PureInsight | May 20, 2002
The influence of the mind (also referred to as “spirit” or “consciousness”) on the physical body is an open field in modern medicine. Recently, more and more pieces of evidence have demonstrated that the mind can alter the physical body in various ways, particularly through the endocrine and immune systems. However, there have been no efforts to try to understand how the mind alters gene expression. Three reasons account for this: First, modern science has difficulty defining and quantifying the mind; secondly, modern science solely focuses on the biological aspects of human body; thirdly, there hasn’t been a group of people with the same spiritual pursuits. Recently, the accomplishments of the human genome project and the widespread application of DNA micron-array techniques have made research in this field possible . Practitioners of Falun Dafa cultivation would make suitable subjects for such research. Their cultivation principles of assimilating into “Zhen-Shan-Ren” (Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance) and their practicing “no second cultivation way” are the main reasons for us to choose this group of people as our first choice of subjects for the study. We obtained some results that differed noticeably from normal values when we were studying the gene expression in the neutrophils of Dafa practitioners, including: improved immune systems, decreased cellular metabolic rates, and decreased expression of the protein degradation systems. Most interestingly, some of these changes are “two-way” alterations, which are beneficial for both sides. In order to further delineate the alteration mechanisms, we will first talk a little bit about the development and limitations of modern science, then further explain the results of our experiment.
The effects of the mind—a virgin land that science has failed to explore
Mind and matter “officially” separated in 17th century. Rene Descartes* (1596-1650), one of the founders of modern science and a philosopher and mathematician as well, believed that the universe had two different substances, mind and matter (Dualism). He believed that science can not study the mind, so he told his friend—famous scientist, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), “The mind is too difficult to research. You are a scientist, so go and study matter and leave the mind to religion.” In earlier times, religion was very strong and suppressed science. Later, science fully developed stepped into a glorious age, and religion was completely defeated. Even the Pope (Paul II) also acknowledged that Darwin’s theory of evolution was “more than just a theory” in October 1996. It seems that religion, which should be responsible to the development of the mind and the spirit, is now converting to science, which only focuses on understanding matter.
The foundation of modern science is “believing after seeing”. Whenever a spiritual factor is involved, everyone feels uncomfortable. Spiritual factors are too complicated. How can we study them? It cannot be seen and cannot be touched, and we do not have equipment capable of measuring it. To give an example, we felt quite powerless when some people frankly told us that “conscience cannot be exchanged with money, so we don’t care about it. How much is one jin of conscience?” No one could define or quantify mental or spiritual states. For example, a mole could not represent a unit of happiness; joy doesn’t have a concentration; a gram could not represent a unit of sadness; units could not describe a degree of hatred; decibels could not show an amount of pain, and so on. Having no way to measure these things, modern scientists choose to neglect spiritual or mental factors. However, people do see the consequences of the influence of positive or negative emotional states.
Recently, scientists have finished sequencing the genomic libraries of humans and of several other creatures. The human genomes and those of gorillas are 99% identical. The high level of duplicate sequences between humans and other animals, including mice, is also surprising. Humans have only three times more genes than that of a Drosophila (13,600). Ten percent of human genes are highly related to the genes in Drosphila and C. elegance [1, 2]. Human and bacterial genes (113) also hold many similarities [3-5]. The most surprising thing is how tens of thousands of similar genes, can be the foundation for both humans and mice. Humans and mice share amazingly similar biological systems, including even the neuron systems. Many molecules are interchangeable (6). These discoveries seemingly support Darwin’s theory of evolution, which eliminated the uniqueness of the human biology in nature and therefore made it more acceptable to use animals as substitutes for humans in experiments. But please think about it carefully, what exactly is the difference between humans and C. elegance, Drosophila and the mouse?
A human being is not just a flesh body, or an animal with a human shape. The biggest difference between humans and animals is spiritual and mental. Therefore, a mouse will not feel guilty for stealing food, and a pig will not feel pain due to an unhappy marriage. Even a monkey, which is so close to humans, will not feel embarrassed if found naked. Only humans possess a consciousness of higher realms. Of course, because man has a physical body, he also experiences purely physical pains and illnesses, such as his arm breaking, losing teeth, genetic deficiencies, as well as birth, old age, illnesses and death. Physically, humans and animals may not differ much. Researchers are currently discovering, however, that more and more illnesses relate to mental and spiritual factors. Even the penetration rate of a genetic disease caused by gene deficiency also highly correlates with spiritual and mental factors.
