Sometimes change can come by surprise. We can unexpectedly find that we experience a profound and lasting change. This phenomenon was studied by Dr. William Miller and Janet C’de Baca. They called these experiences, quantum change. The term quantum change is both from the expression quantum leap and the unpredictability inherent in quantum mechanics. In some ways, this quantum change is hard to clarify.
Yet here are the common elements that they found by interviewing many people who experienced this rapid type of change. A quantum change is a memorable experience where the details stand out in the mind of the person who experiences it; they remember it well. The experience is almost always perceived as positive and beneficial. It is pleasant, if not joyful. Quantum change is surprising – not something that we make happen. Quantum changes are permanent transformations, “a one-way door which there is no going back,” write Dr. William Miller and Janet C’de Baca.
One Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is drawn into events beyond his control behind the locked doors of his home. In the story by Charles Dickens, the character Scrooge believes that something extraordinary is happening to him. It is surprising. These events effect Mr. Scrooge internally – not external, real events. Even though the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future are disturbing to Scrooge, he has a sense that there is loving kindness behind these mysterious events. Scrooge is a profoundly changed man after this quantum change.
People’s religious or spiritual backgrounds influence the way one interprets quantum change. The study by Dr. William Miller and Janet C’de Baca interviewed people from a variety of religious backgrounds as well as those not affiliated with any religion and non-believers. About one third of the time, the person experiencing the quantum change prays when it happens. For some of these people, it was the first prayer they had offered in years or even ever at all. The single most common act that came before the quantum change was prayer.
The most common people who experience quantum change are desperately unhappy for a significant period of time and see no way out through their own actions. Please watch this video by Judith Peterson, LMFT about using sacred images when we are in crisis: