The flickering flame – our self-healing bodies

emotion icon

Candace Pert has an intriguing quote “Our bodies are more like a flickering flame than a hunk of meat.” Dr. Pert is the scientist that co-discovered the body’s receptors to morphine, which led to the discovery of endorphin. In “Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind” she discusses that our bodies have hundreds of natural drugs we make with our own cells. So far, every drug that has been tested has a natural counterpart that is made within our bodies. Even more, many of these natural substances are neuropeptides, small protein molecules, that are generated as a result of an emotion or thought. Basically, the research that Dr. Pert and her colleagues have conducted demonstrate the mechanism behind mind-body medicine.

Back to the flickering flame. Research shows that the receptors for these small peptides are found on the surfaces of our cells. When a peptide interacts with a cell receptor it can cause huge changes in how that cell behaves and, by extension how an organ behaves within our bodies. What is really cool is that these receptors to our ‘thought-molecules’ are not just in the brain, but are found throughout our whole body, especially on our immune cells, the white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for protecting us from germs, but also for getting rid of cells that are beginning to turn cancerous.

Lets think about that. Our thoughts -> create molecules -> that send messages -> to our immune system -> to protect us from the nastiest dis-ease out there. Cool.

What is more, the latest research suggests that having a wide spectrum of emotions are important to health. So it is the variability in our emotional states that can keep us healthy. Feeling emotions fully and completing them is a foundation of many holistic approaches. It seems that covering over our anger or convincing ourselves we are too spiritual to be angry is not a healthy way to approach life. Staying stuck artificially in any one emotion too long is not where we want to be, but instead to live a life of ’emotional integrity’, as Dr. Pert calls it, is the key to our health.

Think of how many thoughts and emotions you have in a day. What if you could let yourself feel them fully without pushing them back down? When you start exploring the layers of emotions, you find that below all of the so called ‘negative emotions’ is a state of pure bliss. We often fear the power of our emotions and think that we might get crushed by them, but the opposite is true. The longer we suppress our emotions the longer we suffer.

There are many techniques to release trapped emotions from the body-mind. One of the simplest and the most powerful is just to breathe. Breathing at at regular pace, or counting the breaths you take, can clear deeply held emotions. Exercise is also amazing for resetting our emotional clocks, particularly if you get a bit breathless when you do it.

I am always in awe of how powerful we are, and I am amazed at how the emerging science is demonstrating how it all works.


Discovering the size of your spirit


How much joy do you let in? Do you stop the flow of goodness before it starts. When things start to get really good for you do you find a way to stomp the happiness out of it? We are trained to believe that we are these small, helpless beings tossed around in this sea of chaos called life. We accept that we can’t change anything and that we should just keep our heads down to avoid the rubber bullets that get aimed at dissenters. But that is just plain nonsense.

We are these huge, magnificent beings that get the brief pleasure of walking around in these physical bodies. Our directed thought toward what we want is all that is needed to begin to change matter itself. Through the power of pure feeling, we can manifest our greatest joy or our greatest sorrow. Everything in your life can turn around in an instant the second you think a different thought. So what kind of life do you want to have?

In the centre of your heart is a source of power so tremendous it can bring you all of the solutions you are looking for. The odd thing is that our ego guards this light so fiercely it can convince you it isn’t there. The ego is a swirl of illusions and separation, it keeps a petty little record of all of the times you have ever been hurt, humiliated or harmed. The ego brings all these things up when you get close to your inner source of enlightenment. It is sort of like an advanced burglar alarm gone haywire; the ego has forgotten that you live here.

So there is a shell of pain and suffering that surrounds your inner light. This is why meditation can be so difficult at times, to get to our core we have to wade through the muck of emotions that we haven’t yet finished with. As we let these old emotions go, one by one, we get closer and closer to our own Source energy. If you are feeling sadness, stay with the sadness; don’t distract yourself from the feeling. Just dive into it. What you find is that the more you focus on the emotional state you are in right now, the faster it shifts. It pops like a bubble.

What you are left with is a view of your infinite well of energy, right in the core of your heart. All you have to do to reach enlightenment is let go of everything that weighs you down and believe you can.

I have had little brief glimmers of this state that keep me going back for more. I find the true challenge is to hold that expansive feeling in your mind at the same time as you are able to focus on the details of living. After all somebody still has to pay the bills and feed the cat. I think that is why most of the enlightened sages in the world had a team of people, followers, around them that took care of their day to day needs. The most advanced spiritual training is not to escape to a distant monastery to find enlightenment, but to find it where you are, in the middle of a busy city, living a busy life.

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