In simpler words, the trial of a new drug in modern medicine begins from in vitro tests with cultured cells and in vivo tests with animals: first with mice, then with bigger animals, such as monkeys, and finally with humans. Most of the drugs are produced in this way. Of course, drugs designed in this way can only target one’s physical body, because science has never been able to really consider spiritual factors. Even if the final test is on the human body, it still treats the human body as merely a piece of living flesh made of molecules and without a spirit, or just as a body similar to those of animals.
Problems caused by the materialistic feature of drugs can be found everywhere. Medical doctors often notice that when using the same drug to treat patients with different attitudes toward life, the results might differ greatly. The outcome might also differ when a patient is treated with the same drug while under different personal conditions. The effect and toxicity of one particular drug could vary when the patient was treated while in different mental states. This is because during different mental states the body responds differently to drug treatments, and the liver and kidneys’ ability to process and excrete drugs can also differ. It is conceivable that the toxicity of a drug administered to an optimistic person could diminish, while to a person in very low spirits, it could be very harmful . In daily life one can easily see one’s mentally-related bodily responses to a material as well, such as tolerance to alcohol or some particular foods. Science cannot answer these questions because they go beyond its range of research.
The one-sidedness caused by developing drugs in a purely materialistic way probably only constitutes a minor problem. What is more problematic thing is that people accustom themselves to relying solely upon scientific advancements and improvements in the quality of medicines. This dependence on external factors not only disturbs the inner biological self-regulation, but also results in a often forgotten and more terrible consequence: We give up our own spirituality. It accounts for why research like human cloning exists. In its extreme manifestations, people no longer trust themselves. People are different from other animals because we have human minds and spirits, not just human bodies.
In fact, during the natural development of an organism, it consistently establishes a system that is as self-regulated and self-optimized as possible. The human body establishes its immune system’s ability to distinguish itself from foreign materials in this way. The balance between the apoptosis in a cell and its proliferation maintains the integrity of the organism. The self-development and self-repairing mechanism established in an organism is the optimum process. Otherwise there will be no normal development and turnover. These regulations are on a holistic level rather than on a particular site. People often say, “Calm down and ‘take a rest and nourishment to regain your health’”., meaning: Let it go naturally and wait for the body to recover by itself. Every cellular activity involves numerous molecules and cells. Most molecules and cells are double-edged swords. For example, one of the most important transcription factors called NF-kappa B, which controls the synthesis of growth factors, plays a role in killing microorganisms. But at the same time it also damages itself [8-11]. Therefore, the regulations on the molecular level can never avoid side effects, which are often negative. But modern medicines function only on this level, so they cause both benefits and damages. While spiritual regulations perform on a higher level, their functioning target is not a particular gene, but to maintain a balance between positive and negative factors.
Dafa practitioners are pioneers of a universal science
At present more and more people are beginning to acknowledge the influence of the mind on the body. The financial support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in this area has increased each year. In 1999, it granted the University of Pittsburgh 10 million dollars to study the interaction between the mind and the body. Recently NIH also funded a program on curing patients with AIDS through “prayer therapy”. It also assigned some research funding to study the placebo effect. In addition, research grants on alternative medicine have increased each year. This research emphasizes the patients’ psychological changes. Though researchers have obtained some positive results, with their narrow mindsets, they still have not made any important breakthroughs.
Science has progressed slowly in the field of the mind because it neither quantify nor define the mind. Because scientists cannot clearly understand how the mind works, their treatments in that aspect remain within the boundaries of subjective consciousness, focusing on emotions and moods. On the other hand, as the society’s morality declines, the boundary between good and bad blurs. In 1992, Mr. Li Hongzhi introduced Falun Dafa to the public. Mr. Li said, “A person has a physical body, yet a person is not complete with only a physical body. One must also have human temperament, personality, character, and Primordial Spirit in order to constitute a complete and independent person with individuality. The same is true with our universe, which has the Milky Way, other galaxies, as well as life and water. All things and matter in this universe are aspects of material existence. At the same time, however, it also possesses the characteristic Zhen-Shan-Ren.”(Zhuan Falun, Chapter One) When one’s mind assimilates to the characteristic of the universe, Zhen-Shan-Ren (Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance), one can experience the true value of life and witness the truth of the universe. Zhen-Shan-Ren has struck a chord in the hearts of over 100 million people. Those over 100 million people have stepped onto the path of assimilating to the characteristic of universe, Zhen-Shan-Ren. When a society becomes so materialistic, however, it becomes difficult to purify one’s mind.
