We are living in exciting times, for science is in the process of shattering old myths and rewriting a fundamental belief of human civilization. The belief that we are frail, biochemical machines controlled by genes is giving way to an understanding that we are powerful creators of our lives and the world in which we live. – Bruce Lipton
Welcome to Biology 101! …make that 101 version 2.0 – The Biology of Belief, where old scientific views, paradigms, and “beliefs” are shattered and the New Science (capitalized to denote Higher Science, as in Higher Self) is embraced.
New Science? Yep! But actually, they’re not that new. In fact, as you will learn from this book, there was one particular conjecture that came before Darwin’s theory of evolution that was kept under the rug. Hmmm… well-played ninja, well-played!
Then came quantum physics… and the latest emerging field, epigenetics, in which Dr. Lipton’s discovery could be considered one of its foundations.
Still remember your Biology class? You’ll get the same experience studying Life under the microscope while reading through the pages. There’s even an experiment included that you can try at home so you can better appreciate what a cell membrane is – very important, class!
In this 10th anniversary edition, Bruce added more relevant insights (on top of his more than 20 years of study) to bridge science and spirituality closer, as he too, through his eureka moment in the Caribbean, made his transition from a hardcore cell biologist to a “spiritual scientist.”
Welcome to the soul of science!
It’s the Environment, Ninja!
DNA does not control biology, and the nucleus itself is not the brain of the cell. Just like you and me, cells are shaped by where they live. In other words, it’s the environment, stupid.
Ok ninja, don’t get offended. Bruce is only rephrasing a famous mantra by Bill Clinton’s campaign manager (James Carville) during the 1992 presidential election: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
As a cell biologist, Dr. Lipton takes it as note-to-self: It’s the environment, stupid.
This is the core message of the book: Our life is not determined by our genes. It is shaped by our environment.
Consider health. How often do we conclude that one is more likely to develop cancer or heart problem because they run “in the genes”?
True, it’s in the genes. But did you know that only 5 percent of cancer and cardiovascular patients can attribute their disease directly to heredity? (Willett 2002; Silverman 2004)
95 percent of breast cancers are not due to inherited genes. The malignancies are derived from environmentally induced epigenetic alterations and not defective genes. (Kling 2003; Jones 2001; Seppa 2000; Baylin 1997)
Translating that means we are responsible for the major percentage of our health. What if the same principle applies to other areas of life?
Indeed, it does ninja!
For the first second or two I was struck by the fact that the chip and cell membrane shared the same technical definition. I was momentarily stunned when I realized that the identical nature of their definitions was not a coincidence. The cell membrane was indeed a structural and functional equivalent (homologue) of a silicon chip!
You’ll both love and laugh at Bruce’s eureka story. Let’s save that part for you to read, the redefining part of his life when he discovered the fact that the chip and cell membrane shared the same technical definition: a semiconductor with gates and channels.
What’s the point? It means the cell works in the same manner as a computer!
It means, just like a computer, a cell is programmable! (still not excited?)
It also means the programmer lies outside the computer / cell! (still nothing?)
The point is: a cell is a “programmable chip” which is primarily controlled by environmental signals, not genes.
You are the programmer! You get to choose what programs your cell plays, regardless of your genetic disposition.
Now clean your limiting beliefs “viruses” and start downloading love, happiness, peace, and abundance into your life! It’s the all-in-one Awesomeness program. Eureka!
However, the quantum perspective reveals that the universe is an integration of interdependent energy fields that are entangled in a meshwork of interactions. The reductionist’s perception of a linear flow of information is a characteristic of the Newtonian universe.
In contrast, the flow of information in a quantum universe is holistic. Cellular constituents are woven into a complex web of crosstalk, feedback, and feedforward communication loops.
An illustration in the book shows how one sees from a Newtonian and a Quantum perspective. Newtonian is unidirectional, linear. Quantum is multidirectional, holistic.
