Environmental Stress is Passed Down
to Generations Through DNA
Scientists have made some incredible new discoveries on how our minds can literally affect our biology, especially through the study of epigenetics, the branch of science that looks at how inherited changes in gene expression are caused by environmental conditions. Instead of looking at DNA as the only factor controlling our biology, scientists are also looking at what is actually controlling the DNA, which includes our thoughts.
We receive genetic instructions from our DNA, passed down through generations, but the environment we live in can also make genetic changes. One of the more recent studies that explored this concept was conducted by a team led by scientists from the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in Spain.
To figure out how long the environment can leave a mark on genetic expression, the scientists used genetically engineered nematode worms that carry a transgene fluorescent protein, allowing the worms to glow under ultraviolet light. They then put the worms in different temperature-controlled containers to observe how the heat and the cold affected their ability to glow.
When the worms were in the colder containers (20° Celsius), the transgene showed low activity and therefore the worms could barely glow. However, when they put the worms in a warmer container (25° Celsius), the transgene became much more active, evinced by the worms' bright glow. To test the worms even further, the scientists took the warm, glowing worms and put them back in the cold containers.
To their surprise, the worms continued to glow, which to the scientists meant that they retained an “environmental memory” of the warmer temperature, allowing the transgene to remain active. When the worms had offspring, that memory was actually passed on to their children for seven generations, allowing them to glow brightly despite never having experienced a warmer climate.
To further test their epigenetic capabilities, the scientists kept five generations in a warmer climate of 25° Celsius and then separated their offspring from them, putting them in colder temperatures. However, the worms still continued to have the highly active transgene for 14 generations. “Worms are very short-lived, so perhaps they are transmitting memories of past conditions to help their descendants predict what their environment might be like in the future,” explained co-researcher Tanya Vavouri.
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Cannabis and Yoga? A New Trend Emerges
“Yoga and herb intake have been linked since ancient times. The yoga sutras, written in Sanskrit before the time of Christ, are considered the practice’s foundational text. The sutras list herbs as one of five methods to lift the veil of ignorance, or the barrier between the conscious and the unconscious,” wrote Rabbi Mark Winer for the New York Times.
While many people feel that cannabis and exercise go anything but hand-in-hand, there is an emerging group of individuals coming forward claiming that, for them, the two actually pair quite well. In fact, they go as far as to claim that practicing yoga and receiving the therapeutic benefits they so desperately need would be all but impossible without the relaxation and pain relieving qualities cannabis has to offer.
Such individuals feel the relaxing properties of cannabis help them clear their heads, relieve physical and mental tension, eliminate racing thoughts, and center them in a way that enables their minds, bodies, and spirits to benefit far more from the practice than they otherwise would, and people are finding it to be the centering remedy needed to allow them to surrender to the practice; essentially opening the gateway to the renewal and rejuvenation yoga brings.
Of the most disciplined yogis, who view yoga itself as a strict, structured discipline to achieve mastery over the body and mind. "Marijuana use in this context may suggest that a person is dependent on the drug for that mastery that Yoga can bring.” Furthermore, serious yogis feel that “attending a class in this drug-induced state may not allow for a clear, tranquil mind.”
On the other hand, "The subtler attainments come with birth or are attained through herbs, mantra, austerities or concentration. Cannabis use allows for a quieting of the outside world, and the ability to focus more totally on the interior process of meditation." – The Yoga Sutras
The bottom line for the argument is that for those with debilitating physical or mental conditions, cannabis, with its pain-reducing and calming effects, opens a gateway for those people to experience the benefits of yoga they may not otherwise attempt.
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The Dalai Lama Talks Quantum Physics
“Broadly speaking, although there are some differences, I think Buddhist philosophy and Quantum Mechanics can shake hands on their view of the world. We can see in these great examples the fruits of human thinking. Regardless of the admiration we feel for these great thinkers, we should not lose sight of the fact that they were human beings just as we are.”
Quantum physics is verifying what Buddhists and other spiritual practitioners have been saying for years, helping people to accept their inherent spiritual nature all around the world. We are fundamentally connected to everything around us, and science is finally proving that. Nevertheless, there’s still a lingering dualistic air surrounding science and spirituality: You have religious people denying scientific facts and scientists identifying themselves as self-proclaimed Atheists. However, we’re simultaneously seeing a merging of the two, and it’s truly beautiful.
