As beliefs control our lives, then how to change our self-limiting beliefs to achieve the desired result. What are the control means available with each of us, then this critical piece of knowledge is for you. It covers the biology of our body cells, the environment’s effect on them, how mind is different from the brain, synergy between the conscious mind and subconscious mind with a lot of real-life examples. Earlier also, I had given reference to Bruce Lipton from his life-changing book titled The Biology of Belief.
Bruce Lipton, PhD: The Jump From Cell Culture to Consciousness
Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, cell biologist and lecturer, is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. Bruce was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and later performed groundbreaking stem cell research at Stanford Medical School. His pioneering research on cloned human stem cells presaged today’s revolutionary new field of epigenetics. He is the bestselling author of The Biology of Belief and The Honeymoon Effect, and he is the coauthor, with Steve Bhaerman, of Spontaneous Evolution. Bruce received the prestigious Goi Peace Award (Japan) in honor of his scientific contribution to world harmony.
Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal (IMCJ): Would you start by explaining how you got from culturing what you determined to be stem cells in a Petri dish to ruminating about belief and consciousness and evolution?
Dr Lipton: When I was doing my research on cloning stem cells, at the same time I was also teaching in medical school. Genetic determinism was, at the time, a prevailing belief—that genes are capable of turning themselves on and off and regulating not just our physical structure, but our emotions and our behaviors as well. Genes seem to be the controlling factor of all characteristics of our lives. We attributed to them, at that time, the character of self-actualization, meaning that genes can turn themselves on and off.
In summary, what I was actually teaching future doctors, which they would then relate to their patients, is that genes are controlling their lives. As far as we know, we did not pick the genes that we came with. If we do not like the characteristics we have, we cannot change the genes. That leaves us with an unfortunate conclusion: We are victims of our heredity. Meaning, if there is cancer running in your family, well, anticipate that their gene for cancer is going to affect you and you are going to have cancer or cardiovascular disease or diabetes or Alzheimer’s or whatever those so-called hereditary issues are. So, we are powerless in controlling our biology, because the genes control it by turning on and off, and we have no control over them.
What would you do if you were powerless? The answer is: You have to find a rescuer. Therefore, you give up power over your life—because you believe you have no power—and hand it to someone who is recognized as a rescuer. A medical doctor, a pharmaceutical agency, or whatever it is, will take care of us. That is what we are teaching.
At the time I was teaching that, I was also doing work on cloning stem cells. Stem cells is just another term for embryonic cell. They are exactly the same. The difference is, I can call a cell an “embryonic cell” when you are an embryo. The moment you are born, you are no longer an embryo, so I cannot call it an embryonic cell. I change the name to stem cell. We want to equate the two. A stem cell is an embryonic cell in the body of a person who is born.
Why should I have these so-called embryonic cells in my body? We have to recognize that, on a daily basis, we lose hundreds of billions of cells from normal attrition: dying, old-age, damaged, or some problem with them. We have to replace them. How many days in a row can you stay healthy when you are losing hundreds of billions of cells every day? At some point, if you are not replacing those cells, you are in a lot of trouble. The fact is, our population of stem cells, embryonic cells, are there to replace any type of cell we lost, whether it is skin cells, bone cells, muscle cells, or brain cells. We can replace these cells, thank God; otherwise, there would be a problem.
My work was very simple. It was to identify a single stem cell and put it in a tissue culture dish by itself. The cells divide every 10 to 12 hours. I started with 1 cell, 10 hours later there were 2, and 10 hours later 4. Every 10 hours it was doubling: 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. After a week, I had about 50 000 in the Petri dish. The most important insight is that all 50 000 cells were derived from the same parent. By definition, I have 50 000 genetically identical cells in my culture dish.
I grow these cells in something called culture medium, which is the environment in which cells live. In other words, cells are like fish; they live in a fluid environment. So what is culture medium? It is the laboratory version of blood. If I take the cells out of the body, I want to put them in a very similar environment, so I create a synthetic version of blood for the culture dish. Because I am creating a synthetic version, I can change the composition in my medium.
Now, in the experiment that blew my mind, I created 3 slightly different versions of culture medium, by changing some of the constituents. I put these 3 different environments in 3 different Petri dishes, but all the dishes had portions from the same culture of genetically identical cells in them. As a result, cells in environment A became muscle. In the second Petri dish with genetically identical cells to the first but in a slightly different environment, the cells became bone. Then in the third dish, again with genetically identical cells but a different environment, the cells became fat cells. Now you are left with a very profound question: What controls the fate of the cells?
You start with the first premise: All 3 groups of cells are genetically identical. I cannot say there were different genes in dish 1 and different genes in dish 2. That’s not true; they are all genetically the same. The only difference was the composition, or the chemistry, of the culture medium—the environment in which the cells live. The conclusion was profoundly important. It is the environment that selects the genetic activity of the cell. This is profoundly different than the genes making the decisions as to what cells are going to be. So, this is a pretty interesting story about cells in a plastic dish, but what the heck does this have to do with me as a human? The jumpy part is that, when we look in a mirror and see ourselves as single individual entities, that is an illusion. It is a misperception. Because the truth is, a human body is actually a community of 50 trillion cells. When I say the word Bruce or you say the word Craig, that is a term that does not represent a single entity. It represents a single community of up to 50 trillion cells.