The magazine Nature published an article on economic research that reported that people are gradually losing patience. In animal experiments, people found that animals do not understand the concept of long-term benefits. They only care about immediate individual gains and for them sometimes sacrifice larger benefits for an individual or their whole group in the end. At present more and more people act similar to animals, already inflicting much damage to society and to human beings. Actually, this is an inevitable consequence of people excessively pursuing material gains and neglecting spirituality. Humans and animals differ very little in terms of molecular structure. Ignoring spirituality definitely will lead to more animal-like social behaviors.
Assimilating to Zhen-Shan-Ren is obviously incompatible with those aforementioned animal-like social behaviors. Cultivators have exposed the biases of modern science with their own experiences, particularly during the last three years of receiving brutal persecution in China. The human mind has a standard, which is Zhen-Shan-Ren, the characteristic of the universe. Mind and matter are the same. Dafa practitioners practice the Falun Dafa exercises (physical) as well as cultivate their hearts (mind). They have reached the realm of “harmony between heaven and man” during the process of assimilating to the cosmic spirit. Under the guidance of Zhuan Falun (the main text of Falun Dafa, written by Mr. Li Hongzhi), Dafa practitioners have investigated how the process of assimilating to cosmic principles of Zhen-Shan-Ren has an impact on the human body, life, and even human society. They are the pioneers of the universal science. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss some of the supernormal characteristics of Dafa practitioners’ cells and a possible explanation of their biological mechanisms.
Dafa practitioners are a protective group
The quality of health of a group of people depends on the total resistance of the group. In other words, the more people who can resist a certain disease, the less likely an epidemic will occur. In terms of responding to microorganisms, there exists a particular group of people, called “carriers”. Carries did not suffer the disease themselves, but neither can they purge the disease-related microorganisms. So they will pass them to others. During World War II, a famous carrier called Typhoid Mary belonged to this type. Mary Mallon was a Typhoid carrier. She could not kill the bacteria in her body by herself but she did not suffer the disease. She was a cook and many people who ate her food became infected.
Nevertheless, if many people have strong resistance, they will provide protection for the whole group. We compared the expression of 12,000 leukocyte genes in healthy non-practitioners and practitioners using a DNA microarray technique . We found that over 300 genes had been noticeably altered by being raised or lowered; their expression levels sometimes differed by many dozen times. Some of the raised altered genes included those related to immunity, such as the anti-microorganism factor Defensin [17-19], interferon , and I-309 [21-23], which functions to resist HIV. In addition, the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria also improved. The enhancement of resistance can help to purge harmful microorganisms, which can prevent harmful microorganisms from spreading further, and can thus benefit those surrounding the individual. It may be one medical explanation of “when one person cultivates, the whole family will benefit.”
However, the immune system is a double-edged sword; excessive enhancements will not only kill harmful microorganisms, but also normal cells. Surprisingly, we found another supernormal alteration in the body of Dafa cultivators. The expression of some genes which can prevent cell death upon inflammation stimulation, such as Bcl2, and Bcl-xL[24-26], decreased dramatically. This ensures a quick death of those inflammatory cells after they kill bacteria in order to alleviate the harm of inflammation to the body. This “benefiting both self and others” system is the best regulatory pathway.
As we all know, more and more microorganisms have begun to resist drugs. Many antibiotics no longer function and are no longer used. This could be partially attributed to the abuse of antibiotics. The enhancement of the total immunity in Dafa practitioners can prevent the need to use antibiotics. From any point of view, Dafa’s cultivation principles completely benefit one’s overall health. From a social and medical perspective, a cultivator’s body is an ideal protection group to a whole group of people.
