The Biology of Belief

8 min read (2066 words)


The human body is made up of roughly 40 – 50 trillion cells, each carrying their own immune and reproductive system. Every cell is doing thousands of jobs, like creating and using energy, making proteins and responding to environmental cues. Different cell types also have special duties, like building skin or bone, releasing hormones or making antibodies. Until recently, the scientific community held the view of ‘genetic determinism’. This is the belief that behaviour and biology is controlled by a person’s genes or some aspect of their physiology. The problem with this theory is that it makes us victims of our genes and our environment. It gives us little to no say over our biology, our health or our healing.

Epigenetics is an emerging area of scientific research that shows how environmental influences affect the expression of our genes. Bruce Lipton, Cell Biologist explains that signals/experiences can rearrange the epigenetic marks that govern gene expression. This can change the way in which genes release the information they carry. Meaning that lifestyle changes in habits, behaviours, and environmental exposures can influence gene expression and impact health positively or negatively.

Lipton’s study

Lipton was first doing research into how stem cells would react in different environments. Over a 7 day period, he allowed a stem cell to multiply into around 30,000 more stem cells. He then split those cells into three different dishes. He changed the cell’s environment by placing a culture of muscle, bone and fat in each of the dishes. Within a few days, the stem cells changed their expression and became either muscle cells, bone cells, or fat cells, depending on which culture they were exposed to. 

All of the cells were genetically identical because they came from the same parent cell. However, the three different environments they were exposed to changed the way the cells expressed themselves. This meant that the cells were adjusting to their environment, leading to the critical discovery that changing the environment potentially changes how the gene is expressed. Lipton found that cells are not simply in competition with one another for the most resources. Instead, they work collaboratively and cooperatively, allowing multi-celled organisms to evolve and thrive in changing environments.

How does this affect children?

This is particularly significant when it comes to the development of babies and children. When experiences during early development rearrange the epigenetic marks that govern gene expression, they can change how genes release the information they carry. Therefore the epigenome can be affected by positive experiences such as supportive relationships and opportunities for learning. Equally, negative influences, such as environmental toxins or stressful life circumstances, can leave a unique epigenetic ‘signature’ on the genes too.

These signatures can affect how easily the genes are switched on or off and to what extent the genes express themselves later in a person’s life. Recent research shows the best approach is to support relationships and reduce stress from the beginning of a person’s life. Services such as high quality, holistic health care that focuses on empowering pregnant women is vital. Creating a nurturing and peaceful environment for babies, toddlers and caregivers can quite literally affect the chemistry around children’s genes. Supportive relationships and rich learning experiences generate positive epigenetic signatures that activate genetic potential.

Thoughts, feelings and beliefs 

Emerging studies show that thoughts, feelings and beliefs are able to rearrange the epigenetic marks that govern gene expression. This ultimately changes the information they carry. This means that our thoughts, feelings and beliefs may have an influence on gene expression. Resulting in the direct the development of both poor and good health.

We have the conventional idea that genes determine the trajectory of our lives. The problem with this is that it makes us victims of our genes and our environment. Yes, children who inherit genes from their biological parents provide information that guides their development, meaning a particular dis-ease may run in the family. If we believe and hold onto the idea that heart issues, cancer, diabetes runs in our family, we’re more likely to develop heart issues, cancer, diabetes, or have an increased risk in developing them. If we’re continuously told by doctors that many diseases are incurable, this will be our belief. Therefore feeding into us not being able to heal these diseases and remaining in the cycle of ill health

Epigenetics and the biology of belief is starting to show that we are not victims of our genes and our environment. We do have a say over our biology, our health and our healing, which is incredible news. Through changing our environment; such as eating more whole foods, getting regular exercise, exposure to nature, sufficient sleep, meditation and the power of belief, you can proactively manage your health and potentially prevent or delay the onset of diseases.

I reversed herpes

In 2016, I tested positive for HSV-1 (cold sores) and HSV-2 (genital herpes). I was told that both strains were incurable. That they would always be lying dormant in my system until the right physical conditions led to a flare-up. My weeks of research confirmed that herpes was incurable, My best chance of keeping it dormant was through living a healthy lifestyle.

Something inside me didn’t believe herpes was incurable. My inner voice told me that at some point I would be free from herpes. From that moment, I decided to become as healthy as possible and I explored alternative healing modalities. Each time I would sit with a traditional medicine such as Ayahuasca or Kambo, or have sound or energy healing, I would visualise the medicine working through my body, clearing the herpes virus from my system. I would visualise a perfect inner environment, one free from viruses and bad bacteria. I believed that curing my herpes was possible even though I was told otherwise by doctors.

