In 1953, amazing scientific research reported by James Watson and Francis Crick captured the attention and imagination of human civilization. I vividly recall a New York tabloid’s coverage of their discovery, the full front page covered in large bold print read, “SECRET OF LIFE FOUND!” Their seminal studies on the nature of DNA, the molecule that forms the structure of genes, are a foundational pillar upon which modern medicine is built.
From Watson and Crick’s insights on how DNA encodes an organism’s hereditary traits, we bought into the belief that genes control biology. This belief led to a concept known as genetic determinism, the notion that our physical and behavioral fates are encoded in the genes. Since that time, modern medicine has operated under the principles of the medical model, an understanding that implies the human body is a chemical machine controlled by genes.
The perception that genes control our abilities, and more importantly, our disabilities, is so fundamental that we introduce this concept at the most elemental level of a child’s schooling, and continuously repeat the message through every level of higher education. Consequently, the public has been conditioned to believe that the human body and its behaviors reflect the activity of an exquisite genetically-controlled biochemical automaton.
Since genes apparently control the traits of an individual’s life, and since we had no say in which genes we were provided at conception, we might rightly consider ourselves victims of heredity. Owning victimization, we come to see ourselves as being powerless with regard to our ability to “reprogram” our fate. Diseases and dysfunctions are inevitably blamed upon the genetics and chemistry of our cells, tissues and organs.
Assuming the role of powerless victims, we rightfully deny responsibility for our physical and mental dysfunctions: our hearts attack us, defects in our insulin-producing cells trigger diabetes, depression is due to chemical imbalance and wayward cells cause cancer. In perceiving ourselves as “victims,” we have been programmed to seek outside healing through medical practitioners, who attempt to treat our ills and symptoms through the administration of drugs—a chemical correction for a chemical machine.
In the 1970’s, as a professor of histology and cell biology, I was teaching first year medical students the basic mechanisms by which genes controlled cells. However, at the same time, my research on cloned stem cells provided evidence that this genetic perspective on human biology was fundamentally flawed. These maverick, and to many, heretical, studies revealed that the fate of stem cells could be profoundly altered by minor changes in their environment. By modifying the constituents of the culture media or altering the oxygen concentration in the incubators, I was able to control the development of genetically identical cells, causing them to become muscle, bone or fat.
These studies clearly demonstrated that the character or fate of cells was not “controlled” by genes. In pursuing an understanding of what “controls” the cell’s behavior, my studies illuminated the mechanism by which the cell’s membrane, its “skin,” read environmental conditions and then sent signals throughout the cell to control its biology and behavior. Upon applying these insights to cells in the human body, it became apparent that the conditions of the body’s chemical environment, the equivalent of “culture medium” for our cells and tissues, was controlled by the secretions of the brain. Consequently, in response to the conditions of the world in which we live, the nervous system directly influences the character of the internal environment, which in turn shapes the fate of our cells. Changes in how we perceive the world ultimately lead to internal environmental changes that control the genetic activity and character of our cells
I was offered an opportunity to test this hypothesis as a research fellow at Stanford University’s School of Medicine in 1987. The theory I proposed on how our cells are controlled by our perceptions was substantiated in two major scientific publications. This pioneering research presaged one of today’s most active areas of research, epigenetics, the science of how genes are controlled by the environment and—more importantly—by our perception of that environment.
As described in my bestselling book, The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles, the new perspective on human biology does not view the body as just a mechanical device, but incorporates the role of mind and spirit. This breakthrough in biology is fundamental to healing for it shows us that when we change our perceptions or beliefs, the nervous system sends totally different messages to our cells. In effect, we reprogram them. This new biology reveals how people can have spontaneous remissions or recover from injuries thought to be permanent disabilities.
The body is not a “single” organism, but really represents the cooperative effort of a community of fifty trillion single cells. While every cell is an independent entity, collectively the body’s cellular community accommodates the wishes and intents of its “central voice,” - the mind and spirit.
Science is beginning to recognize that the principle source of stress, responsible for most of our illness, is our system’s “central voice,” the mind, which really consists of two separate minds, the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind is the thinking, rational “you”. It is the creative mind that houses your wishes, aspirations and desires. Its supporting partner is the subconscious mind, a database of programmed behaviors. Some “programs,” specifically inborn instincts are directly derived from genetics. However, the vast majority of the subconscious programs are acquired through the developmental learning experiences we have as children.
The subconscious mind is not the seat of reasoning or creative consciousness. It is strictly a stimulus-response device. When the subconscious mind perceives a signal from its environment it reflexively responds by activating a previously stored behavioral response—no thinking required!
Our fundamental perceptions or beliefs about life were downloaded into our subconscious mind by simply observing the behaviors and attitudes of our parents, siblings and peers during the first six years of our lives. Neuroscientists have revealed that 95% or more of our behavior is controlled by the actions of the subconscious mind. Hence, most of the behaviors that shape our lives are derived from other people’s programs.
The insidious part is that the subconscious behaviors are programmed to engage without the control of, or the observation by, the conscious mind. Since most of our behaviors are under the control of the subconscious mind, we rarely observe them or much less know that they are even engaged.
This is why the concept of “positive thinking” becomes problematic. Indeed, positive thoughts can create a health-sustaining internal environment. But “positive thinking” is a quality of the conscious mind. Since our biology is controlled 95 to 99% of the time by our subconscious mind, the conscious mind’s positive thinking usually has little influence over our health. However, with appropriate guidance and exercises we can use our conscious awareness to actively transform our lives by rewriting limiting perceptions, beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviors programmed in our subconscious minds.
Quantum physics emphasizes that the mind’s thoughts are not physical in nature, but represent immaterial energy fields, vibrations. Whenever we engage in healing ourselves through intention, we cause the mind to act as a “tuning fork” that sends healing vibrations throughout the body. Through focused and repetitive exercises, intention processes can facilitate a reprogramming of limiting and self-sabotaging subconscious beliefs.
An individual’s healing processes is profoundly accelerated when they gather in community and simultaneously practice their healing intentions with others. When a group shares a collective vibrational field, the healing power of intention is greatly amplified. Adam and other amazing healers further enhance the healing property of intention by serving as both a “conductor” who entrains the group’s vibrations and an “amplifier” that further boosts the power of the group’s healing field.
Adam’s empowering, and yet easy to understand books on the healing power of intention provide important insight into understanding the role of the mind and its affect on biology and behavior. With this new awareness, we become empowered for we can learn to become masters of our destiny instead of victims of our genes.
Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, cell biologist, lecturer and author. For more information, visit: www.brucelipton.com
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