The conventional belief in medicine, for many years, is that we are controlled by our genes. The belief comes from the idea that our genes code for proteins in our body, and therefore whatever the code shows is what proteins will be produced, and what will manifest (or not manifest) in our body. Following this line of thinking, if you have a gene for a certain health condition, you are at risk for this health condition, if the gene were to be “turned on”. As long as the gene remains “off” then you would be ok. This “on/off” belief has been popular and only until recently has been the prevailing belief in western medicine.
Enter Dr Bruce Lipton, author of “Biology of Belief”. Him along with many others now studying the field of Epigenetics are now revealing the REAL truth of the matter- which is now proven by studies- that our genes in fact do NOT behave in this on/off way that we have believed. Studies have now shown that our genes are mere blueprints for protein production (they do code for proteins, we still know that to be true) however there are endless numbers of ways that the blueprint can be interpreted. This means that there are countless interpretations of your genetic blueprint- and countless manifestations possible for the same blueprint.
The word “epigenetics” means “above genetics”. It is referring to the concept of rising above one’s genetics. Almost every conference that I am invited to in the the world on bioidentical hormones, integrative medicine and anti-aging medicine, has speakers talking about epigenetics. It is part of the cutting edge of medicine these days!
So the question is, what determines how the blueprint is read? Well according to studies done by Dr Bruce Lipton, his research shows that the environment (ie the blood) around the cell is what determines this. The chemicals in the bloodstream determine how the gene will be read. Taking this even further, we can ask, “well what controls the environment? What controls what is in the bloodstream?” The ultimate answer is that our mind and our thoughts are what controls what is in the bloodstream. How we think about our world- our perception of the world around us- is what determines the chemical state in the blood. If we perceive the world around us to be hostile, stressful, negative, or threatening- we will release cytokines and hormones into the blood that are meant to protect us from threat. These chemicals can do harm to the body, while trying to protect it. Whereas if we interpret the world around us as friendly, loving, and supportive, we will release chemicals associated with the relaxation response, and these chemicals are helpful and restorative for us. They will lead to the best possible blueprint being interpreted from our genes.
The most important factor in determining the state of our cellular environment is not the actual external factors around us, but rather our interpretation and perception of these factors. You can have chaos and adversity in our life, but if your attitude is positive- “I can survive this/this shall pass soon/I can handle what life throws my way/I am supported no matter what”, etc- then you will continue to make healthy chemicals and hormones, and maintain an optimal environment around your cells.
This finding is so interesting to me because it is an example of where science intersects with spirituality. There are many spiritual practices today that focus on things like connectedness, unity, oneness with all, oneness with the Creator. Many people have beliefs like “everything happens for a reason”, “this is happening to help me grow and transform”, “I will ask for help from my guides to find the answers I need”. These types of thoughts are super conducive to health and healing because they are creating hormones associated with happiness, calmness and peace, which in turn creates an optimal environment in which our cells can thrive. We now can see how the mind-body connection truly exists and just how powerful it is!
Just as an aside, having a spiritual belief system that includes a force outside of yourself that you see as unconditionally loving, supportive and there for you, can be an amazing advantage to you. Imagine living your life believing that you are always supported? And the answers you seek are always right around the corner, and will find you when you need them? Compared to a belief system that you are alone in this world to fend for yourself, that you must come up with all the answers yourself, that everything is random. I think the former belief system would allow for a much more positive experience (not to mention healthier) in this world!