Our genealogical Quest is an introspective as well as investigative journey. We may think that the lines of evidence of our family tree are very neat and orderly, but when it comes to human beings, dead or alive, there is a certain inherent messiness that comes from the sap of living, from the juicy stuff of life that won't ever fit on the page -- the life experiences and felt-sense of Being. Uncanny patterns and systems of occurrences befall families from generation to generation.
Much of the action goes on in the invisible realm, in the roots far below the branches where everything mingles and becomes entangled and from which the nutrious sap flows. Hidden links below the surface inform and affect us at the unconscious level and biogenealogy. Our ancestors, and their original ancestral traumas, even those who died before we were born, do affect us. They are part of the natural environment from which we are formed.
Family patterns persist over generations. It is the hidden hand of the grip the family retains on our lives and being. Transgenerational therapy says the ancestors can be the root of repetition compulsions, couple behavior, unresolved feelings, and a variety of other psychophysical phenomena.
Methodical tracing of our family trees uncovers how important events have been interred in our genetic structures, only to pop up generations later. Family conflicts can pass on to future generations, even "the secret that is never told." When we have to live with the circumstances, knowledge is power.
The anniversary date of or a certain tragedy in the past can be stored in unconscious memory and acted out by following generations. Anniversary reactions appear not only as dramatic coincidences in dates or behaviors, but also in health problems, family secrets and accidents which seem to repeat generation after generation without any plausible explanation.
The research of Ernest Rossi, MD and others opens a new model of the relationships between the most interesting and motivating experiences of consciousness and the molecular dynamics of memory and learning that are described as the “novelty-numinosum-neurogenesis effect” (Rossi, 2002).
Gene-expression is the mechanism by which new patterns are called into being (Rossi, 2000). There is also a strong correlation between modulation of the brain’s EM field and consciousness (Persinger, 1987; McFadden, 2002). Creative, novel and enriching psychotherapeutic experiences can lead to neurogenesis, gene expression, and healing which facilitate mindbody communication and can have a long-term transformative effect on the whole person (Rossi, 2002).
Activated ancestors, like activated archetypes in complexes, can become like strange attractors, around whom we orbit in weird yet meaningful patterns. The attractor once again exhibits its self-iterating capacity by demonstrating its attractive or seductive power as a phenomenon, idea, or theory. Chaotic systems display certain characteristics including complex feedback loops, self organization, holistic behavior, inherent unpredictability.
It isn't what is expected and easily predictable in human affairs that is motivating, but the exact reverse. That which is surprising, unknown, and unpredicted garners our attention and sets us forth on the human quests for problem solving and creative adventure in the novelty-numinosum-neurogenesis dynamics of mind-body communication and healing explored by the new discipline of psychosocial genomics.
Genomics has psycho-social dimensions. Ernest Rossi, M.D. reveals his Jungian approach, stating, “Nothing, it seems turns on gene expression and brain plasticity as much as the presence of others of the same species!”
Jung suggested that "Individual consciousness is only the flower and the fruit of a season, sprung from the perennial rhizome beneath the earth; and it would find
itself in better accord with the truth if it took the existence of the rhizome into its calculations. For the root matter is the mother of all things."
Ernest Rossi (1999; 2002) has developed a pertinent creativity hypothesis: “Enriching life experiences that evoke psychobiological arousal with positive fascination and focused attention during creative moments of art, music, dance, drama, humor, spirituality, numinosity, awe, joy, expectation, and social rituals can evoke immediate early gene protein cascades to optimize brain growth, mindbody communication, and healing.”
“[The] psychotherapeutic approach can contribute to psychobiological arousal, enrichment and relaxation; it may be possible to help people find optimal levels of mental stimulation to facilitate actual growth in the hippocampus of their brain to encode new memory, learning and behavior...optimizing psychobiological growth and healing.”
Rossi (1999) describes a mind/body communication channel that is pertinent in that it may describe another way neural plasticity and healing manifests from REM. He describes how immediate-early genes (also called “Primary Response Genes” or third messengers) play a central role in the dynamics of waking, sleeping, dreaming, and mind-body healing at the cellular level.
There is evidence that immediate-early genes (IEGs) function as mediators of information transduction between psychological experience, behavioral states, and gene expression. A wide range of behavioral state-related gene expression (from relaxation, hypnosis and sleep to high arousal, performance, stress and trauma) culminate in the production of new proteins or homeostasis, physical and psychosocial adaptation.”
Behavioral states modulate certain patterns of gene expression. Interaction between the genetic and behavioral levels is a two way street. Genes and behavior are related in cybernetic loops of mind-body communication. How does this relate, for example, to manic depression?
