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Epigenitics - You and Your Mind and Body

Rakendra's picture
Rakendra
Posts: 198
Joined: Apr 2013

Mindpower Fitness Training: Getting Twice as Much From

Your Life

We live in a culture which has for centuries effectively

compartmentalized the multi-faceted character of the human

organism. The unity of personhood has been divided into the

domains of body, mind and spirit, and we have institutionalized a

system of professional guardianship for each domain. We have

relinquished control of our bodies to the tribunal of medical experts

who have become the custodians of body health. We have similarly

allocated other health professionals such as the psychiatrist, the

psychologist and the counselor with a special responsibility for the

care of our minds. Finally, we have in large part, given over the task

of nurturing the human spirit to the priests, gurus, astrologers and

army of self-appointed soothsayers of our times. In short, we have

created institutional structures and vested interest groups which by

their very existence have encouraged us all to participate unwittingly

in self-fragmentation. This institutionalized sense of selffragmentation

is further reinforced by the reductionist orientation of

medical science. The capacity to care for the human body, that is to

say, is represented as a mode of expertise designed to care for a

specific part of the body. As a culture, we thus shift the focus of

expertise from the professionals who are trained to look after the

health of the body as a whole, to professionals who are trained to

understand the anatomy, physiology and chemistry of its specific

parts. Since the body is construed on the model of a machine, the

idea is that the body-doctor is not unlike a sophisticated engineer

who is so overwhelmed by the complexity of how a machine works

as a whole that the only recourse is to know everything one can

about how it works in parts. Specialization is thus born out of the

assumption that the more we know about how the parts of the body

work, the more we know about how it works as a whole and how

best to maintain and restore health to it as a whole. The fact that we

institutionalize ever increasing levels of individual expertise for the

specialization and responsibility of eye, ear, mouth, throat, heart

lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys, genitals, bone, brain and feet, to

name only a few, is testimony to the state of disintegrated self which

confronts us all. This being so, we learn to see ourselves as a body

which somehow manages to house a mind which in turn helps us

occasionally to gain a glimpse of the mechanics of the human body

and perhaps occasionally of a kind of ghostly spirit that enlivens it.

While we thus learn something about how our bodies work

independently of the mind and something about how the mind works

independently of the body, we know very little about the constant

interaction between the two, and thus correspondingly little about

what makes us whole and healthy in our wholeness.

Although there are promising signs of the emergence of a cultural

awakening in which the importance of re-integrating the mind-body

dimensions of human wholeness is affirmed, there are also clear

indications that in at least some contexts the wedge of separation

between body and mind is being driven even deeper. Among the

structured social activities which reflect a firm commitment to mindbody

dualism, none is more puzzling than the current trend of

exercise technology found in the modern gymnasium where people

work mindlessly in the name of improved health and fitness.

Consider, for example, the growing trend of putting trainees on

treadmills, stationary bikes and sundry other pieces of equipment

purposively positioned in front of televisions or videos. Some

stationary bikes and other exercise equipment actually have video

games built right into their controls. Rather than engaging the power

of mind to magnify and extend the impulses associated with physical

development, such machines covertly detach the mind from the

performance of the exercise. The trainee "goes through the motions"

as if the body were a machine, akin to the way in which we might

shut down the motor of a car and put it through a car wash. The

exercise undertaken is something that happens to the body from

outside, rather than undertaken from the inside-out as a process of

human activity filled with consciousness. On the gym model

referred to above, the human body participates in exercise largely by

being passive. The fact that the trainee has a mind is incidental; the

mind's role in exercise is little more than the initiating force required

for its execution.

Given recent development in the psychology of sport, it is

difficult to understand how instructors are so readily seduced by a

strategy which fails to acknowledge the importance of marshaling

the full resources of the mind to maximize the potential effect of

exercise on the body. It is clear that we have a long way to go to

achieve the integration of body and mind, especially within the

arena of human performance. If the role of mind in exercise is as a

spectator, the results of exercise will be less than spectacular. We

will, as it were, always be "looking-on" with interest to discover

what some new piece of exercise equipment, machine or gadget can

do for our bodies. The more the machines can do, just like the more

the health professionals can do to make us healthy, the less we have

to do for ourselves. What this pattern of detachment and projected

responsibility hides, however, is that as we inadvertently create and

participate in such activities we not only have to do less and less for

ourselves, but we unwittingly either directly suppress or fail to

nurture the very self-enabling capacities that ensure that we can do

anything for ourselves. In the end, there is no more destructive

disempowerment than the disablement of the human spirit and the

loss of self-autonomy which enshrines it. In short, as long as one

dissociates the mind from the body, the reliance on an external

authority figure or a novelty machine will prevail.

