Beliefs Originate Epigenetically
The critical role that epigenetic beliefs play in belief formation
1. The last 25 years of biology research throws cold water on the scientific belief of ‘genetic determinism’ and the theological concept called ‘predestination’. The science of epigenetics, which means ‘control above genetics’, demonstrates how environmental influences, nutrition, stress, and emotions can modify gene expression without changing their basic blueprint. These modifications are passed onto future generations via DNA. (Lipton, et al. 2005; Reik and Walker 2001; Surani 2001; Waters 2006; Cloud 2010). (See Chapter 2 Endnotes, “The Biology of Belief”, Bruce H. Lipton, PhD).
2. Epigenetic beliefs are responses to stressors in life and are passed via DNA. Everybody’s life began in their grandmother’s womb when their mother developed all of the eggs she would ever have. The grandparents’ responses to stressors in life, combined with other environmental influences, were determined by their grandparents responses. These intergenerational responses are hardwired into the mother’s eggs which are then passed onto the her progeny (ibid). These epigenetic beliefs are 90% developed by age 7 (ibid).
3. Beliefs are rooted in the physical, thus all feelings are the physical expression of one’s epigenetic beliefs. This physical aspect of beliefs is an accurate predictor of how one will respond to stressors and thus create the self-reinforcements that create the lens and mirrors of one’s perceived reality. This is axiomatic, passed down epigenetically for thousands of years. Even if you never met them, you are your grandparents just as they were theirs.
4. This process has played out for thousands of years and is the sole reason why humans have not evolved their thinking. So profoundly impacted by his discovery of epigenetics, Dr. Lipton has spent the past 20+ years of his life leading workshops to help people overcome — control above genetics — their hardwired, self-limiting beliefs.
5. I’ve borrowed from Dr. Lipton’s work to create four stages of belief development to succinctly articulate how self-reinforcements of beliefs are formed.
6. The Physical stage, age 0–7, is when epigenetic beliefs are 90% developed (Lipton), the other 10% is presumed to be environmental influences which exacerbate or ameliorate epigenetic beliefs; these are learned beliefs which align with hardwired beliefs. This stage is purely physical, a child feels it with their entire body and expresses it through their emotions. Epigenetic beliefs are firmly rooted in the body-mind. (The excellent “The Body Keeps The Score” by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk articulates how trauma modifies gene expression).
7. The Emotional stage, age 7–14, is when a person learns juvenile identification of their epigenetic responses and triggers. Thought patterns self-reinforce (body) in new ways tied directly to new ways of articulating (mind) responses, mostly through the articulation of emotions. How a person is treated during this stage is critical; emotional suppression is immune suppression.
8. The Intellectual stage, age 14–21, is where one begins to concretely articulate their feelings, associated thought patterns and actions. From here on out the interconnected reinforcing feelings, thoughts, actions and their reinforcements grow stronger and more tightly connected.
9. Maturation is the final stage. It happens primarily in a person’s twenties through forties or whenever a person leaves their birth family for an extended period of time. This stage is when all of the reinforcements and values challenge the young adult as they navigate the world, career paths, and meet others with similar beliefs and start families of their own.
10. Regardless of age, one’s emotional states are the single most important aspect of one’s beliefs. We feel every single moment because we are believing every single moment. Every thought is tied to feelings, every feeling produces thoughts and actions which in turn creates more self-reinforcing feelings, thoughts, and actions in perpetuity.
11. How one articulates their internal experience fits neatly or awkwardly into various external ways of thinking and articulating (modalities) such as religion, or rational modalities such as psychology, sociology. Epigenetics is an excellent predictor of how the internal fits into the external. Each person adds in a little more ‘flavor’ from their experience, but the basic blueprint doesn’t change (Lipton).
12. Whatever you feel and think as you read this are your beliefs’ core reinforcements that everything is perceived through. The various reinforcing modalities unique to you either liberates you (sunshine) or enslaves you (shadows) to all of your beliefs’ self-reinforcing modalities. During the Maturation stage one’s epigenetic beliefs deeply align with contemporary external modalities, creating sophisticated ‘beliefs about beliefs’, which itself is a concatenated belief modality.
13. Most of us are completely unaware of what our actual beliefs are, but we’re totally aware of the reinforcements because they are omnipresent in our feelings, thoughts and actions. As you separate your beliefs from their millions of self-reinforcing thoughts and actions, what do you feel? How do you feel? Why do you feel the way you do about anything and everything that comes to the fore of your mind-body?
