Lessons From The “Tree of Life” For Our Soul, Society (27 October, 2020)
Scott Emerson, MD, ABIHM
I have spent many decades of my life gaining scientific knowledge of the human body and medicine as well as treating and learning from, thousands of patients. So what has my consumption of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and swearing a healer’s oath to “first, do no harm” taught me about the essence of the Tree of Life?
Life is what wants to happen here. It is a dominant, powerful force with definite fundamentals governing how to thrive most successfully within its mighty and distinctive flow. A biological imperative to survive with basic needs met, runs deep within its pulsing cycles of birth, death, and birth. These governing fundamentals also occur at the different scales throughout Earth’s biosphere. This includes how cells and organs in a healthy human body work best, and how associations of these human bodies join to form societies of human cultures.
Biomimicry is a new leading edge discipline in biological research. It’s focus is the principle that if you want to do anything right, you should first understand how the life force does it, because it has had billions of years of research to get it efficient and effective. The 50 trillion cells and their organs living as a community in a healthy body are organized as a Socialist Democracy. This includes; a constantly maintained infrastructure, waste collection and recycling, a post office, health care, police departments, communication, energy delivery, banking, currency, economy, and governance, etc., all working to sustain the whole. Four of the Tree of Life’s wisdom teachings, diversity, inter-connectedness, symbiosis, and homeostasis are extremely important for each of us to be especially mindful of now, in order to survive and thrive into our collective future on this planet.
Diversity is the directive of the life force stating that greater varieties of individuals and species within an ecosystem promote greater strength and resistance to adversity and environmental stresses. Diversity is often misunderstood as separation. Robust life actually expresses itself with wide diversity and stronger abilities for the whole to adapt, self correct, and survive.
A forest monoculture of trees in a plantation is much more susceptible to disease and total destruction than a natural mixed forest. Within the body, the 100 trillion microorganisms that live in our digestive tract, as a “virtual essential organ” in the body, is another prime example of the life force’s expression of diversity’s importance. These microbes provide many of the essential functions of the human body. The less diversity we have within our “virtual organ”, the weaker our health, and the more prone we are to a wide spectrum of diseases (Brit Med J, 2018). The lesson at the larger societal scale is that autocratic and communist structures that discourage diversity have decreased vitality and stability, and fail to adapt effectively. Societies that welcome diversity have greater creativity, resilience, sturdiness, and sustainability.
Inter-connectedness means nothing happens in isolation anywhere. We are always connected to everything. Medical science is now crossing the threshold of exploring the subtle energies of life; heart fields, bio-field coherences and their effects both within and outside ourselves (Heart Math, 2020). This is a fully linked, deep entanglement and wave-like ripple effect beyond individual consensus reality, that occurs throughout the smallest to the largest scales within the web of life. Your environmental exposures, even your emotional states, cause epigenetic changes on your genes and how they work to produce disease or health in your body (Spirit Epigenetics Project, 2019). The healthy body, with a well-orchestrated 2.4 million cell divisions and 37 billion billion chemical reactions per second, is a marvel of interconnectedness.
When the principle of interconnectedness is violated and out of phase with the life force at one level, it reemerges problematically on a different more radical scale. If excess biologic currency or wealth is stored in one tissue in one location in one individual, a communication breakdown has occurred. Obesity emerges; creating global inflammation, dis-ease everywhere, a downward physiologic spiral and ultimately premature destruction and extinction of the whole body. The same will happen in societies that allow extreme income and wealth disparities to develop and persist.
Symbiosis is a deep truth concerning the way life works, that cooperation and reciprocity of benefits is dominant and more powerful than competition for surviving and thriving. How long does anyone think they would survive if the heart didn’t cooperate and reciprocate with the lungs, or the left hand was competing with the right hand, or the energy factory within the cell kept all the energy it made for itself ?
While Darwin was correct about the concept of natural selection and evolution, he was incorrect in stating that “survival of the fittest” was the dominant mechanism for natural selection. This plays a minor role. Observation of how life works reveals that it’s “survival of those that fit in best” with all of life in their environment that have greater stability and therefore the selection advantage. Unfortunately “survival of the fittest” gave societies a green light to adopt more competition over cooperation in their affairs. This fostered more separation, amplified a win or lose mentality, fostered imbalance, and made arms races, wars, and environmental degradation more likely.
To be in phase with this essential cornerstone of life, the most stable, and happiest societies place greater trust in the inclusive energy of cooperation over competition to provide balance, strength and resilience to their decision-making. Adhering to this fundamental insures the greatest benefit for all of life.
Homeostasis, or balance, is how life seeks order and rails against chaos and entropy. It is perhaps the most fundamental property of the life force, and represents a major branch of the Tree of Life. It is defined as an automatic, dynamic, self -regulating process by which a living organism can maintain stability, and survive while adjusting to external challenges. Homeostasis is vast in its scale with the middle level mechanisms the most studied and understood (the science of medical physiology). Both accelerating (positive feedback) and breaking (negative feedback) processes have been well described as working together to maintain a constant balance within all individual life forms as well as the collective biosphere on Earth. In addition, bidirectional causation systems influence this middle level of homeostasis from both larger as well as smaller perspectives (Torday, J : Biology, 2015). Downward causation is a cascading relationship of balancing influences from a larger scale into a smaller level of living systems. Examples of this would be mental and emotional states of the individual life form exerting effects like thirst or fear downward into the body – the mind to body connection. Upward causation is a cascading relationship of balancing influences from a lower scale into a higher level of living systems. Examples of this would be quantum biological and bio-field coherences exerting effects upward into the atomic and molecular level in the body – the energy to body connection ( Menas, C: Glob Adv Health Med; 2015).
The health and vitality of any life form depends on the end result of homeostatic regulation. All disease results from disruption of homeostatic, balancing and control mechanisms. Treatments and healing are most effective when directed toward reestablishing homeostasis and it’s natural balance in the body.
Just as the disruption of checks and regulatory balances leads to disease in the body, inequality of power leads to tyranny in society. When the life force principle of homeostasis is violated at the societal scale, no free and independent life is possible. Without the concept of the vital nature of the commons like clean water and air, libertarian philosophies and governments lacking regulation, checks and balances, far from being “free”, will create unstable oscillatory behavior, and ultimately breakdown within the complex interconnected structure of the life force.
Life flows from the grassroots upward. The above represent just four of the many branches of the Tree of Life. Competition, conflict, separation, loss of community and disregard for balance in support of the common environment are not sustainable according to the rules of life. Each of us can work internally to overcome the illusion of separation by rediscovering our authentic self that knows this- our soul. Diversity, inter-connectedness, symbiosis, and homeostasis represent deep and powerful truths from life itself about the way things just are, the way they work best, and the way they want to be, regardless of what humans may think otherwise. For us to realize this, and be in phase with, and not fight against the direction and power of these major wisdom teachings, will make each of our lives, easier, happier, and more healthy. It will also lead to a more peaceful, global human society in harmony with all the rest of life on a new Earth.