Cutting-edge molecular biologists have introduced a new perspective of why we are the way we are in the new field of epigenetics, showing that our genes are not just fixed from birth but are molded by how our mind perceives and interprets our environment.
It was previously thought that our genes were fixed and responsible for determining who we are – and now there might be a different story.
These findings have a massive implication. Although they have not gotten the proper attention, it deserves.
The findings illustrate that we actually have the power to transform our lives by changing how we interpret situations that happen to us.
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Your Unconscious Mind is Running Your Life
The premise is – if we can learn how to interpret things in a positive way – we can start living healthier and better quality lives – regardless of our genetic makeup.
Now that is a bold claim by any standards, and there is every reason why the traditional scientific community would have a hard time accepting this hypothesis.
However, there is a lot of evidence suggesting this might be the case – which we will get to.
Even more controversial perhaps is the claim that by adopting a new attitude or mindset – it has the power to send new messages to your cells to reprogram not only your behavior but also your health.
On the molecular level, this means that it can even alter the cellular structure – essentially turning sick cells into healthy cells.
This new science of epigenetics, and why it is so controversial, is that it does away with the old scientific tradition that is based squarely on Newtonian physics.
This is where our culture has believed that the mind-body are separate and it is from that notion that all of our culture and medical institutions have been formed upon.
Conscious Mind & Subconscious Mind
There is the conscious mind, which can think creatively and come up with new ideas, and then there is the subconscious mind, which stores all of our programmed behaviors. Most of these behaviors are acquired before we reach the age of six.
Now the subconscious mind is unable to modify its established patterns. It reacts to circumstances with pre-programmed behavior reactions that it has acquired over time. It also works independently of the conscious mind, without either knowledge or control.
This is why we are largely unaware of our behavior.
According to neuroscience research dating back to the 1970s, our brains begin preparing for action just over a third of a second before we become consciously aware that we are going to act. In other words, even if we believe ourselves to be conscious when making judgments, it is our subconscious mind that is really deciding for us.
Our unconscious mind is running us. We run on autopilot 95% of the time.
The conscious mind, according to neuroscientists, accounts for 5% or less of our cognitive (conscious) functioning during the day.
Our life, really then is but a reflection of all our unconscious programming. This is due to the fact that the subconscious’s task is to construct reality from its programming, i.e., to demonstrate that the program is accurate.
According to Dr. Lipton, if you have negative programming in your unconscious, you will recreate those bad events 95% of the time. And as those who have ever examined their unconscious thoughts know, the vast majority of the programs run by their unconscious mind are based on negativity. For example, a concern that other people might think badly about us, a worry that we would not be loved and feelings of low self worth etc…
How to get out of this endless cycle of old programs?
The unconscious mind is way more powerful than the conscious and unfortunately, because this is the case there is a lot more than good thinking needed if we want to escape it.
This is because the subconscious is always there, ready to take over once you lose track of yourself.
Multiple experiments with Buddhist meditators have proved that people of any age are able to change their brain structure by learning to create new neural pathways.
The study also revealed that individuals who meditate on a daily basis have better immunity and lower blood pressure – among other health advantages.
The mind & the state we are in
The mind is in a constant state of forgetfullness or unconsciousness and only becomes conscious when it perceives something immediately – something that is life threatening will get its attention.
If you stand by the side of the road and observe people you can often see they are somewhere else.
We have become asleep to ourselves. Our life is not lived awake – we are asleep.
We are not able to be conscious of what we are doing. We can not actaully be with the movements of your mind or body. It’s as if it is always somewhere else. Never here.
We need to re-learn how to do the simplest of things. Walking, eating, talking. All of it.
We have never learned how to actaully walk – and just walk. To eat – and just eat.
Eat, but while eating, don’t do anything else. Each bite there should only be that one bite happening. You should not be traveling around the world in your mind – imagining pasta in Italy or your mothers favorite desert.
The mind is always somewhere else, it never is here.
Because Here, the mind is never needed.
Right in the present moment, there is No mind. No – thing is needed.
The mind is needed only in the future, or somewhere else. Never here.
If we say – well how would I find my keys or star the car without thinking? In fact you would do all of that – and more. Better.
The practice then is whenever you see the mind has moved somewhere else, become alert. Come back to where you are. If you are eating – eat; if you are walking – just walk; don’t allow the mind to travel over the world.
The problem is the mind. Or better yet, the problem is the identification. Mind is what it is. It does what it does. No point it crying.
The issue is that you think you are it – that – that’s all you are. That’s the problem.
We continually identify. We take everything personally.
Can you be the watcher and just let the mind be there – watched, witnessed, observed?
If we can, a radical change happens through observation. Something that can only be lived. Words do not do it justice. We do all this, not with all the focus, and determination that we associate with practice. But by merely passive noticing.
Because focus again is the mind.
When you are passively aware, you begin to see much more. The mind becomes much more light.
You can actually begin to rest. Otherwise you – and the totality of your life is just the sum total of shuttling back and forth – being played by the dictates of the mind. And that is where all the fatigue and burnout comes from.
We become tired – exhausted of the slavery.
We need to learn how to become unconcerned and uninvolved with what happens in our mind.
The only reason why we care, is because the mind says so – but who cares?
It is the identification with thought that gives the mind life. It is the commenting that makes it incessant. We comment about everything.
Every thought is followed by a comment about it. Every sight, we comment about. We are so concerned about our opinion about it – we become so wrapped up in the commentary that we actaully never fully get in touch with what we see. We quickly move on to the next.
When we stop being so involved, we begin to see thought more like a river. It moves, and yet here I am watching it all from the shore, it never really touching me.
Meditation is – finding the one who is doing the watching.
The mind should be used by you, not vice versa. Right now you are the slave, and the mind is the master.
Without this ability, without meditation – life is only a movement of slavery.
We have no control over ourselves. We are slaves to our impulses that we never get the chance to even chose – they chose us.
If we can learn to see the thoughts that constantly occupy us. What would we find?
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Jake is a yoga and meditation teacher. He loves stream-of-consciousness writing, good coffee, and a quiet mind. Not necessarily in that order. You can find him pursuing that wherever he goes.