The body’s wisdom is a good entry point into the hidden dimensions of life, because although completely invisible, the body’s wisdom is undeniably real.
The former view, before the mid-1980s, was that the brain’s capacity for intelligence was unique. But then signs of intelligence began to be discovered in the immune system, and then in the digestive system. In both these systems, special messenger molecules could be observed circulating through every organ, bringing information to and from the brain, but also functioning on their own. A white cell that can distinguish between invading enemy bacteria and harmless pollen is making an intelligent decision, even though it floats in the blood stream apart from the brain.
Ten years ago, it would have seemed absurd to speak of intestines being intelligent. Now it turns out that the intestines are not so lowly after all. Their scattered nerve cells form a finely tuned system for reacting to outside events – an upsetting remark at work, or the threat of danger.
The stomach’s reactions are just as reliable as the brain’s thoughts, and just as intricate. Your colon, your liver, and your stomach cells also think, only not in the brain’s verbal language. What people had been calling a “gut reaction” turned out to be a mere hint of the complex intelligence at work in a hundred thousand billion cells.
In a sweeping medical revolution, scientists have stepped into a hidden dimension that no one had ever suspected. Cells have been out-thinking us for millions of years. In fact, their wisdom, more ancient than cortical wisdom, could be the best model for the only thing more ancient than they, which is the cosmos.
Perhaps the universe has been out-thinking us, too. No matter where I look, I sense what cosmic wisdom is trying to accomplish. It is much the same as what I myself want to accomplish – to grow, expand, and create–the main difference being that my body is cooperating with the universe better than I manage to.
Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).