We're not in Kansas Anymore

Don followed Marlies in a separate car the next morning, their hearts were lifted as they drove to the casino. The aching despair they had been trying to fight was replaced with a new possibility—Gus was coming home.

They positioned their cars on opposite ends of the employee parking lot directly facing the enclosure. Ginny said Gus was inside one of these buildings. They sat watching and waiting, wondering which structure might be the one, expecting Gus to appear at any moment.

The minutes passed slowly. Marlies drove over next to Don's car and they spoke through open windows, trying to offer encouragement to each other. She needed to head back to Santa Fe for an appointment with a client. Don said he would stay.

The waiting continued, the wondering, the hope… questions and doubts began to swirl in his mind and then a door to a large trailer opened and a woman climbed down a few stairs and walked into the fenced area.

He jumped from the car, ran to the fence and asked if she had seen a small white dog. She startled as she turned to face him and said no as she quickly walked away.

A casino security vehicle soon appeared and a staff member politely asked Don why he was parked in the employee lot. He explained he was looking for his lost dog. Someone had seen his dog in the enclosure. How could he describe how he knew?

The security guard assured him the buildings in the enclosed area were used for casino operations and asked him to move his car to the public parking lot on the other side of the building.

The first tangible ray of hope he had felt in six days slipped back into the pit of his stomach as he drove to the area where he had last seen Gus, struggling to replace his overwhelming sense of fear with faith—a deep knowing that the outcome he longed for was present and unfolding, especially if he could hang onto it and continue to perceive it in his mind.

He was aware of the power of thought.

He had read books by Lynne McTaggart, Bruce Lipton, and Joe Dispenza, each one describing the way our thoughts impact our own health, the health of others, and the world around us.

Their teachings converge with the lessons of quantum physics which describe how the world—and our experience in it—responds to the thoughts we choose to have.

He explored ways to re-write conditioned patterns of thought that cycled through his mind but he was easily lured back into the old familiar script being played by his subconscious. 

It told him that he wasn’t enough. 

This embedded program kept him locked in a loop of thought that created a state of sadness for him—and then his body responded and reinforced the script.

In her book Molecules of Emotion, biochemist Candace Pert describes these mysterious mind-body interactions. While conducting research for her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, Pert was recognized as the first person to discover the opiate brain receptor. Through years of research, she discovered evidence of the connections between thoughts, emotions, and our physical health.

“Emotions and bodily sensations are intricately intertwined, in a bidirectional network in which each can alter the other. Usually, this process takes place at an unconscious level, but it can also surface into consciousness under certain conditions, or be brought into consciousness by intention.” (Pert p142)

During her career as a biochemist, she began to recognize the interactive nature of thoughts and emotions with different physical states. As she explored alternative and integrative practices, she found evidence that they could promote states of wellness by releasing negative memories and emotions held by the body.

As she describes, “Hypnosis, yogic breathing, and many of the manipulative and energy-based therapies (ranging from bioenergetics and other psychotherapies centered on body work to chiropractic, massage and therapeutic touch) are all examples of techniques that can be used to effect change at a level beneath consciousness. (Based on the drama and rapidity of some therapeutic transformations, I believe that repressed emotions are stored in the body—the unconscious mind—via the release of neuropeptide ligands, and that memories are held in the receptors.)” (Pert p147)

As a pioneer in the field of neuroscience, Pert sought to understand the mysteries of mind/body connections—how our thoughts produce a profound impact on the state of our physical health. She explored integrative practices and identified physical benefits of practices like guided imagery and visualization.

“Through visualization,” she states, “We can increase the blood flow into a body part and thereby increase the availability of oxygen and nutrients to carry away toxins and nourish the cells. Neuropeptides can alter blood flow from one part of the body to another—the rate of blood flow is an important aspect of prioritizing and distributing the finite resources available to our body.” (Pert p146)

Bruce Lipton also explains these mind/body interactions in his bestselling book Biology of Belief. As a stem cell biologist in the 1960’s and 70’s, Lipton conducted research to explore how stem cells develop and respond to environmental factors. He discovered that identical stem cells could be influenced to grow into different types of human cells—remarkably, the environment of the cells determined the form they took.

Lipton describes how the unique chemistry of each petri dish determined whether identical stem cells developed into muscle, bone or fat cells. He was astounded to learn that cell growth was controlled by environmental signals—not by genes. These cues from the environment controlled switches on the surface of the membrane around each cell, determining how they developed into different types of cells in the human body.

Lipton compares the human body to a skin-covered petri dish—a dish containing fifty trillion cells and explains that the culture medium of this environment is our blood.

“And what determines the chemical composition of our culture medium (our blood),” Lipton asks? “The brain. The brain controls the chemistry of what’s released into the blood.”

And then he poses, “And what chemical should the brain release into the blood?”

And answers with excitement, “In complement with whatever the mind perceives! If the mind perceives a healthy, loving environment, then the chemistry of love is released into the blood.”  

This chemistry includes chemicals and neurochemicals like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin that promote a feeling of well-being and actually boost the immune system. If the mind perceives threat, corresponding chemicals and stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol will be released which produce a biochemistry, or “petri dish culture” as Lipton describes, that is unhealthy as the body reacts to the perceived threat in a fight or flight mode of response.

Lipton summarizes by saying, “The fate of the cells is controlled by the composition of the blood… and the composition of the blood is directly determined by consciousness. And as you change consciousness, you change the chemistry of the blood which changes the activity of the cells.”

When we have loving thoughts, Lipton states, “…These signals coming from the mind and then translated by the nervous system, are controlling our behavior, inside and outside—and our genetics! We have found out that our mind is the chemist. And our brain takes pictures of what’s in our mind and turns them into chemistry that controls our genes and our behavior so what we imagine in our mind, we manifest in our body.” (Awakening the World to Oneness 15:27)

Lipton’s research describes a new story—one that says we are not an inevitable product of the genes we carry. The thoughts we hold have great influence over the state of our physical health. By focusing on thoughts of love and gratitude, we can create a chemistry of neurochemicals that promotes a healthier physical and mental health.

“Biological behavior and gene activity are dynamically linked to information from the environment, which is downloaded into the cell. The point: a cell is a ‘programmable chip’ whose behavior and genetic activity are primarily controlled by environmental signals, not genes,” Lipton explains in his book.

The thoughts we have, the way we choose to perceive something, impacts the emotions we carry. And as Lipton explains, these emotions actually alter blood chemistry, the “petri dish culture” containing the cells in our body.

And since we are beings with the power of choice, we get to choose the way we perceive our experience and we get to select the thoughts we hold, which directly alter our blood chemistry, the expression of our genes and the physical states we experience. So the question then becomes what type of culture do we choose to cultivate?


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