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Ancient WisdomThe wisdom of the ancients taught us that compassion for others was a great virtue. They believed that love and compassion toward others can free us from the prison of our own suffering and negativity. They believed the qualities inherent in love and compassion directly affected our vitality, longevity, and our ability to resist disease.
Ancient superstition? I wouldn't dismiss it that easily.
Perhaps the one thing that has puzzled geneticists the most over the last 50 years is why two-thirds of the human genetic code seems to be switched off. One theory was that it was just junk code, a result of the random convergence of amino acids that didn't contribute to our physical being. Another theory also labeled it as junk code, but deemed it the garbage left behind from the process of evolution.
More recently, however, some researchers have changed their thinking. A growing number of leading researchers now believe the human genetic code is a switchable code rather than a fixed code. They believe it's the persistent thoughts, beliefs and emotions we have day-by-day that determine which portions of our genetic code are switched on and switched off.
What that means to you is something I've written about many times in many different ways. Our thoughts, beliefs, and our responses to our emotions contribute to our mental, physical and spiritual health and well being. The positive qualities the ancients believed were inherent in the practice of love and compassion are now considered by some prominent researchers to greatly enhance our immune system.
Ancient wisdom may be old, but that doesn't mean it isn't still wisdom of the highest order.
In May of 2005, in this very column I wrote in an article about mind over matter, I quoted cellular researcher Dr. Bruce Lipton:
For almost fifty years we have held the illusion that our health and fate were preprogrammed in our genes, a concept referred to as genetic determinacy. Cellular biologists now recognize that the environment (external universe and internal-physiology), and more importantly, our perception of the environment, directly controls the activity of our genes.
In other words, what we think and believe, what we feel and do, works in concert with the universal laws to affect our physical being right down to the cellular level. Engaging in positive actions, thoughts and emotions seems to switch on the genes that enhance the quality of our lives in emotional, spiritual, and physical ways. Engaging in negative actions, thoughts, and emotions switch on the genes that leave us prone to disease and other maladies.
If we believe the ancients, if we believe the geneticists, we must concur that just as the art of practicing compassion and a loving attitude enhances the quality of our life, harboring resentment and hatred can decay the quality of our life. In so very many ways, we really do create our own reality.
While the ancients knew there were qualities in love and compassion that affected our well being, it is unknown if they realized how our perception of our life experiences affect our well being.
If our mindset is one of fear, dissatisfaction, envy, hatred or other negative thought patterns, we diminish our ability to draw joy and contentment from life. The trouble is, our mindset is so ingrained we often don't realize how detrimental our thought processes might be to our overall well being.
From time to time we need to take inventory of our beliefs and values. Only by honestly monitoring how we talk to ourselves and others can we discover our own negative predispositions and clear our mind of outdated fears and thought patterns that do not serve us well.
As you walk through your day at home, work, and at play, make mental notes of your inner responses and thoughts to the stimuli you encounter. What kind of self-images pop into your mind? What childhood memories come up? Do you notice the beauty around you? Do you see more positive traits or negative traits in the people you encounter? Do you regret you're getting older and can't do the things you used to do, or do you find new things that stimulate your mind and emotions? This is how we take inventory.
If you stick with it you'll notice patterns of behavior, recurring attitudes and overriding themes in your life that will show you where you can make positive changes. When we break negative traits that have a hold on us and our new perception becomes reality, it can profoundly affect how we feel about ourselves, and indeed, our health, joy, and contentment with life.
All of our experiences begin in our minds. Our thoughts, perceptions and attitudes about ourselves and others signal to the cosmos the kinds of situations and people that we will attract. If we have a victim mentality we will experience a recurring cycle of difficulties and disappointments, and we will play the victim again and again. This is cause and effect in action.
Positive beliefs flow from our higher self. Negative beliefs flow from subconcious conditioning and the discrepancies between our ego and our reality. A negative belief system drains our energy, causes a loss of focus, and suppresses our abilities. The good news is our belief system is a choice. We can choose to change our belief system and claim more control over our destiny. We need to root out the outdated beliefs, values and conditioning that are detrimental to us.
We begin by taking an honest inventory of ourselves, of our inner life and outward experiences. We need to retrain our minds to see our lives as sacred. Don't worry, I'm not going to start "preachin' that religion" at you. One definition of sacred is "entitled to respect." When we see our lives as sacred, it becomes more difficult to take it for granted. As we learn to place more value on ourselves, the negative begins to fall away. We begin to appreciate the beauty in life and to create a rewarding world within us and around us.
Ancient wisdom teaches us to love one another. Science and psychology cannot dispute the value of a loving attitude. Your mother even knew about it, after all, didn't she teach you that if you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all?
Your mom was probably smarter than either of you realized.