Dr Bruce Lipton’s work, based from his background of years in cell biology aims to bridge the (at least perceived) gap between science and spirituality.The great thing about his work is that you don’t have to be spiritually or scientifically minded to understand The Biology of Belief – and the ramifications of this knowledge on our perceptions about how life works and our part in this grand universal design.
Evolution – The Survival of the Most Cooperative
The story of evolution – organisms move from simple to more complex structures – that’s the WHAT.
The WHY is more fascinating and perhaps far from the Darwinist theory of randomness of mutations and survival of the fittest that we are familiar with. Or at least fittest in what we currently perceive as fittest.
Life on planet Earth began with bacteria.
Bacteria proliferated and mutated until they reached their highest individual nervous system function. They than formed bacteria colonies, shared awareness and lived together in larger and larger colonies. These large colonies became more integrated – colonies started to act as a single entity – by differentiating tasks.
This eventually led to the first single-celled organism, the amoeba.
So why am I giving you a biology lesson (?) Well, we can learn two lessons from the evolutionary story of life on Earth:
- Moving towards larger colonies is a biological push for survival. Shared awareness = greater overall awareness. More “eyes”, in this case billions are better than one.
- When living together in such large numbers, differentiation of function is more energy-efficient. The same principle can be seen in the auto industry . Henry Ford realised that by giving workers specialised tasks on an assembly line, cars could be made much faster. Prior to this, one skilled worker made the entire car, which took weeks. Division of labour meant that cars could now be made in a matter of minutes!
Which brings me to my next point – from the example above we can see that we are not so different from bacteria and amoebas – we are in fact a living colony of 50 trillion amoebas!
We just have to work on our cooperation part – evolutionary survival compels us to do so. Fittest from this understanding is actually the most able to survive – in this case the most cooperative.
Looking at cells as miniature humans
Since we are made up of 50 trillion cells, it would help to see how each cell behaves to gain some understanding about how we function as humans.
Who’s controlling who?
Cell biology up until recently held the firm belief that our genes controls our function.
Remember high-school biology where we learnt about DNA and genes (?) How fascinating to know that inside each and every cell was a blueprint that determined everything related to our body – everything from our outer appearance to our inner workings, including our intelligence, pre-disposition to illness and emotional make-up – or so we thought. It meant that despite our best efforts, genes determined our fate and there was little to nothing we could do about it. Cancer runs in your family – oh well, live your life as best you can until the inevitable happens – this is genetic determinism.
Dr. Lipton’s work has found this belief to be untrue and his findings about how our DNA blueprint work have great ramifications for understanding how cells function – and as a result, how we function as humans – both internally and externally and with our greater environment. Genes he has found order how a cell replicates – NOT necessarily how it functions.
Importance of Environment – what our cells are swimming in
In lab experiments it was found that cell environment determined cell function.
He found that cell environment determined cell function.
When genetically identical cells are placed in different environments – different substances (called culture medium) within which cells are allowed to grow – their function changes.
Why is that?
Well, the substance determines what the cell’s are fed and what signals they receive, which ultimately determines what proteins they make and how the cell functions.
In order to survive, a cell must adapt to an ever-changing environment – not just blindly follow a static genetic blueprint, which may or may not be relevant to the current environment.
This intuitively makes more sense.
As within, so without
If we then look at how the human body works, and if we think of the body as made up of a colony of cells (which it is) then of course the environment in which our cells grow impacts each cell.
Our culture medium – our blood – delivers signals and nutrients to each cell thus determining their behaviour. It shows how important nutrition in general is – we are literally feeding our cells by the food we eat. It also shows us that the signals we send our cells are critical.
What determines your signals (?) YOU do.
Your perceptions determine your thoughts – which determine the chemicals your brain release into your blood – which are the signals sent and received by cells – which determine their function.
PERCEPTION – THOUGHTS – CHEMICAL SIGNALS – CELL FUNCTION
Studies have shown that loving thoughts release chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin into the blood, which cause cells to flourish and grow.
Fearful thoughts release adrenaline and cortisol which inhibit cell growth. This serves a practical function. When faced with a threat, your body needs to conserve its resources for “fight or flight” mode, so best not to use these resources for growth, but rather survival – except when your body is constantly in fear or stress mode, your cells get flooded with these growth-inhibiting chemicals all the time – and become sick.
