"If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all."
Remember your mother or aunt or grandmother telling you that? As it turns out, she should have said, "If you can't think something nice about someone, don't think anything at all." Thoughts apparently have far more power on the physical level than we ever believed.
This spring I was given a copy of the English translation of Masaru Emoto's "The Hidden Messages in Water." Emoto is a Japanese scientist that spent most of his career studying waveforms in water. He began to study the crystalline structure of frozen water, comparing photographs he took of pure and polluted sources of water. One day, as serendipitous science often happens, a lab assistant pondered aloud what would happen if water were exposed to thought forms.
Emoto designed the experiment by writing out several messages in Japanese and taping them with the message facing inward to the water. One message was "You make me sick!" and the other message was "Love and gratitude." He kept several control samples of exactly the same water isolated from these two experimental sets. He let the water sit for a day, then froze samples and took pictures of the crystalline structures. The difference between the control and the two samples was more than remarkable; it was astounding. The control formed an amorphous crystal with no defining characteristics. The "You make me sick" sample formed a distorted, ugly, yet complex crystalline structure. The "Love and gratitude" sample formed a brilliant, beautiful, highly complex crystal. Needless to say, Emoto was as surprised as anyone. He repeated the experiment over and over with the same results. He sent out copies of his photographs and methodology to other scientists, who replicated his work. Then he began experimenting with different thought forms, different people and different music.
For example, the crystalline structure formed by the thought form "Adolph Hitler" was asymmetrical and ugly, while the structure of the water exposed to the thought form "Mother Teresa" was complex, bright and symmetrical. Many other examples are presented in Emoto's book.
Emoto concludes that, as the mystical sages have been saying for ages, our thoughts literally affect physical matter. When we consider that our human bodies are over 90 percent water, the power of thought becomes highly significant.
As I read the book and studied the photographs, the relationship of Emoto's work to peacemaking and conflict exploded in me. When I walk into a peacemaking assignment, the thoughts of the parties are invariably hostile, angry, frustrated, fearful and anxiety-ridden. The relationships have broken down to the degree that the parties need outside assistance to help them resolve their dispute. Accompanying the conflict are negative and sometimes hateful thoughts directed back and forth like invisible missiles.
Emoto's work suggests that the negative thoughts in a conflict literally change the crystalline structure of the water in our bodies. Perhaps the change is not permanent nor necessarily debilitating. The fact that a physical change is very likely occurring should give pause for thought. Without being too speculative, I think that when parties in conflict are assaulting each other with negative thought forms they are unconscious of the subtle physical effects they may be causing.
The good news is that positive thought forms of peace, harmony, loving kindness and compassion seem to have the opposite effect on the physical structure of water. The crystalline structure is pure, clear, brilliant, complex and beautiful. The implications are profound. I can choose to project negative or positive thought forms toward those around me and perhaps influence in some small degree the physical structure of their bodies. Given sufficient intention, power and focus, I suppose the effects could be increased.
In peacemaking, I am now highly aware of my own thoughts. I am taking care to be aware if I generate a negative thought and try to stop it immediately. In peacemaking sessions, I am consciously and silently creating positive thought forms, while outwardly paying attention to process. I find it challenging to stay focused on all of these tasks simultaneously, but I also see the significance of developing the skill.
If you haven't read Emoto's book, buy a copy. His work is also featured in the documentary film now in national distribution, "What the !@#$ Do We Know!" (www.whatthebleep.com/crystals). Check out the photographs and decide for yourself.
Noll is an attorney and law professor trained as a peacemaker, and author of "Peacemaking: Practicing at the Intersection of Law and Human Conflict." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Web site www.nollassociates.com.