Dr John Demartini is a world-renowned specialist on human behaviour, a researcher, author and global educator. He has studied over 30,000 books across most of the defined academic disciplines and has synthesized what many have called the wisdom of the ages, which he shares in over 100 countries around the world.
Today, Dr Demartini shares insights around the mind-body connection, immunity and wellness in the time of a global pandemic.
What are the factors that play a role in increasing or decreasing immunity?
For many decades, the immune system was considered to be the first defence against microorganisms. That model led to the germ theory and the taking of antibiotics to get rid of supposedly highly virile bacteria, rickettsia, viruses and parasites, but there was an ongoing debate around germ theory because it didn’t always make sense. Some individuals had a stronger immunity than others and would not get sick despite being in the same setting as others who were getting sick.
We now know that what was previously thought to be disease – something negative that should be avoided at all costs – is often the body attempting to give feedback and help us live more balanced and integral and up to our full potential. In other words, if we perceive an event that we interpret as distressful and we think there is more loss than gain, more negativity than positivity, and more pain than pleasure from that event in our life, then our physiology will defend itself like it is facing a predator and it will start to redirect its blood supply out of the organs of digestion and maintenance and redirect it to the outer musculature to prepare for a distress response.
If prolonged we can create prolonged reactions; sometimes defined as illness and regress our immune responses and physiology into more survival states. If we continue to do that over a long period of time, we start to break down and undergo entropy. But what that’s doing is giving us feedback is to change our perceptions, to look for opportunities, and to rebalance our perspective.
In terms of how to maximize your innate and adaptive immunity – your immune system is most adaptive when you’re living in alignment with your highest values because you’re most objective and in a state of eustress (beneficial stress), not distress (a ‘detrimental’ form of stress). Instead of emotionally reacting and engaging your subcortical amygdala, which tends to put distress on your system and regress your immune system down, stop and find out how whatever you are perceiving in a way that serves you and balancing out your perceptual equation. Because no matter what the crisis, there’s an equal blessing.
My advice is to focus on the highest priority actions you can do each day. That way you’ll be at your most resilient and adaptable state. Just know that this illusive distress will pass. All these things come and go. All pandemics, epidemics, rise, and then fall.
The wisest thing you can do is to keep yourself eating well, thinking well, prioritizing your life, read things that are inspirational and try avoiding too much subjectively biased coronavirus news, focus on the solution, not the problem. Dwelling on the problem and dramatizing it, discussing it and getting emotional about it is only going to run your immune system down and it’s going to make you more vulnerable.
Your physiology, your psychology, your sociology, your theology, and even your virology, are all there to help you become balanced and authentic.
What about people navigating this global pandemic – what can they do to increase their mental and physical well-being?
The Coronavirus will keep us making sure that we use our innovations and creativity wisely to be of service to people. Instead of comparing your life right now to what it used to be or fantasizing about what it’s going to be like after the pandemic, it’s wise to get present right now and ask yourself, “What are the highest priority actions I could be doing today that can help me fulfil my mission on planet earth?” If you’re having difficulty getting clear about that mission, go online and do the free Demartini Value Determination Process again and again until you feel clear about what’s really important to you. Then ask yourself, “What’s is objectively happening right now and how’s it helping me fulfil that mission?” That will help you see things as being “on the way” and not “in the way”.
What about people who have tested positive for COVID-19? What suggestions do you have for them to boost their immunity?
Any time you are inflamed and highly emotional about perceived events, you only aggravate the situation by accentuating the polarities of perception and regress the immune system instead of governing and strengthening it. So, anything you can do to make your immune system more stable is going to be to your advantage. In other words, make sure that you’re not going down the path of extreme, impulsive and addictive behaviors. You want to be calm, balanced and centred to help regulate your immune response.
Would you suggest meditation as a means of creating that balance?
