The Marin and San Francisco WAPF groups joined together to host Dr. Marcey Shapiro, a local integrative physician and author of two books: Transforming the Nature of Health and Freedom from Anxiety. She talked with us about the connection between our thoughts and beliefs and our experience of health and illness.
Healing has been her passion since she was a small child. She recounted an experience when she was very young where she was so happy in a field of wildflowers that she sensed a shift of consciousness. She felt deeply connected to the plants and knew that if she listened, the plants would teach her. Her connection to herbs and plants has guided her whole life.
She began to look at the mind/body/spirit connection and studied Jane Roberts, Seth, and Abraham Hicks who all teach that we create our own reality; our experiences come from what we focus on. She says it takes discipline to do this ~ to shift thoughts to the things desired. She’s been doing this work for 15 years and everything in her life has transformed. These spiritual teachers say that our beliefs create our experience of physical reality. When we focus on what makes our heart sing, what our own truth and alignment is (rather than buying into the fear tactics in the media) this has a direct impact on our health.
On a neurochemical level, we create hormones and chemicals in response to whatever we are thinking and feeling and our minds organize data by emotional content. Our whole immune system is geared towards positive feelings. When we have feelings of wholeness, well-being and love, our immune system turns on and is more effective.
She cited several studies, one in the positive psychology field by Martin Seligman, where 80-year olds that have positive expectations and goals lived a lot longer than those who were discouraged and had negative expectations. She also talked about the power of belief, such as what happens with the placebo effect. She said that 30-70% of the effects from medicines are because you believe in them.
Another example of the power of belief was a study done with knee pain. The initial study was done with 10 people: 3 people had partial surgery, 5 people had some scalpel cuts that didn’t relate to the knee issue and 2 people had the real surgery. Everyone was pleased with their surgery and felt like they had good results. This study was repeated with 300 people and the results were the same.
She proposes that consciousness as a group matters, too, and that we are empowered to change reality. She cited a study where a large group of people was instructed to meditate for a period of time in Washington, DC and that the crime rate plummeted to 10% during that time.
She says that we can live in fear or we can harmonize with anything and can transform it. When feeling positive and connected to our heart ~ solutions come to us. If we live in fear, answers to problems won’t come as easily.
Marcey suggests that when we live from our heart, deeply connected to our wholeness, we get the best information for having a good life. The heart is the doorway to our connection to other people, to the universe. Our hearts are prescient, too. There was a study where people were shown random images by a computer and when negative images were shown, the heart started beating faster before the image was selected (the heart somehow knew what was coming).
She taught us a heart-centered breathing exercise:
- Imagine the breath coming in through the top of the head and out through the heart (this takes you out of consuming, spinning thoughts);
- Then imagine the breath coming in through heart and out through solar plexus (calming ~ most of our neurotransmitters are made in gut; our thoughts affect our microbiome)
(Or you can imagine the breath coming in the solar plexus and out the heart and back and forth). You can also add a word, such as love, ease or peace with each breath
- Then imagine the breath coming in the heart and out the lower abdomen (this helps you feel grounded, centered and connected to earth)
By Karen Hamilton-Roth