By Jini Li
February 8, 2017
Everything in life counts. Whether it counts as a positive, a negative or a neutral all depends on our perspective, how we measure things. The power of thought gives us the power to create.
The way we measure things comes from our values, what we think is important. To place a value on or to devalue something, we must make a judgement. We judge things as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant based on our instincts, our emotions, the neuropathways we have developed, our patterns of thought. The way we see things is influenced by our upbringing, our culture, our education, our experiences, our genetic makeup, and our beliefs.
Our upbringing has given us fundamental perspectives. These may seem remote or even foreign to us when we are trying to figure ourselves out, because we don’t commonly remember our earliest years. In the first three years of our lives, the one hundred billion neurons of the human brain form three hundred trillion connections, and it is interesting to note that tests have suggested that it is social interactions in our early lives that successfully develop learning in the brain (Stephenson, 2017). We often find ourselves thinking about what could have happened in those earliest, formative years and how those things have contributed to the way we are now.
Our cultural environment contributes to our development by promoting certain values, behaviors and beliefs through facilitation, while constraining other aspects of how we are through suppression (Chen, 2009). Cultural influences come from family, peers, social groups and general society. Culture has a big influence on self-expression. The freedoms we feel with regards to sharing ourselves with others can be a product of cultural restraints and allowances. In some cultures, speaking up is valued and expressing excitement is welcome, while in other cultures people respect deep, silent contemplation and less dramatic expression. It is not uncommon for people of different cultures to misinterpret gestures and behavior. Greater understanding of others is gained when exposure to different cultural settings is increased.
Our education and the way our education is viewed has an impact on the way we view ourselves and the way we are treated. Worship of knowledge has caused us to undervalue ignorance. When we feel knowledgeable we tend to ask fewer questions, while when we feel ignorant we are inquisitive. Knowledge gained through book learning alone can make us ignorant indeed, and even cheat us out of valuable learning by causing us to be arrogant and overconfident. Training as opposed to official education, on the other hand, tends to empower us by developing our skills and self-confidence. Self-education is especially effective, because people tend to educate themselves about things they are interested in or for which they have a passion. Interest and passion drive people in ways that coerced education cannot. They drive us to learn through experiencing and shed light on the unknown.
Our experiences validate or invalidate our opinions. They either confirm or alter our perceptions. Experiences are our guides. They teach us who we are and how we feel. Our experiences root us, expand us and make us grow. Experiences can close or open our minds depending on how we perceive and process them. They push us one way or another, back and forth until we are on track. Courage is the friend of experience. it allows us to reveal ourselves and make connections. It makes us curious and daring. Exposure to more people and more experiences increases awareness, both of ourselves and those around us.
Our genetic makeup is believed to have a great influence on who we are. In recent years, the study of epigenetics has been fascinating. Epigenetics is the study of how gene expression is changed, even though the gene itself has not been surgically altered. There are numerous studies about the role our thoughts and emotions play in gene expression, and can make us ill or help us heal. You probably have stories of your own about how your outlook changes the way you respond physically.
Our Values & Beliefs
Our values and beliefs play a big role in our decision-making processes. This has been validated by scientific research that has revealed that there is a specific part of the brain that becomes active when people are called to make decisions that involve values and beliefs – the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (also called “ventral medial prefrontal cortex,” or VMPFC). Our beliefs might be stemming from religious, political, social, racial, gender, sexuality or nationalistic belief or other secular systems, but regardless of where they come from, they activate the VMPFC part of the brain (Bond, 2010). This is this same part of the brain that informs our behaviors with regards to rewards and consequences (Wouter Van Den et al., 2009) that assists us to make social decisions.
Our beliefs and values are things we hold dear, and often things we are willing to give our lives to protect. But how are these beliefs developed? How have they been validated by our experiences? Are our beliefs the result of our upbringing, our culture, our education, our experiences, and our genetic makeup? What role do beliefs play in the formation of our perceptions? What makes our perceptions right or wrong? Is there such a thing as right or wrong?
