Wellness Wednesday: We Are All One

We are all one. As I sit here in 2014 (pronounced “twenty-fourteen:, it sounds more futuristic), I contemplate the next decade, as well as the future beyond. Will we (the human race) advance as a species and survive on this planet…or will we become extinct like the many animals and plants before us (dinosaurs, dodo birds, and hundreds of vegetable species )? One thing I believe is that unlike previous members of the “extinct club,” if it happens to humans, it will be our own fault. With our brain power, we have a greater ability to adapt and control our environment than anything else on the planet ever has. We have manipulated our world through advances in technologies, medicine, etc., but as a whole, we have failed to learn one thing…WE ARE ALL ONE! I believe that until our “advanced brains” learn this simple concept, we are doomed to follow the dinosaurs and become part of Earth’s evolutionary history instead of its future.

This may sound like grim or negative thinking, but it’s not. I have been accused of being overly optimistic and usually see the glass completely full, not just half full. And I believe we CAN learn this principle that we are all one. However, I mean this very literally, not just figuratively or spiritually. We are literally all one – a physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, electrically, chemically connected human race.

Many people have heard of and believe in some examples of serendipity, the butterfly effect, or other name for the fact that all our actions affect the lives of others. A couple of examples of this include the following:

On the negative sideI could decide to drink too much and then, with impaired abilities, I could decide to get behind the wheel of  my car and drive home. Then I could decide to take a short cut home. At the light up ahead, my impaired judgment allows me to try to speed through the intersection because I can beat the yellow light. At the same time, another car with a family inside is coming home from a family reunion far away and they are almost home. They arrive at the intersection at the same time that I speed through the now red light and instantly end the lives of everyone in the vehicle. Not only did I affect the lives of those in the other car, but I have affected the lives of their family members and every future event of theirs depending on how they handle this tragedy. I have also affected myself since I have to live with this horrible reality I created. And I have affected the lives of my family and friends who think about me and treat me differently, and the judge who did not put me in jail after my last DUI and on and on…

On the positive sideI could start a scholarship fund for the university that educated me to help people as a neurosurgeon. A young person from an underprivileged background can then qualify and receive the scholarship, and graduate with honors. He has now set an example for others in his family and neighborhood to aspire to do the same.  He also goes on to medical school and discovers in his research the vast importance that food has on the health of our bodies. He creates a program of eating using the “power of vegetables” that keeps us healthier than ever before. So with my small act of providing a scholarship, I have improved the lives of millions and helped move the human race forward.

Many people understand this principle and think carefully about their actions and how they will affect those around them. If we all did this, the world would be a better place. However, I believe this is just the first step in keeping the human race out of the ‘extinct club.’ We must also fully grasp the concept that we are all one…literally! We must internalize it, act accordingly and most importantly, teach it. Some of you are thinking, “I was with him for a while, but I’m not so sure what he means. How can we literally be one when are separate individuals?”

Here’s how…On the planet Earth, we actually function as one living organism. Undeniably, we breathe the same air.  What you breathe out, I breathe in thus our physiology is linked. You can catch a cold from the germs I breathe out into the air you breathe. Then you carry that virus to someone else and breathe it to them. I have now affected someone’s physical wellbeing whom I will never even meet because we are all one. What I do to you, ultimately I do to myself.

Furthermore, our planet is a closed system that continually recycles the atmosphere so we can live. Plants, animals, and the Earth itself play a role in this game of symbiotic harmony maintaining an O2/CO2 balance that allows each other to exist. When I understand this scientific fact, I can broaden my view to also understand that as I sit here right now, I could be breathing in molecules that were breathed out hundreds of years ago by Leonardo de Vinci. Furthermore, when we die, we return to the earth. Our physical bodies are then broken down and provide the essential nutrients of new life to grow for future generations. This is part of the circle of life (as it is so appropriately called).

Now let’s continue to take this one step further. (I hear some of you – “now where is he going?!”)  You and I literally affect each other’s physiology just be being present in the same room. Through our senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting), we interpret the world around us, filter it through our experiences and act accordingly. Let’s say my wife walks into the room. I can tell it’s her (not my daughter), just by the scent of her favorite perfume. Either way, I smile because they both make my happy. Scientific studies show that a smile has multiple positive measurable effects on your physiology (just like exercise). When you smile, muscle tension is decreased, heart rate is lowered, blood pressure is also lowered, and endorphins are released. She made me smile and I am now healthier. Now…I turn to look at her and she is wearing only a smile herself. I don’t think I have to give the physiological details, but my physiology is now changed even more. My pupils dilate, my heart beats faster and my circulation/blood flow has increased in a way that would be obvious to the most casual observer.

On the flip side…It has been documented that negative input can have just as powerful effects. If you point a gun at someone, their heart rate /BP increases breathing and blood flow to the heart are constricted and stress hormones are released. You have now killed him from a heart attack without ever firing a shot.

Over time, whether negative or positive, you will have a long-lasting impact on the health and literal physiological being of everyone around you. Thus we are all part of the collective “human being” as we affect each other every second. You can affect someone physically on the other side of the world simply by making a  phone call or sending a photo by mail (or email). Even one step further, it has been scientifically demonstrated that when you help others you will also experience positive physiologic benefits (lower BP and HR) and a greater sense of well being. This fact could be interpreted (by me and many others) as species self preservation and thus something we are born to do. “Love each other or perish.”

When we all fully grasp this concept, we can further the human existence on this planet for many future generations, and avoid being only a footnote in the history of planet Earth. I truly believe WE ARE ALL ONE. If you do also, smile at everyone you see and treat them as you would want to be treated, because they are you. Then watch the positive changes in the physiology of the collective “human being” of which we are all an integral part. When I do good things (volunteer/help my neighbor/donate/mentor), we all grow; when I don’t, we all suffer. It is my choice moment by moment. And it really is that simple.

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