Do Your Genes Dictate Your Destiny? Maybe Not!
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By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Do you worry about getting cancer, or dying young from a heart attack, because that’s what happened to one or more relatives so ‘you’ve got the genes’?
Or, maybe you are resigned to current health conditions or addictive patterns that you feel like you have no control over—because that’s just the family pattern and after all, genes are genes, right?
Well, I’ve got good news for you! That’s NOT right!
Despite what we were taught in science classes and the prevailing scientific ‘wisdom’ on this subject, not-so-new scientific experimentation and discovery has revealed that there is a lot more to our proclivity to contracting diseases than the genes were born with!
This helps to explain why one family member might succumb to the ‘family cancer gene’ while another does not. It’s obvious there must be more to it than simply carrying a specific gene. Many of us ‘get’ that there are lifestyle factors that affect our health, and while true, this is only part of the puzzle.
Bruce Lipton, a biologist, and researcher, is a pioneering voice challenging the dogma of ‘genetic determinism’ – which has been accepted as truth for more than 50 years. Lipton was a firm believer in this dogma himself, and in fact, even taught it in University until a fateful experiment he performed in the late 1960s changed his entire worldview.
You can learn about the details of his experiment in his groundbreaking book The Biology of Belief or in one of his many YouTube videos, but the results that threw him for a loop revealed that—contrary to what he and almost all other scientists believed at the time—cells mutated and changed in response to their environment. In other words, their fate was not predetermined by the genes they carried.
This one experiment sent Lipton on a lifelong quest to learn more about what exactly it is in the ‘environment’ that signals our genes to express themselves, or not. He’s taken a deep dive into Quantum Science, along with another newer science known as epigenetics. The dictionary defines epigenetics as the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.
Now, Lipton, along with other cutting-edge scientists, are effectively proving with the scientific method what the mystic and sages have been saying for millennia.
For one, WE have way more control of our own bodies and health than we’ve been taught. And this control originates in our minds. The most important environmental signal to our genes turns out to be our own thoughts!
Now, don’t get me wrong. This is NOT to say that everyone who gets sick has crappy thoughts and it’s their own fault! I am not a proponent of that philosophy at all – I never had and never will be. For one thing, our subconscious mind is ‘taking the wheel’ about 90 percent of the time. So, even if we are diligent about ‘positive thinking’, unless we get into that ‘Operating System’ of the subconscious we’ve got thought loops running that we are unaware of. More on that later.
Plus, at the risk of getting a little too esoteric here, I believe there are many reasons that we confront health issues in our lifetimes, and that this has to do with choices we made on a Soul level before we chose to incarnate in a body.
Okay – if I haven’t lost you with that last bit, I want to say that the fact that science is showing us that we are not genetically predetermined to a certain fate is something to celebrate! This is an opportunity for us all.
A Personal Epiphany
While I have understood and believed for quite some time that our thoughts affect our experience in the physical world, it was like a huge wave of relief to read and understand the science demonstrating how this works in relationship to human health and disease.
Over a decade ago, due to a series of tragedies, I learned that the BRCA2 breast cancer gene was in my then-husband’s family. Two sisters succumbed to breast cancer before reaching the age of 55, and then a brother died quite quickly of pancreas cancer, which it turns out is related to the same gene. These untimely deaths were devastating enough, but then when another sister went for genetic testing and discovered the gene, I was even more upset.
I had not yet learned about epigenetics, and my research about this BRCA2 gene basically said that if you carried that gene your chances of getting breast cancer were increased to something like 85%. (At that time I think a ‘normal’ woman’s chances were around 15%).
The way this gene apparently worked in families was that it was only passed down to SOME members, not all. The only way to find out if you carried it was to be tested. If you didn’t have the gene personally it would not show up in your own offspring. Not only was I worried for my husband – who refused to be tested – I was super worried about my teenaged daughter.
Since my husband said he didn’t want to know (turns out he was smarter than I thought, because if he DID have the gene his thoughts would have been very negative about the likelihood that he would get cancer – which then might have caused him to get it!), I wondered if I needed to take my young daughter to be tested.
But, when I researched what could be done to reduce the likelihood of getting breast cancer if she DID have the gene, the only answers I found were to have a complete mastectomy and hysterectomy.
Um, nooo… I wasn’t going there.
Fortunately, my inner wisdom prevailed, and I decided to wait on any gene testing for my daughter. I decided to (for the most part) put any worry out of my mind and to forego talking to her about it. She had been brought up with holistic health values and already knew about eating well and taking care of herself. I knew I could always circle back later when she was older and we could discuss testing, and that perhaps in the future there would be less egregious alternatives for prevention.
Now, all these years later, I grateful to have a much deeper—and more empowering—understanding of how gene expression works. I am now quite sure that testing for the gene is a bad idea. The sad truth is that a negative diagnosis or even prognosis can send our minds spinning in the exact opposite direction that we want and need for optimum gene expression!
How Can We Use This Information in Regular Life?
While understanding that our beliefs and our environment play an important part in how our genes express themselves, and subsequently how disease plays out in our lives, is super-empowering, this is really just the tip of the iceberg.
The question is, what do we do with that knowledge?
Obviously, the answers to that question extend way beyond the scope of this one article. Entire books have been written on the subject, and more is being discovered every day. However, a simple understanding of this new way of looking at gene expression can be enough to help you make decisions and choices that will be more supportive of your overall health and wellbeing.
We’ve all heard the obvious tips, like ‘eat well, get enough sleep, be moderate with alcohol, don’t smoke, etc..’ But, why is it that it’s so hard for many of us to adhere to these maxims? The answer to that goes back to this fact that our subconscious mind is actually driving our behavior far more than our conscious mind.
In many ways, that’s good news. It’s our subconscious that has memorized all the little pieces that go into something as simple as taking a step or picking up a glass of water and taking a sip. Imagine if you had to consciously think through all of those motions! You can thank the recording mechanism of your brain for storing all those instructions in your subconscious.
On the not so great side, your subconscious has also duly recorded every unhelpful message you received, especially everything you saw, heard and experienced before the age of 7. During those years your brain was essentially in a hypnagogic state which means it soaked everything up like a sponge.
So, despite your best efforts to ‘think good thoughts’ about health or anything else, there is this constant subtext running that can derail all of it – unless you take steps to become aware of that and to rewire those old thoughts and beliefs. Which, research on brain plasticity has proven can be done at any age.
Some of my favorite and well-proven methods for getting into the ‘operating system’ of the subconscious and starting this process of rewiring include meditation, EFT tapping, breathwork (including simple deep breathing), and conscious observation and attention to your own mind chatter.
I’ll be delving into each of these more deeply, specifically in relation to how they can improve our health, in upcoming articles.
I also highly recommend giving Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief a read if you are as fascinated by these ideas as I am!
More by Sarah:
Sarah Grace Powers is a certified life coach and EFT Practitioner. She is a ‘dream resuscitator’, helping clients rediscover their passions and reinvent themselves no matter what their age or circumstance. In her previous career, she owned and operated an herb shop and has practiced holistic living for over three decades. Find her at sarahgracecoach.com
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