Your happiness furthers human evolution
Despite our scientific knowledge and technological advancements, when driven by territorial instincts, human behavior harkens back to our Stone Age ancestry. The drive to survive has traditionally led to an "us versus them" mindset that, in turn, could become violent and destructive, thus obliterating any potential for personal happiness. In one of his last interviews, Nobel Prize—winning scientist Roger Sperry, MD, told journalist Laurie Nadel, "Sometimes I think we are evolving into a less intelligent species. We have become the first species in the history of evolution that has used its intelligence to invent the means to make ourselves extinct. I find that very depressing." Dr. Sperry's concerns have been echoed by any number of prominent scientists whom Laurie has interviewed, including Jonas Salk, former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and biologist Bruce Lipton.
In The Anatomy of Reality: The Merging of Intuition and Reason, Jonas Salk, the doctor who invented the Salk polio vaccine, wrote, "The evolution of the human mind...depends upon the evolution of intuition and reason." If humanity is to succeed in continuing to evolve, we need to value empathy and interconnectedness as much as logic and reason. Until we begin to perceive that our individual beliefs, emotions, and actions affect other human beings, we are in danger of reasoning ourselves to extinction. Dr. Salk believed that humanity has the potential for conscious evolution, rather than simply evolving as a process of physical survival. According to what he called his "biophilosophy," evolution needed to become conscious and mindful as well as biological. Before his death, he called on scientists and researchers in the humanities to work together "to make the decisions and choices that Nature has made until now...for the greatest value to human life and society as a whole."
Scientist and New York Times best-selling author Gregg Braden agrees. "To me, this makes tremendous sense: We come into a world with the ability to somehow participate in this world. It makes no sense that we would come into a world helpless, powerless, and just be the victim of whatever happens to come along in the world or in life," he says. Although epigenetics points to the importance of DNA, the code still needs to receive instructions that tell it how to perform in the human body. "Those instructions come from the environment around us—our physical environment, as well as our emotional environment of thought, feeling, belief, and emotion. These are now directly linked to allow the genes within our bodies their fullest expression, or preventing that expression," Braden said, noting further, "When we believe that we are powerless victims, that victim chemistry is released into our bodies. We've got a low-immune response and our body may not be as strong and resilient. After all, that's the belief that creates the electromagnetic signal that instructs the immune system's DNA. "
The change in human evolution that needs to take place will come from people changing how they feel. "When we feel safe in our world, and we learn to love rather than fear, these are literal codes that our hearts send to our brains," Braden says. The brain responds to those signals by giving the body what he calls "life-affirming chemistry, life-affirming hormones, and a strong immune system." Although our beliefs play a powerful role in activating the genes that trigger our body's optimum response, Braden observed, "What science is showing and what the ancient traditions have always said is that this is how we participate in building the kind of world we would all like to live in; not by controlling or manipulating or imposing our will. The beauty is, we don't have to know any of that."
Recent epigenetics studies show that your life experiences and your environment can impact the behavior of certain genes. As you have seen, parents who are emotionally unstable or neglectful can unknowingly turn off their children's genes that modulate the flow of stress hormones. Children who are biologically impaired in this way are hardwired for high levels of chronic anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and emotional instability. "It is well known that parental behavior affects children. My paper suggests a way that the parent's psychology before conception can actually affect the child's genes," said Dr. Alberto Halabe Bucay of Mexico. Dr. Halabe published a paper in Bioscience Hypotheses, a scientific journal that features intriguing hypotheses rather than scientific studies that have been through a peer review process. As you cultivate habits of thinking, emotion, and action that make you happy, you reinforce certain personality traits that can be inherited by your children. "Although happiness is subject to a wide range of external influences, we have found that there is a heritable component of happiness which can be explained by the genetic architecture of personality," said Scottish psychologist Alexander Weiss. In other words, some traits, such as a sunny disposition, may be due, in part, to your parents' genes as well as what happened during your childhood. Furthermore, your parents' genes may have been altered in response to how life treated them, thereby passing on some of their impaired genes to you. The great news is that you can use this information to build happiness into your life on a consistent basis. As you do, not only will your life become more enjoyable, but your health will improve and your own happiness genes will be activated, expressed, and passed on to your children and hopefully their children’s children as well.
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