Life’s Basic Functions
Every living thing has basic functions that are part of the life process for physical survival. We also have an inner life which also has basic functions in order to remain healthy.
These are: (and for the inner life)
Reproduction – Physical Life
The process by which living things produce new living things of the same kind there are 2 types
1) Asexual reproduction–involves one parent and the offspring are identical to the parent.
2) Sexual reproduction–involves two parents and the offspring is a combination of both parents.
Nutrition – Physical Life
The process by which living things take in materials from its environment for growth and repair; there are 2 types. 1) Autotrophic nutrition–where a living thing can make its own food. 2) Heterotrophic nutrition–where a living thing must ingest (take in) its food.
Excretion – Physical Life
The process by which living things remove waste products produced by cell activities.
Growth – Physical Life The process by which living things increase in size or cell number
Homeostasis – Physical Life An organism’s external (outside) environment is always changing. By keeping the control and regulation of its metabolic activities, an organism can maintain a stable internal (inside) environment.
This is the process by which an organism’s metabolic activities are in a state of balance ex. body temp, blood sugar levels.
Transport/Movement – Physical Life
The process by which usable materials are taken into the living thing (ABSORPTION) and distributed throughout the living thing (CIRCULATION).
But basically Life is recognised by its ability to move, not just physically from place to place, but also the spontaneous movements the life process makes such as heartbeat, breathing, and internal organs.
Synthesis – Physical Life
The process by which smaller, simple substances are combined chemically to form larger, more complex substances.
Communication - Physical Life
Communication is a necessary part of living beings. According to David Attenborough, “plants can see…count and communicate with one another…react to touch and estimate time.” These claims are supported by the facts that plants turn towards the light, and even prepare themselves for sunrise by facing east in anticipation; trigger hairs on plants react to touch; there is even a social element in plant behaviour in that they fight enemies for territory and compete for mates in order to ensure the survival of the species.
Also the tremendous exchange of gases, fluids, bacteria – along with the social, verbal, sexual and sensual signals and interactions going on around us and influencing our own existence. Even bacteria share information with each other? They share what they have learned even with species of bacteria that are different. They give each other building blocks of what they have learned. If they have learned how to deal with a particular substance that is poisonous to them, then they will pass that information on to other bacteria. They give what they have learned. That is so fundamental to life even bacteria do it.
Genetic studies in bacteria have revealed that extensive gene exchange is the norm between different bacteria even though they do not have formal sexual reproduction.
Your Inner Life – What is Inner Life?
We all have an inner world that is quite distinct from the outer world we encounter with our physical senses. It is the world we meet when we have an emotional reaction, an idea, or close our eyes and live in our fantasies, imagination or dreams.
When we enter our inner world we enter a state of mind that includes the death state, the near death state and of course the sleep and dream state. In that condition you leave the limitations of the physical world and enter an endless wonder. The wonder of it includes going beyond time so that you know things that otherwise you would only slowly have discovered by meeting them in the slow progress of living in the body, dealing with the things that hold you back from expressing your enormous potential, and living who you really are.
Your inner world is all your convictions, fears, beliefs and abilities and failings. Mostly people do not recognise they have an inner world because they are so focussed on the outer world, what they call the ‘real world’ – yet it is their inner world that forces them to see the outer world in a particular way. People take the views of the outer world – created by their inner world – as the truth. Like their view that what they see and experience through their body is the real world; that they know who they are; that we have the power to create every aspect of our life, and so on and on. Yet the most powerful influence on the outer ‘real’ world is their inner world.
In considering how you think about that, remember a few well-known facts about how you encounter the so-called ‘real’ world of waking life. Firstly, when you look at an object such as an orange or apple, remember that although you have the sense of seeing what colour and texture the fruit has, in fact all you are seeing is reflected light. You never see the actual colour of the object. Your eyes take in streams of light that are translated into nervous impulses transmitted along the optic nerve. In the brain these nerve impulses are again translated into an image that enables you to have some relationship with an apparently external world. In the same way the nerve endings on your fingers transmit signals that are translated into sensation. See Programmed
The world you feel so sure you are seeing and experiencing, is one your brain has created in order to enable you to deal with survival. Even so it is a translation of ‘the world’ that has been shaped by evolution and its limited needs. You only respond to very narrow wavebands of light and sound for instance. So you do not know much of what is actually going on in the world anyway. Your eye, as a lens produces an upside down image of your surroundings, and this is ‘corrected’ to help you move around more easily. See Core Self
Reproduction – Inner Life
We may mix up this reproduction with producing something physical, although physical activity may be a part of it; but is about giving and sharing who and what you are. However it is not about teaching others facts, but showing something of yourself which enters another and comes to life in them.
