The rapidly expanding science of epigenetics (we are more than our genes) is bringing us full circle, taking us back to a time when this understanding i.e. that our biology does not tell the whole story, was intuitively understood and practiced by our ancestors, particularly those from the East (philosophers, sages, yogis and holy people). It’s fascinating to watch the cutting edge science of the West slowly confirming the spirituality and ancient wisdom of the East. The closer we look at the new science, the more we can see that there are five crucial factors influencing the quality of our lives. Epigenetics has helped us to understand that first and foremost amongst these are our thoughts and feelings. There is nothing that impacts on the story of the cell more than our thoughts and our feelings. Their influence is arguably as much as 60-80% in terms of the impact on the cell’s behaviour, activities and functions.
The second critical factor is diet and nutrition. It has long been understood that we are what we eat and yet this relationship between food and mood is still being played down when it is pivotal to how we think and feel. If the body is laden with toxins how are we meant to keep a stream of pure positive thoughts flowing? Surely a toxic state simply sets up further tensions within the system.
Next in line is a life of meaning and purpose. Those who have no sense of who they are and where they’re going are arguably the most afflicted, having the worst strains of anxiety, fear, depression and self-loathing. Lack of meaning and purpose accounts for many mental health issues. Address this essential need and much of what afflicts the human spirit will be healed.
The other key player in the health of the cell is our relationships. A life of meaning and purpose addresses our relationship with ourselves but we are social beings and therefore we need relationships with others. These relationships need integrity, intimacy, respect, warmth and love if they are to sustain both parties. Sadly, so often the relationships of the modern world sacrifice quality for quantity, which means that all too often we don’t make the necessary investments in these areas. Relationships that lack these core elements put stress and strain on the spirit and so one’s sense of self and the quality of wellbeing is dramatically reduced.
Last but not least amongst this primary group of five is the environment. We cannot divorce our wellbeing from our environment. For those who doubt it, we are currently seeing what is happening to our planet. The mirror of reality is being uncomfortably placed in front of us, reflecting back the consequences of our actions. There are always consequences for the choices we make and the actions we perform. The sooner we acknowledge this and apply this truth to our lives the sooner we can initiate the changes we want to see. The environment is constantly impacting on our genetic make-up, our genes are not playing out a predetermined pattern. They are in fact telling the story of our relationship with the environment. This relationship has been described as pleomorphism (there are many possibilities). In other words, the outcome is not certain. What is certain is if we do nothing, negativity, uncertainty and further demise will manifest in our lives.
This is a brief summary of the five critical factors which are shaping our lives minute by minute. When the cell is well, all is well. What happens at a microcosmic level i.e. at the cellular level, will and does shape what happens bodywide (the macro). Once this has been understood you are able to appreciate the power that you have over your own destiny. If you’re able to see the extent to which thoughts and feelings are shaping the way that your life is unfolding, along with the other factors discussed, then you can see that any efforts to improve in these areas will have an incredible effect on your growth and your life.