It is the purpose of this book to redress this imbalance in regard

to the separation of body and mind in the field of exercise. It is a

book which is necessary reading not only for all those who sincerely

desire to extract maximum benefit from the hours they spend

exercising in and out of gyms, but for those who seek to maximize

the power of mind. In what follows, we shall try to demonstrate

unequivocally that there is no faster or more efficient way to

improve exercise outcomes and advance human performance than to

learn how to exercise one's mind as a natural outcome of the ways in

which one exercises one's body.

To achieve this goal we shall first consider the pioneering

research currently being undertaken in the field of mind-body

integration. Our aim will be to help the reader to understand the

nature of the subtle interface of human thought with the physical

properties of human bodies (i.e., neurotransmitters and more

importantly neuropeptides) and of the reciprocal exchange between

them. We shall in turn endeavor to show that the human body is in a

state of constant dynamic and that we are –for the most part–

continuously re-creating ourselves, with enormous potential to

contribute to self-reconstruction and renewal. Before the next year

has passed, each of our bodies will have replaced 98 percent of their

cells. Because we have traditionally regarded the human body as a

machine that has mysteriously learned to think, we are unaware that

what we think makes a difference to the process of self-renewal. To

suggest that we have the power to alter and in a sense to control our

own physiological destiny is indeed a revolutionary way of seeing

things, but it is the view we wish to defend and develop here.

The central burden of the book will be to show that the literal

intersection between mind and matter can be productively exposed

by exploring the relationship between exercise and meditation as a

vehicle for the re-integration of mind and body. Exercise is, we will

argue, a way in which we are directly empowered to renew

ourselves, while meditation and particularly mindfulness, can be

used as a tool to control the actual processes of renewal through

exercise. Research has already shown that athletic performance can

be significantly enhanced if athletes engage in meditation as an

ongoing, regularly scheduled activity. Significant improvements

have been recorded in several athletic activities, notably speed in

field and track events, agility, co-ordination and reaction times1.

Other health benefits associated with meditation are numerous,

including its positive effects on various physiological systems in the

body such as blood cholesterol2. Meditation has also been shown to

be an effective tool for stress reduction3, weight loss4, and in the

reversal of some effects of aging5.

The greater the ability of an individual to integrate mind and

body when exercising, the less volume of training required to

achieve the desired results. One way of conceiving the difference

between exercise which is undertaken mindlessly and exercise

undertaken with meditative mindfulness is helpfully illustrated by an

analogy. Commercially prepared juices are not infrequently watered small volume of undiluted juice may thus be as nutritionally

substantive, if not more so, than double the volume of a diluted

juice. Similarly, with matrix meditative exercise, the activity is what

we call "mind enriched", thus requiring less volume in terms of time

and effort to bring about a specific training outcome.

Although there are several possible definitions of meditation, we

shall for the sake of simplicity, define meditation as the intentional

self-regulation of attention through specific techniques of

consciousness enhancement. In this sense, meditation is neither

contemplation nor rumination in the sense in which we ordinarily

construe our thought process.

The literature on meditation recognizes two major classes of

meditative practice:

(1) concentration meditation and (2) mindfulness meditation6.

Although there are obvious similarities between these two types of

experience, there are also radical differences in the ways in which

each of them focuses attention. The best known and perhaps the

most studied variety of meditative experience is Transcendental

Meditation, otherwise known as TM. It is characteristic of TM to

teach practitioners how to restrict their attention to a single point,

object or mental sound, most often referred to as a "mantra". The

experience of breathing can itself become the object of attention, as

can a designated visual object upon which one's mental gaze is given

for periods of time typically ranging from 20-60 minutes.

Distraction from one's focus upon the object of concentration is

reckoned to be disruptive of the harmonic resonance achieved in the

meditative state.

Mindfulness meditation, also referred to in the literature as

"awareness meditation", utilizes mental attention quite differently

from concentration meditation. Mindfulness is the form of

meditation most applicable to the system of meditative exercise we

shall elaborate in later chapters.

Mindfulness is a variety of meditation originally associated with

the tradition of Theravada Buddhism where it is known as

Sattipatana Vipassana, roughly translated as "Insight Meditation"7.

Mindfulness also has roots in Mahayana Buddhism, in Soto Zen

down to give them more volume, whereas fresh undiluted juice will

have a higher content of pure orange with less liquid volume. A practices8 and in the contemporary writings of J. Krishnamurti 9, in

the writing of Vimila Thakar 10 and others.

