Dec 4, 2019

Book Review: The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton

This year is turning out to be one of the best years, reading-wise. The books that I chose to read this year are such interesting, thought-provoking ones. As many of you might know, I'm a huge fan of Dr.Sivaraman. I love to listen to his talks on youtube. During one such talk, he mentioned about the book "The biology of belief" when he was briefly speaking about epigenetics. It is one of the areas that I wanted to learn about this year. 

The basic premise of Bruce Lipton's "The biology of belief" is that our beliefs/perceptions control our biology and that environmental factors play an important trigger in how our bodies react and respond. The author has taken an alternate viewpoint of the popular Darwinian thinking that our genes determine our life. 

He takes the reader on a fascinating journey in elaborating this alternate viewpoint and touches upon a wide range of topics, right from the cellular structure, genetics, environmental influence, signal transduction, quantum physics, the role of conscious vs subconscious minds, etc. The best part is that not once you feel overwhelmed by complex scientific terminologies. The author ensures that a layman reader can easily understand the whole point of view through the use of stories, metaphors and personal anecdotes. 

In the first two chapters, he explains the issues behind the widely accepted belief that we are subservient to the power of our genes. He writes,

"Genes are not destiny! Environmental influences, including nutrition, stress and emotions can modify those genes without changing their basic blueprint. And those modifications can be passed onto future generations as surely as DNA blueprints are passed on via the double helix"

The proteins inside our cell membranes sense the environmental signals and responds through cellular behavior.

"Receptor antennas can also read vibrational energy fields such as light, sound and radio frequencies. If an energy vibration in the environment resonates with a receptor's antenna, it will alter the protein's charge, causing the receptor to change shape."

He then correlates this understanding with the way how a computer chip works and the fact that similar to how computer chips are programmable, cells are programmable too. It was such an "aha" moment while reading about this inter-linkage. The "aha" moments continued to hit me as I progressed to chapter 4 on quantum physics. The author elaborates on the role of energy, good vs bad vibes that we feel and the effectiveness of energy-based healing treatments. The explanation of the role of histamine and the side effects of antihistamine drugs was just mind-blowing (Pg 76). 

The best chapter according to me is Chapter 5 that talks about mind over body, actions of the conscious vs subconscious minds and placebos vs nocebos. This one chapter is worth rereading multiple times, given the numerous insights. A few of my favorite lines below:

"The actions of the subconscious mind are reflexive in nature and are not governed by reason or thinking."

"Endowed with the ability to be self-reflective, the self-conscious mind is extremely powerful. It can observe any programmed behavior we are engaged in, evaluate the behavior and consciously decide to change the program...... The conscious mind's capacity to override the subconscious mind's preprogrammed behaviors is the foundation of free will."

"The human brain's ability to "learn" perceptions is so advanced that we can actually acquire perceptions indirectly from teachers. Once we accept the perceptions of others as truths, their perceptions become hardwired into our own brains, becoming our truths."

As a parent, I could totally relate to the final chapter - Conscious parenting. The beliefs we learned from our parents play an important role in our subconscious programming.  There are quite a few takeaways for new parents in this chapter.

"Let go of unfounded fears and take care not to implant unnecessary fears and limiting beliefs in your children's subconscious minds."

I cannot recommend this book enough. Such an eye-opener and a fascinating read!

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