The Malleable Body


By Andrew Dinsmoor, Contributor

Ages ago, the atoms that make up your body at this very moment were born through nuclear fusion in the cores of stars.  As the saying goes, you’re nothing more than stardust.

Every year, 98 percent of the atoms in your body are replaced.  Every day, your body is created anew by your thoughts and actions.

Over 100 years ago, in 1905, the well-known scientist Albert Einstein introduced his theory of special relativity.  In this theory was born the world’s most printed, advertised and talked about equation in all of science: E=mc2.  

In layman’s terms, the equation means energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light squared.  Essentially, the equation tells us that mass and energy are interchangeable.  

Similarly, when coal is burned, the final mass of its parts will be slightly less than its initial mass.  During the process, a small amount of mass is released in the form of heat and light.  Each atom that makes up your body is nothing but a  packet of energy.  If scientists could come up with a 100 percent efficient process to convert mass into energy, three kilograms of material alone could fuel a city with 100,000 inhabitants for over a century.  

This is the power  you’re made of.  

In the past twenty years, neuroscientists have come to the consensus that the human brain exhibits great flexibility.  This means that the brain is trainable.

Neural connections are constantly being created and broken throughout your entire life.  Isn’t this empowering?

If you paint, your brain creates neural pathways for this skill.  If you play Xbox, you may be enhancing the areas of your brain that deal with spatial reasoning or even cognition.  

Likely, you aren’t too astonished to hear that the physical activities you engage in affect your brain and alter your body.   But, what if I told you that your thoughts and emotions hold this same power?  This is where the metaphysical becomes one with the physical.

One study took a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks and had them objectively meditate on the quality of compassion.  With electrodes monitoring the brain, neuroscientists observed a phenomenon never before seen in humans called gamma wave oscillations.  

Gamma waves are associated with continuity among the firing of neurons and are tied to consciousness and states of perception.  This tells us the brain is trainable and mental states and physical responses can be produced through will alone.

How do feel you right now?  Is there a specific emotional state you’re in?  Why does your body feel the way it does?  

We absorb good and bad news every day.  If you’re informed that you’ve been beat out for a job position, the hypothalamus of the brain will send a signal that releases ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) through the bloodstream; eventually, telling the adrenal cortex to secrete cortisol (a stress hormone associated with a host of hindrances to the body).  

However, if a friend confides that they’ve been in love with you for some time now, your brain may release the neurotransmitter serotonin (a pleasure drug linked to happiness).  Words and thoughts become physical manifestations.  They become the chemicals of your brain, and they govern your body and its health.

Similar to the study of the Tibetan monks was the Helsinki Study, an infamous research study in preventing heart attacks.  This experiment took middle-aged Finnish men at high-risk for heart disease and divided them into two groups: the leisure group and the intensive group.  

Over a number of years, the leisure group met with doctors occasionally and was given advice on diet, exercise, and preventive measures, which were casually followed.  The intensive group stringently and frequently met with doctors for consultation on preventive measures that the group members strictly followed.  

Shockingly, when the study concluded, it was found that the leisure group not only had fewer deaths, but also had fewer deaths from heart attack.  Is chronic worry over preventing something more detrimental to health than not taking preemptive measures at all?

Another study, conducted in the 1940’s at Harvard, concluded that the leading cause for premature heart attacks in men wasn’t diet, exercise, or genetics.  The number one correlation in those men who eluded early-life heart failure was their ability to deal with psychological problems during their twenties—versus those men who opposed and ignored their psyche.

This research indicates that the secret to a long life is not merely good genes, exercise, or diet, but emotional resilience—flexibly dealing with life’s struggles.  If they aren’t energy, what are thoughts and emotions?  

After all, we’ve all experienced our body’s energy communicating with the energy of another person.  Think back to the last time you were hanging out with a group of friends and someone in a horrible mood affected, quite literally, the chemistry of the group.  

Now recall having lunch with an elated friend; was there a positive shift in your mood and body that day?

Billions of years ago, humanity was born.  Today, we ride the waves of energy emanating from a single womb.  We live on as complex, thinking forms of the hydrogen and helium atoms created at the time of the big bang.  

We are connected, and, as Einstein enlightened us through mathematics, we are all energy.  Through awareness, energy can be moved.  Through the movement of energy, the body is created