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You Are What You Think |
Zen And The Science of Mindfulness
How Meditation and Thoughtfulness Positively Affect The Body
By Marina Rose, QDNA®
The Magnificent Human Experience™ | Quantum Living
January 01, 2015
“The mind is everything. What you think you become" -- The Buddha
From Age Old Eastern spiritual wisdom, to New Age Western philosophy, over the years we've increasingly heard the adage “you are what you think.” Now it seems that modern science is actually able to validate this.
Over the past two decades there has been an ever growing body of evidence to support the idea that meditation and positive thinking can have profound beneficial health effects, far beyond the obvious calm and relaxation that it provides. Scientists have continually sought to understand precisely how these practices physically affect the body and to better understand the mechanism that creates the physical change.
Now, a new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France, reports the first scientific evidence detailing the specific molecular changes that occur in the body following a period of mindfulness and meditation.
The study, conducted by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds jointly with other international researchers, investigated the effects of one full day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditaters, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditaters showed a broad range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation, including illness.
More Than Just Bliss
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice," says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs," says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.
The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology and supports prior clinical studies which have shown mindfulness-based trainings to be beneficial for a host of illnesses, including inflammatory disorders and heart disease. These practices are endorsed by the American Heart Association as a recommended preventative intervention for illness. The newly published research now provide a possible biological mechanism for therapeutic effects that have long been demonstrated in test groups and past studies, where scientists could clearly see the positive results, but not fully understand the biological mechanism of how and why it worked.
Perhaps surprisingly, the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditaters following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways-- an outcome providing proof of principle that mindfulness practice can lead to epigenetic alterations of the genome.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice.” says Richard J. Davidson. So it seems that modern science is now finally validating what ancient mystics have always known, which is that there is much more to mediation than just relaxation and bliss.
Gene Activity Can Change According To Perception
Can your thoughts actually alter you the cells in your body? According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, well known Biologist and author of best-selling book The Biology of Belief, gene activity can change on a daily basis based on the perception in your mind, which is reflected in the chemistry of your body. When your nervous system reads and interprets what you perceive in your environment or what you mentally perceive through visualization of your thoughts, it then triggers process that actually controls and changes the chemistry of the body's blood. This means that you can literally change the fate of your cells simply by altering the nature of your thoughts.
In fact, Dr. Lipton’s research illustrates that by changing your perception; your mind can alter the activity of your genes and create over thirty thousand variations of products from each of the altered genes. He gives more detail by saying that the gene programs are contained within the nucleus of the cell, and you can rewrite those genetic programs at any time through this thought-perception blood chemistry shift in the body.
In the simplest terms, this means that to heal the body we must first change the way we think, not only about illness, but also the fundamental beliefs that we hold regarding overall health. “The function of the mind is to create coherence between our beliefs and the reality we experience,” Dr. Lipton says. “What that means is that your mind will adjust the body’s biology and behavior to fit with your beliefs. If you’ve been told you’ll die in six months and your mind believes it, you most likely will die in six months. That’s called the nocebo effect, the result of a negative thought, which is the opposite of the placebo effect, where healing is mediated by a positive thought.”
That dynamic points to a three-party system: there’s the part of you that swears it doesn’t want to die (the conscious mind), trumped by the part that believes you will (the doctor’s prognosis mediated by the subconscious mind), which then throws into gear the chemical reaction (mediated by the brain’s chemistry) to make sure the body conforms to the dominant belief.
Neuroscience has recognized that the subconscious controls 95 percent of our lives.
Now what about the part that doesn’t want to die–the conscious mind? Isn’t it impacting the body’s chemistry as well? Dr. Lipton said that it comes down to how the subconscious mind, which contains our deepest beliefs, has been programmed. It is these beliefs that ultimately cast the deciding vote, which makes it ever so important to be mindful of our thoughts.
Cultivating Daily Mindfulness
Beyond the mind-body connection that determines the outcome of our physical health, there lies an even deeper reason to cultivate daily mindfulness with our thoughts. It's about having a deeper understanding that what we think fundamentally has the power to affect the world around us.
From the moment we wake up, the inner chatter of our mind begins revving. It gets a bit quieter when we get fully absorbed with work, a technical or creative task, or mildly hypnotized with a TV program or the distractions of endless Social Media. Only when we fall asleep, does the mind go fully silent again, perhaps only to bubble below the surface of our awareness in the form of our nightly dreams.
The rest of the time our mind is on auto-pilot. It gets involved with internal commentary about the world around us, the replay of past conversations or the rehearsal of those yet to come. Amidst all of the chatter it is nothing short of remarkable that we find even the smallest moments to be truly self aware, say nothing of thoughtful human beings.
It is speculated that our atoms come from two or more generations of exploded stars. If true this makes us a rather poetic if not literal form of sentient star dust. Yet for the most part, we pass each day not giving our thoughts and our ability to think even a slightest second thought, which is a great shame, as it's not merely about having a positive outlook and never seeing the glass as half empty and always half full, but rather truly understanding that we are what we think, and this translates to a better understanding of the power of what we think.
As new science validates this timeless Age Old wisdom it offers us the gift of the knowledge that everyone indeed has the potential for unimaginable power in their lives, and the innate ability to reach for the highest of possibilities, including not only healing our bodies, but also our culture and the world around us.
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Copyright© Written by Marina Rose
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Marina Rose is the founder and developer of QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration®, a revolutionary new technique for quantum growth in life and business. QDNA® uses the latest cutting edge science in Neuroplasticity and DNA Reprogramming to develop plans of action that activate solutions for you and your business needs. It compounds Quantum Field principles, Positive Psychology, and Epigenetics, in a powerful new technique to assist you to achieve desired results. Accelerate your life and business now.
This article was written and appears as part of the blog series The Magnificent Human Experience™ | Explorations of Consciousness And The Human Body.
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Marina Rose is an alternative health pioneer who employs cutting edge techniques that sit squarely at the intersection of the most leading edge scientific research and the ancient arts of traditional mind-body-energy medicine. She is the founder and developer of QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration®, a revolutionary new technique for quantum growth in life and business. She offers seminars, programs, lectures, and private sessions in QDNA® that accelerate personal and professional transformation.
Marina has been an alternative healing arts and wellness facilitator for the past twenty-one years and holds certifications in more than twenty-four healing modalities. She is a highly respected facilitator, educator and lecturer in the field, with private practice based in Venice, California. Marina is the author of numerous articles on health and wellness, and is the author of The Magnificent Human Experience: Explorations In Consciousness and The Human Body, a weekly blog dedicated to far ranging topics that bridge the worlds science, health and spirituality.
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About | Marina Rose, QDNA®
Marina strongly believes that there is nothing that cannot be healed or transformed when the mind, body and emotions are in balance. From over two decades of professional experience, Marina has developed a broad range of instructional programs, seminars and a complete line of organic products to support health and healthy living.
Marina has also developed highly customized QDNA® Business Programs designed to assist in decoding, reconstructing, and recoding patterns of belief, to literally re-wire the brain for success, improving creativity, innovation, and productivity. These combined personal and professional QDNA® programs offer a unique opportunity to recondition the mind, body and spirit for far reaching and lasting results.Read More >