The practice of mindfulness utilizes concentration to maintain

full attention from one moment to the next, not on a single object,

but upon a constantly changing field of objects or experiences. In

mindfulness, variations in mental activity are not necessarily to be

regarded as unfortunate distractions, as they are in the context of

concentration meditation. Thus, the technique allows for the

meditative inclusion ultimately of all physical and mental events,

thus making it ideal in its extension to a specific program of exercise

such as the Matrix program to be presented here.

The basic premise of this book is that while exercise is in itself an

effective tool for self-renewal and regeneration, as is meditation, it is

possible to incorporate mindfulness into a system of exercise, so

ideally suited to it, that the result of the synergy represents a whole

new level of body-mind empowerment which far exceeds the

benefits of either exercise or meditation when taken on its own.

What we are calling "Matrix Mindpower" reflects our efforts to

create a system of weight resistance exercise whose rhythmic

patterns of movement are conducive to the application of

mindfulness while the exercise is actually being done. This is the

first meditative program of weight resistance ever devised and we

are wholly confident that it will afford readers a special opportunity

to maximize both their physical and mental potential. Just as

exercise is enhanced by an appropriate mind-set, so–and this is the

point which is often neglected by those who meditate–the power of

mind is enhanced by appropriate exercise of the body. By keeping

the brain well-oxygenated, exercise improves intellectual acuity,

memory functions, mood and alertness.

That we have the power to use our minds to alter significantly the

physiological processes which take place within us and thus control

to some extent our own biological destiny may at first blush appear

to be little more than an indulgence in science fiction. Contrary to

this conservative judgment, however, stands a body of ever

accumulating scientific literature in support of the inherent power of

mind to contribute directly to self-renewal and continuous selfcreation.

To establish our case in favor of the power of body-mind

integration, in the format of meditative exercise, we shall illustrate

the extent to which the science of psychoneuroimmunology

substantiates our claim for the power literally to "shape" what we

are by what we think, as well as what we do. On the view we

espouse in this book, exercise need not be seen simply as something

we do. By bringing the practice of mindfulness to exercise, we

become something we are and were always meant to be–people in

contact with our bodies through mindful interaction with it. While

neuroscientists once construed the nervous system on the model of a

telephone network with electrical message impulses traveling along

nerves not unlike electricity runs through wires, thereby connecting

the switchboard of the brain with the message sites in the body, a far

more interactive model is now emerging. According to the new

model, which we shall examine in greater detail later in the book,

the discoveries in neuroscience, in particular informational

substances, have forced scientists to view the body in an entirely

different way. Instead of viewing the systems of the body as

interrelated, scientists have long held the belief that they were

separate. The discovery of these informational substances (which

allow communication between the brain and the rest of the body)

shattered this old paradigm.

During the 1980's, scientists were puzzled at the research that

revealed neuronal communication beyond synaptic gaps, a

phenomenon made possible by these informational substances. In

the past, neuronal communication was thought to occur only at the

synaptic gap or junction amongst adjacent cells via chemical

messengers called neurotransmitters. Today, however, scientists

believe that these informational substances, in particular the

neuropeptides, are the chemical communicators or messenger

molecules that distribute information from the brain throughout the

organism.11"Thus, neuropeptides and their receptors join the brain,

glands, and immune system in a network of communication between

brain and body, probably representing the biochemical substrate of

emotion.12” This explains in part why the benefits to mind-body

integration are reciprocal. In short, the mind is continuously talking

to the body and the body is continuously talking to the mind via

these informational substances. What is especially interesting about

the discovery of these neuropeptides, in addition to the fact that they

establish two-way channels of communication between thought

processes and physiological ones, is that there are countless different

neuropeptides, many of which can be linked to a particular mental or

"mood" state (i.e., anger, contentment, anxiety, fear). Because these

neuropeptides communicate such information across synapses to

receptor sites, it is believed by some neuroscientists that in essence

every cell is eavesdropping on every thought we think.

As early as 1986, receptors for neuropeptides were discovered to

exist on immune cells known as monocytes13. Unlike many other

neuropeptides, monocytes are not themselves nerve cells but rather

white blood cells. Because these special cells are transported

throughout the body via the circulatory system, they are in

communication with every cell in the body. In this sense, monocytes

can be seen to function as circulating neurons, capable of inundating

the whole human system with chemical awareness of the brain's

thoughts. This being so, it is perhaps unsurprising that a study of

male heart attack victims in an intensive care unit revealed that the

most important factor related to survival was whether the patient

believed that his wife loved him 14.

The exact relationship between neuropeptides and the thoughts

they mediate, is of course enormously complex. Although dozens of

different neuropeptides have been identified, each of which

presumably corresponds to a specific mental state, it would be

misguided, to conclude, for instance, that any mental state--say

schizophrenia–admits of reduction to one specific molecule. What

we regard as a single and isolated mental state may require the

synergy which can only result from the interaction of millions of

molecules and in some cases countless other mental states.

