Book Review: The Possibility Principle
When notions of separation fade, the deep-rooted sense that we are all connected, and that every living thing is part of a much greater whole emerges. This very thought offers a profound shift in the way we view the world – one that frees us from limiting thoughts, beliefs, and fears, and instead clears the way for many windows of possibility.
In his new book, The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics Can Improve The Way You Think, Live, and Love, Mel Schwartz draws upon quantum physics and his many years of experience as a psychotherapist to demonstrate how quantum physics doesn’t just offer possibility, but a dramatic improvement in our lives.
“I believe that we can shed the old beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors that have constrained us by welcoming life-enhancing principles that we can cull from quantum physics,” writes Schwartz.
Through embracing life defining moments, we can choose a new direction of possibility, which opens the door to more and much greater possibilities.
What is often overlooked in the world of personal growth, says Schwartz, is our worldview, or the “meta-picture” of how we see the world, and how we think reality operates. Outdated mechanistic models often encourage us to see objects in the world as separate and disconnected, and our future as predicted by our present.
Quantum physics, on the other hand, differs in three important ways. First, it acknowledges that the world is full of uncertainty, and that it is only through embracing uncertainty that we can free ourselves from the constrained existence that hinders our true possibility. Second, quantum physics sees the world as full of potential where reality looks more like a “reality-making-process” characterized by a perpetual state of flow rather than a fixed state of being. Lastly, in quantum physics, the universe appears fundamentally inseparable, and full of interconnected beings that comprise a much larger whole.
Interestingly, we often seek out novelty and uncertainty as a way to compensate for lives that are overly predictable.
“Being bound up in the straightjacket of certainty makes us like a character in a novel for whom the plot is already written. We’re simply living according to the script,” writes Schwartz.
Yet the need for certainty – in an inherently uncertain world – often underlies anxiety.
“I’ve come to see that anxiety disorders are often correlated to our demand for certainty: the greater our dependence on predictability, the more we experience anxiety,” writes Schwartz.
We all exist in a wave of possibility, yet many things can collapse this wave. Schwartz offers the example of a client, Jill, whose mother once told her, “When I learned I was pregnant with you, I told your father, I didn’t want another baby.” From that day forward, Jill’s potential was limited to one of being unwanted and unlovable.
To free ourselves from these confining and damaging wave collapses, says Schwartz, it is helpful to consider Scwhartz’s Possibility Principle – that in the nanosecond before our next thought, we are in a state of pure potential.
“In the space between our thoughts, we are similar to the wave – full of possibility,” writes Schwartz.
Seeing ourselves as more than our experience also allows an infinite potential to become possible as we allow our identity to evolve.
“Witness your thoughts and recognize the story they are telling you. Don’t confuse them with the truth. You can learn to rewrite your story,” Schwartz writes.
When we see reality as part of an indivisible wholeness and participation, we come to understand that to do harm to others is to do harm to our selves.
“Whereas empathy usually suggests the ability to ‘get into another’s shoes’ and to imagine how they feel, inseparability takes this concept several steps further. If the other and I are part of the same whole, we have much more in common than I might have imagined. Part of my being is entangled in them as they are in me; this realization induces empathy to flow effortlessly,” writes Schwartz.
Yet our thoughts, and particularly the relationship we have with them, informs every relationship we have – especially the one with ourselves. By understanding that our thoughts are not merely functions of our brain’s neurochemistry, but rather, profound influencers of it – leaving powerful imprints on our brains – we can begin the work of changing not what we think but how we think.
“Thinking is the ability to see your thoughts operating. Our objective is to seek new thinking, which frees us from the replay of old thoughts,” writes Schwartz.
By seeing our thoughts, and recognizing that we don’t have to be attached to them or the discomfort they bring, we can learn to operate in new ways that transcend tired patterns, free us from the grip of pathology, and create new possibilities that make way for new neural pathways, much like muscle memory.
We can also learn to overcome entrenched divides, including those that exist in clinical settings. We can see each other as more connected. We can embrace techniques such as the “five percent rule” which helps us acknowledge that just five percent of what another person is saying is true, and opens the door for more authentic, connected, and helpful communication.
Distilling quantum physics into their parallels in our lives, Schwartz offers a powerful new approach to living, loving, and relating to others. It is a book that doesn’t just offer new possibility, but will improve your life, and the lives of those around you.
The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics Can Improve The Way You Think, Live, and Love
Hardcover, 166 Pages
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Nana, C. (2017). Book Review: The Possibility Principle. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/book-review-the-possibility-principle/