We are powerful and we are capable of doing things that are called miracles. Miracles are actually events that science does not understand yet. Very profound miracles happen every day. For example, some people have cancer and suddenly their perception changes and they may experience spontaneous remission. By changing their perceptions of life, they reprogram their cells. That is the expression of epigenetic mechanisms, molecular processes that give the power back to the individual. Rather than perceiving that “we are victims of the cells,” the new science recognizes the power that we have to control the cells.
There are many stories throughout history that reveal the power of our thoughts. The placebo effect is really the “perception effect.” If you believe that something is going to help you, that belief itself can lead to the healing process. Among the biggest selling drugs on the market are the SSRI drugs – things like Prozac and Zoloft—and it has been revealed by the drug companies themselves through the Freedom of Information Act that these drugs turn out to work no better than placebos. The placebo effect is something that we have not really taken advantage of, the idea that beliefs can control our biology and physiology. In fact, it is now established that one third of all medical healings, including surgery, are the result of the placebo effect.
But what is most important and what has been left out of the picture is the equal and opposite effect called the “nocebo effect.” This is when a negative thought or belief is used to shape our biology. For example, if a professional person, a medical doctor or specialist, says you are going to die in three months and you believe him, then you may set this date into your perceptual clock, start to disentangle yourself from your life and actually die in three months. Basically the placebo and nocebo effects are two sides of the same coin and simply represent the perception effect.
But here comes a problem: the conscious mind can process about forty bits of data per second but the subconscious mind can process forty million bits of data in the same second. The relevance is simple. The subconscious mind is one million times more powerful as an information processor than the conscious mind. We all believe that we run our lives with a conscious mind. This is what I want from life. I want to do all these wonderful things. Yet our life doesn’t match our intentions; as a result there is a tendency to say, “I can’t get the things that I want, the world is not providing them to me.” We take on the role of victim. New insights have completely revolutionized this idea. We now recognize that ninety-five to ninety-nine percent of our cognitive activity comes from the subconscious mind; less than five percent is influenced or controlled by the conscious mind.
When we are doing affirmations or positive thinking, we are using the tiny processor that has less than five percent influence, which means that we have to depend on willpower to overpower the subconscious mind. That is a nearly impossible job because the moment we take our eye off the ball, we automatically go back to the preset programs that are in our subconscious mind. Positive thinking is a good idea, much better than negative thinking, but while you are engaged in positive thoughts using the conscious mind, the subconscious mind with its limiting and self-sabotaging programs is running the show! Consequently, positive thinking does not improve the situation for most people.
It is not that the conscious mind is not powerful, for it can run anything in the human body. We used to think it could only run the voluntary system—the skeletal muscles, arms and legs. But yogis have revealed that the conscious mind can change body temperature, blood pressure and heartbeat. The conscious mind, if it focuses on any part of the body or any function, can control it. But the conscious mind, being a small (40 bit/sec) processor, doesn’t have the capability of controlling as many things at the same time as the subconscious mind can, operating at 40 million bits/sec.
Most people hardly use the conscious mind. They run their day-to-day existence from programs stored in their subconscious mind. What programs will that subconscious mind run? The answer is the exact programs that were downloaded into it. No variations on a theme. What it has learned it will play for its entire life unless we go into the subconscious mind and rewrite the program. The conscious mind is frequently oblivious of the programs running from the subconscious mind because the conscious and subconscious minds operate in tandem: one does not observe the other. So if the things in my life are not what I’m looking for, is it because the universe isn’t offering me the opportunity or is it because I’m sabotaging myself? Almost inevitably we are sabotaging ourselves with limiting programs stored in our subconscious mind.
Must we go back and identify how the subconscious programming occurred? Absolutely not. The subconscious mind does not have a future or a past. It is handling the present moment all the time. A signal from the environment comes up, pushes the receptor that engages the effector that then coordinates the response. That is the subconscious mind. There is nobody in there. There is nobody to talk with or negotiate with in the subconscious mind. We must find other ways of influencing and impacting the subconscious mind’s programming.
One approach is what Buddhists call mindfulness – to be fully conscious all the time and make decisions with your creative mind, not from your habitual subconscious mind. The Yoga paths all provide various such practices. Other approaches include clinical hypnotherapy and a new field of diverse modalities that are collectively called “energy psychology,” ways of identifying and rewriting belief programs in our subconscious minds.
This article is part two of a three-part presentation derived from The Wisdom of Your Cells, How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology, © 2006 by Sounds True as an Audio Listening Course on eight CD’s.
© 2007 by Bruce H. Lipton, a cellular biologist whose breakthrough research on the cell membrane made him a pioneer in the new biology. He is the author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles.
It will look like this: The Wisdom of Your Cells – Power of Your Mind