How often do you hear someone blame their genetics for a problem? “All the women in our family have breast cancer” or “I’m more likely to be an alcoholic because my father was one.” Genetic determinism (your fate is controlled by your genes) is now something many of us don’t even question anymore. But, according to Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist, only 2-5% of our experience is hard-wired by our genetics. The good news is, we have control over 95-98% of our physical and emotional experience! In his book, The Biology of Belief, Lipton chronicles the 30-year history of genetic research. Scientists thought that by isolating chromosomes from a cell, they could change the cell’s behavior. In their experiments, they stripped the protein sheath off the DNA so that they could read the DNA code. The protein sheath is 50% of the DNA. Experiments that showed DNA was self-regulated didn’t show how complex the cells’ functions really were. Lipton goes on to describe how a human cell’s chromosomes change in response to its environment. When he put a muscle cell in one environment, it reproduced muscle cells; in another, it reproduced fat cells, and in another, bone cells. The cell’s receptors read the environment and set off a reaction inside the cell. Ultimately, it is the signal the cell receives that determines its fate. If the signal is distorted, dysfunction of the cell will result. There are only three ways a signal can be distorted to cause a dysfunction: 1) Trauma or physical damage; 2) Inappropriate chemicals or toxins, or 3) We send the wrong signal at an inappropriate time—referring to the thoughts we send with our minds! For example, if an anorexic perceives herself to be fat, that thought can cause her to starve herself death. According to Lipton, perception is the primary mechanism that controls biology. He says when we get sick, before fixing the body, first look at the perceptions. The three sources of perception are instincts, the subconscious mind, and the conscious mind.
Perceptions repeated over and over again become habitual and are stored in the subconscious, a huge database. For example, when you first learn to walk, you have to work hard to control the movements consciously, but over time, you walk without even thinking. The subconscious operates most of the brain and can handle about 40 million bits of data per second, while the conscious mind, in that second, can only handle about 40 bits of data. According to Lipton, “Whatever the conscious mind is not focusing on will be managed by the subconscious mind…Most of us are totally oblivious to the action of the subconscious mind. If the subconscious mind contains perceptions or programs that don’t support us, we may not even see how we are sabotaging ourselves. Anywhere from 95-99% of the day, we operate from the subconscious mind, the more powerful mind of the two; 5% or less, probably just 1% of the day, we’re actually controlling our lives with our own intentions and desires and beliefs that we contain in our conscious mind.” Because the subconscious mind is like a tape-player, we can change by giving it new programming. There are three ways to do this: 1) Become aware of negative thoughts and counteract them when they occur; 2) Use energy psychology techniques, like PSYCH-K and EMDR; or 3) Use clinical hypnotherapy to help reprogram beliefs. Take heart! And take control of your life and health. As Lipton says, “We can change our health by changing our mind.”