“Emerging science tells us that the genes we inherit aren’t fixed; they are influenced by their environment, beginning in utero and continuing throughout our lives. The groundbreaking discovery of epigenetics tells a new story about our ability to change.”
― Nicole LePera
“ Let the past stay in the past”. This age-old adage has been echoed for generations as a way to move on from difficult times. A well-meaning motivational quote meant to encourage us to march forward and to let the proverbial sleeping dogs lie. But is it that simple?
As a hypnotherapist, working with the subconscious mind never ceases to astound me. The layers of a human being are vast and incredibly complex, with no two people ever being exactly alike. We can be thankful for our individuality based on a number of factors such as the environment we were raised in, our life experiences, and of course our genetic makeup. But can your forbearer’s life experiences and traumas also be a part of who you are today? According to the study of epigenetics, the answer could be, yes.
Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. The expression of your genes is modified without changing the DNA code itself. “Tiny chemical tags are added to or removed from our DNA in response to changes in the environment in which we are living. These tags turn genes on or off, offering a way of adapting to changing conditions without inflicting a more permanent shift in our genomes”. (BBC)
With this discovery, if your mother experienced a traumatic event in her life, there is a very real chance that this will impact her children and future generations of her family. In a 2015 study, children of the survivors of the Holocaust had epigenetic changes to a gene that was linked to their levels of cortisol, a hormone involved in the stress response. “Some children of Holocaust survivors have terrible nightmares in which they are chased, persecuted, tortured, or annihilated as if they were re-living the Second World War over and over again. At these times, they suffer from debilitating anxiety and depression which reduce their ability to cope with stress and adversely impact their occupational and social function.” (Doctors Only) Despite the controversy surrounding this study, and other studies, it does not seem to shake the merit of these findings and it is resonating on a deep level with people on a journey to better understand what makes them tick.
Within the confines of the New Age movement, and as a spiritual hypnotherapist, this is incredibly affirming in many ways. When speaking from a soul perspective, this opens doors to great possibilities for both recognizing and healing ancestral traumas that have been passed down. It also brings up many questions. According to the Journey of Souls case studies of Dr. Michael Newton, before reincarnating, we choose our parents from the superconscious state, for a myriad of reasons. When doing so, do we factor in the impacts of their traumas when making this decision? What are the reasons for this? Is this a karmic transaction? These lingering questions can of course be addressed while under the care of a certified hypnotherapist committed to helping you expand your consciousness, aid in your spiritual growth, and deepen your understanding of the self. Healing these inherited traumas is not just beneficial for you though, it is a gift for future generations to come.
Callaway, E. (2013, December 1). Fearful memories haunt mouse descendants. Nature News. Retrieved May 8, 2022, from https://www.nature.com/articles/nature.2013.14272
Kellermann, Natan P F. “08 Epigenetic-Transmission.” Academia.edu, 19 Nov. 2015, https://www.academia.edu/18645519/08_Epigenetic_Transmission.
What Is Epigenetics?: MedlinePlus Genetics. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/howgeneswork/epigenome/. Accessed 8 May 2022.
Henriques, Martha. Can the Legacy of Trauma Be Passed down the Generations? https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190326-what-is-epigenetics. Accessed 8 May 2022.