Biology of Belief: Escaping Flawed Subconscious Programming, Part 1 (Breather Episode with Brad))


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In episode one of these potentially life-changing Breather shows, I talk about insights from Dr. Bruce Lipton’s transformative book called The Biology Of Belief. Here is the foundational premise that will blow your mind: By age 35, 95-99% of your thoughts and actions originate from the habitual programming of the subconscious mind, mostly happening from ages 0-6 when we absorb our environmental happenings like a sponge. This is a combination of memorized behaviors, emotional reactions, beliefs and perceptions, that run in the background like an app on your smartphone. Brain scientists report that we think between 12,000-60,000 thoughts per day, that 98% of them are identical to yesterday’s thoughts, and that 80% of your subconscious thoughts are negative.

Are you pleased to hear this insight? Personally, I was pretty disturbed, because I prefer to think of myself as a mindful, conscious person. Actually, we are literally sleepwalking through life, reacting and getting stuck in patterns. It’s time to change, and it takes only a couple Breather shows! This book is a groundbreaking work in the field of new biology, and it will forever change how you think about thinking. Through the research of Dr. Lipton and other leading-edge scientists, stunning new discoveries have been made about the interaction between your mind and body and the processes by which cells receive information. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology, that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our thoughts.

Dr. Lipton explains that we spend 95-99% in daily life operating from subconscious programming. This programming happens when we’re “open” (ages 0-6). At that age, we are like sponges, absorbing every little bit of information from our environments: yes, all the family dysfunction, teachers scolding and criticizing, but we retain the good things too. By 6, we are fully programmed, and as we live and age, we continue to engage in behaviors aligned with our subconscious programming from ages 0 to 6. When we’re told we are not good enough, we play that out with 95 to 99% of our behaviors controlled by the subconscious mind, which is fully programmed by the time we’re 6 years old (something I touched on when I discussed parenting in part 2 of my show with Gitta Sivander).

So what happens when you’re out of the super sensitive, sponge-absorbing-everything stage? You’re an adult, past programming, and like everyone else, working on sorting through and unloading all the baggage you’re still carrying around from childhood...and maybe you go to therapy to try to work it out. One important thing to note about therapy, though: Dr. Lipton believes that when you repeat and relive these traumatic stories in therapy, your physiology is reliving them as well, which is why he offers alternative ways to heal from these traumas.

To understand Dr. Lipton’s book, it’s crucial to understand that genes are controlled by epigenetic influences that are mediated by our perception of these environmental influences. A good example is a traffic jam: I can easily sink into the mentality of: “Oh no, I hate traffic jams, what a F@^&$G waste of my time, I am SO mad!,” I can be honking my horn angrily, anxiously looking over at the next lane to see if I can squeeze myself in there and save an extra 12 seconds...or I can be like, “Well, ok, it looks like I’m stuck in a traffic jam, and I’m going to be a little behind schedule…” and I can take a deep breath, go with the flow, put on some classic music or a podcast, relax, and just go with it.

The difference between these two outlooks is huge, and there is a massively different impact on your genetic health, your biology, and your hormones when you are completely in control of your thoughts in reaction to your environment. I have a future show coming up with Dr. Ron Sinha where he talks about how his practice is really focusing in on how rumination is a disease that manifests with all kinds of physical problems. The moment you go into rumination you start worrying about the past or the future, and then you are operating from the  subconscious mind — and that does not support you — not when 80% of our ruminating thoughts are negative.

You have to learn how to interact with your thoughts and change them in real time, by becoming mindful, and by taking control — this is especially important during a time when people so easily say, “you triggered me.” This is something I discussed on the show with Mia Moore. It’s easy to be triggered - but where does that leave you? Powerless. Take control when you feel yourself reacting to something negatively. Then you activate the conscious to reprogram your subconscious. Unfortunately, life is way too hectic to allow us to do so, and our minds are too full to sit in quiet reflection and realize the significance of our thoughts and our subconscious programming, so Lipton suggestions these methods to become more conscious:

  1. Meditation
  2. Clinical hypnosis
  3. Plant medicine trip
  4. Energy psychology using EMDR (this helps us change self-limiting beliefs by slowing down our thoughts)

So, what is one area of life that reprogramming your beliefs will directly affect? LONGEVITY. Mental flexibility is one of the four pillars of longevity (to be explained further in the Keto Longevity book coming Fall 2019!).

The 5 communities that are home to longevity superstars?

  1. Okinawa, Japan.
  2. Loma Linda, California.
  3. Costa Rica's isolated Nicoya Peninsula.
  4. Ikaria, an isolated Greek island.
  5. The Italian island of Sardinia.

