Quantum tunneling is a quantum phenomenon in which a subatomic particle breaks through an impenetrable barrier and moves into a new state that would be considered impossible to access based on the laws of classical physics. Think about throwing a baseball at a wall with the intention of getting it past the wall. The baseball can only get through the wall if its energy is greater than the energy that holds the wall together; and when this happens, the ball will go through the wall by destroying it to some extent, or at least creating a hole in it.
In the quantum world, however, it is possible for an electron (or any other subatomic particle) to pass through a quantum wall without having more energy than the wall, and it can do so without really breaking the wall or making a hole in it. (A quantum wall is often created by producing a strong electric potential which is really a small scale version of the exact same thing that keeps us from passing through any wall.)
This passing through a barrier without destroying it is one of the mysteries of the quantum world we can’t really understand based on our everyday intuition. It is as if the electron doesn’t really pass through the wall but rather disappears and just shows up on the other side, just like David Copperfield! This will be a little less crazy (I hope so) if we remember that electrons aren’t really balls of matter; they’re immaterial, non-localized waves that can be said to exist in all places at once. So, one way of explaining this mysterious crossing is to say that there’s always a dormant version of our escaping electron that is already on the other side of the wall and is waiting to be manifested, or awakened if you will. And this newly awakened electron (or the electron waking up in the new state without experiencing the transition in between) seems to absorb its own past version into itself by an inexplicable process that transcends the existing barrier. Another analogy would be thinking of the tunneling electron as falling into deep sleep upon confronting the barrier, and then waking up and finding itself on the other side.
Even though quantum tunneling cannot happen in the human scale of material things, it seems that the mind does actually behave in a similar way. More importantly, we can use this feature of the mental stuff to make lasting changes in our lives, whether achieving goals and dreams or healing and letting of our outdated patterns of behavior. I always like to start small when it comes to change; consistent baby steps are always more lasting and successful than compulsive big jumps. So, let’s not get too quantum and just look at how this quantum tunneling works in stepping into better versions of ourselves.
You find yourself stuck with an unwanted pattern of behavior; it’s your usual, familiar self, an old coping mechanism perhaps. The one obvious precondition for any change is becoming aware of the things we want to change. So, the mental quantum tunneling won’t work if you haven’t identified the pattern you need to let go. To remove that annoying splinter, you first need to find where it is. So, assuming you have already felt the pain of an undesirable personality trait or behavioral pattern and know exactly what it is, then you must naturally have become willing to be free of it. This is where the tunneling begins, and here’s the essence of this practice: Instead of resisting and fighting with that pattern, instead of obsessing with it or trying to get rid of it, you will actually let it be as it is and instead use your imagination to tunnel into a future version of yourself that is already free from this pattern.
The core aspect of the quantum tunneling practice is that you have to imagine your own free version not just mentally but by your whole being. Don’t think of getting rid of a pattern of behavior but rather imagine and wholly feel and visualize yourself already freed. To make this practice more successful in the beginning, think of it as an act-as-if play. Don’t take it overly seriously because then you’ll make your present self more localized and hardened and less willing to spread itself into the unfamiliar territories of your new imagined self. Think of this practice as a play in which you’re simply and briefly playing a role, the role of a character which is already free of and even completely oblivious to that particular pattern you want to let go. Visualize that character, feel its relaxed body and its expansiveness from the inside, sense the heartfelt joy and freedom it feels because he/she is no more neither possessed by this pattern nor is even trying to get rid of it, simply because it is already free. Imagine a self that doesn’t even recognize or know what this particular undesirable pattern is or even what it feels like being in its grips.
Another useful thing that would make this practice more fruitful, besides looking at it as a play, is to tell yourself that you are just going to try it for a few second. Then try to visualize and feel being that new, free self for only a few seconds. This will keep your present self from freaking out or feeling abandoned which will sabotage your entire tunneling mission. Instead, tell yourself that you will act-as-if or pretend to be this new self only for 10 seconds, or however much you can last without pushing it too hard. Any struggle in your tunneling session is a mark of malpractice. Once you feel it turns into a resistance, come back and be here and now with your present self with full compassion for what and how it is.
