Dr. Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of 80 books and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Well-Being and founder of the Chopra Foundation, recently spoke in Los Altos Hills, CA about his new book, Super Genes, which he co-wrote with Rudolph Tanzi, PH.D. Here is a brief summary of his presentation embellished with information from the book, noted in quotes.

Super genes are your body’s self-regulating building blocks, which are constantly sending instructions to your body. The super genome consists of three components: genome, epigenome and microbiome.

  • Genome: you have 23,000 genes in your body and 100 trillion cells – more cells than all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy! A gene is a unit of heredity and carries memories of a cosmic nature spanning 14 billion years.
  • Epigenome: a sheath of proteins that encloses DNA. It is a switching mechanism that enables your cells to respond to your experiences. Epigenetics is the study of gene expression influenced by external factors and your environment. Examples include environmental toxins, stress, diet, relationships and even your thoughts and emotions. Every experience you have makes your genes express themselves. Negative emotions like fear, guilt, and shame cause the self-regulation to get disrupted and that can result in illness.
  • Microbiome: colonies of bacteria that line your gut and can be found on your skin. There are trillions of them in your body, over 2,000 species. Bacteria is essential to humans and makes digestion possible.

95% of disease-related gene mutations are preventable!  “You will always have the genes you were born with, but genes are dynamic, responding to everything we think, say and do.” You can make lifestyle choices that will optimize your health and happiness. See Kathy Parnay’s recent post: FACT: Our genes DO NOT dictate our health.

In his talk, Dr. Chopra posed the question: “When you speak about yourself, and say “I”, who are you referring to? Who is “I”? Who overrides your brain? Who makes choices? Who has experiences? Where is it located? “I” is not a specific place in your body or your mind.

The answer is your eternal consciousness or soul, which resides outside of space and time. The mind and body are in you.  You are surrounded by an energy field (EF) that is approximately 10 feet from your body. For more on the EF, see my blog post “How your thoughts and emotions influence your health.”

We are non-local beings have a local experience. Or as many say, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Your body is an activity of your spirit, a process, an energy field. Awareness of your true nature is the key to transformation and reinventing the body.

Super Genes is packed with information and scientific research along with easy, harder and experimental lifestyle choices you can make that “activate the life-supporting side of DNA”.  These lifestyle choices are broken into five pillars of physical well-being:

  1. Sleep: try for at least 8 hours per night (8 to 10 for adolescents).
  2. Meditation and stress management: meditation has been shown to change the activity of your genes including helping with anti-aging, reducing the propensity for viral infections, increasing one’s sense of self and empathy for others, and stress reduction.
  3. Exercise: try for 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity per week; include yoga and pranayama (control of breath).
  4. Emotions: strive to be happy. Joy, peace, love and connection with others help your genes stay healthy. Express gratitude for one thing a day and appreciation for one person per day. Practice forgiveness and releasing negative thoughts and emotions.
  5. Nutrition: strive to reduce inflammation in your body, which can cause “chronic disease, obesity, leaky gut syndrome and mental illness.” Every body is different. Test options to see what works for you. You may consider avoiding sugar and gluten, experimenting with vegetarian and plant-based diets; switching to organic foods and eating probiotic foods (see Pass the kimchi: the health benefits of fermented plant foods). It’s also a good idea to limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day or avoid it completely.

In summary, you are more than just a physical body and mind. You are pure consciousness residing outside of space and time who happens to occupy a human body. Your awareness allows you to make lifestyle choices that shape your gene activity. Getting plenty of sleep, adopting a regular practice of meditation and exercise, releasing negative thoughts and emotions and eating a nutritious diet allows you to heal yourself and keep your cells healthy and vibrant.

“Simply put, when you subject your genes to a healthy lifestyle, you are creating super genes.”