The “black hole” in white blood cells of Dafa practitioners diminished
Black holes serve as “cosmic graves”, responsible for eliminating aging and dying celestial bodies so as to clean up the universe. Looking at whole human body, we have an excretion system. Cells also resemble small universes. But where is the system that deals with waste disposal?
The metabolism determines the rate of cellular protein synthesis and degeneration. In every cell cycle, the proteins in the cell need to be renewed. In a healthy human cell, 50% of abnormally synthesized proteins are degenerated in a complex process called proteasome. Even a normal cell can produce a lot of abnormal, misfolded, or damaged proteins, possibly as many as one third of its total proteins. Under pathological conditions, this percentage could be even higher.
The full name of this protein degeneration system is the Ubiquitin dependent protein degeneration system (UPP) [28,29]. Three major enzymes of the system, E1, E2, and E3, hold responsibility for the degeneration of many important proteins in the cell, including proteins involved in cell cycle controls, cell division and differentiation, development, stress responses, morphological development of the neuron system, lowering of membrane receptors and ion channels, synthesis of cytoplasmic organelles, DNA repair, and regulation on immune responses and inflammation. In recent years, more and more diseases have been found to be related to the malfunction of this system, including some genetic diseases, recessive diseases in the neuron system, metabolic disorders, cancer, muscle atrophy, diabetes, hypertension, septicemia, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and some aging-associated disorders [2, 29-32]. In most cases, these diseases are marked with an increased activity of the degeneration system along with a higher than normal metabolism rate. Looking from the physiological and pathological perspective, this system serves as a black hole of the cell.
We found that in the white blood cells of practitioners a series of important enzymes of the system are dramatically lowered. The 12 enzymes, including E2 and E3, could be lowered a couple dozen times on average. We believe that this lowering is not primary, but secondary. The lowering of the expressions of some other genes involved in the DNA, RNA, protein metabolism and the cellular oxidation process suggests that the cause is the decrease of metabolic products (waste). Animal experiments also suggest that when the metabolic rate decreases, the expression of the proteasome system in the liver lowers as well. This also supports the idea that a lower metabolic rate can lead to a decrease in UPP [33, 34].
One current clinical trial is to use proteasome inhibitors to treat cancer. Researchers have obtained some positive results  and have not reported any noticeable toxicity yet. This marks the clinical significance of regulation of this system. However, this system involves the regulation of many important molecules. It is simply impossible to completely avoid side effects.
We believe that, when one is under pathological conditions, either due to their insufficient ability to process waste or a genetic deficiency in the proteasome system, the best way to fix it is not to target the system per se, but on a higher level to reduce the generation of waste. Even under healthy conditions, a relatively low metabolic rate also benefits the organism. For example, animals with low metabolic rates have a smaller chance of contracting diseases and a lower death rate, and a higher resistance to diseases..
It is not difficult to understand that it is harmful to inhibit the black hole in order to reduce the waste processing. A simple example is, if a factory has too much waste, should we try to reduce the waste or just reduce the waste processor? If we consider the protein degradation system as a black hole, we believe that it is unchangeable, and has the ability to automatically adjust itself.
According to some recent reports, black holes in our Milky Way Galaxy seem very busy just like their counterparts in our cells. Dying celestial bodies have filled the black holes in our galaxy. Should we also attempt to fix them? Probably no drug designer will try to produce a compound to cure the pathological condition of the black hole in our galaxy. However, based on the principle of “harmony between heaven and man”, if we can fix the black hole of mankind, the black hole in our galaxy will also be getting better correspondingly.
In fact, not only can we change black holes by assimilating to Zhen-Shan-Ren, the human body, living creatures and the whole universe will all reach a harmonious state as well. But this harmony depends on the assimilation of human heart to Zhen-Shan-Ren. The changes of gene expression and cell activity found in Dafa practitioners suggest that changes occur on the molecular and cellular level when man communicates with the universe. We believe that in the near future we will have more and more results to share with you. Assimilating to Zhen-Shan-Ren will correct the human heart and refresh everything.
*Descartes was a French mathematician and philosopher. It was Descartes who formulated the axiom, “Cogito ergo sum”, 'I think; therefore I am.' The two major works of Descartes are Discourse on Method (1637) and Principles of Philosophy (1644).
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(Article from The First Future Science and Culture Congress)
Translated on April 27, 2002 from http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2002/3/22/13908.html