Conversely, any one molecule may have multiple functions. The

adrenal "fight or flight" response is a case in point. While

epinephrine is the circulating hormone for stress, norepinephrine

(functionally the very same chemical) is also the most important

hormone for the consolidation of memory. 

Dr. Laura has a BS from Harvard, a Masters from Cambridge, and a Doctorate from Oxford

Rakendra's picture
Rakendra
Posts: 198
Joined: Apr 2013

Of course, the above is not really epigenetics which has to do with changing the DNA.  However, I totally believe we can change the course of our lives and our disease by changing how and what we think.  I know that I can affect the progress of my cancer as well as the state of my health by what I do with my Being.  I am doing this now.  However, if one sticks to the old, worn out false beliefs that most all accept and live by, then you will get the same results that these concepts produce.  I post the above because I feel it is extremely important for everyone, but especially those with PCA.  Although this is taken from a book centered on exercise, the truths are important in ALL fazes of life.  I totally believe that almost all go thru life with no idea of why they are here or who they are.  Those with Pca are now given the oportunity to totally examine their past ideas which have never worked, and to look at new ideas and ways of being.  This is a time of ultimate change.   The world and the USA will never be the same.  I say it is time for all to throw out all the old religions, the old way of being, and look for new ways to live.  It must be obvious by now that what has been happening is NOT working and NEVER will work. This is the gift of Pca.  You have NOTHING to lose.

love, Swami Rakendra

stoniphi's picture
stoniphi
Posts: 54
Joined: Mar 2015

...for me today. Seems a bit wordy, but that is what books are for sometimes.

 

My perspective comes from my philosophy and practice. At 64, I am not a child nor am I old. I am a Buddhist by philosophy, my practise is based around the martial art of Taekwondo in which I hold advanced black belt rank. I also draw on the Bushido of the Samurai and the practicality of Suto. I am a university graduate with 4 completed majors and graduate research in 2 of those. I have a very solid background in science. I am currently in a rental cabin in the deep bush of the Adirondacks where my family and I are mountain climbing for a couple of weeks before we return to our home near Detroit. This as I come off of 2 & 1/2 years of Eligard after RP and EBRT.

 

I am an atheist, I do not believe in "spirit" par ses, nor in gods, demons, angels and the like. I believe that life is like an old - syled printer ribbon - once, then done. The curtain falls, the lights go out and you just stop being aware as the scene fades to black. There are no do-overs or returns. When I refer to "spirit" I mean strength of character, which is strength of mind.

 

I understand that my case of acinar adenocarcinoma was initiated by the flipping of several epigenetic 'switches' on a key subset of genes, this due to my exposure to lead and/or arsenic. I understand the method to the treatment profferred by the medical professionals I have consulted in order to assist me in fighting this disease. The logic is sound, the techniques have been proven, though I am aware that there is a possibility that a few rougue/refractory cancer stem cells may not be killed by the treatments and I may have to face this cancer again in the future.

 

I have never stopped my daily TKD pattern practice, I still run my 50 miles a week, lift weights, play very hard with my Labrador and do not shirk from very hard work. I follow a very healthy diet and avoid consuming anything that may be toxic or harmful to me. I mediatate daily and frequently. I make a point of deeply appreciating my life and all that are in it. I cherish my family, freinds, work, home, toys and all that is around me. I love a lot and am loved in return. I still got acinar adenocarcinoma because none of this is effective at directly combatting that cancer.

 

I am aware that my medical professional's reccommendations were/are based on thier observations of my overall health and the threat that the cancer presents to my life, health and well - being. I possess no mind-body separation or perception of same. I understand that others may believe/feel differently, I have no problem with that at all. I applaud any persons efforts to improve their health and well being, but for me, at any rate, I must additionaly take advantage of the tremendous progress that 'modern medicine' has made in dealing with this particular medical problem and am happy as a clam at high tide that there are a bunch of really educated people who have dedicated thier entire lives to the study and treatment of prostate cancer so I have a statistically greater chance of surviving this disease.

 

By analogy, the garage I take my car to has a brake specialist, an oil & fluid specialist, an electrical systems specialist etc, but together they do a great job of keeping my car running, even if they are specailists individually. Same for my doctors. It is my responsability to take in the 'big picture' for both my car and my body.

 

It is a great advantage to be fit and healthy, but if you step on a tack, you must either remove it or tolerate its presence in your flesh regardless of how superb your physical condition. I would remove it myself, though each of us must make that choice for ourselves.

Old Salt
Posts: 478
Joined: Aug 2014

Please summarize in a paragraph or two.

Thanks!

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