What’s the implication? Consider health again. Newtonian treats each part separately. You diagnose a problem with a specific part, you treat only that part. If C has a tumor, then by conventional approach we remove C by surgery, kill C by chemotherapy or erase C by radiation.
“But wait, there’s more!” said the Quantum holistic perspective, which sees each and every part as part of the whole. What binds them? Energy. You touch one part, you touch everything.
Separation is the sickness. Love is the healing energy. And true healing has no “side-effects.”
The Control Factor
Our responses to environmental stimuli are indeed controlled by perceptions, but not all of our learned perceptions are accurate. Yes, perception “controls” biology, but as we’ve seen, these perceptions can be true or false. Therefore, we would be more accurate to refer to these controlling perceptions as beliefs.
Beliefs control biology!
So what allows us to have a holistic perspective? There’s a specialized region in our brain called the prefrontal cortex associated with thinking, planning, and decision-making. It’s the “self-reflective” and “self-conscious” processor of our mind. It has the capacity to override or “hack” the programs installed in our subconscious mind.
But there’s a caveat. It also makes us prone to acquire others’ perceptions, which are inaccurate. In other words, outside influencers can hack us if we’re not aware.
Without awareness, these misperceptions become ingrained as beliefs, subconscious programs that run our lives.
But here’s an opportunity too! Bruce encourages us to utilize our brain’s ability to our advantage. With awareness, we gain the capacity to consciously evaluate our responses, based on our beliefs, and change them anytime we desire.
Beliefs control biology. Therefore, changing the beliefs leads to changes in life.
This research has confirmed that brain cells translate the mind’s perceptions (beliefs) of the world into complementary and unique chemical profiles that, when secreted into the blood, control the fate of the body’s 50 trillion cells. So blood, the body’s culture medium, not only nourishes cells, its neurochemical components also regulate cells’ genetic and behavioral activity.
“Positive thinking alone doesn’t work” is another belief we may have acquired from others.
If you’re saying positive affirmations out loud, but in the back of your mind you’re also saying “this won’t work,” then guess what? You’re right!
Research has already confirmed that positive beliefs change the blood’s neurochemical composition, which consequently affects the body’s 50 trillion cells.
That’s 50 trillion cells always working for you, listening to your commands. As their “programmer,” you can make them all work for you!
Dr. Lipton sums up The Biology of Belief this way: “Learning how to harness your mind to promote growth is the secret of life.”
Growth or Protection
My research at Stanford showed that these growth/protection behaviors are also essential for the survival of multicellular organisms such as humans. But there is a catch to these opposing survival mechanisms that have evolved over billions of years. It turns out that the mechanisms that support growth and protection cannot operate optimally at the same time. In other words, cells cannot simultaneously move forward and backward. The human blood vessel cells I studied at Stanford exhibited one microscopic anatomy for providing nutrition and a completely different microscopic anatomy for providing a protection response. What they couldn’t do was exhibit both configurations at the same time. (Lipton, et al, 1991)
Here’s another fascinating study-based findings by Dr. Lipton: the cell has two fundamental mechanisms. Growth OR protection. Emphasis on the “or” because the cell cannot do both at the same time.
Depending on the signal given to the cell, it either exhibits a growth response or a protection response.
Zoom that cell up to multi-cellular level – that’s us, humans – we also go to either growth mode or protection mode depending on the signal (positive or negative) we receive.
Why can’t it be both? Because when we’re in protection mode, a.k.a. survival mode, or fight-or-flight mode, we utilize our energy for protection response.
Growth processes also require an open exchange between an organism and its environment. In protection mode, organism closes down to shut off perceived threat.
The saying is true. Within our comfort zones, we may be protected… but nothing ever grows there.
The fetal and infant nervous system has vast sensory and learning capabilities and a kind of memory that neuroscientists call implicit memory.
These complex, small creatures have a pre-birth life in the womb that profoundly influences their long-term health and behavior.
