Epigenetics: the genius of your genes. And psycho-osmosis.

“You are what you eat”, my mother used to say to a small 7-year-old me.

When I look at school photos from my primary school years, I am surprised at how under-sized and scrawny I was. However, I must have taken my mother’s advice because I obviously had a growth spurt at some stage in my teens. Perhaps she understood the power of psycho-osmosis because she repeated the phrase often enough for it to sink in.

My advice to my own children has added to the nutritional dictum of “you are what you eat” with the equally important “you are what you think”.

Just as we would not consciously put bad food into our mouths for fear of potentially affecting our health and digestive system in undesirable ways, so too with the thoughts we consciously or subconsciously consume. Our “thought diet” is just as important to our wellbeing as our “food diet”. With food, nutrients are digested and absorbed biologically. Psycho-osmosis occurs when thoughts are digested and absorbed – as it turns out, the effects are physical, emotional and psychological – affecting us epigenetically.

Thoughts have energy. This is particularly evident in emotional outbursts. Most of us have experienced these at some stage of our lives. Or witnessed others do so.

The experience of emotions is intrinsic to the human experience.  Emotions and thoughts are closely entwined. How careful are we in monitoring the thoughts we let in? Do we employ any gate-keepers to those thoughts? How often do we simply react in a knee-jerk fashion? The emotional centres in our brains react far more rapidly to stimuli than our cognitive processes can.

Our mental gate-keepers can be lazy…or asleep on the job. Hence we often react before we have time to think.

Experiences occur and affect us in both our waking and sleeping states. These experiences and our interpretations of them affect the expression of our DNA. However, we need not be completely at the whim of our potentially un-guided experiential interpretations. Top sportspeople become excellent at their chosen sport by continual practice day in, day out. They practice to the point that the energy they employ interacts seamlessly with their mind and body. They become ‘in flow’. So too the expression of virtue can become seamlessly interwoven with the fabric of who we are.  We become ‘in flow’. With practice, we train ourselves to embody virtue; it determines how we interpret and deal with each and every experience that comes our way. Eudaimonia (human flourishing) follows. Like all worthwhile achievements, it does not occur by itself without application and practice on our part. The application of effort is what makes the endeavour worthwhile. The beautiful thing about this endeavour is that its benefits are not solely ours. They are shared even without our knowing it. The benefits are transmitted psycho-osmotically to those around us and epigenetically to future generations.

Following a MinD-Skill program and applying MinD-Skill exercises diligently makes ‘the flow’ of benefits happen.

The “Epigenetics: why inheritance is weirder than you think” video is produced by Minute Earth.


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