A dialogue with Gregg Braden and Dr. Bruce Lipton
By Meryl Ann Butler
Published in Awareness Magazine
November/December 2006 Issue
We live our lives based in what we believe about our world, ourselves, our capabilities, and our limits. What if those beliefs are wrong? What would it mean to discover that everything from the DNA of life, to the future of our world, is based upon a simple “Reality Code” that may be changed and upgraded by choice? In a rare, extended weekend, Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton and Todd Ovokaitys invite us on a journey to do just that!
(Part 1 of this article, featuring an interview with Gregg Braden, appeared in the September/October 2006 issue of Awareness Magazine. It can be found online at www.awarenessmag.com. Part 2 continues our interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton.)
MAB: Bruce, the merging of your and Gregg Braden’s work is so exciting! Thank you for your willingness to share some of your thoughts with us.
Dr. Bruce H. Lipton: Thanks, I’m happy to participate!
MAB: The premise of your book “The Biology of Belief” is that humans are not, as was previously believed, victims of our genes, but that the environment has a direct effect on our DNA. Would you elaborate?
BL: Sure. Until recently, it was thought that genes were self-actualizing, meaning genes could turn themselves on and off. As a result, most people today believe they are genetic automatons, and that their genes control their lives.
But my research introduces a radical new understanding of cell science. The new biology reveals that we ‘control’ our genome rather than being controlled by it. It is now recognized that the environment, and more specifically, our perception or interpretation of the environment directly controls the activity of our genes. This explains why people can have spontaneous remissions or recover from injuries deemed to be permanent disabilities.
MAB: Then it really is about “mind over matter”?
BL: Yes, this new perspective of human biology does not view the body as just a mechanical device, but rather incorporates the role of a mind and spirit. This breakthrough is fundamental in all healing because it recognizes that when we change our perception or beliefs we send totally different messages to our cells, causing a reprogramming of their _expression.
This new science is called epigenetics. It’s been around for about 16 years, but it’s just now being introduced to the general public. For example, The American Cancer Society is an organization that has been looking for cancer genes for the last 50 years or so. But they’ve found that only about 5 percent of cancer has genetic linkage, leaving 95% that is not genetically linked. Recently the American Cancer Society released a statistic that said 60 percent of cancer is avoidable by changing lifestyle and diet. So now they are telling us, “It’s the way you live, it’s not your genes.”
MAB: So the long sought-after “Fountain of Youth” could be right inside ourselves?
BL: Within every one of our bodies at this very moment, there are billions of stem cells, embryonic cells designed to repair or replace damaged tissues and organs.
However, the activity and fate of these regenerative cells are epigenetically controlled. That means they are profoundly influenced by our thoughts and perceptions about the environment. Hence our beliefs about aging can either interfere with or enhance stem cell function, causing our physiological regeneration or decline.
MAB: What part does evolution play in this?
BL: Well, as it turns out, Darwin was wrong. Current science overrides Darwin’s theories emphasizing competition and struggle, but this information can take years to get into the textbooks. Cooperation and community are actually the underlying principles of evolution, as well as the underlying principles of cell biology. The human body represents the cooperative effort of a community of fifty-trillion single cells. A community, by definition, is an organization of individuals committed to supporting a shared vision.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck had it right fifty years before Darwin. In 1809, Lamarck wrote the problems that will beset humanity will come from separating ourselves from nature, and that will lead to the dissolution of society. His understanding of evolution was that an organism and its environment create a cooperative interaction. If you want to understand the fate of an organism, you have to understand its relationship to the environment. He recognized that separating ourselves from our environment cuts us off from our source. He was right.
And when you understand the nature of epigenetics, you see his theory is now substantiated. With no mechanism to make sense of his theory before, and especially since we bought the concept of neo-Darwinian biologists who said the human body was subject to genetic control, Lamarck looked stupid. But guess what? New leading-edge science reveals he was right, after all.
MAB: So, how does this play out on the cellular level?
BL: Information from the environment is transferred to the cell via the cell membrane. We used to think that the cell nucleus was the brain of the cell. But in 1985 I discovered that the membrane is actually the brain of the cell. The nucleus, as it turns out, is actually the reproductive center.