In November 2015, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, attended a two-day conference on quantum physics and Madhyamaka philosophy in New Delhi. Madhyamaka translates to “one who holds to the middle” or “the middle way” and belongs to the Mahayana school of thought in Buddhism, which was developed by the Indian Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna during the second century.
The Dalai Lama explained how he first came into studying quantum physics: "When I was about 19 or 20 I developed a curiosity about science that had begun with an interest in mechanical things and how they worked. In China in 1954/5 I met Mao Zedong several times. Once he commended me for having a scientific mind, adding that religion was poison, perhaps presuming that this would appeal so someone who was ‘scientific minded’. After coming to India as a refugee I had many opportunities to meet people from many different walks of life, scientists among them. 30 years ago I began a series of dialogues focusing on cosmology, neurobiology, physics, including Quantum Physics, and psychology. These discussions have been largely of mutual benefit. Scientists have learned more about the mind and emotions, while we have gained a subtler explanation of matter."
Perhaps the most intriguing part of this quote is the fact that the Dalai Lama interpreted Zedong’s harsh words against religion as being somewhat appealing to someone with a “scientific mind.” This speaks to the belief system of science and religion being polar opposites. If you were a scientist, it was almost a social norm to make fun of religion, and vice versa, and that still remains true today.
What the Dalai Lama is validating is that the ancient knowledge within these Buddhist texts is now being proven by quantum physics. Physicists are actually catching up to what these texts revealed centuries ago, but only now can it be verified by more modern science.
A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a "mental" construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. – R. C. Henry, “The Mental Universe” Nature Magazine 2006
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Building a Ladder to Infinite Possibilities
One of the more amazing aspects to Life that quantum physics teaches us is that all possibilities--infinite possibilities--exist within every moment. We also learn that the subatomic intelligences making up the perceivable universe(s) are clumped together in forms that the mind assigns use and meaning. These subatomic intelligences are listening to our thoughts and watching our actions at every moment.
In the science of epigenetics, we find that the decisions, opinions, fears and other emotional states not only create gene expression, which changes DNA, but that these changes are passed down for generations unless acted upon or changed.
The way we view life--our Point of View--sets up a matrix within which the subatomic intelligences build their forms and sequences. By changing your conclusions about Who You Are, it changes the matrix, and thus changes the forms surrounding you.
Most of what makes up our lives are the conclusions and points of view we established about what we perceived as events that happened around us. These conclusions and points of view direct the activities of subatomic particle-waves. Unfortunately, because we are habitually inclined to conclude and judge what we see and feel, we end up inadvertantly doubling down on our situations, creating unchanging conditions, stagnation and premature death.
The way out of the conundrum of reinforcing fixed or stubborn conditions is to stop judging, stop concluding, and stop habitually asserting a particular point of view. Instead, ask questions.
The question is the signal to the subatomic intelligences to change their positions in the matrix of Self. When you allow your perceptions, but then do not judge or draw conclusions about them, it opens up the energy and space for change to occur. By "staying in the question", you "loosen" tight, fixed forms and start to allow new energies and new forms to come into being.
How do you stay in the question? The key is mindfulness. We must be able to observe the moment we "double-down" with a conclusion or point of view. For example, your employer passes you up for a well-deserved promotion. The conclusion? "It's unfair!" or "I'll never get anywhere at this place", or "I guess I'm just not worthy". Instead, ask the question, What else is possible? What about this is getting me to my greatest and most glorious life?
Now, by asking questions, the secondary habit is to suddenly receive an awareness or a perception or "answer", and then make that answer a conclusion about "how things are". This is where mindfulness comes in again. Instead of making these answers into conclusions, simply ask more questions. The goal is to remain in a state of "ask" at all times. By attempting this, you'll become acutely aware of the debilitating and limiting conclusions and judgements you're making about your life. And sometimes it ain't pretty.
Every time you replace a conclusion with a question, you've added a rung to the Ladder of Infinite Possibilities, allowing greater space, greater vision and higher awareness than you had before. Ultimately, you're climbing into your infinite life, packed full of potential and possibilities for realizing the life you truly desire to live.
To your quantum health,
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