Parents and wanna-be’s, ATTENTION! You are your child’s “Genetic Engineers” not merely because you pass on your genes but more significantly, you are both the “environment” (nature) and the “programmer” (nurture) that influence the quality of life of your child even before they were born.
Dr. Lipton shares research studies from his colleagues suggesting that the quality of life in the womb programs our susceptibility to coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and other conditions in later life. (Nathanielz 1999)
A process called genomic imprinting, which happens in the final stages of egg and sperm maturation, adjusts the activity of specific genes that will shape the character of the child yet to be conceived. (Surani 2001; Reik and Walter 2001)
Pops & Momsie’s if you’re reading this, in its truest sense, parental guidance is advised!
It is important to note that it is not the protein receptors but what activates the receptors that give individuals their identity. Each cell’s unique set of identity receptors are located on the membrane’s outer surface, where they act as “antennas,” downloading complementary environmental signals. These identity receptors read a signal of “self,” which does not exist within the cell but comes to it from the external environment.
Based on his studies, Dr. Lipton says that each of us has unique protein receptors that make up our individual identity. These receptors, called self-receptors, are activated when they match complementary signals downloaded from the environment.
Bruce goes on further saying that the cell’s receptors are not the source of its identity but the vehicle by which the “self” is downloaded from the environment.
He suggests that his “self” exists in the environment whether his body is here or not. When his physical body dies, his “self” will still be present.
Interesting, eh? Consider then that our “self” could be our highest potential that already exists, always exists, and we are the vehicles through which the Highest-Self (“God”) is waiting to be actualized.
God is always there, waiting…
You and I are like “Earth landers” who receive information from an environmental controller/Spirit. As we live our lives, the experiences of our world are sent back to that controller, our Spirit.
There you go! We are the “Earth Landers” sent to Earth for a mission.
What mission? To live life to the fullest, gather all human experiences and send information from those experiences back to the Spirit, to God.
Can one human live all human experiences? Of course not! It even takes more than a lifetime. That’s why we’re all here! Each of us was “programmed” to have a unique life experience.
We are unique and yet we all came from the same Source.
In Dr. Lipton’s analogy, we are a beam of white light that goes through a prism and appear on the other side as a rainbow spectrum. Different colors, same rainbow.
Oh, by the way, part of the mission is to show your true color and shine!
There’s a Pattern!
There are repetitive fractal patterns in nature and in evolution as well. The strikingly beautiful, computer-generated pictures that illustrate fractal patterns should remind us that, despite our modern angst and the seeming chaos of our world, there is order in nature, and there is nothing truly new under the sun. Evolution’s repetitive, fractal patterns allow us to predict that humans will figure out how to expand their consciousness in order to climb another rung of the evolutionary ladder.
This is NOT a random Universe. Nothing happens by coincidence. There’s a pattern!
Familiar with sacred geometry? It’s technically called “fractal geometry.” (If you have time, I highly recommend you watch the documentary Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds, which beautifully presented this phenomenon)
This pattern makes us realize that despite the seeming chaos in life, there is “divine order” and eventually, everything will fall into place, including us.
Step by step, no matter how small it is, we are making progress in the evolutionary ladder of ascension, one cell, one human at a time.
We are “programmed” for love, peace, joy, abundance, and all that awesomeness. If we can run our lives based on those programs, then maybe we’ll realize that Biology, Life as we know it, is not that complicated at all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BRUCE LIPTON, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized authority in bridging science and spirit. Stem cell biologist and recipient of the 2009 Goi Peace Award, he has been a guest speaker on hundreds of TV and radio shows as well as keynote presenter for national conferences.
Dr. Lipton has taken his award-winning medical school lectures to the public and is currently a sought after keynote speaker and workshop presenter. He lectures to conventional and complementary medical professionals and lay audiences about leading-edge science and how it dovetails with mind-body medicine and spiritual principles. He has been heartened by anecdotal reports from hundreds of former audience members who have improved their spiritual, physical, and mental well-being by applying the principles he discusses in his lectures. He is regarded as one of the leading voices of the New Biology.