Everything is connected
This simple concept is an element of nearly every spiritual tradition throughout human history, yet most of us see it as an abstract or esoteric belief that requires faith. In reality, there are concrete ways to directly show the interconnectedness in an understandable way. We'll give one example, here, for each -- our Heart, our Breath, and our Mind.
Heart: Hemoglobin from Star Stuff
At the heart of our heart is an Iron atom. This iron binds with oxygen in the lungs to carry it to tissues around the body. This Iron can only be made in Supernovae and Supermassive Stars from older element, primarily Helium and Hydrogen. Following one or many galactic collisions occurring over multiple billions of years, iron atoms gather in superheated gaseous clouds. This stardust travels incomprehensible distances along the Laniakea gravitational structure to form the iron
core of our Earth during the formation of our Milky Way galaxy and the core of the oxygen carrying molecule in our blood.
It is this gravitational dance of one hundred thousand galaxies that drives the collision of individual galaxies that drives massive star formation that drives the creation of the iron that pumps through our veins. In this way, every one of our heartbeats is connected.
Breath: Cyanobacteria and You
Taking a deep breath is the best way that we animals have of connecting to our body and to our planet. Three Billion Years ago, this wasn't possible here. The only life on Earth existed as single cellular organisms. Lucky for us, cyanobacteria lived in stromatolites and, thanks to the very same iron atoms combined with seawater and energy from the sun, invented photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. Almost 2 billion years later and about 900 million years ago, the ocean and the Earth would become saturated with oxygen, allowing the atmosphere to shift from 1% to 21% oxygen. This allowed the formation of the Ozone layer, allowing our planet to sustain complex, multicellular life by protecting it from UV radiation. Soon after, plant and animal life began moving onto dry land.
Today, these cyanobacteria exist as chloroplasts that make our plants green. They contribute to photosynthesis and make energy for the plants, which continue to be the other half of our lungs, on Earth. In this way, our breaths are deeply united.
IMAGINE -- 2 billion years ago, you are a lonely, philosophical cyanobacteria pondering life's questions during your 2-week-long life in an anoxic ocean -- life may have seemed without meaning. It's clear to us now, that with each breath these organisms took, they were designing a new world that would allow us to discover and marvel at their persistence and dedication. Maybe the purpose of our lives is outside the scope of our understanding.
Mind: Pianos and Palettes of Being
Musical instruments such as the piano are so nuanced, textured, and complex that people dedicate their entire lives to the mastery of their interaction and expression. Using an fMRI, looking into the mind of a playing musician reveals the complex patterns and structures within the brain which are created to manage and execute the orchestra of finger movements, pedal compressions, memory recall, timing, and music theory. This amazing pattern was not possible before the invention of the piano in the 18th century. The skill of the piano, relationship to the piano, and the beauty that comes from those were not thinkable thoughts before this time. The invention of the piano itself was not an independent thought. It required understanding of the depth of mechanical engineering, history of stringed instruments, carpentry, and the physics of sound. This is an illustration of the collective consciousness.