IMCJ: … and several trillion microbes.
Dr Lipton: Yes, that is the newer version of the human as a super organism. Instead of just human cells, we cannot survive without our microbiome. That expands, as you just said, to trillions of additional cells that are not ours but our microbiome’s cells. When you look at yourself as a single entity, that is the illusion. That truth, which is the jumpy part, is that we are skin-covered Petri dishes inside of which are 50 trillion-plus cells. Inside the body is the original culture medium called blood.
Here is the point: It doesn’t make a difference to the fate of the cell if it is in a plastic dish or the skin-covered dish. Because the fate of the cell is controlled by the conditions of the environment. The blood composition is really the factor that controls the genetic response of the cell. So then, what controls the composition of the culture medium? The blood. So, the brain is the chemist.
That leads us then to the next and more important question: I know the brain is the chemist, but what chemistry should the brain put into the blood? The chemistry put into the blood by the brain is a direct complement to the picture we hold in our mind. In other words, the mind’s image is translated by the brain into chemistry, which then goes to the body to create a physical complement to the image in the mind. In ancient terms, back from the days of the Buddha, 2500 years ago, “What we believe, we become.” Basically, our perception changes the chemistry of our blood.
In my lectures, I simply give this story: If you are sitting there with your eyes closed and you open your eyes and see someone you love, your mind holds a picture of love. A picture of love in the mind is translated by the brain into very specific chemistry. In a state of love, the brain releases dopamine for pleasure into the blood. The brain releases oxytocin into the blood, which is a chemical that helps us bind to the source of love that we are experiencing. The experience of love also releases another chemical into the growth medium—into the blood—called vasopressin. It helps us become more attractive so that our partner sticks with us even more. Another very important factor released by our brain while perceiving love is growth hormone—which, by its name does exactly what it says: It influences our growth. That result is that the chemistry of the body’s natural culture medium—blood—is adjusted by the perception of the mind.
The perception of love introduces such elements as dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, and growth hormone, all of which are chemicals that enhance the vitality and health of the 50 trillion cells in our skin-covered culture dish. In a state of love, the chemicals released in love result in health and harmony and a glowing body. People say, “Oh, look, you can see how in love they are. See how they glow.” That is a chemical expression of the culture medium, affecting the vitality of the cells.
Then I say, “Wait. The same person could open their eyes and instead of seeing love, see something that scares them.” In a state of fear, the brain does not release the chemicals associated with love. It releases chemicals associated with fear, which are stress hormones and inflammatory agents, changing the chemistry of the culture medium. Then, go back and recognize that the fate of the cell is directly dependent on the chemistry of the culture medium.
Now with stress hormones and inflammatory agents released in the blood, I change the genetics and behaviour of the cells and start to express a protection posture, which is antagonistic to growth. In fact, it actually cancels growth. The protection chemicals in the blood allocate energy for fight or flight, getting ready to run from a perceived fear.
The genetics of the cell give us all kinds of potentials. The potentials expressed are related to the composition of the culture medium. The culture medium composition in a laboratory is synthesized by me—synthetic blood. In your natural skin-covered Petri dish, or body, the brain is the chemist and it translates your perception into chemistry that complements that perception. The result is that your biology becomes complementary to your mind and its perception, hence the nature of what is called the placebo effect.
In the placebo effect, a person is ill in some degree then is given an opportunity to take a very specific medicine. The physician says, “This is the latest, greatest drug to treat you. Look, it’s coloured purple, it’s very good. Even the colour is going to heal you.” You believe, “My God, I found a drug that is going to heal me.” You take the drug, you get better. Later, you find out that the drug was just a sugar pill. What healed you? Well, obviously not the sugar pill. It was your perception and beliefs about the sugar pill that healed you. Almost everybody says they are familiar with that—how the mind can release chemistry in a belief that actually turns around and heals us.
What most people do not recognize is the consequence of a negative belief, in reference to the fact that a placebo is a consequence of a positive belief. A negative belief is equally powerful in shaping our biology and our genetics. It works in the opposite direction of a positive belief. A negative belief can result in any illness and even cause us to die. Just a belief. It can because that belief is translated in chemistry that will not support our vitality.
A negative belief relates to something called the nocebo effect. The nocebo effect is a consequence that can include any illness, disease, or death. That result is simple. The chemistry that determines our biology, genetics, behaviour, and life characteristics is chemistry derived from the brain which, in turn, is derived from the brain interpreting an image in our mind. As we change our mind, we change our biology.
This is the foundation of something called spontaneous remission. Say a person is going to die of terminal cancer. All of a sudden, there is spontaneous remission. What does this spontaneous remission do? In every case, the remission is due to the fact that the patient had a profound change of belief, a change of mind in regard to the factors that affect their lives. A letting go of the stresses and of the mind issues that were creating a nocebo effect. Letting go of those stresses can actually cause cancer to undergo spontaneous remission. The power is not in the genetics; the power is in consciousness. Our consciousness is translated into biology via the chemistry of the natural culture medium called blood.
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