Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not, with the slightest push—in just the right place—it can be tipped.” – Malcolm Gladwell

There has always been an uncanny phenomenon related to major scientific breakthroughs, important inventions, cultural trends, new technologies, and many notable inventions. It’s called “multiple discovery,” because these world-changing discoveries often occur simultaneously, in totally different places in the world, among people who have no contact with each other.

One example of this phenomenon occurred with the discovery of the light bulb. We’re taught that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Actually, 23 other people built prototype light bulbs before Edison. Two separate groups, one in the U.S. and one in England, also filed patents before Edison, and fought legal battles with him over the rights.

According to the historical record, sunspots were simultaneously discovered by four scientists living in four different countries. The airplane was invented by two unrelated people, the steamboat by five people, the telegraph by five people, and the telescope by nine people.

One theory explaining how this and many other interesting phenomena about consciousness happen is “morphic resonance.” This concept suggests all life forms contribute to a collective field of information, which then functions something like an invisible internet and collective memory bank. Everyone is connected to and contributing to this field all the time.

When something new is introduced from anyone/anywhere, the information instantaneously spreads to the whole matrix allowing others to simultaneously source the same innovation or trend.

The hundredth monkey

In the 1950s, a team of Japanese researchers was studying a colony of monkeys on a tiny Japanese island. The monkeys’ primary food source was wild sweet potatoes. The researchers noticed one young monkey initiated a new behavior—washing the potatoes in water before eating them. The apparent “Aha” moment for the monkey was the potatoes must have tasted better (sweeter) after they cleaned off the acidic soil. The young monkey then demonstrated potato washing to other members of the colony. At a moment of critical mass in the number of monkeys taught to wash their potatoes (which was arbitrarily given as 100 monkeys), all the monkeys on the island began washing their potatoes.

Even more astounding was that at almost the same time, researchers observed that monkeys on islands miles away also began washing their potatoes.

The tipping point, a.k.a. the hundredth monkey effect, is the transformational moment when an idea, trend or social behavior reaches a critical mass and spontaneously spreads to the general public. Some scientists have estimated that it takes only 10 percent of a population to create a tipping point.

The same tipping point phenomenon occurs among people in relation to personal growth. We all carry conscious and unconscious beliefs and behavior patterns which limit the ability to manifest our full potential as individuals and as a collective.

Each person who courageously does the work and successfully breaks through self-limiting patterns is simultaneously clearing energetic pathways for others on the planet with similar issues. Others can then release their patterns with greater speed, grace and ease. Like blazing a trail in the forest or clearing a path in the jungle, the next people have it easier to travel the same route.

A documented example of the same phenomenon happens in sports. Once someone breaks an athletic record, suddenly many more people are able to do it. One interesting study showed that the first person who successfully completes the challenging Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle makes it easier for others to do the same.

The tipping point phenomenon also applies to the evolution of human consciousness. As more and more people break through to states of consciousness that are no longer polarized, there will be a tipping point when the entire planet and all its inhabitants will automatically adopt the same evolutionary upgrade.

Every person who chooses to live through the lens of an open heart is actively contributing to the eventual tipping point for a worldwide, total shift and upgrade for all life, including the Earth herself. This is how powerful our consciousness is. There’s nothing to buy, no courses to take, no laws to make, no permission required. It’s an inside job, and everyone is qualified.