Lessons From The “Tree of Life” For Our Soul, Society
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 have: 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. Three of the Tree of Life’s wisdom teachings, diversity, inter-connectedness, and symbiosis, 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.
Life flows from the grassroots upward. The above represent just three of the many branches of the Tree of Life. Competition, conflict, separation and loss of community are not supportive of life and are dealt with harshly by the life force. Each of us can work internally to overcome the illusion of separation by rediscovering our authentic self that knows this- our soul. This will lead to bringing our communities back into wholeness and transitioning from non-sustainability to sustainability in the larger society for the benefit of all of life on a New Earth.