Regardless of what we believe, there is no doubt that our beliefs and where we place our faith, play an important role in our expressions of who we are, who we think we are, and in our happiness. Our beliefs are expressed in our thought processes first, and are then manifested in our behaviors where they become tangible and speak to others.
When we look in the mirror or are mirrored by others, we may see things about ourselves that we judge to be negative, and therefore have the desire to transform. But our life learning and validation have so solidified that our thought processes have resulted in hard habits, habits that are a challenge to change. I would like to invite you to consider that this is exactly where our power of choice comes into play. Can our power of choice be stronger than our engrained habits? I believe so.
Our thoughts become manifested in the world of action in many forms. They are not always obvious to us until we take the time to observe them through meditation, but they reveal themselves in the way we treat each other and the way we decide to spend our time. They show their colors in our values and our opinions. How are our thoughts colored, and what role have we personally played in their development? What role can we play in their creation and can we carve a pathway for them to travel? As discussed earlier, there are a lot of things outside ourselves that have influenced the way we think. In this, we have probably played a very passive position. We have the power within us to change this position and alter our reality, and we can do this through contemplation and active participation in releasing undesired patterns of thought and creating new neuropathways. Those of our own choosing.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Bond, A. (March 1, 2010). Belief in the Brain, sacred and secular ideas engage identical areas. Retrieved from the Scientific American Website: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/belief-in-the-brain/
Chen, X.Y. (June 2009). Culture and Early Socio-Emotional Development. Retrieved from Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development Website: http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/culture/according-experts/culture-and-early-socio-emotional-development
Stephenson, H. (2017). The first year of life. Retrieved from National Geographic Website: http://www.ngllife.com/first-year-life-0
Wouter Van Den, B., and Güroğlu, B. (June 17, 2009). The Role of the Ventral Medial Prefrontal Cortex in Social Decision Making. 29 (24) 7631-7632. Retrieved from the Journal of Neuroscience: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/29/24/7631
Image of the Frontal Medial Prefrontal Cortex: Nature.com from Neuropsychopharmacology January 2007 – Vol 32 No 1 About the Cover image, retrieved from: http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v32/n1/covers/index.html
10 thoughts on “The Power of Thought is the Power to Create”
This is way above me so I’m not sure about many of the scientific studies surrounding the power of thought. Yet there are plenty of things here that may stick with me and lead me to ask questions later. It’s interesting that there are so many question around this topic.
It’s also interesting that our ignorance and lack of experience can lead us to learn and develop either a good or bad thought process. I’m somewhat familiar with the genetic part or what is referred to as Epigenetics.
I once read a study that links a great majority of health problems to a fault in our perception which can create a negative environment. Only as I said before this is a very complex study and really a very deep one to look at and learn from.
Thanks for reading and for sharing. As complex as the topic is, I believe it is not difficult to benefit from positive thinking right away. Some people use a trigger word to snap them out of a downward spiral in thinking that pulls them out of a habitual thought pattern and into a new one they want to create. For instance, my daughter, from a very young age, used to begin thinking about every bad thing that ever happened to her every single time one thing happened that made her sad. She would cry and start talking about every single instance. When she was very small, I tried to make her aware of what was happening in her mind. Now she is a very capable thinker, and she doesn’t need me to remind her to pull herself out of that downward pull. She recognizes it herself, and is able to use thoughts that work for her to get up out of that space and into a happy one.
I am encouraged that even though there may be few scientific studies that we are aware of that prove the power of thought, there are many real world examples that demonstrate it. It’s the reason coaches give pep talks, and friends cheer each other up. It’s why smiling and standing up straight and keeping your head up immediately put you in a more positive space.
I totally agree with you that It really is a deep subject and I believe it is a very worthwhile one to think and learn about.
Have a wonderful night!