A conversation I heard may be an example of this. The person was saying, “So not only did and do you play a large part in me discovering my inner strength my dear old Friend. You helped me move beyond my fear for powerful men.”
In a real sense one has reproduced oneself in another. But we must beware of seeing it from the standards that apply to physical life. In the inner life there are no real barriers that separate us leading us to feel alone like a body in space with no connections with others except occasionally through sex. There is no separate existence in the inner world. Quantum physics say implications of the theorem are enormous. Something can be in two places at once. Apparently distant objects, or people, are intricately linked in an immediate way. There is no separate existence as we previously thought. Our view of the world is not one supported by the facts of physics. Time and space are transcended.
Nutrition - Inner Life
Our inner life gathers incredible amounts to ‘feed’ upon. A major source of nutrition is our life experience, what we see, hear, feel and generally experience. The process of Life itself is hungry – obviously for physical food – Life eats, it eats because of its hunger, it eats of itself. It tears, it licks, it sucks the breast, it delicately sips nectar, it sifts food from the ocean, but it is always hungry for experience and learning. It can be through feeling like an angel or a prostitute – Life does not judge.
A person describes their experience of this hunger.
I had been exploring my inner world and here I took time to eat. I had prepared some oats before starting. When I ate them I experienced the most wonderful awareness of hunger and absorbing, not just the oats, nuts and seeds, but also the environment, and all that I had learned and taken in from the woman I loved. I mean by this the total environment, earth, air, water, culture, history, people. I felt like a hungry animal, cramming food in my mouth, loving it, and knowing I was feeding Life as well as myself.
I felt that if we have the courage, we are a firmament of experience. By exposing ourselves to experience, and allowing ourselves to really feel the pleasure, the torment, the passion of what we meet, we are feeding Life. But we are more than a mouth, we are also a way of gaining insight, of integrating experience, and that is the real food of Life.
I felt this is the real human work on the planet – consciousness, integrative sentience. This, I felt, is certainly my work, my function. It is to feel, to experience, to cry, to laugh and certainly to love. But in the midst of all that, to connect, to learn, to ask why or what, to gain insight and knowledge even if that is a struggle. Life, ones life, places, are situations where we can feed. Life says, “Take this in! Take this in! Experience, feel, ferment. Then show it to me. You are my digestive organ.”
Excretion - Inner Life
Considering that passing faeces is a natural function, in our inner life it can suggest getting rid of emotions or toxins that need to be released or let go of. Like digested food, faeces can represent experience that was relevant but now needs to be let go of.
Sometimes this indicates something you have produced and created; something visible that has come out of you. Apart from the meaning mentioned under Cesspool, that is, the corruptible parts of human nature that become manure for new growth. In the inner world of dreams everything is a part of the whole human experience.
We are excreting a lot more than faeces however – our body is constantly taking in, digesting or transforming. The air we breathe when expelled/excreted we give out carbon dioxide. The fluids we take in are also excreted as urine, perspiration and water vapour in our our breathing.
In nature these excretions are all helpful parts of the natural order. In our life – our inner life - we constantly take in various experiences in relationships, ideas presented in the media or personal meetings; we are constantly bombarded with fearful ideas or things that are designed to stimulate our innate responses, like sexual images, videos of war and advertising that work on fears we have. We all have an inner digestive process that sorts out what we can usefully integrate, or we should shit out. But unfortunately many of us are so stressed or without natural responses we interfere with our inner digestive function and so experience all manner of neurotic symptoms – such as worry, fear, using drugs such as alcohol, nicotine and hard drugs, as escapes from actual experience. See Secrets the Body Knows - Life’s Little Secrets - People’s Experience of LifeStream
Growth - Inner Life
Most of us talk of growth as it is only about the first half of life, and second half is thought of as a process of decay and movement toward death. But nature and our inner life, as shown in dreams when we are not dominated by fears, is seen as fulfilling the natural cycle of the year- Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
From this point of view Winter or ageing is a process of growth – not the awful push to death we see described by our present culture – life’s a bitch and then you die attitude – but as a way to renewal and rebirth. But inner growth is continuous, for every day from conception we are learning through our experience, and that continues to death and afterwards. There are tens of thousands of recorded near death experiences. Here is a tiny section of what people remembered from their dying – we believe that no one comes back from death, but thousands have told us but people do not want to listen.
