The Biology of Belief: An Interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton
Science and the medical world were dictating our future. “It’s genetic” was a common response when faced with a medical challenge. We felt like sitting ducks, not able to change the outcome of a trend of family illnesses.
However, interviewing Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of the renowned book “The Biology of Belief” sheds light on the new found understanding: we are not a victim of our genes, but a product of our environment.
Cells and Their Environment
Forty-eight years ago, Dr. Lipton ran a fascinating experiment that changed the way he viewed genetic tendencies. He cloned a stem cell (creating cells that are genetically identical) in a petri dish (a transparent dish used to culture microorganisms) and after one week, that single cell divided into 50,000 genetically identical cells. He divided those identical cells into 3 different petri dishes but changed the medium culture, or environment, in each dish. Would the outcome be the same?
Here were the stunning results: in the first petri dish, the cells formed muscle cells; in the second, bone cells and in the third, fat cells. What controlled the fate of these identical cells? It was the environment in which they existed that determined their fate.
What does that mean for the human body? Where once we thought that genetics would completely determine our future health or illnesses, now it has been proven that only 1% of illness is due to our genetics: whereas 99% of our health is determined by our environment.
Internal Environment Makes or Breaks Our Health
What is Dr. Lipton talking about when he refers to environment? He is referring to your internal environment: the health and balance of the gut, organs, glands, bones and blood and/or what supports or breaks down that environment.
Internal environment disrupters can include where you live (old home full of mold, new home made with toxic materials) and what kinds of chemical or environmental toxicity to which you were exposed from conception to the present. It also includes diet, many of which are specific to your family history: diets rich in sugars, gluten, dairy, or soda, candy and canned or fast food.
Also affecting your internal environment can be heavy metal exposure (see more here: part one, part two and part three), including how many silver amalgam fillings you, your mother, grandmother and great grandmother had, the emotional tenor of the household (happy, sad, fearful, abusive) and your current state of mind.
Identical Twins Raised in Different Families
If identical twins were raised in two separate environments, their health outcomes would most probably be different. Let’s say one was raised in a family that was happy, balanced, and chemical-free and had a perfectly balanced and healthy diet . The other was in a family that was chaotic, abusive, and chemical laden, and ate a junk food diet. Their environments were radically different. The potential for the second twin in the toxic environment to develop a critical illness is so much more probable.
The environment in which we live presently and lived from childhood can radically affect the way our genes express themselves. The study of epigenetics proves that bad gene expression can result from multiple environment triggers: whether chemical, emotional or physical.
Thoughts That Damage Our Health
But Dr. Lipton goes many steps further. In, “The Biology of Belief”, he concludes that our bad thoughts have the ability to create inflammation and our good thoughts can reduce inflammation. In fact, our brain is the chemist: it creates the chemistry of our blood. When we are in love, we release oxytocin and dopamine (“feel good” neurotransmitters) that create a feeling of immense well-being and stability.
Conversely, when we have angry, worried thoughts that create fear and anger, those stress chemicals cause inflammation. It shuts down the growth of cells: in other words, fear and anger kills cells. Cells only see the picture you have in your mind; they don’t have the ability to see the real world. So the chemistry of the blood changes with the pictures in your head. As it views this image, the brain creates certain neurochemicals consistent with it, thus turning it into biology.
If the mind misinterprets the world, our cells don’t know it is not true and fear shuts down all cellular protection. And in this state of fear and anger, when we have an infection, our cells can’t protect themselves and stress shuts down our immune system in order to conserve energy. Every day, as we bath ourselves in stress, it systematically shuts down our protective forces.
Thoughts That Heal and the Biology of Belief
This concept was illustrated by one of my docs. Many years ago, she had a history of ulcerative colitis. Over a two-year period, she was able to heal it with natural methods. However, ten years later, when her child was 2 years old, she found her old gut symptoms returning. She panicked. What had changed? Her eating habits remained the same: very healthy and balanced. But because of building stress, her thoughts were focused on impending illness. She was caught up in lots of negative thinking about her intestinal track.
At the time she picked up a book that encouraged positive health outcomes. For the next 60 days, she didn’t allow any negative thoughts about her gut symptoms to prevail. Any time she found herself repeating a well used phrase, “This is a pain in the butt!” she corrected her thinking. When she heard herself repeating over and over again that her gut was hurting and inflamed, she corrected herself, saying that her intestines were symptom free, healthy and in balance.
After 2 weeks, she started seeing that her symptoms were slowly diminishing and by the end of 2 months, her symptoms were completely gone. The only thing she changed was her constant negative thoughts concerning her gut symptoms. Dr. Lipton says that it is dangerous to define yourself as diseased because again, a release of certain chemicals will shut down your immune system. the power of our thoughts is amazing!
How We Form Thought Patterns
How are thought patterns formed? In the first seven years of our life, we are forming both our world and personal views. We watch our parents and their beliefs get recorded in our brain.
Parents are our coaches. Statements like “you are not loveable” or “you are not good enough,” even said as a knee jerk reaction, may end up defining our lives. Most parents do their best, but sometimes their statements get permanently imbedded in our subconscious mind. And, ultimately, this programming can run our lives.
However, we do not have to be the victim of that programming, no matter how intense the statements or circumstances. But we must work on re-programming those negative thought patterns if we are to live a happy and healthy life.
Conscious Verses Subconscious
There are two parts to the mind: the conscious and subconscious. The conscious mind is your creative nature: the “you” that exists on a daily basis. It holds your wishes and desires. It can think about the past and into the future, going back and forth, not bound by time.
The subconscious mind sees no past or future, but only programs: in other words, it is the habit of the mind. Everything we learn is a program, whether good or bad. It exists only in the present and it is on autopilot: you push the button and it plays.
Ninety five percent of the day, your thinking actually exists in the subconscious mind. So we are not actually driving our thoughts, but they are on autopilot, and expressing our programming. In actuality, we might be expressing our parent’s behavior. How many times have we stopped, hearing ourselves repeat the same phrases our mom or dad used when we are correcting our children? And when someone makes a comment, “You are just like your father” and our father was not a positive influence, we blow up. How can that be true? We have done everything to be different, and yet we can’t see that previous programming during our formative years continues to express itself.
Change Your Programming and Change Your Health
How can we change that programming? When you talk to yourself out loud, saying, “I am not going to eat that piece of cake”, consider this: your subconscious is running the show and it is not listening. And has that declaration changed your behavior? Perhaps not, as we continue to shove the cake in our mouth over and over again. Or when we read a self-help book, our conscious mind says YES! But was change permanent? Remember that our subconscious mind can’t learn by creativity. It can only learn by self-hypnosis.
One great way to begin re-programming is to make contact with the delta waves in the brain right as we drift off to sleep. Dr. Lipton provides many resources on his website that you can download and play before bed. It is important to play recordings for at least 15 minutes so the words can enter deeply into your subconscious mind. Of course, repetition is very important too.
It is important to look at your struggles and find out which beliefs don’t support you. You can either use one of Dr. Lipton’s downloads, or record your own. You can create one with a health goal in mind, or make positive declarative statements about your beliefs and life.
When repeated, it is possible to change your programming. In fact, when done properly, it’s been shown that you can change a behavior in 5-8 minutes. And when combined with my Cellular Healing diet, and my Multi-Therapeutic Approach to cellular health, over time, your internal environment can change. As your thoughts change, inflammation goes down, good genes are expressed and your world changes. You are not a victim of your genes, but a victor of your environment.