The cell membrane (mem-brain!) monitors the condition of the environment and then sends signals to the genes to engage cellular mechanisms, which in turn, provide for its survival. In the human body, the brain sends messages to the cell’s membrane to control its behavior and genetic activity. This is how the mind, via the brain, controls our biology.
For example, an important discipline in the health sciences is referred to as psychoneuroimmunology. Literally this term means: the mind (psycho-) controls the brain (neuro-) which in turn, controls the immune system (immunology). This is how the placebo effect works!
When the mind perceives that the environment is safe and supportive, the cells focus on growth. Cells need growth in order to maintain the body’s healthy functioning.
However, when confronted by stress, cells adopt a defensive protection posture. When that happens, the body’s energy resources, normally used to sustain growth, are diverted to systems that provide protection. The result is that growth processes are restricted or suspended in a stressed system.
While our systems can accommodate periods of acute (brief) stress, prolonged or chronic stress is debilitating because the body’s energy demands interfere with the maintenance it requires, and this is what leads to dysfunction and disease.
For example, the fear that has been propagated in the United States since 9-11 has had a profoundly destructive effect upon the health of our citizens. Every time the government advertises concerns of more terror attacks, the fear alone causes stress hormones to shut down our biology and engage in a protection response.
Since the World Trade Center attack, the health of the country has plummeted and the pharmaceutical companies’ profits have skyrocketed (with a 100% increase in less than five years!)
Our color-coded terror alert system has also been responsible for another serious consequence. In a state of fear, stress hormones change the flow of blood in the brain. Under normal, healthy situations, blood flow in the brain is preferentially focused in the forebrain, the site of conscious control. However, in stress, the forebrain blood vessels constrict, forcing the blood to the hindbrain, the center of subconscious reflex control. Simply, in fear mode we become more reactive and less intelligent.
MAB: In your workshop, you talked about how we receive stress information. Would you elaborate on that?
BL: Sure. The principle source of stress signals is the system’s central voice, the mind. The mind is like the driver of a vehicle.
If we employ good driving skills in managing our behaviors and dealing with our emotions, then we should anticipate a long, happy and productive life. In contrast, ineffective behaviors and dysfunctional emotional management, like a bad driver, stress the cellular vehicle, interfering with its performance and provoking a breakdown.
Stress information can come to the cell from the two separate minds that create the body’s controlling central voice.
The (self-) conscious mind is the thinking you; it is the creative mind that expresses free will. It’s the equivalent of a 40-bit processor in that it can handle the input from about 40 nerves per second.
In contrast, the subconscious mind is a super computer loaded with a database of pre-programmed behaviors. It is a powerful 40-million-bit processor, interpreting and responding to over 40 million nerve impulses every second. Some programs are derived from genetics: these are our instincts. However, the vast majority of the subconscious programs are acquired through our developmental learning experiences.
The subconscious mind is not a seat of reasoning or creative consciousness, it is strictly a stimulus-response “play-back” device. When an environmental signal is perceived, the subconscious mind reflexively activates a previously-stored behavioral response – no thinking required!
The insidious part of the autopilot mechanism is that subconscious behaviors are programmed to engage without the control of, or the observation by, the conscious self. Neuroscientists have revealed that 95%-99% of our behavior is under the control of the subconscious mind. Consequently, we rarely observe these behaviors or much less know that they are even engaged.
While your conscious mind perceives that you are a good driver, it is the unconscious mind that has its hands on the wheel most of the time. And the unconscious mind may be driving you down the road to ruin.
We have been led to believe that by using willpower, we can override the negative programs of our subconscious mind. Unfortunately, to do that, one must keep a constant vigil on one’s own behavior.
There is no observing entity in the subconscious mind reviewing the behavioral tapes. The subconscious is strictly a record-playback machine. Consequently, there is no discernment as to whether a subconscious behavioral program is good or bad, it is just a tape. The moment you lapse in consciousness, the subconscious mind will automatically engage and play its previously-recorded, experience-based programs.
MAB: How did we get our subconscious programming in the first place?
BL: The prenatal and neonatal brain operates predominantly in delta and theta EEG frequencies through the first six years of our lives. This low level of brain activity is referred to as the hypnagogic state.