What do all these people have in common? A youthful psychological age. There are significant scientific studies that support the idea that we have not one, but three relevant ages toward our longevity:

  1. Chronological age (the year you were born)
  2. Psychological age (how old you feel)
  3. Biological age (the state of your physical health)

We make so many associations and attachments to chronological age that don’t serve us, and the reality is that science has revealed that your biological age and psychological age are vastly more important to your longevity prospects. This is something Deepak Chopra has discussed - how cultivating a youthful spirit, and the accordant beliefs that support it, can be manifested into reality on a quantum physical level. In Dr. Chopra’s landmark 1993 book, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, he corrects our flawed layman’s notion that we are physical beings separate from the world around us. What we perceive as our physical body — head, shoulders, knees and toes — is literally a swirling mass of atoms that are constantly dying and renewing based on signals received from the environment.

This means that we have the power, at all times, to influence gene expression and cellular function through the thoughts that we think, the foods we eat, the movement we engage in, and so forth. In The Biology of Belief, Dr. Lipton says, “The function of the mind is to create coherence between our beliefs and the reality we experience. Your mind will adjust the body’s biology and behavior to fit your beliefs. If the perception in your mind is reflected in the chemistry of your body, and if your nervous system reads and interprets the environment and then controls the blood’s chemistry, then you can literally change the fate of your cells by altering your thoughts.”

 However, most of us are way too maxed out with stressing, obsessing, ruminating, and complaining to even begin to ponder evolved concepts like influencing cellular function with our thoughts. The Biology of Belief makes you realize that your swirling mass of atoms is literally floating through hectic modern life in a daze, but only if you let this happen. Like Dr. Lipton said, you can literally change the fate of your cells by altering your thoughts.

Another great quote from the book: “The subconscious mind has the tendency to interfere with our conscious desires by programming undesirable thoughts and behaviors, which could lead to a great deal of stress and turmoil in our lives.” As dysfunctional childhood programming takes plays out, we adopt an assortment of narrow, flawed, and self-limiting beliefs. It’s common to believe that our genes are fixed heritable traits from our parents, and that they will largely determine our health destiny. You may have a family history of heart disease, obesity, breast cancer, depression, an impatient temperament, flat feet, or whatever else: yes, you are bestowed with these curses from your similarly-endowed parents and grandparents, and can’t do much to alter your course. Of course this stuff is relevant and important, but never forget that you have all the power. Otherwise, having a destructive, fixed mindset is the quickest way to ensure it WILL come true. This book reinforces that idea that your destiny is in your hands.

The glass half empty saying has literal significance — this line of thinking is known as genetic determinism, whereby genes are erroneously believed to be self-actualizing. As Dr. Lipton explains in The Biology of Belief, the concept of genetic determinism has been completely refuted by recent discoveries in the field of epigenetics — the study of how environment influences gene expression. In the reality we create with mental flexibility, virtually every genetic and hormonal function that influences health and longevity is a product of environmental signals combined with your perception of those signals.

We all know senior citizens who are cranky and lonely, as well as those who are vibrant and happy. This is not random distribution of genetic good fortune, but rather a product of intention and execution. Dr. Chopra describes this as, “expectations determining the outcome.” 

Granted, some people really are blessed with genetic variations (known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or “SNiPs) that promote enhanced cellular repair. One study revealed that a group of centenarians aged 100-107 had higher levels of two specific DNA repair enzymes than a group of random seniors aged 69-75.  The less fortunate may have ordinary genes, and more destructive beliefs and traumatic life experiences to overcome in order to embrace new possibilities. However, regardless of the cards you have been dealt, a grand new vision for your life journey is within your reach, starting with the formulation of empowering new beliefs. 

Here are Dr. Chopra’s marching orders accordingly: “By cultivating the habit of thinking of your body as a field of energy, transformation, and intelligence, you will begin to experience it as a flexible, dynamic bundle of consciousness, rather than a fixed, material thing.” But it is also important to note Dr. Lipton’s argument that believing that genes are self-actualizing is akin to thinking you can take an architect’s set of blueprints, toss them into the dirt on your empty lot, and expect the blueprints to build your dream house by themselves. Stretching the metaphor further for a moment, if you toss your precious blueprints into the dirt of your magnificent lakefront lot and sit back and wait, they will eventually get destroyed by mud, rain, sleet, and snow. Similarly, sitting around all day while your genes expect and desperately crave movement, or staying up late into the night when your genes crave darkness and sleep, will result in the destruction of healthy cells. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to practice mindfulness, especially with your thoughts, and The Biology of Belief is an amazing tool you can use to truly understand how you can work with your mind-body connection to empower yourself to take control of your life by being in control of your beliefs.


We spend 95 to 99% of our time in daily life operating from subconscious programming. [04:41]

Programming happens between ages 0 to 6. [05:50]

You can interact with your thoughts and change them in real time by becoming mindful. You can reprogram yourself. [10:36]

How does the mind affect longevity? [14:56]

The function of the mind is to create coherence between our beliefs and the reality that we experience. [22:00]

Genes don’t determine our destiny, but rather our behaviors. [26:24]

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