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What Is a Belief and How Does It Work Biologically?

When I say the word belief, I am talking about a belief you have created about yourself, others, or the world based on an experience you have had and often an association that you have made about something or someone.

The beliefs you have about yourself and the world are what determines your experience of the world. Experiences create beliefs, and beliefs create more experiences. And your experience of the world is what controls your life.

There is also fascinating scientific research and proof of this on a biological level! There is a book called Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton where he explains his research on the subject. I’m going to briefly go over it because it is so important and relevant to taking control of your life, living healthier, happier, more peaceful.

Dr. Lipton and other scientists have found that our genes do not control our biology like we thought they did. We thought the control center of our cells was our genes which live in the nucleus of the cell. But when scientists removed the nucleus of the cell, the cell still performed as it should. Genes provide a blueprint for building proteins, and it is actually the cellular receptor proteins on the cell membrane which drive gene expression in response to their environment. The behavior of the cell is controlled by the input of the environment and then the conversion of that input into a behavior signal that coordinates the function of the cell to respond to what's going on in the environment. If there is no signal to the cell, then there is no behavior, it just sits there. The behavior of our cells is continuously adjusting to whatever the signals are from our environment. When histamine shows up, the protein informs the cell what has happened and signals to turn on some form of protection. Our genes are turned on and off by these signals. The signal from the environment activates the expression of the DNA, which is our genes, to make more proteins.

Receptor proteins: Awareness of physical environment (signal input).

Effector proteins: Physical Sensation (tells the cell what to do).

Perception: Awareness of environment through physical sensation.

So it is our perception that controls the behavior of our cells, as well as which genes to express. This is the basis of epigenetics. We adjust our genes to fit the environment that we think we live in – that we perceive. Perception could be right or could be wrong. Everyone perceives and experiences things in their own way. Therefore Perception is belief! Belief activates and can even re-write our genes, and does so all of the time. Our beliefs act as a filter between our environment and our biology. If your beliefs are off, you will select genes that are inappropriate for the environment. Most beliefs are learned and installed even before we were born! Mother selects genes for the offspring as they develop so the offspring can fit the environment that the parents live in. Life has everything in it, but we will only see what we have perception filters to see. From ages zero to seven years, we operate mostly in a theta brain wave state, where we are recording what we experience into our subconscious mind. These recordings become patterns and beliefs that run for the rest of our lives. Most of our core beliefs are formed during this time period and are mostly related to our family upbringing.

There is a story to help illustrate this: It was another Thanksgiving dinner and it was the son’s turn this year to cook the turkey. In preparing the turkey, he cuts off the top part and rear part of the turkey, seasons it, and puts it in the oven. A friend of the family who was there for dinner asks, “why do you cut off those parts of the turkey?” the son said “I am not sure, that is how my mom has always done it. So they go ask his mom the same question. She says, “I am not sure either, that’s how my mom has always done it.” So then they keep asking the same question up the generations until Great grandmother says, “Oh my mother cut the turkey that way in order for it to fit in our oven, which was too small to fit the entire turkey.” This is how beliefs can be unknowingly passed down to us from our family. Cutting the turkey to fit in the oven was the best option at the time, but now it’s something that isn’t necessary. It’s something that needs updating.

If during that time we hear our parents telling us we aren’t good enough, we’ll grow up with that belief running in the background, finding ourselves not feeling good enough for our current relationship or job. 95% of our brain operates from the subconscious, while only 5% is conscious. And our subconscious processes information about 1 million times faster than our conscious mind. Our subconscious programs and beliefs basically run our lives without us knowing it. Our conscious mind can read, learn and become aware of how it all works, but it can’t will itself to change the subconscious patterns.

So how do we reprogram our patterns and beliefs? Let’s find out in the next lesson.

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Written by

Eric Lundy