While in this hypnotic trance, a child does not have to be actively coached into specific behaviors. She obtains her behavioral programming simply by observing parents, siblings, peers and teachers.
In addition, a child’s subconscious mind also downloads beliefs relating to self. When a parent or teacher tells a young child he is sickly, stupid, bad or undeserving, this too is downloaded as a fact into the youngster’s subconscious mind. These acquired beliefs constitute the central voice that controls the fate of the body’s cellular community.
MAB: That’s pretty sobering! It seems to me that our subconscious mind is like a chunk of green kryptonite from Superman’s home planet, the one thing that could strip him of his superpowers. The kryptonite is analogous to the rocky foundations of childhood. As you indicated earlier, the subconscious isn’t evil by nature – and neither is the kryptonite. Yet it’s through these avenues that the programming of our childhood come back to plague us as adults, and – from what you are saying – rob us of our own superpowers! Many people feel so stuck, ineffective and victimized, in spite of the fact that their conscious intentions are focused upon success. So we come to the ultimate question, how can the subconscious mind be reprogrammed?
BL: To change a behavioral tape, you have to push the record button and then re-record the program incorporating the desired changes. There are several ways to do this with the subconscious mind.
First, we can become more self-conscious, and rely less on automated subconscious programs. By being fully conscious, we become the masters of our fates rather than the victims of our programs. This path is similar to Buddhist mindfulness.
Secondly, clinical hypnotherapy directly addresses the issue at the hypnagogic state.
In addition, we can use a variety of new energy psychology modalities that enable a rapid and profound reprogramming of limiting subconscious beliefs. These are forms of Superlearning that open and integrate both hemispheres of the brain at the same time, allowing us to re-write our subconscious programs. Using these processes that are mechanistically similar to pushing the record program on the subconscious mind’s tape player, we are able to release the limiting perceptions, beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviors.
Energy psychology modalities include Psych-K, Holographic Repatterning, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques),EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and BodyTalk.
MAB: As a labyrinth builder, I find many people report physical sensations of profound well-being and peace as a result of walking a labyrinth, as well as sense of timelessness, such as in an altered or hypnagogic state. Many spontaneous healings seem to be a direct result of labyrinth walking, and I myself have experienced healings and a sense of extraordinary wellness. Do you see this modality as a way to reprogram the subconscious as well?
BL: I believe any process that expands self-consciousness and allows us to observe and interact with our subconscious minds will open the gateway for change. With conscious awareness, we can actively transform our lives so they are filled with love, health and prosperity. The use of these new “rewrite” modalities provides a way to communicate with the cells of your body and is the link to transformative biology as well as psychology.
MAB: This was wonderful, thanks, Bruce, for sharing your insights!
BL: Thank you, I enjoyed it!
Gregg Braden and Bruce Lipton are blazing the trails of awareness of our interconnection with the Quantum Field, guiding us toward new and exciting understandings. Even this dynamic duo’s presentation style is significant – these guys live the co-operation they preach! Braden and Lipton offer their material in an integrated dance of perfectly-timed synergy, as their two distinctive arms of science converge, fittingly, at the heart.
Gregg Braden is a former Senior Aerospace Systems Designer turned New York Times best-selling author. His books include “Walking Between the Worlds”, “Awakening to Zero Point”, “The Isaiah Effect”, “The God Code”, “Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer”, and “The Divine Matrix”. He offers seminars and guides inter-national tours in search of the sacred. (www.greggbraden.com)
Dr. Bruce H. Lipton is author of the Los Angeles Times best-selling book, “The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles”. A cellular biologist, he is a former Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and former research scientist at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. He offers workshops throughout the U.S. and internationally. (www.bruce-lipton.com, www.beliefbook.com)
Meryl Ann Butler is a Renaissance woman: artist, author, educator, labyrinth builder and joyful exploress of cutting-edge quantum developments. “90 Minute Quilts” is her handbook for personal and planetary healing through creativity, fun and fabric. She says, “They don’t call quilts ‘comforters’ for nothing!” Trained in New York by one of Norman Rockwell’s students, she tutors adults and children in the greater Los Angeles area in traditional drawing and painting, as well as in quilting and fiber arts.