The Story of Life
The story of life is not what you think because any good story requires meaning. If we understood the meaning of life, history wouldn't be riddled with so many wars.
The story of life is about more than why you are here. It is written on the tapestry of everything you see. The story is ancient although it is still unfolding today, and this story places you in its center.
In The Beginning
Whatever you have grown to become through evolution on the Earth, your story began in space. Hydrogen formed into helium which became oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. These elements make up 99% of the atoms that form your proteins, nucleic acids, and cell membranes.
Helium is not in your body and rare on the Earth, yet it was necessary to create the other elements. Hydrogen and helium still make up 98% of elements in the universe. Every element required to make DNA is found in the aftermath of exploding stars.
From the first helium and hydrogen atoms that formed molecules in the early universe, to the complexity of sexual reproduction on the Earth, life grew as a story of relationships and interconnectivity.
Meaning first takes shape when you consider how life was created from a myriad of exact conditions, and sustained by these same conditions. Additional meaning emerges from the combination of how opposites attract, how balance is achieved, and what is created because two things collide. The fine line between our sense of separation and our coming together drives the story.
The planetary orbits create the optimal conditions for seasonal activity. Without Jupiter, Venus and the Moon, life couldn't exist. The same collision that created the Moon also set the Earth into a spin that tilted it on its axis. Without this 23.5 degree tilt, there would not be seasons.
The sun warms and provides life on Earth, but its gravity is so perfectly balanced to allow the planets to orbit without crashing into it. The seasons change to allow new life, while removing what is outworn and unnecessary. Click the video below to watch how the earth blossoms, turns to winter and blossoms again.
Looking out into the universe, you have a sense of the quiet orchestration of moving planets and the shift between darkness and light. There is a striking chasm that separates disaster from life's endurance. Life's cyclical theme is also orchestrated below.
The Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, but the atmosphere took longer to develop. The atmosphere blocks some of the sun's dangerous rays, but also traps heat, to sustain the optimal temperature. When photosynthesizing organisms began to multiply on the Earth, much of the carbon dioxide was replaced with oxygen. The new atmosphere was deadly for many of the first organisms like bacteria, but gave life to many more. Bacteria simply found an anaerobic environment and live inside your intestines to aid digestion.
The intervals between hot and cold reveal a pattern of how opposites drive balance. Hot and cold fronts come together as wind to ensure any extremes of temperature are returned to optimal balance. While the wind returns high pressure to low pressure, the turning of the Earth causes the air flow to turn as jet streams in majestic swirls. Watch below how these jet streams continue to heat and cool the Earth.
The River of Life
Tectonic shifting created mountains and air approaching a mountain is forced upwards. At higher altitudes, the temperature drops, condensing water vapor. This process results in the formation of clouds and rain. Additionally water is preserved as ice and snow to sustain flowing rivers throughout the hot summer.
The water evaporates from the surface of the ocean, rises into the atmosphere, cools and condenses into rain. The winds drive the rain onto the land masses as precipitation. As the Earth turns the water and vapor flow throughout the atmosphere. Watch the water cycle in the video below.
The trees are the lungs of the earth and convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, but they also play a role in the carbon and water cycle. Trees serve as natural sponges, collecting and filtering rainfall and releasing it slowly into streams and rivers. Water moving over the land breaks apart the rocks. Ice crystals freeze the earth and drive the regeneration of the soil upwards. Regeneration is active at all levels of life.
Burning, decomposition and animal respiration releases carbon into the atmosphere. The carbon is then absorbed by trees and plants through photosynthesis. Plants produce sugars and carbon content is recycled through the food chain. When animals and plants die, the organisms are eaten by decomposers like fungi. They release carbon back into atmosphere to begin the cycle again. Watch the carbon cycle in the video below.
All or Nothing Equation
No matter where you look in our universe, it is an all or nothing equation that requires the interaction of all organisms, elements and forces to sustain life. From galactic particles to bacteria and fungi, no one feature is more important than the other.
From your frame of reference, the universe is expanding away from you. Your search to understand it draws life into perspective and places you at its center. You ponder its meaning, while everything in our universe has already found life inside of you. The day you took your first breath, the macrocosm found expression through you.
And it Was Good
You may wonder how molecules achieved the level of complexity to be called life from an inanimate beginning. The first particles in the early universe were hydrogen and helium. Having an extremely stable and closed shell, the helium atom has no openings for connections to form molecules.
Hydrogen was still ionized in a way that it couldn't bond either. The fiery beginnings of our universe forced the helium atom and hydrogen ion to collide. Their bonding emitted the characteristic particle of light or photon that signifies a strong bond. But the story didn't begin with "let there be light" because it came after. The story began from the pairing of hydrogen and helium into the first molecule as if to say "let there be love." Sexual reproduction is an evolutionary aspect of the same pairing impulse. Love brings us together even if it first takes the shape of conflict or an explosion.
The story of the life is as old as time because time too, had an ancient beginning. The universe emerged in one complete package of three dimensions and a fourth one called time.
Our coming together must be purposeful because life has always demonstrated the optimal conditions to drive more life. Whether we are joined through conflict or desire we need only heed the call to participate.
The Macrocosm and Microcosm
The ancients sensed this omniscient intelligence and personified it. Physicists say the Big Bang arose because of a singularity. Perhaps it is because we were never meant to be alone. Too much time spent inward and we implode. The opposite is an explosion where this bound up energy is released.
You may wonder "why am I here?" but the answer really doesn't matter because you are already here. You might as well ask "why do I have a liver?" The answer resembles how a mother loves and cares for her child before the child can understand why. Or how everything a tree will become resides in the seed. You are part of something that knows you better than you know yourself.
If you don't believe me, contemplate the many ways your body achieves wellness with no effort on your part. You shiver, sweat, circulate blood and your cells regenerate just like the Earth. You are riding through the universe in a body that mimics our planet as part of trajectory of growth and balance that has lasted 13.8 billion years. The only aspect you control is whether or not you enjoy the ride.
The perfect conditions that sustain life play out whether or not you see life's meaning unfolding before you. The story of life is the story you make of it, but never forget that you are part of an ancient beginning. And you are never alone.
We may not know where we are going, but we know where we have been. And it is perfect.