought into serious question, so it’s important to take it with a grain of salt. However, his work does configure into what quantum physics already proves to be true.

Essentially, Masaru Emoto’s work focuses on the formation of ice crystals in water samples that have been exposed to various thoughts, music, and other non-physical experiences. The ice crystals, frozen after their exposure to the above, appear to form in line with what one might expect. That is, water exposed to ideas like “you make me sick” created ice crystals that actually looked like a virus; asymmetrical and unattractive. Water exposed to beautiful music or ideas like “I love you” formed beautiful and intricate symmetry in their crystals.

What’s interesting to me is the possibility that the experiments showed something perhaps different from the scientist’s intent, yet quite relevant nonetheless. I suspect that the samples conformed to his expectations rather than to the environmental stimuli he presented to them.

In other words, he expected the crystals to show elegant symmetry when exposed to love and music, and so, because these things begin at the atomic level, they did. 

Granted, this is only my theory, and I have no way to prove it. But the implications of what we do know scientifically about an observer’s expectations support the idea.

So, how does this connect with saying grace before a meal? It’s about two things. One is the physical benefit of appreciation and gratitude, and the other is utilizing the physics of our expectations. 

If we conclude that the process of stilling our minds for a moment and choosing to experience a brief period of appreciation and gratitude before we eat might soften our emotional state, perhaps align even the physical reality of the food itself to our benefit, is that worth the effort? Does that attitude literally change things?

I believe it does.

I believe that there is enough evidence regarding the effects that appreciation has upon our physiology and that our expectations have upon matter to conclude that the act of saying grace, through whatever tradition you choose to say it, indeed does have a literal, physical benefit.

So what does saying grace look like? What form should it take? Must one believe in God or some other higher power to enact it? To the latter, I’d say no. We do not have to believe in God to say grace. As to what form it should take, it depends upon what puts you at ease. Being uncomfortable likely works against the process.

An old friend of mine used to simply hold hands with those present, regardless of their belief or tradition, close his eyes and contemplate all that went into creating the food that was in front of him. The processes of the sun and the earth upon it, the farmers who grew it, the people who sold it, the hands that made it. He felt gratitude and appreciation for it all.

He then mentally blessed the food itself. He imagined it doing wonderful things inside him. Making him heal, making him glow, making him happy, making the molecules line up and click into place. All in silence. He’d then give a little squeeze to the hands he was holding to signify it was time to eat. The whole process occurred in less than a minute.

Add the saying of grace to your personal set of daily rituals. I’m going to try to do it more as well. It might just live up to my expectations, after all. 

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