by Bernie Siegel, MD

The key to life in all its forms is its ability to communicate. This includes the ability of complex organisms like ourselves to communicate with each other but more importantly within ourselves, our individual organs and cells. How do animals communicate without words? Studies show they can count and make intelligent choices when given options yet we do not know how they are able to reason and communicate without using words.

Life began with one celled organisms who learned how to communicate by altering the chemistry of their environment. In times of danger they would secrete substances which led them to come together into a balls of cells which would survive adverse living conditions like droughts or temperature fluctuations. Today these same methods of communication go on within us but problems arise when we do not pay attention to these messages of danger because of our level of consciousness. Notice I didn’t say intelligence. If we were intelligent we would pay attention to the messages we are giving our bodies and they are giving us so that the intracellular signals would be life enhancing and not disease inducing.

Think of the simple fact that Monday has a higher mortality and suicide rate then other days of the week and you begin to see why we are not the wisest of creatures. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics by intelligent alterations in their genetic mechanisms and survive. We can’t even get through the week without succumbing to adverse conditions.

I also marvel at the intelligence within a seed. Did you ever notice how seeds will sprout and grow through pavement to survive. How do they know which way is up without sensing warmth? There is a sense of gravity within a seed and they don’t give in to adversity when they run into obstacles. They push forward or find new ways to reach the light. What signals them to keep going and not succumb?

The method of communication has to be chemical signals within the cell directing its behavior but how a protein molecule thinks and knows what to do is beyond me and probably science’s understanding. It is awesome to think of one cell developing into a human being and differentiating into all the components we are made of and getting them to develop in the right places too. Think of the endless number of signals which must be given to each intracellular component to do this.

Now think of the signals this organism receives after it is formed. What does a touch, hug or caress say to it about living? What do unexpressed fears, despair and depression tell it about the desire to live. Every cell in our bodies is aware of our will to live and our desires and intentions. The emotional and the physical are one. Mind and matter are not separate entities. Just as one celled organisms reacted to their environment our cells react to both our physical and emotional environments because there is a chemistry to both.

The question is what messages are you giving your body so that the signals created are life enhancing and not life threatening. I think the key words and signals are inspiration and expiration. We use the latter when things are ending. When someone dies we say he expired. The breath of life has left.

Inspiration is a word that fills us with the joy of living and our desire and intention to survive. Inspiration means breathing in but it also speaks of being inspired to create life and survive hardships. When I meet an inspired individual who is living a meaningful life I know they will live longer in the face of adversity then others with the same afflictions or problems. I believe this is why some people overcome so called incurable diseases. They find new meaning in life and signal their bodies that their desire and intention and determination is to live. They are not ready to expire because they are inspired to live, love and serve.

Their bodies get the message and changes occur which lead to their healing and curing themselves and their bodies. Now we are getting somewhere. Like the bacteria we are living with a sense of our mission here and role in creation and respond to adversity with a will to live. We see this idea supported by research being done today. Join a support group or simply keep a journal of your feelings and you slow the progression of your disease, reduce the number of symptoms, lower the recurrence and death rates. It doesn’t matter what the disease is. The will to live is physiologic and communicated to every cell in your body.

Remember the song, “Eat an apple every day. Go to bed by three. Take good care of yourself. You belong to me. Be careful crossing streets. Don’t eat meats ‘cause you’ll get a pain and ruin your tum, tum.” You don’t know how lucky you are reading this and not having me sing it to you. The latter might create some negative signals to your body.

The message is clear. Give your body messages and signals related to your inspiration and will to live. Your body will do the best it can to sustain you when you do so. Exercise produces neuropeptides which protect the cardiovascular system. Massage enhances growth and immune function. The beneficial effects of love are not an accident. So find your reason for living now and get going. Then you will never be working and Mondays won’t be a threat to your health.

One last word of advice. This article is not written to help you avoid disease and death but to help you enjoy life. In Heaven the grumpiest people are the vegetarian, meditating, joggers who despite eating only vegetables, meditating regularly and getting up early every day to jog died anyway. So do what feels right because that is how those chemical messages from your body are communicated, through feelings and not what is thought. The body signals us too. The mind matters and feelings matter and when we live right they are the healthiest unit they can be. Consciousness and matter unify and become one through the inspirational signals we provide. So get in touch with your body.