I’m a self-confessed nerd when it comes to some of my interests. I’m fascinated, for example, by both cosmology (the study of space) and quantum physics (the study of the subatomic world). In a sense they both represent the same thing; just on a different ends of the scale! Whereas cosmology tells us that our galaxy – the milky way – is the size of a pin head in relation to the one hundred billion (yep, you read it right) galaxies “out there”, so quantum physics tells us the nucleus of each of our atoms is similarly a pin head in size compared to the space (in the atom) surrounding it. Holy crapperoni!

Marbles anyone?

At the risk of losing your marbles, imagine taking a single one and placing it in the centre of a large football stadium – the marble would be the size of an atom’s nucleus (and 99% of its mass) and the seats of the stadium are where you’d find a whizzing electron cloud. We’re made up of a ton of these incredible, energy-producing atoms. How many? Hold onto those marbles – an average person weighing 70 kg has about 7*1027 of them (erm, that’s seven billion billion billion)!

So we – and our world – are made up of atoms but, as you can see, they’re essentially more space and energy than physical “stuff”. What’s my point? Well, given that atoms are comprised more of energy than matter (in the same way that stars are masses of hot glowing gas – energy – with enormous areas of space between them) it strikes me that we – humans, that is – are being a bit dof about how to live our best lives ever.

Matter

Ok listen – you feel that chair under your butt? You think it’s solid, right? Hehe – it ain’t! The only reason it feels that way is because of the electron activity between your butt and the chair itself. These two “bodies” trying to push all these atoms together requires a truck load of energy – more than you can manage, and so it feels as though you’re actually sitting on something solid.

Guess what, Einstein? Matter is nothing but an illusion! We’re just beings of energy and vibration. Our experience suggests the opposite though – we’re convinced that our reality’s made up of material things and that our world exists as an independent, objective one. But here’s something we know about atoms and which should change your mind (pronto): THEY BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY WHEN YOU OBSERVE THEM, compared to when you don’t. WTF? It’s true, and it means that how atoms express themselves is dependent on our influence (a fact represented so elegantly in the example of Schrödinger’s cat … look it up).

Here’s a quote to make you cry (either with joy at realising how much power you have, or with exhaustion at the level of responsibility you carry): A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. (R. C. Henry, “The Mental Universe”; Nature 436:29, 2005)

Did you get that? Let me repeat, just to be clear: you’re the creator of your own reality.

Grab the tissues

Now that you’re weeping, let me say this. Your “physical body” (which, strictly speaking, doesn’t exist) is a configuration of your atoms. If you want to change the way they configure (i.e. if you want a leaner body), you’re going to have to do a lot more than focus on “physical world” tools. You’re going to have to acknowledge the part your mental and emotional self plays in configuring this mass, and then – naturally – do something to change the way you think and feel (about your body; about yourself; about your impact on the world; about your value amongst others).