The goal is to practice this regularly, maybe even a few minutes everyday. It is best not to try to do this for a particular pattern that’s activated at the moment. For example, if you are trying to heal your abandonment wound by imagining a future self that’s safe and ok regardless of external conditions, it’s best not to jump into this quantum tunneling practice when your wound is triggered. First of all, the tunneling into a new version of yourself will fail because your hurting self who needs all your attention here and now will try to suction you back to itself; but more importantly, you will add salt to the wound because your time travel into your future self will come off as you trying to abandon yourself when it needs you the most. And your attempt at practice wouldn’t be that genuine anyways because you are really motivated by your desire not to feel the pain of that moment. So, it’s best to keep your regular quantum tunneling practice to times when you feel relatively pain-free and at ease. It is at these times that you can establish a good practice and build strength, so that when intense feelings arise you’ll be more tolerant and maybe even all of a sudden finding yourself free of the old pattern and the accompanying reactions that you used to fight.
Another key element in practicing quantum tunneling effectively is to avoid the shogun approach to letting go of your outdated patterns and coping mechanisms. Don’t try to target too many things at once. Start small and be specific. And remember, to get the best out of this practice you need to really feel yourself, both mentally and bodily, into the new person you wish to become. Do the practice for a few seconds if you have to but go all in. Pretend you’re a new self that has never even had the issue you’re trying to let go, so that the letting go is not even necessary. Letting go of what! This new visualized and felt self will always initially be somewhat unstable. You may be able to be fully there as that self for a only few seconds at first; but as time goes on, you can add to the duration and hold it even longer. You can extend it to 10 or maybe 20 seconds, maybe a few minutes or more; and if you are consistent with your practice, in a matter of weeks or months you can try being in the new self for a whole day.
Now, don’t worry; you don’t need to keep pushing this until you achieve a, say, year-long experience of being in a new self free from a particular pattern. After all, we live only in the present moment and that’s all we have. At most, all we have is today. So, if you can embody yourself in a new and free version of you for even one day, you’ve completed the quantum tunneling project for that particular pattern. In a matter of months, you’ll find yourself not even thinking about that old pattern or even practicing being free from it, because you were already free and now you have simply come to accept it through practice. That old pattern will naturally die out behind your back, because by quantum tunneling into a felt sense of freedom, you actually let go of that pattern and using it; and this is the positive side of the old saying “use it or lose it.” When this happens, you may move your quantum tunneling practice into a different area of your life or focus it on achieving a dream of your life instead of shedding the old patterns.
Remember, your quantum tunneling practice is not a fantasy. Every time that you do this practice, every time that you visualize a better version of yourself, you are traveling into the future and laying down the building blocks of your new self. You just gotta do it everyday. And as you keep doing so, that new self becomes so real and concrete that it will someday, and without you even realizing it, absorb your old self into itself. You become renewed by knowing and feeling (with your whole being) that you are already free, that you are already what you’re meant to be. This is how we can create ourselves. We quantum tunnel (time travel) into the future and awaken a new and better self that can time travel back and save us. Isn’t this crazy? What’s more crazy is that it’s real and it’s spectacular.
What I love about quantum tunneling into a better version of yourself is that it’s playful, compassionate, and goes through the path of least resistance. You don’t fight or abandon yourself or any of your parts; instead, you play your way into the realization of a new version of yourself, a transformation that’s based in acceptance and compassion than resistance and self-abandonment. Another great thing about it is that it’s convenient to practice it: unlike some other self-development practices such as meditation or yoga, you can do it in any location or at anytime. Maybe while waiting for someone or something, in metro, while taking a walk, etc. Being a self, whether old or new, doesn’t interfere with normal functions as it’s a matter concerning the spiritual core of our human existence which transcends the world and its affairs. In fact, it’s better to move our practice with us to everyday activities, so that the new self can get to see and touch all aspects of our lives; this will help ease and fasten the transition into an already free state.
To sum it up, you don’t have to fight to become someone you want to be, a future-directed procedure that is turbulent and always starts from the ground of an already problematic sense of self. It is like the problem trying to solve itself. Quantum tunneling, on the other hand, is a resistance-free procedure that starts from the firm ground of a healed and reintegrated self that’s in the future but directed toward the present moment. Remember that like a quantum particle, you already are and have what you desire. You are already everywhere and everyone, both in time and in space. All you are doing in this practice is invoking your higher Self to come and help you, and rest assured that it will if you keep calling, if you keep practicing.
The underlying metaphysical principle that makes this practice possible is the perennial wisdom shared by all spiritual traditions, that we already are free; we already are awakened: We already are the Buddha!