Science has proven that it is our biological imperative to be loving – or cooperative.
And if perception is so important, then what determines perception (?) Our belief.
The power of belief and understanding
The biology of belief goes beyond mere “positive thinking” – anyone who has tried to consciously “think positive” for an extended period can vouch for how difficult this can be.
Trying to think positively is so difficult because we don’t fully understand how the brain works. Once we understand this, we stop beating ourselves up for “not doing it right” and start to work with our brain, and not against it.
Your brain is indeed a powerful computer that has evolved over many years. The latest culmination of this evolution is your conscious mind – governed by the pre-frontal cortex at the front of your brain. Our conscious mind – is the seat of our creativity, our free will – we can consciously use this mind to go to wherever we choose mentally – and yes, to think positively. It holds and conjures up our dreams and aspirations. Sounds great.
So if we have the latest evolutionary technology governing our wishes and dreams, then why is positive thinking so difficult (?)
The subconscious mind.
This mind is governed by the evolutionarily older and much larger parts of the brain. It serves a very important purpose – it’s a recording mechanism.
Its stores key information such as knowing how to walk and talk so that you don’t have to re-learn these basic things again and again. Its stores instinctual (genetically programmed) or habitual behaviour from learned experiences – either directly or indirectly.This is all well and good (and very helpful!) – except (as you may know already…) your “recordings” may not always be aligned with your conscious mind – or with your highest good.
Regardless of its impact, your subconscious mind will replay learned habits and behaviours in response to stimuli. It enables organisms to react to their environment quickly – without having to “think” about it – very useful when running away from danger for example. Or for managing complex learnt behaviours – like driving a car. Remember how tricky it was to consciously remember to check your mirrors, change gears and steer the car all at the same time (?) After a while you could do this with ease – without having to “think” about it – thank your subconscious mind for that!
The subconscious brain is much more powerful in terms of sheer computing ability compared to your conscious mind. Neuroscientific studies have shown that the conscious mind controls behaviour only 5% of the time. This means that programs acquired by the subconscious mind shape behaviour 95% (!) of the time – and can do so without the control of the conscious mind – so most of the time we are running on autopilot without even realising it.(Just great…)
The good news is that like any powerful computer, your brain can be programmed – and re-programmed. The most efficient way to do this is though BOTH the conscious AND the subconscious. That’s why modalities such as NLP, hypnosis etc. are so powerful for effecting change in our behaviour – and explains why “positive thinking” on its own -and despite our best efforts has limited results.
Your brain’s job is to co-ordinate all the signals it receives via its perception so that is can give the appropriate messages to the other cells in your body based on your environment. This quote aptly summarises it all:
Your beliefs act like filters on a camera, changing how you see the world. And your biology adapts to those beliefs. When we truly recognise that our beliefs are that powerful, we hold the key to freedom. While we cannot readily change the codes of our genetic blueprints, we can change our minds and in the process, switch the blueprints used to express our genetic material. Dr. Bruce Lipton
The Next Step
It also brought scientific evidence to what hinders us from that love – FEAR. It also shows us why our shadow-self – or subconscious mind – is so powerful. The subconscious runs the shows up to 95% of the time! This can feel daunting – especially when we realise that much of the subconscious programming was done from indirect learning – from observation of teachers, parents, television, culture etc.
However, instead of feeling stuck in overwhelm and / or guilt, let’s rather as Dr. Lipton suggests aim to remember that we are personally responsible for everything in our lives once we become aware that we are personally responsible.
When viewing our bodies as a collection of 50 trillion amoebas (single cells) all working together in harmony to create you, its fills one with a sense of wonder. How do they all do it? And how they know what to do to keep you alive without you having to “think” about it too much?
Call it biology, nature,evolution, creativity, higher consciousness or spirit – the point is, it is self-evident – and it is compelling us to work together, forge new bonds and ways of thinking more cooperatively. When more and collections of amoebas – 50-trillion strong and more – come together consciously imagine the potentials for us as humanity and the planet as a whole – it is the next step in our evolution.
You can check out Bruce Lipton’s book here for the e-book The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles (I always recommend downloading e-books if you can to save paper) or here for the hard copy.