Saturday, September 1, 2012
Why Is Reflecting Upon Our Gut Feelings So Important to Our Immune System and Well Being— Distinguishing the "You" and "Not Truly You" for Excellent Mental and Physical Health!
I just completely finished reading a facinating new book titled “mBraining” about the head, heart, and gut brain intelligence and exercises to align the three. I highly recommend it. Actually I was truly excited as I began reading it because I do not find many other people writing about the intelligence of the “gut brain” and certainly not the psychological aspects of what Dr Michael Gershon calls the “second brain”. And as I read, I became more and more excited because our findings in our studies that we describe in our book “What’s Behind Your Belly Button?” and that of “mBraining” authors seem to overlap and validate each other in some very crucial ways. There are some differences in our theories as one might expect, but these are for the most part a matter of language and emphasis, as we both have our own created language for describing the gut brain and its relationship to the head and heart. Interestingly though, even some of our created language is the same and this points to the fact that when you are aware of your gut feelings, the descriptions are going to be similar. As it is said, “a rose is a rose is a rose”.
So let's talk a minute about one of the more important overlaps in our research and theory that are discussed in both of these two books and that is: Why is being in touch with our gut feelings so important to our health and well being. We talk in “What’s Behind Your Belly Button?” about how the gut response of emptiness and fullness gives us the ability to distingish the “You” and “Not Truly You” and thus gives the gut response the ability to regulate the immune system with its production of endorphins and to bring us closer to our awareness of our authentic self, who we truly are and what we truly need as human beings from moment-to-moment in order to flourish. Furthermore, we find this ability of the gut response to distinguish the “You “ and “Not Truly You” to potentially play an important role in finding the cure of disease. Interestingly, “mBraining” authors while speaking of the gut governing the sense of one’s core identity, also speak of it as the distinction of what is the “You” and “Not you”. We find it exciting that we selected the same language here to describe this important psychological function of the gut intelligence. We certainly find this over-lap in our findings, both based on clinical studies, a validation that is important to explore further in medical science and among practitioners.
To help begin this exploration and conversation of the gut function in regulating the immune system with the ability to distinguish what is "you" and "not truly you", we have decided to publish here an excerpt from Chapter 11, page 282-288 of “What’s Behind Your Belly Button?”on the relationship of the self-awareness and healing of the emotional body and the physical body:
“Immunologists are beginning to understand something about the existence and need for the immune system to have its own reflection process to identify unhealthy cells that need to be eliminated. The process and intelligence of reflection of the immune system is similar to the process of inner somatic awareness that leads to the restoration of emotional health. If we look first at the reflection and identification process of the immune system itself in fighting disease and bringing wellness to the physical body, it is easy to then demonstrate how the process of the immune system has similar elements to Depth Psychology processes, including the Somatic Reflection Process, that lead us to healthfulness of the emotional body.
“Dr. Toru Abo, who saved countless lives by discovering extra thymic T cells and later in 2000 that the gastric ulcer is triggered by the dominance of granulocytes in white blood cells rather than by gastric or hyper secretions (as we had thought for 100 years), also discovered in 1996 that the immune system is compromised by stress. His findings suggest that leukocytes have an increase of granulocytes when the sympathetic nervous system is dominant and an increase of lymphocytes when the parasympathetic is activated. This means that if the autonomic nervous system is stuck in sympathetic mode caused by chronic exposure to stress, the parasympathetic nervous system is not activated and lymphocytes decrease and the number of granulocytes and inflammation increases. Without the proper amount of lymphocytes that are the immune system’s ability to mark foreign cells in our body, the immune system does not have a method of identifying which cells are healthy and unhealthy, which cells are and are not cancer cells to be eliminated. We could say that as long as we have chronic stress in our lives, we are at risk of being haunted with cancer cells and becoming sick because they will continue to be produced and be of sufficient strength to go unidentified and hidden in our bodies without being eliminated by our immune system.
“Dr Abo found with the identification of T cells that the immune system has the ability to mark a foreign cell (cancer cell) from a cell that is normal and then eradicate the foreign cell. This has been described as finding the “you cells” and “not you cells” and getting rid of the “not you cells”. T cells continually scan the surfaces of all of our cells in our body and kill those that exhibit foreign markings.
“We can compare this T cell function in the physical body to the necessary process of reflection in eliminating old, outdated mental tapes and complex constellation affects that occur in the emotional body. When we explore our true feelings with the Somatic Reflection Process, and we trace our feelings and gut responses back to their origin, we find that our guilt, for instance, began with an experience when we were empty and without our human instinctual needs being met. It was in that state that we may often find that we accepted the negative thinking judgment of another person about ourselves and who we are as a human being. This external judgment is foreign to the assessment of our own internal assessment of needs and may become such an automatic tape in our thinking that we do not remember where the idea came from in the first place. We may carry this external assessment of ourselves in our consciousness for a long time and not even be aware that the thinking of these thoughts about ourselves were told to us by an authority or other important person in our lives. In that case, we may feel guilty that we did something or did not do something that someone else disapproved of and now we have laid the judgment on ourselves without question. We decide to accept that we are stupid or ugly or selfish or lazy and we feel guilty and thus depressed. And all of this is not something that we originally invented, but accepted in our emptiness, as human beings are prone to do when true acceptance for who we are is not available.