Example: I asked questions about life, and there were answers, it was more of an understanding between us. Such understanding, it was of life and all that. I remember it was like being reintroduced or awakening after a hard sleep.
Another person says, “I remember feeling like my brain just opened up and all the answers to life were right there flowing through my head so quickly. Our learning is how we grow inwardly, and growth means we face change, such as we faced when we grew through teenage and so called maturity. But for some people change is so scary they resist it and so experience a number of psychological difficulties.
Example: In every human being, I seemed to be told, there is a fire that burns, a creative fire. When that fire is permitted to burn freely, the human being is healthy and creative, whether he be farmer, artist, mother, workman. But when the fire is blocked, as it is by this pain, then the person is crippled, just as I had been crippled for most of my life. As a child, I had felt worthless because I did not have my brother’s masculinity and intelligence, nor my sister’s grace and beauty. And because I had felt worthless I had withdrawn into non-identity and non-feeling. Later in life I had found one worthiness: a talent for acting. But I had used the talent as a means of escaping into the identity of the characters I portrayed, instead of searching to find my own identity. Quoted from Myself and I by Constance Newland.
The push to grow can be recognised by the process of change, and if it is blocked in some way it becomes a feeling of unease or tension or even pain. Growth is an innate urge in us. If we stop holding it back, we will emerge from childhood and our countless justifications.
Example: Then the throat pain became unbearable. I investigated it and I became aware of doom. If I didn’t fight it, doom would take over. I was weary of fighting it so I let doom take over and sank into the doom and it was then that I found myself at the foot of the great being and total acceptance of my life. Spontaneously, before I knew it I was offering everything as a sacrifice, including past mistakes and cock-ups, and that I had to do this. And then there were the images again of clefts: the earth, female genitals, undersea-ocean crusts opening and something, as yet formless, emerging. This, I suspect, is my creativity in the world.
The drive to create, to change or grow is also seen as the move toward individuation, self-realisation or even enlightenment. For we are all incomplete while we are lacking self-realisation or feel a sense of being ill at ease. See Individuation; Life’s Little Secrets; Enlightenment; Every 7 Years You Change
Homeostasis - Inner Life Homeostasis, the power that attempts to keep our body and mind functioning at their optimum is extremely important. I f we lack the ability to work in harmony with it we will never be able to be fully at ease or realise ones amazing abilities and potential. So please see The Secret Power In fact, if you can, read the whole book of which this is only a part, then you will understand that we have a whole armoury of abilities which few have used. But here is a good start Secrets the Body Knows
Transport/Movement - Inner Life
Spontaneous movement are basic to our inner life. After birth one of the first movement we make are contraction and expansion as we breathe. But also in our inner life we can contract and expand.
We contract inwardly when we feel fear, cannot deal with emotional pain, lose confidence or assurance, run away from scary dream images, cannot deal with our own masculinity or femininity, lose our creative edge, fearfully avoid human contact and generally cannot face being alive.
We expand when we feel fear but investigate its source, we meet our emotional pain face to face and transform them; we find ways of seeing that most of our confidence is based on words we believe in or responses to failure, and we have found true maturity if we can keep our head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, and if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too – then you have reached maturity. We expand when we meet the ups and downs of life as means of learning and a source of pleasure, not a constant pain or threat. See Meeting yourself
Each day we experience millions of bits of information and experience about people, about the world around us, about our own bodily functions, and so we grow, which is a form of movement. Also each day we age which is a constant movement. But if we cannot integrate our information gained and our growth it will be felt as a huge burden even a sickness. See Life’s Little Secrets; Secrets the Body Knows
Synthesis - Inner Life
Dream images are often a synthesis of many past experiences or memories. For example, most people are often totally unaware of the experience they take in and how it interacts with them when we love someone or have lived with them. In other words, the memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. You have taken in millions of bit of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with someone and they are what makes you the person you are. Your dreams tend to put all that in the image of the past person when you are dealing with the influences left in you from the relationship. These many memories and experiences are a synthesis of them all. As such a new thing has been created.
An example of this is seen in the deeply inbuilt expectations at an almost biological level, of what our father is or should be, for they form our internal male parent, and in synthesis form the father archetype.
Therefore, archetypal behaviour is a synthesis of thousands of people’s response to situations. These archetypes are often more easily seen, not so much in our own personal experience, but certainly in how some things are portrayed in art, in literature, and in popular or group responses to things that we might confront.
