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December 19, 2023 6 minutes to read ∙ 1400 words

Mindfulness 101: Mindfulness Lessons in Masaru Emoto’s The Hidden Messages in Water

Melanie Bragg

The other day, something made me think of an old book I read back in 2004. The book explored whether human consciousness could affect the molecular structure of water. It centered on experiments in which water that was spoken to kindly produced beautiful, symmetric crystal images, whereas water that was screamed and cursed at produced deformed and chaotic crystals. This book might have come to my mind as I was noticing the way people were talking to one another and the acrimony I observed in the world around me. It’s the holidays, and I’m seeing a lot of stressed-out people. I began to wonder if we were being affected by the words and emotions flying around us like the water crystals in those experiments.

The book in question is The Hidden Messages of Water by Masaru Emoto, a Japanese businessman. Shortly after this bestseller was published in 2004, I saw the author lecture at Rice University. I was immensely interested in his claims. While there is much pushback on whether it is science or not, it still contains some very thought-provoking ideas for inquiring minds such as ours to ponder.

I was particularly fascinated by the book’s description of a lake full of chemicals and how the photos of the crystals in the poisoned lake were dark and scary. Then, after a big group of people came and spoke kindly to the lake, the photos of the crystals in the same water differed and improved. The premise was that we can alter our environment with our words and our intentions. It is very powerful stuff.

Below are ten messages from the book that you can connect to mindfulness, particularly concerning the power of the words we speak and the significance of our thoughts and words in shaping our life experiences.

Positive Affirmations

Emoto suggests that positive words and intentions can result in beautiful and symmetrical water crystals. This emphasizes the impact of positive affirmations on our well-being. Affirmations are strong statements about our intentions for our lives. They are active and in the present. They help stir you up and keep you on track with your goals and desires. Writing your top three goals on the back of your business card and reading them morning and night will help you achieve them faster.

Gratitude Matters

According to Emoto, expressing gratitude and appreciation can lead to aesthetically pleasing water crystals, highlighting the importance of gratitude in our daily lives. Gratitude is scientifically proven to change our brains and help us get more accomplished because it brings up our energy levels. A daily gratitude ritual is crucial to your mindfulness practice.

Mindful Thoughts

The book encourages mindfulness by suggesting that being aware of our thoughts and choosing them wisely can influence the structure of water. If we think of our good thoughts as those beautiful crystals, we will focus on creating more of them. If we think our bad thoughts are more like the distorted and ugly images, we might move on from them faster.

The Impact of Music

Emoto’s experiments with music suggest that harmonic and soothing sounds can create visually appealing water crystals, emphasizing the importance of creating a harmonious mental environment. Our environments are very important for emotional well-being. An out-of-balance environment can literally make you sick. Check the status of the environments you find yourself in each day—your car, your office, your home. Are they set up for joy and peace, for productivity and accomplishment?

Words Carry Energy

The book implies that words carry energy that can affect water. This can be linked to the power of our spoken words and the energy they convey. This is a basic principle of human nature. Let’s be caring as we speak to ourselves and to others. And if someone is careless with their words toward you, try to figure out a way to set boundaries or remove yourself from the environment so you don’t soak it up yourself.

The Need to Cleanse Negative Energy

Emoto discusses the idea that positive words and intentions can counteract negative influences, reinforcing the notion that mindfulness can cleanse our mental and emotional states. A grounding meditation at the end of the workday is something I recommend for lawyers. Just the process of releasing all the stories and energy you have absorbed all day can be cleansing; it can help you go home restored and replenished and ready to devote your entire attention to your spouse, your family, your friends, or even just you. Letting the stress of the day go is a good idea for your health.

Emotional Resonance

The book suggests that emotions have a vibrational frequency that affects water. This aligns with the mindfulness concept of recognizing and managing emotions for overall well-being. I have found that the more I meditate, the easier it is for me to accept things as they are and not take things personally. Experiencing equanimity is a fun and peaceful place to be. I still get annoyed at opposing counsel and some of the things we must deal with on a daily basis, but I don’t stay in that mental space for very long. Mostly, I chuckle to myself more than anything.

Unity and Harmony

Emoto’s work hints at the interconnectedness of all things. Mindfulness fosters a sense of unity and harmony, allowing us to recognize our connection to others and the environment. Unity and harmony are what the world needs more than ever right now. By being mindful, we are helping lift the world like the people who spoke positively to the lake to clean it up. There is power in numbers.

Intention Matters

Emoto highlights the power of choosing to speak with kindness rather than anger. The intention behind our actions and words is crucial. Mindful living involves being intentional in our thoughts, words, and deeds. If we intend to have a good day, there is a much higher likelihood we will. Knowing and being aware of our intentions helps us have great days. We don’t set unreasonable expectations for ourselves.

Responsibility for Energy

The book indirectly encourages taking responsibility for the energy we contribute to the world, underscoring the mindfulness principle of being conscious of our impact on ourselves and others. As your commitment to mindfulness grows, you see how much more sensitive to energy you become, and you want your energy to be positive and helpful. The world needs all the help it can get on many fronts.

For the purposes of this column, I am taking what is posited in the book as good advice to incorporate into my daily practices. I vow to watch what I think and say more closely and to meditate on what is good and right in this world. We go through seasons in life, and some are not as pleasant as others. Sometimes, you feel as if you are getting hit from every direction, and it can knock the joy right out of you. (Case in point—I’ve had COVID, a car accident, and an eye infection in the past three months, so I know how challenging it is to stay in a positive, super calm state.) We don’t ever want to transfer our frustration unwittingly to others.

I highly suggest that you at least go on Google and type hidden message in water images. It’s amazing how beautiful the water crystals were after the song “Imagine” by John Lennon was played.

Keep up with your meditation in this busy month. Please be safe and sound during the holidays and give yourself permission to make some time to journal, to write down your accomplishments for the year, and to ponder what you have done right. Then, take some time to plan for what you want to see happen next year. Set your intentions and affirmations for 2024. I wish you the best of all years ahead and the fulfillment of your dreams.

Until next time . . . namaste. Please let me know if you have any tips, sources, or experiences with mindfulness you want to share at [email protected].

You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour. —Zen proverb

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Melanie Bragg

Bragg Law PC

Melanie Bragg ([email protected]) is a former Chair of the GPSolo Division and a former GPSolo Division Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, where she currently serves as a representative for the Houston Bar Association. Her firm, Bragg Law PC, is a general civil firm in Houston, Texas, specializing in probate, real estate, and small business representation. She is the author of three books, HIPAA for the General Practitioner (ABA, 2009), Crosstown Park (Koehler Books, 2013), and Defining Moments: Insights into the Lawyer’s Soul (ABA, 2019), and she is a frequent CLE, motivational, and mindfulness speaker.

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Published in GPSolo eReport, Volume 13, Number 5, December 2023. © 2023 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association or the Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.