14. Why is the single most important question because it removes the veils of the self-reinforcing attribute of beliefs. You’ve got just a few epigenetic beliefs — I have three — and hundreds of thousands of self-reinforcements obscuring your beliefs.
I highly recommend reading both “The Biology of Belief” and “The Body Keeps The Score” as both tackle in their own way how beliefs create and govern outcomes. Both were instrumental in helping me differentiate between epigenetic beliefs, trauma-induced beliefs, and Self. I read both after I worked the rational expression of how beliefs work.
Beliefs Create Beliefs
1. Epigenetic beliefs’ reinforcements create ‘beliefs about beliefs’ in conjunction with internal and external modalities, each with their own layers of self-reinforcements which agnostically create self-reinforcing feelings, thoughts, and actions with a high degree of fidelity.
2. It’s natural to think everything you believe is true, and to believe that everything you think is true. Whatever one believes about internal and external beliefs creates their belief modality, which in turn self-reinforces with external belief modalities that align with, or are shoehorned into, one’s internal/epigenetic beliefs. It’s this innate interaction of self and external/environmental influences that create all ways of communicating (modalities) those interactions. This is how beliefs create all modalities.
3. This means all religion, all branches of science are created by beliefs, thus all modalities are synthetic in nature, casting shadows caused by beliefs that have been passed down epigenetically for thousands of years.
4. Every feeling you’ve ever felt, every thought you’ve ever had, every action you’ve taken is based on your beliefs passed from every set of grandparents. The bumper sticker that reads, “If I knew that grandkids would be so much fun, I would’ve have them first,” is a scientific statement.
5. Beliefs co-create your reality. Your beliefs internal self-reinforcements clash or align with external self-reinforcements every waking moment of your life. You are living your grandparents beliefs. This is the way it’s always been. Recall the science of epigenetics: all beliefs are formed by stressors present external to your body. The way you feel in response to stressors is eerily similar to the way your grandparents felt and expressed their grandparents belief-response.
6. When I understood the true extent of how beliefs work, how they’re reinforced in every single modality, I grasped the power of beliefs, and how all of those millions of self-reinforcing feelings, thoughts, and actions are a reflection of my grandparents.
7. This new Self is amazing because I’ve shed the weight of generations of negative beliefs, which I share below. I finally understood what ‘new wine requires new wineskin’ means.
My Epigenetic Beliefs
1. Among the reinforcements with their own self-reinforcing feelings, thoughts, and action histories were 11 distinct episodes of trauma stored in my body and reinforced. These resolved to twin epigenetic beliefs of ‘I do not deserve anything’, and ‘I have no value’.
2. While these epigenetic beliefs are common, the damage they inflict is unique to the individual; people experience the same traumatic event differently (The Body Keeps The Score, van der Kolk 2014). Thus, my siblings experienced family trauma differently.
3. Briefly, my life was filled with chronic neglect at home (grandmother), and wonderful adventures away from it (grandfather).
4. A lifelong alcoholic, my drunk grandmother killed herself in her house on my mother’s birthday when my mother was 5 months pregnant with me. All my life I’ve heard the deep regrets of her dying moments. Her self-loathing and regret was reinforced in my domestic environment, haunting me until shortly after my 40th birthday when my mother passed.
5. My grandfather was 16 when his father died on the job in a railroad accident. Four days later that 16 year old kid took over his dad’s job and worked it incident-free for 49 years, providing for his mother and siblings. The eldest of 7, he put his 4 brothers and 2 sisters through college. All my life I have figured out how to do things very well the first time around. This epigenetic belief helped me navigate various outdoor adventures and challenging situations without succumbing to immune-suppressing, intelligence-lowering fears of my alcoholic, house-bound grandmother. Being outside has always been the best antidote to my domestic struggles.
6. Today I am aware most of the time of my low energetic states whenever I’m in a domestic setting. A change of scenery has always done wonders for me; I’m an efficient and effective camper and outdoor athlete, but a clutterer in my domicile.
7. To review, I explained the critical role that epigenetic beliefs play in belief formation, the stages in which beliefs develop and are reinforced, how the reinforcements create one’s belief modality, and a brief summary of my deconstructed epigenetic beliefs. Next I will address the most maddening and infuriating attribute of beliefs: agnosticism.