We refer to them as aha moments. Those times when we suddenly gain knowledge, perspective, or insight.
I experience them most mornings while I am on the treadmill watching pre-recorded TV programs while exercising. Those tutorials on cooking, decorating, renovating a home, establishing a business, or nurturing a talent.
For example, I thought “aha” when I watched a baker butter a Bundt pan and dust it with cocoa powder instead of flour to prevent her chocolate zucchini bread from sticking. In the past, I thought I must accept the splotches of white flour left atop my cake in exchange for having it cleanly release from the baking pan. Simple method, yet profound impact on baking.
I belong to three writing collectives that provide lessons about the publishing industry. Information shared by authors, editors, and agents provided the guidance I needed for creating a book proposal and one sheet to pitch a book I am writing. Aha—this is how it is done. It’s not only experience that has proven helpful, but interaction with other authors in the private Facebook groups who hope to publish a book. We share knowledge, perspective, and insight. The characteristics of those aha moments.
There are many aha moments when I listen to sermons, Biblical teaching, or complete a Bible study as well. In my current study on the book of Galatians once again I saw how the gospel changes the status of people removing favoritism, boundaries, and barriers.
When Paul says we are adopted as sons and therefore heirs he means all of us, women too. (Gal. 4:7) At the time of Christ women did not inherit their father’s estate. Quoting a commentary the authors explain, “the fact that Paul is telling a mixed audience that they are “all sons” is not diminishing women in the least. To the contrary, Paul’s words are elevating them to the same high status in God’s family as their brothers.”1 Once again one person’s epiphany shared.
Many would say these spontaneous moments of insight are solitary, therefore what I refer to as aha moments are not accurate. The concept is really linked to new ideas, a discovery, or invention by one person. Something no one else thought of pops into a person’s head like the Post-it Note created by Art Fry. He took an adhesive that left no residue, which was invented by a colleague at 3M, and applied it to a piece of paper to mark the pages in his church hymnal. The aha moment came to him as he searched for a bookmark that wouldn’t fall out of the hymnal, nor damage the pages.
Aha moments come as we struggle with a problem. Researchers found that sudden insight during problem solving occurs when there is a spark of gamma wave activity in the brain when a cluster of neurons bind together to create a new neural network pathway. Immediately, prior to the gamma spike, alpha-band activity slows over the right visual cortex, an area of the brain controlling sight. This is like closing our eyes to eliminate distractions while thinking. The process seems to quiet neurons in the area reducing distractions. A new idea pops into our head after the gamma spike.2 Of course, God designed our brain.
While I marvel at the way aha moments originate. All glory goes to God who designed our brain. But it seems just as spectacular to me that aha moments can be passed along, coming at unexpected times as we interact with one another. That means we can have them in abundance rather than occasionally. And we can have them before we even know we need a solution to a problem. We can have them with or without a gamma spike.
1-When have you come across an idea that transformed your way of thinking, made you say aha?
2-When I read about how our brains work, I marvel at God’s creative endeavors. Share a time when God astonished you!
1-“Now That Faith Has Come A study of Galatians” by Beth Moore and Melissa Moore published by published by Living Proof Ministries 2020. Pages 152-153.
2- “The Aha! Moment: The Science Behind Creative Insight,” by Lauren Migliore Brain World April 6, 2020–brainworldmagazine.com/aha-moment-science-behind-creative-insight/