Statistics prove that, in various athletic events, the home team is more likely to win than the visiting team. In some ways that just doesn’t make any sense. A football field anywhere is basically the same. Basketball courts all have the same dimensions and the goal is the same height. Baseball fields differ some in the outfield and how much foul territory there is but the pitching mound is always 60’6” from home plate and the bases are all 90 feet apart. Hockey rinks, like soccer fields, are all virtually identical. Even in golf, where the courses differ radically, when there is a home course advantage like in the Ryder Cup, the home team has a distinct advantage.
That advantage may, in part, be because the home team practices on their own field/court/rink and feels especially comfortable there. It may, in part, be because their pre-game routine can be better honored at home. But, primarily, home field advantage comes down to one thing: the fans. 100,000, or even just a few people, cheering for one team makes a big difference. People sending positive, hopeful thoughts toward the team somehow makes them play a little better. It doesn’t always happen that way but oddsmakers will usually tell you to put your money on the home team.
Were I to send consistent and hateful thoughts toward my spouse, it is safe to say that would have a predictably negative effect on her. If I were to send consistent and affirming thoughts toward her, it is safe to say that would have a predictably positive effect on her. When someone is supportive of me, I can feel it. When someone clearly dislikes me and takes pleasure in my failures, it’s hard to put that aside and not be affected. When someone clearly thinks highly of me and trusts me, I tend to relax and be at my best around that person. Even when I’m not with that person, just knowing they want good things for me is something tangible I can carry around.
Scientists have been speculating for a while now about how our thoughts can affect things in measurable ways. Quantum mechanics is an attempt to explain things on an atomic and subatomic level. Matter seems solid but it is made up of atoms that are not solid. Matter has space in it. And the atoms that make up matter are both particle and wave. There is movement within things that appear solid. Consciousness produces thoughts that are as real as matter is real. My consciousness also exists as wave and particle. (An excellent resource is Field of Compassion by Judy Cannato.)
That’s a fancy way of saying that our thoughts share space and time with matter. It’s a way of saying that consciousness can affect things in the world because it shares time and space with it. In a way quantum mechanics states that everything in the world is connected. The thoughts I have, the attitude I take, have an effect on things and people. It helps explain things like home field advantage, as it concludes that conscious thought produces something just as real as matter.
It also helps explain things like prayer which people of faith have long held as a successful way of orienting our lives. Prayer is real. It doesn’t actually change God’s mind about something but it connects us to a person or situation of our concern and it connects us with God’s concern about that person or situation. As we pray for someone, they are affected. If you’ve been on a prayer list or been held in prayer for a particular time, you know that effect to be real and positive. My situation may not actually change as a result of prayer (though sometimes it will), but I am changed in my situation because of prayers for me.
Quantum mechanics also sheds a little light on the being of God. No one thinks God is a big physical body. We all consider God as spirit. Quantum mechanics helps explain how the spiritual is so very real, just as real as matter. God, you and I, the entire universe, share the same space and time, the same reality. We are all connected in a very real way. God is right here among us, among that which defines me. God’s particles and waves move around with my particles and waves. Eternal life isn’t just a place later on. It’s going on right this moment in ways we are just beginning to understand. God’ grace abides in the same time and space that we occupy.
As you cheer for your home team, in a way you are doing what the communion of saints and God’s very grace does for us. You are sending encouraging thoughts toward your team. God’s consciousness is a very real presence. Prayer is an active way of participating in the lives of people you know and love, people unknown to you, your friends and enemies, people near and far, even the future of the earth. Be encouraged in your conscious thought and in your prayers. They are as real as the chair you are sitting in.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.