If one can imagine having a council of all living things, we would all have in common the drive to reproduce, and there would be huge links of understanding regarding care and rearing of young and perhaps of love for mate. The unconscious seems to have a sense of this synthesis of all life, and the owl, representing it, speaks with this sort of collective wisdom; a wise advisor.
Also, as some dreams are obviously a synthesis of experience and information gathered over a lifetime, the dream process is much more than a computing function which sorts new information and updates. It is also capable of creative leaps through synthesis and conjecture. J. B. Priestley’s dream of the birds – see example one under religion and dreams – appears to be a massive synthesis of things observed over a lifetime. It also depicts a brain function like computer simulation, which takes information and forms it into an experimental view of possibilities arising from the thousands or millions of separate bits of gathered data. See: esp in dreams; creative and problem solving dreams; processing dreams
Communication - Inner Life
We communicate in so many ways other than speech and words. When an animal jumps on our lap or purposely avoids us or even goes to the door to be let out, they are all communications – we may understand them or we may not – but they are all communications.
Similarly dream images are attempts to communicate something that has probably never been thought about or even been consciously know before, so has never been put into common conscious thinking. It is a communication from the depths, from beyond thought, and so any interpretations that are given by thinking may completely miss the point. But the source of the dream, which is a process of Life, is intelligent in its own way, and will take part in any attempt to communicate. So exploring your dreams by entering into their imagery and attempting to understand them will be a two-way process.
Our inner life often tries to communicate a much wider awareness of what we are. In fact, Life in and around tries to communicate in enormously varied ways that are often missed. See Coincidences
Pleasure/Pain – Inner Life
We are all the time as human dual beings. Some of that duality is easy for us to recognise – waking and sleeping for instance. But most of us only live half of our whole self, they do not recognise that sleep is an amazing and huge territory they never allow themselves to explore.
We all know what it is like in our daily life with its pleasures and tribulations, but few know what it is like in the other polarity of ourselves. This part of us is not limited in awareness by our physical senses, but has a more global awareness. As one person who experienced it regularly describes it, in our body awareness it is like looking through a crack in a wall at a big river. So all that we can see is what ships are passing in front of us now. But in the other level of us it is like looking over the top of the wall and seeing the whole river, what has passed us and what is coming.
The huge divide between pleasure and pain is also as much misunderstood as waking and sleeping. If you have watched and observed your dreams over a period of time, you will notice the pleasure in dreams if magnified enormously – and of course so are our fears, terrors and pains. Nearly all of us live in a very shallow level of feeling. We cannot allow very deep pleasure or pain – I am referring to here of emotional pain.
There is a level of human experience which is typified by intense emotional and physical response to life. Such emotions and bodily drives may remain almost entirely unconscious until touched by exploring your dream content in the right setting, or by being revealed by dramatic events in your life. When such feelings and bodily movements arise, as they do in dreams, we may be amazed at their power and clarity
Example: Because my wife’s breathing was disturbed while she slept, I quietly suggested that her whole body would drop unnecessary tensions, and emotional and mental stress would melt away. I went on to say that this would open all the doors of her being, allowing cleansing and healing throughout. There was no apparent response to this, so I lay quietly ready to sleep. But suddenly, about eight minutes later, she woke, almost with a jerk, and said enthusiastically, “I just had the most amazing dream.”
In the dream my wife had been with her mother and sisters in a garden at the back of a house. Hyone was lying in the sun relaxing. As she relaxed she felt a wave of energy flow up her body to her head. Then, wave after wave moved up her body, giving her tremendous pleasure and feelings of well-being. But the waves got stronger and stronger, and she was frightened they would overwhelm her, and at that point she woke.
This clearly shows how we block even pleasure. Here is an example of blocking intense emotion.
Example: I dreamt the sound of a door creaking open made me sit up. Then from behind me two black men who looked as if they had risen out of a grave with flesh peeling off them approached me. I quickly made the sign of the cross and said some sort of holy words and the figures disappeared. I lay back again thinking it was a good thing I knew how to get rid of them. But as soon as I settled to sleep again the door creaked open and the two figures appeared once more. This time all my hand waving and words had no effect on their advance, and their hands closed around my throat and I woke screaming in terror. My wife, feeling my fear, got up and we switched on all the lights.
If we can accept that we are always a dual person, then the wise thing to do would be to find a balance between our two sides, This would mean not repressing or hiding from the positive or the negative. The way of the razors edge can depict any behaviour or attitudes that are one-sidedness and would lead to imbalance within the individual. But at the same time it is not about being perfect or a saint, but a balanced and whole human being with very wide choices. Walking it we balance between the opposites facing us.