But what if this statement was completely false? Would that change how you view your health? Would you be empowered to take control of your health, if you knew you could change the outcome of your "genetics"?
Let's start with a little cutting edge science, simplified.
"It takes 10-15 years for science to take a fact from it's first inception to get it out into the public."
Textbooks are all at least 10-15 years old. Ponder that thought for a minute. The science being taught in school had the potential to be outdated by the time it reached the classroom.
The statement above was made by Dr. Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., a nationally known cellular biologist who writes and lectures about genetics and epigenetics. He discovered the power of our thoughts and how they influence cellular activity, the biology of perception. In his research, he discovered the true power of our minds, how our thoughts create our reality, right down to the cellular level. In his genetic research, he was lead to the reality "that it was the perception of the environment that controls the cell. At human levels, perceptions are beliefs and it turns out that it's actually our beliefs that select our genes and select our behavior."
Well that certainly changes things, doesn't it? Here is a little background on that.
The conventional belief, according to scientific journals, is that the nucleus of a cell is it's command center, in other words, it is considered to be the brain of the cell. The cell is an exact replica of the human and vice versa. Everything that is in a human is also found in a cell: a respiratory system, a digestive system, an endocrine system, a reproductive system, a nervous system, an immune system, etc. The brain of the human controls the human body, therefore the nucleus would appear to be the brain of the cell and it would seem likely that this nucleus would be the control center for the cell. What would be the consequence of taking the brain out of an organism? Clearly, death would result. But what happens if you remove the nucleus of a cell? Dr. Lipton did this and then studied the behavior of the cell without it's nucleus. If the nucleus is the brain of a cell, it should die when you remove it's nucleus, which is also it's genes. The result of Dr. Lipton's research is that the behavior of the cell was effected in no way by the removal of the nucleus! The cell will eventually die without the nucleus, but not for the reasons you would think. This means that the nucleus cannot be the control center of the cell, because the cell still has control without it's nucleus! The cells Dr. Lipton studied continued to behave the very same way they did before the nucleus was removed. They continued to move away from toxins and toward food, communicate with other cells, eat, grow, eliminate waste, build up their structure, etc. Genes do not control biology. This is an assumption that was made by scientists years ago and was never actually proven scientifically.
If it were true that our genes provide all of our characteristics for life, then it would also mean that our whole life is determined at conception, according the the conventional belief of genetic and cellular function. Yet, people acquire and heal from diseases every day. Something has changed within that organism to change the outcome, regardless of the genetics of the organism. If this outdated scientific theory were true, the human genome project should have resulted in the findings of a required 120,000 genes, yet it turns out that there are only less than 35,000 genes in the human body. Over 2/3 of the "required" genes are not present, why is that? Because our belief system was wrong! Genes do not control biology like we thought!
So what actually does control the cell? The brain of the cell is actually the membrane of the skin! I will try to keep this simple, but it's important to understanding the point I am trying to make. As Dr. Lipton explains, according to embryology there are three germ layers, each one connected to certain organs and tissues. The outer layer which is also known as the ectoderm, only gives rise to two organs in the body, the skin and the brain/nervous system. Your brain is derived from your skin. The skin of a cell is the interface between the environment and the cytoplasm. The skin reads what is going on and then tells the proteins in the cell what to do. The nucleus is not the brain of the cell, it's the gonad of the cell, it's reproduction! The nucleus, although important to life, has no intelligence. The cell membrane reads environmental signals and converts them into the signal that controls the proteins within the cell. Life is due to how the cell responds to the environment. Human life is how we respond to the environment. Behavior is not due to the genes, it is due to how we see the environmental "signal" and convert that signal into selecting the right protein for our response. Do you see where this is going? I don't want to get into the nitty-gritty of these scientific findings or it will become a long drawn out (and possibly boring) blog entry, so feel free to look into Dr. Lipton's magnificent work, it truly is incredible stuff and he is so fun to watch, not a boring moment in his lectures. He has a knack for making the task of learning about cellular biology fun and engaging.
You can change your beliefs. So what does this actually mean for our health?
"Knowledge is power. The more you are aware, the more capable you are at succeeding and lack of knowledge results in a lack of power." -Bruce Lipton, PhD.
I've taken this statement quite literally in my son's recovery from autism and PANDAS. I chose to educate myself extensively, which empowered me to feel like I could change the circumstances enough for him to heal. That is exactly what happened. I changed the circumstances enough for him to heal. He's recovered.
Old outdated belief:
We got our genes from our parents, therefore we have no power over the outcome of our life. This lack of power manifests itself in our lives and it is dis-empowering to us, because it says we are less powerful than our genes.
Our environment and our belief system actually controls the outcome of our lives on every level, including cellular activity, which determines our health status.
Historically, doctors and scientists have poo-pooed the power of the mind in studies where they see improvements with their placebo patients. Why wouldn't we harness this power rather than discard the information like garbage? Lissa Rankin, M.D. has researched this powerful effect in the medical journals and she puts on a great Tedx talk about it. You can find that link here.
When a doctor says your son's allergies are genetic, the old belief would tell you that there isn't much you can do about those allergies other than medicate and ease the symptoms, because well, they were bred into his genetics, right? Wrong. Yes, the susceptibility is there, genetically passed down, but the power to change the expression of those genes is in you and your child. And why did your child express those genes is the bigger question. If you have also carried down certain beliefs emotionally and you have eaten similar or the same foods, and your toxin exposures have been similar....these are all environmental triggers causing gene expression to switch on or off. Likewise, you can also do things that switch the gene expression back to a healthier state. It takes a conscious effort with intent, you must BELIEVE you can do this and remember, knowledge is power, the more you are aware, the more capable you are at succeeding.
Is it the chicken or the egg?
When we think about genetic diseases like cancer, diabetes, allergies, autism, and so forth, our belief system has the ability to automatically take our power away, but is it really "genetic" or is it that you "believe" you will fall prey to the same illnesses as your ancestors? That belief system feeds into your genetics, it turns on the very proteins inside your body that will ultimately express the illness you believe you are destined to acquire. And when you do acquire that disease, you believe you are destined to it, because your ancestors had it and it's "genetic". It can become a vicious cycle and often does. We have the power to change our thoughts and our environment, which changes our genetic expression and ultimately our health.
Our belief systems define us, they shape us, they label us and they determine where we are headed, but these belief systems aren't just the obvious conscious beliefs that we "know" about ourselves. Sure, there are the obvious beliefs we hold about ourselves and society like how we should look, what role religion plays in our lives, how our parents raised us and what we expect of ourselves from these beliefs. We hold beliefs on many levels in our body, mind and spirit. Some are subconscious, developed through experiences without conscious definition by our mind. They can be subtle, but powerful. This is where healing on a deeper level comes in. Practices like yoga, QiGong and meditation reach these subconscious levels and it is not uncommon to witness miraculous recoveries of illnesses like cancer when the person adds in practices like these to their physical healing regime. I wrote another blog entry about changing negative thought patterns with various self-help practices called Conscious Parenting.
Remember, we have the power to change, if we choose to, because after all, you are what you believe.