It depends on the type of meditation. There are many forms of meditation with breathing being one of the main factors. How you breathe has an impact on your autonomic nervous system. If you do long exhalations and short inhalations, you’re going to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. If you take somebody who’s manic, elated and excited, they’re going to breathe with a long inhalation and short exhalation. If you get somebody who’s depressed, they’re going to take in a quick gasp of air and let it out slowly. So long exhalation and short inhalation is parasympathetic; long inhalation and short exhalation is sympathetic. However, if the breathing is one-to-one, you balance it.
The diaphragm is the one muscle of the body that you have governance between voluntary and involuntary. It can involuntarily run, or you can voluntarily overrule it. That’s why the yogis have been using it for centuries, and all people who understand respiration will know how to use their breath wisely. When you breathe in a one-to-one ratio or possibly a rhythm – you breathe in for seven seconds or five seconds, you hold for seven seconds or five seconds, you breathe out for seven seconds or five seconds, and then you hold for seven seconds or five seconds – your physiology goes into balance and your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems tend to balance. So, it really depends on what form of meditation you’re doing and the breathing that you’re doing with it.
It also depends on what the content of your mind is that you’re focusing on. Meditation is a very useful tool if wisely done. I don’t recommend “escape meditation” where you avoid pain and go off into a fantasy. I prefer to take the information that may be disturbing your mind, and sort through it with the Demartini Method to clear it so you can see the order and the synchronicities of opposites when meditating. Once you do this, you have the highest probability to bring about equilibrium, which brings with it the wellness factor.
What is your take on medication that suppresses the symptoms of illness and disease?
In medicine, most of the treatment that is done is not a cure but a palliative treatment to get rid of symptoms. If the symptoms disappear or are suppressed, you think you’re cured, which makes very little sense because your body is trying to give you those symptoms to let you know you are off balance. However, if you know how to take the symptoms you’re experiencing and discover what they might mean as a feedback to you and your perceptions and behaviour, you can take the necessary steps to bring about balance and wellness.
Do you have an opinion or observation of why so many women in particularly suffer from thyroid conditions?
Your thyroid gland originates from your tongue embryologically. Therefore its function has a direct correlation with your metabolic rate, because the tongue deals with chewing, eating, swallowing and speaking.
If you feel like you have said something you wish you hadn’t, your thyroid function tends to go up. If you are not saying something you wish you could, your thyroid function tends to go down and your metabolic rate drops.
That is why hypo-thyroids are often listless, quiet and don’t speak much. They tend to hold in a lot of resentment, and they hold in what they really want to say.
To answer your question on why so many women, in particular, suffer from thyroid questions, we need to look at what has been happening historically. 40, 50 and 60 years ago, you had a sexual dimorphism where men went to work to provide for their families, and women were involved in reproduction and taking care of the children. That was the pattern back then – women would get married in their twenties, start having babies in their mid-twenties and have two or three children by the time they turned 30. Every time there was another baby, the man worked harder to pay for the increasing needs of the children, maybe even by purchasing a bigger house. The woman might then resent feeling trapped at home and perceive a loss of freedom, including a loss of financial freedom. The man might feel that he’s working harder than before to pay the mortgage and credit cards, which resulted in a very common conflict about money and daily home duties.
So, she’s repressing what she’s wanting to say to him and doesn’t want to stir up too much conflict because she’s financially dependent on him. That repression – not saying something she wishes she had – results in the lowering of the thyroid and the resulting slow metabolism, slow, slurred, hesitant speech.
In other words, if you exaggerate or minimise things with your perceptions, you are automatically changing your physiology, changing blood sugar levels, lipid levels and hormone levels.
Now, a doctor might say that you have a chemical imbalance and prescribe a drug. I would rather give people their power back than take their power away. The pharmaceutical wants to give you a drug. I’m trying to give you your power back by teaching you what you can do to make those changes to your chemistry yourself. You have more control over it than you may realize.
You often talk about the four pillars of healing – gratitude, love, certainty and presence. Can you tell us more about these?
