Everyone is aware of the extremely high cost of most health care services. These costs can be measured not only in cash outlays, but also in time spent at a doctor's office. Waiting times can often be an hour or more for a comprehensive physical examination at a family physician's or internist's office. If you have a problem that requires same-day attention, the waiting time at a local hospital emergency room is open-ended and can easily range into several hours or more.
In April 2010 the BP Deep Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in a catastrophic offshore oil spill. Millions of barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf since the explosion, representing an unprecedented environmental disaster. Many complex ecosystems are affected by the oil spill, ranging from the Louisiana bayous and associated wetlands to as-yet-unexplored deep ocean ecologies.
What animates us? In other words, what is it that causes us to be living matter? For example, what distinguishes a living orchid from a tissue-paper-and-paint model of an orchid? Or what distinguishes a hawk from an airplane? What is it that causes the material that is us to hold together and function in an organized fashion, rather than falling apart and decaying as all other non-living matter eventually does?
Many people - adults and children - are familiar with the marvelous animated feature "The Lion King". Most have found themselves humming the film's theme "The Circle of Life" long after they've stopped actively thinking about the film itself. "The Circle of Life" is not only a terrifically catchy tune, but is also a powerful metaphor. And as is often the case, what we find in our outer experience is also true in our inner experience.1