In 2019, I went for blood tests and a full check-up. A week later, my results confirmed that I had tested positive for HSV-1 (cold sores) but negative for HSV-2 (genital herpes). I couldn’t believe it at the time and questioned the doctors more. As they believe that herpes is incurable, they actually told me I must have been mistaken about having herpes! I feel it’s a safe assessment to conclude that through a combination of becoming healthy, and changing my thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the dis-ease is how in just 2.5 years, I became free from herpes. Read my full story here.

The power of belief 

Dr Joe Dispenza, specialises in Neuroscience and Neuroplasticity. He is living proof of how belief and visualison can have a profound impact on our healing. In 1986, when taking part in a triathlon, he was knocked off his bike by a four wheel car driving at 55mph. He was catapulted from his bike and broke 6 vertebrae in his spine. The result was him not being able to move. The typical procedure to an injury this severe is to cut the spine, and screw in stainless steel rods in the hope that he would be able to walk again, but it wasn’t a guarantee. Doctors told him that if he didn’t have the procedure, he was likely to be paralysed

Dispenza decided not to have the procedure, and handed his healing over to an intelligence greater than him. He says ‘intelligence is consciousness, consciousness is awareness, and awareness is paying attention‘. So he started paying attention to his healing. For 6.5 weeks, he would try to mentally reconstruct his vertebrae. Bu being plagued by thoughts of what he didn’t want, such as never being able to walk again, his efforts were halted. 

Then everything changed. For 3 hours a day, he was able to mentally reconstruct his vertebrae. He was able to focus on what he did want rather than what he didn’t want. As he was able to focus on the thoughts and feelings of a fully repaired and healed spine, he started to notice his body responding. He was in less pain, his energy levels increased and his body started healing. In 10.5 weeks, he was walking again, and 12 weeks he was training for triathlons again. Listen to his story here.

Miracle or birthright?

This sounds like nothing short of a miracle. But if it’s been proven that our thoughts, feelings and beliefs can change the expression of our genes, it stands to reason that the human body has an inbuilt self-healing mechanism that we can control. If we send signals of fear, this could produce the stress hormone cortisol which activates our flight or fight response. Therefore making us more susceptible to poor health. Having a strong foundation of love and gratitude will result in positive chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin being released into our body, aiding in good health and self healing. 

Dispenza was told he would likely be paralysed and I was told I would have to live with herpes forever. However, both of us were able to heal damaged cells or cure diseases that doctors told us were improbable to do. We were clearly able to override our damaged cells and heal them by changing our environment – thoughts, feelings, beliefs and habits. If we were able to do this, this means everyone is able to do this.

Ancestral trauma 

Taking all of this into account, we cannot completely disregard hereditary factors. A 2014 study on mice showed that emotions – especially fear – can be encoded in genetic memory and be passed down from parent to child. The mice were conditioned to fear a particular scent by accompanying the smell with an electric shock. As a result, the mice learnt to fear the particular scent on its own, and this fear was passed to their offspring. The baby mice showed a fear of the smell because they inherited the fear from their parents.

The study showed that these changes lasted up to 2 generations without reintroducing the shock. This perspective shows that there really is something to the idea of us carrying ancestral trauma. Merging this with all of these discoveries about epigenetics, it becomes clear that whatever we’re carrying; childhood trauma, ancestral trauma or damaged cells which creates dis-ease, can be actively healed by environmental changes and our conscious participation with our environment and our beliefs.

This goes to show the importance of actively dealing with any unresolved trauma, whether that be our own or ancestral trauma passed down to us. Not only will dealing with unresolved traumatic experiences help to make us healthier, we could also stop, or at least limit the trauma from being passed to our children.

We can heal

The Biology of Belief explores how cells receive and process information. Implications of this research radically change our innerstanding of life, showing that gene development and expression are not set, but that they are controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. 

For decades, genetic determinism was the primary view of the scientific community. However, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Dr. Joe Dispenza and other researchers have demonstrated that genes are controlled by signals that come from outside of the cell. In other words, the cell’s environment matters much more than we once thought. Changing the cells environment can change the cell behaviour and genetic characteristics. And since we’re made up of cells, we could change ourselves.

Some of the most powerful external signals that influence the health of our cells are the positive or negative energetic messages which emanate from our thoughts, and have the ability to literally change our bodies and alter our physical health and well being. Just because our parents suffered from a particular dis-ease doesn’t mean that we will suffer from the same dis-ease. Just because doctors tell us a dis-ease is incurable, doesn’t mean that it is. We have more agency and authority over our life experience than we ever realised, which I feel is incredible news as it means that we have the power to alter our lives for the better!

Leave a Comment