A look at the systems related to IEGs, shows that they affect all the systems disrupted in bipolar disorder. They are expressed continually in response to hormone messenger molecules mediating processes of adaptation to extracellular signals and stimuli. Extracellular stimuli come from the outside environment, including temperature, food, sexual cues, psychosocial stress, physical trauma, and toxins. IEGs are fundamental in the sleep-wake cycle, appetite regulation, sexual response, and reactions to stress, trauma, and toxins (Rossi, 1986; 1999; 2002).
There are persistent alterations in IEG expression in the process of adaptive behavior on all levels from the sexual and emotional to the cognitive. They can transduce relatively brief signals from the environment into enduring changes in the physical structure of the developing nervous system as well as its plasticity in the form of memory and learning throughout life. If external cues can modulate cell function through regulation of gene expression, this could also be true for internal cues.
IEGs are also fundamental in the regulation of REM-on, REM-off neurons, neuronal networks that are associated with REM sleep and dreaming. That makes them significant as molecules which can modulate mind, emotions, learning and behavior. They influence the rhythm of the natural healing process and circadian and ultradian rhythms of the body, in general. Ultradian rhythms are those shorter than the 24-hour circadian rhythms (Rossi; Cheek, 1988).
Milton Erickson discovered that his therapy sessions usually took from one and a half to two hours to come to natural closure. Later it was discovered that this delineates the natural work cycle that is harmonious with our own internal rhythms. IEGs modulate this process. This ultradian time frame is related to the activation or deactivation of the expression of specific genes and can occur in a matter of hours or even minutes.
“Most arousing environmental stimuli that have been studied can induce immediate-early genes within minutes, their concentrations typically peak within fifteen to twenty minutes and their effects are usually over within an hour or two. These time parameter IEG expressions and their ultimate translation into the formation of new proteins correspond to the parameters of a complete work cycle of mind-body communication and healing. The changes in gene transcription and new protein formation initiated in this time frame, however, can lead to lasting changes in the central nervous system by converting short term memory to long lasting learning by the process of long term potentiation. . .the activation or deactivation of the expression of specific genes can occur in a matter of hours or even minutes." (Rossi, 1999).
This mechanism assesses the duration and intensity of prior waking and/or the homeostatic or executive mechanisms that bring about sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to a wide variety of psychotic and non-psychotic symptoms. This system is also associated with the neuronal network associated with the dynamics of REM sleep. Deprivation of REM and dreaming creates its own phenomenology.
“The study of IEGs indicates that sleep and wake, as well as synchronized and desynchronized sleep, are characterized by different genomic expressions, the level of IEGs being high during wake and low during sleep. Such fluctuation of gene expression is not ubiquitous but occurs in certain cell populations in the brain. Thus...IEG induction may reveal the activation of neural networks in different behavioral states. Do the areas in which IEGs oscillate during sleep and wake subserve specific roles in the regulation of these physiological states and a general ‘resetting’ of behavioral state? Is gene induction a clue to understanding the alternation of sleep and wake, and of REM and non-REM sleep?” (Rossi, 1999).
In Rossi’s Dream-Protein Hypothesis, “new experience is encoded by means of protein synthesis in brain tissue...dreaming is a process of psychophysiological growth that involves the synthesis or modification of protein structures in the brain that serve as the organic basis for new developments in the personality...new proteins are synthesized in some brain structures associated with REM dream sleep.”
Rossi generalizes the dream-protein hypothesis, “to include all states of creativity associated with the peak periods of arousal and insight generation in psychobiologically oriented psychotherapy.”
Enriched internal and external environments leads to the growth and development of new cells. IEG cascades lead to the formation of new proteins and neurons along with increased synapses and dendrites that encode memory and learning. On the other hand, excessive trauma and psychosocial stress can lead to suppression of growth processes in the brain. When psychotherapy contributes to arousal, enrichment, and relaxation it facilitates actual growth in the brain to encode new memory, learning and behavior, optimizing growth and healing.
“Communication within the neuronal networks of the brain is modulated by changes in the strengths of synaptic connections...meaning is to be found in the complex dynamic field of messenger molecules that continually bathe and contextualize the information of the neuronal networks in ever changing patterns. Most of the sexual and stress hormones...have state dependent effects on our mental and emotional states as well as memory and learning, a constantly changing dynamical field of meaning.” (Rossi, 1991).
Novel and enriching psychotherapeutic experiences can lead to neurogenesis and gene expression which facilitate mindbody communication and can have a long-term transformative effect on the whole person (Rossi, 2002). Rossi points out that many of the essential dynamics of gene expression involved in the formation of the brain and body in embryology are now recognized as a continuing creative development through an individual's lifetime.
He also asserts that a lack of optimal gene expression and neurogenesis is associated with psychological depression and stress. Thus, bioholography has relevant applications for optimizing health and well-being across disciplines, such as biophysics, medicine, psychobiology, psychotherapy and holistic healing arts.
Novel Approaches to Genomic Science, by Iona Miller