Hello and thanks for sharing, It is so amazing that the things that we are expose to can shape us and help or cause us to become the person that we are. That’s why it is so good that we allow ourselves to be expose to that which is positive and build us up. What we see in society today is the product of what many people have been expose too. Our thoughts plays a big part in how our lives are shaped. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much for visiting my page and sharing your perspective. Isn’t life an amazing basket of variations? I feel like every person is a universe with a unique path. Our individual and collective experiences feed the whole, and we really do contribute to each other in ways we might not even recognize. One thing we all have in common is our power of choice. It is in this that our thoughts give us direction and power. Without the power of choice, our behaviors would be based on set patterns of actions and responses driven by instinct and not by rational judgement. Like you said, our thoughts really do play a big part in how our lives are shaped. Thanks again for participating!
Very well scientifically explained. I think that thoughts are very powerful – we just do not take the time to master them. There is no universal right or wrong – it is always subjective. I think that we are the ones that know ourselves the least. What we think we are and what we actually are to other people are two different things in big part of the cases. But in order to change the way you think you should realise there is something wrong with your thoughts. Can you suggest any techniques to do that?
Thank you so much for commenting on The Power of Thought is the Power to Create. I totally agree that there is no universal right or wrong, and feel it is important to be able to recognize and accept the truth of different perspectives. Thank you so much for your question as well. I would suggest meditation, but not the type of meditation that uses visualization (even though there is a role for that), but the type of meditation where you sit in silence (preferably) or with the assistance of isochronic tones. In the silence, or with the background of isochronic tones, you can become an observer, without judgement. It seems passive, but in my experience, it has been the most active way to initiate change at a very subconscious level. I wouldn’t even call it change as much as alignment, and it happens without “doing.” The more I meditate stilly and silently the more I am able to maintain a meditative, or conscious state while doing things in every day life. This is where I’ve been able to observe myself in a subjective way and alter patterns of behavior I recognize to be the result of conditioning. For example, if a feeling of anger arises, I try to see the reasons for my anger, and follow it back to the root. I usually find it lies in my values and beliefs. I allow myself to process the information, and don’t force any changes, but the changes are initiated by the mere act of observation. Do you have any techniques to share? I would love to hear about them.
Thanks for an enjoyable read. I work on finding meaning and mana to add to my ordinary life and it is a truth, I’ve found, that your beliefs and your values have a great effect on your intentions and your actions in the world.
These, of course, then evoke responses from the world and the results are pretty apparent.
I’ve found it’s easy to tell when you’re on-course. You actually LIKE the world that you’re walking in. It’s cool knowing that the world is a mirror. Everything in it is a reflection of you….
Thank you for your comments on my The Power of Thought is the Power to Create blog post. Since recognizing the role and the power we can have by making healthy thought choices, I have found a lot more joy in life. 🙂
So many people I have talked to have experienced the same, and it’s really very exciting! None of our feelings or emotions should be ignored or abandoned recklessly, but in the pool of all of our thoughts, we have the choice to pick which ones we want to nurture and grow. The rest will just fall away as we observe them passing on by.
Have a wonderful week!
wow everything you said was extremely spot on and I enjoyed every second of reading this article. Recently, I have delved into the power of manifestation and I have learned that you can lead a better life just by changing the way you think about things.
Even if something “bad” happens to you, if you have a positive outlook and say “everything happens for a reason, I won’t get upset by this” then later on your positive attitude will bring you something you will have never thought imaginable, and it would not have been possible without the small complication in the beginning.
I believe that our minds shape who we are. If we think unhealthy thoughts, that is what we are to become. Sp perfect article, I love to see people spreading this kind of awareness!
Thank you so much for your comment on The Power of Thought is the Power to Create, and I’m happy it was enjoyable for you. The power of manifestation you mentioned really can improve our life experience just by the use of our thought processes like you mentioned. It is so funny, because it’s so true that even when something that appears to be very bad happens, there is ALWAYS something good that comes from it. It can be really difficult to get through it, but I think this is where trust and faith come into play. Understanding that there is balance in the world, we can know that when something bad happens, it has to be balanced by something equally good or better. Even if it seems meaningless, it is not.
I think you are very right also about our minds being able to shape who we are and that healthy thoughts make us healthy. Thank you so much for sharing!