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15: PEPTIDES

Welcome to the 15th post in our Journey in Dialog. Joshua Freedman in a sixseconds article tells about the discoveries of Candace Pert.

Even before she was chief of brain biochemistry at the National Institutes of Health, Candace Pert made a breakthrough discovery that changed the way scientists understand the mind-body connection. She found the opiate receptor, the mechanism by which a class of chemicals (peptides) alters the mind and body. Pert’s work helped shift the paradigm from “emotions as neuroscience” to “emotions as biology.”

“I’ve always kind of known that the energy you emanate from within attracts the situations and people that you need,” Pert explains. I asked Pert to explain how emotions have such a powerful effect. … “We’re vibrating like a tuning fork — we send out a vibration to other people.” … As Pert explained in her earlier book, Molecules of Emotion, neurotransmitters called peptides carry emotional messages.

Pert says that just as our individual cells carry an electrical charge, so does the body as a whole. Like an electromagnet generating a field, Pert says that people have a positive charge above their heads and a negative charge below. “So we’re actually sending out various electrical signals – vibrations. … You are connected to everybody else. … And you are leaving a wake, changing the world around you in a huge way.”

 The book’s title, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d, makes an implicit link between feeling good and connecting to God.  … At a neurological level, Pert continues, the feeling of being connected with God, of feeling blessed, is an important part of the brain. “We are hard wired to be in bliss. It’s normal and it’s natural. … Any creature that could not experience bliss would have just died and become extinct 200 million years ago.”

Just as the receptors for other neuropeptides trigger a cellular response, opiate receptors pick up the presence of a neurotransmitter for euphoria. The naturally occurring “bliss chemicals” are called endorphins, and they are released in the brain and body in response to emotional states and to physical activities. Pert says, “The way endorphins work is evidence of bliss as an evolutionary necessity. … It’s like we’re designed to make choices around pleasure. The very highest, most intelligent part of our brain is drenched in receptors to make us use pleasure as a criterion for our decisions. So it’s okay to feel good – God is good. … So when we create that kind of resonance internally, we are in line with that divine self.”

Pert helps to make the case that transformational dialog is a physiological as well as a psychological and theological experience.

  1. What do you see to be the connection between dialog and Pert’s view that we send out vibrations to other people like a tuning fork?
  2. What do you see to be the connection between dialog and Pert’s view that we are made for bliss?

 

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