When an individual is a “healer” (and I’m going to use that as a title because healing is really an inside job) is grateful for what they are doing, really love what they are doing, are certain that this is their life’s mission and not just a job, and are fully present in the moment, that’s when they have the greatest healing powers.
I’ll never forget doing rounds one day with Dr Denton Cooley, a cardiovascular surgeon.
I watched him go from room to room after his morning of surgeries and do his rounds until later that night. With each and every elderly patient, he would grab their hands and look them straight in the eyes and say, “I just want to let you know that your surgery was a success and that soon you’ll be able to be home with your grandkids and work in the garden and play golf. He was present with them. He was demonstrating a real love for what he was doing. He was a man that exemplified those four pillars.
It’s also important to note that every individual that has these four pillars can also heal within. So, if you are filled with gratitude, love, certainty and presence, as well as inspiration and enthusiasm – those are the greatest healers.
What are your thoughts on genetics and DNA mutation?
I’ve been fascinated by genetics (the study of genes, genetic variation and heredity in organisms) and epigenetics (the study of changes in gene activity which are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence) since I was a teenager and in my 20s. For many years, there’s been this idea that all genetic defects and all genetic mutations are harmful and maybe even random.
We are now beginning to understand that it may not be random after all. In fact, almost every DNA mutation that I have researched has both advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes having a species die is to the benefit of the group. And sometimes having a deletion of a gene or a point mutation is going to confer advantages for other conditions. While we once had this blanket idea that DNA mutations are bad, I now have the perspective that DNA mutations are not random. They have a purpose that is neither good nor bad.
We are going to soon get to the point where we understand that genetic causes of disease may be perceived differently in the decades to come. We may soon perceive it to be purposeful and understand that genes are working on a more tailored, logical and purposeful objective. Genes confer both advantages and disadvantages, they’re neither good nor bad and they must have both life and death components.
Lastly, you’ve mentioned the Demartini Method a few times. Can you explain a little more about it?
The Demartini Method is something I started working on when I was 18. My uncle sent two giant crates of books to my house, and two books stood out for me. One was “The Discourse on Metaphysics” by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in which he said that there is a divine perfection in the universe that man could never improve on and that few people ever get to know about, but those that do – their lives are changed forever. That has been the inspiration behind my whole journey because I wanted to be one of those individuals that understand that perfection. I wanted to understand the hidden order in the chaos.
The second book was not as easy to read. It was a theory by Paul Dirac on particle and antiparticle theory – that for every particle there exists a corresponding antiparticle, exactly matching the particle but with the opposite charge. You can imagine, there I was at 18 years old with a dictionary to help me figure out some of the vocabulary, but it got me to wondering what would happen if we took positive emotions and negative emotions and put them together. Could we make enlightenment? Was that perfection?
I then began to study everything I could get my hands on and gradually put together a model or method that could help people find the hidden order and find the perfection. I realized that the things that I thought were positive had downsides, and the things that I thought were negatives, had upsides. It’s all about balancing those equations. So, I put questions in place to help people become cognizant of the sides that they were ignoring so they could see both sides.
I worked on it for two years and, in doing so, realized that there was not only a hidden order and implicant order in the universe, but it was also demonstrated and repeatable and you could see it. There’s a synchronicity, and everything is trying to get you to be centred, to be able to live by your highest value, and to maximize your performance potential in life. And then I realized that sometimes people have fantasies about how life is supposed to be and they’re holding on to fantasies and feeling depressed when they compare their current reality to their fantasy. So, I added that into the program.
Then I went further and looked at how in that exact moment when somebody is criticizing you about something you did in the past, somebody is simultaneously praising you about what you’re about to do in the future. Positives and negatives. Upsides and downsides. Past and futures. All maintaining you in the magnificent present.
So essentially, the Demartini Method helps you empower all seven areas of life. And it’s a science – it’s duplicatable, it’s reproducible, and it’s methodical. You have to face the truth about yourself and your life – it takes you out of the fantasy and makes you accountable to be truthful to yourself about who you are, so you can set real goals with real times and have real strategies to get real outcomes.
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