“These are assessments of whom we are, with an origin from an external judgment of our organism, foreign to our own thinking in origin, that we may live with for a long time without understanding that we carry something foreign in our emotional body. We can go all our entire lives without questioning our emotional complexes or what we like to call emotional hauntings. So our understanding of the “you” or what we truly feel about ourselves from an inner needs perspective and the “not truly you” or what we were told we are, never gets distinguished and thus the “not truly you” becomes so integrated in our thinking that we have no way to identify what is “you” and “not truly you”, except in the awareness of some distant feeling in our guts where the voice is still screaming very softly of feeling emptiness and aloneness—although it is generally true if the emotions of guilt, fear, and anger exist that we are certainly not listening to our gut instincts of emptiness and fullness. In this condition, our energy is drained, our thinking becomes distorted, and our premises often consist of lies we tell ourselves that only feed into these emotional hauntings and seem to validate our low self-opinion and esteem. Without reflection on our inner gut feelings to dislodge the external, foreign thinking from our consciousness, we cling to our misconceptions of ourselves and we cannot function at an optimal healthy capacity for neither ourselves nor those we care deeply about and our stress level is high, yet often the awareness of all of this is suppressed and unconscious until a time of crisis.
“Without the caring of another human being to first reflect to us acceptance and understanding, it is doubtful that anyone ever reexamines their feelings thoroughly enough to find their way home to who they are or as Dr. Carl Jung suggests, sets their foot on the individuation process. Once initiated with this identification of who we are on a deep feeling and somatic level, the process may begin toward true emotional healing. This is something that we as psychological somatic practitioners have seen in process for decades, going back to early analysis with Depth Psychology leading us toward the process of individuation or wholeness for health and healing. But recently, in the last decade, immunologists have begun to look at this same process of identification in the physical immune system in answer to how does the white blood cell know what cell to attack and what healthy cell to leave in tact? How does the white blood cell make the distinction between the “you cell” and “not you cell”?
“What excites us about Dr Abo’s research is that he is finding that disease of the physical body is naturally healed by the physical immune system using a process with a notable similarity to the somatic psychological practices that are used to treat complexes of the emotional body. Somatic practitioners have long found that clearing the emotional body by using modalities like the Somatic Reflection Process, yoga, breathing meditation, and other somatic psychology processes that bring us closer to the awareness of who we truly are and release our thoughts and emotions of who we are not from our consciousness, returns the emotional body to its natural state of wellness. Dr. Abo, with his latest book now translated in English in 2007, has found that the immune system works to heal the physical body in a similar fashion, using a similar process of identifying or “tagging” what is a “not you cell” from what is a “you cell” and being given support to naturally eliminate what is “not you”.
“Moreover, the health of the emotional body is affected by the health of the physical body and vice-versa. There are similarities in how they both function and how they directly affect each other. This effect leads one to inquire if there is something in certain somatic and psychological interventions that not only supports the immune system but also activates its healthy processes? Based on experience with hundreds of clients, as well as our own inner experiences of using the Somatic Reflection Process (SRP) for over 40 years on a daily basis, we have found that there is experienced with this process a relief of tension/stress symptoms and a body-feeling/mind connection that feels united and connected with a result of much more energy accessible to the individual.
“We could hypothesis that the greater ability you have to distinguish between “you” and “not you” affecting your emotional body and to thus return to a normal state of body-mind unity, the better the chances for longevity and a strong physical immune system that can also tag the “not you cells” from the “you cells” to fight off physical disease. A case for the vice-versa affects of the healthy physical immune system upon the emotional immune system may also be made.
“There is an ancient Daoist saying in the I-Ching or the Book of Changes that reads “As above, so below” and applies here to this relationship between the emotional body-immune system and physical body-immune system, if we might for a moment separate the two. At the heart of the body-mind connection, we understand that we are but one entity, united in body, emotion, spirit, and mind. But for the sake of scientific study, it is useful to break down and identify component parts and examine them from as many angles as possible. So we might ask, if the emotional body-immune system works in a similar fashion to the physical body-immune system, what else is similar about the two systems besides the identification of and elimination of the “you” and “not you”?
“Could immunologists and somatic practitioners learn something valuable from each other by engaging together in discussion and inquiry about how these two systems work and how they might be compared or if they just may be the same in source and both a function of evolved human intelligence? It is possible that the immune system (IS) may be just the RNA intelligence converted to a repair function after birth. Since the RNA is the builder of the fetus, by differentiating the cells of the body, designating and sending cells to their proper locations of the body, at the proper time. Nature would not add-on another system if it already had a successful functional system that worked—like the RNA. It would be contrary to the add-on principle of life, to abandon the RNA and start over with a new immune system.
“We suggest that the immune system is a continuation of its work—original work—patching up the wear and tear of the organism it originally built. Who or what would be more likely to recognize my cells or not-my-cells after birth and throughout life of the organism than the RNA intelligence? The implication here is that our immune system is evolving through trials of use in fighting illnesses and the bombardment of our modern world toxins and that this evolution not only engages the strengthening of the body and it’s T-Cell use but also our emotional intelligence and a higher awareness of our human nature and its original DNA coding as a highly self-reflective and intelligence evolving entity. In this way, we could say that all people who are fighting to strengthen the emotional immune system along with the physical immune system, for whatever reason whether it is to overcome disease or emotional pain, are doing the work to overcome the body-mind split for not just themselves but also for the healthy evolution of our entire human species.”
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