A Symbiosis with God

The very first living organisms, bacteria, fungi, and alga had to marry in order to survive… We will have to do the same with God if we want to live beyond death.

mushrooms on a cross
Edited Pic via Pixabay | Copyright 2021 by Bookflurry Inc.

I recently had the pleasure of reading Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake.

Merlin is a biologist, following in the footsteps of his father, who has spent countless hours studying the relationships between plants and mycorrhizal networks (fungal and root systems that spread out beneath our feet).

These networks show traits of conscious action.

Communications between fungus and plant is imperative in deciding which organisms will benefit from, or make a more fair trade, when it comes to nutrients such as sugar, carbon, sunlight, and water.

What, you didn’t think soil was just dirt did you?

Over ninety percent of soil is biological organisms. Fungi making connections with other microscopic lifeforms in order to live and spread. Conscious choices are being made every second below our feet by single-celled organisms. What was previously thought of as inert material is now known to be bustling with life and choosing partners for the betterment of not only themselves, but each other.

Not much could live long on the first volcanic spires spurting forth from the ocean floor of an acidic and vicious new earth. Alga from the sea died producing sugar from the sun and fungi along the shore gave their life eating and transforming rock into carbon.

But even the hellish and microscopic existence of these two biological organisms couldn’t prevent them from seeing beauty in one another.

By working together, the alga could produce sugar that the fungus could use to eat rock and the fungus could produce carbon that the alga could use to produce oxygen. Together they could make a new world.

Together they could help one another to survive.

The lichens that resulted from this symbiosis baffle scientists even today, as they survive regular bouts in space and at ultimate extremes. But this article isn’t about the microcosm.

During my studies, I ran across an interesting dialogue from 1982 between Rupert Sheldrake (Merlin’s father), John Hidley, David Bohm, and Krishnamurti.
In it, the religious philosopher Krishna asks the scientists and psychologist if they think that disorder is the very nature of the self.

This leads into a debate about whether or not a person’s perception of their isolation from everything else, as an individual, and therefore their self-centered decision making, is at the very root of the world’s disorder.

The three men make several attempts at derailing Krishnamurti’s claims, but keep getting pulled back in. You can tell that they become emotionally connected to the ideas presented, and perhaps even captured by them, but also you can sense that they will be challenged with the difficulty of holding onto the concepts after the meeting is over. Almost as if Krishna’s presence is holding the construct together.

Rupert Sheldrake’s position in the dialogue contrasted so sharply with his son’s new more-modern book that I was spurred to dig a little deeper.

It was not the first time I had heard that changing the world was an inside job.

And why shouldn’t it be?

We all have the same palette; the same tools to work with in order to do our work — to craft our lives.

Even God had to create all of this with but what he had inside of himself. Because nothing outside existed besides him to begin with!

It’s funny when you think of all the great painted works of art on this planet and realize that they were all created using the three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue.

Wow, right?

We all have the same God Given tools inside of us to craft a beautiful life. In our imagination lies everything we need to weave all of our experiences into just the right fabric of existence for the ones around us.

Books like The Secret, The Power of Now, and Conversations with God, encourage us to use the power of positive thinking. What’s the option in a world where we are born into death?

In some ways the acknowledgement of death makes everything we do beautiful. There is real magic in the thought that

January the 5th, 2021 at 11:53pm will only ever happen once.

There was once a time that I looked in the mirror and told myself, “You have two options, marriage or death.”

Jokes aside, I sometimes think of those first biological organisms (alga and fungi) drying on the lava rocks and making a similar decision.

Good thing they chose marriage!

Those lichens that came from the first symbiotic relationship are the rock eating creatures that turned stone into the first soils that provided avenues to plant life and beyond.

Their life was nothing but pain and death, but together they could make something beautiful.

What really intrigues me about the biology and religion that I have been studying is how similar they are in their references to resonance.

It is known in biological circles that plants and fungi will only take well to one another if they resonate with each other (have similar properties). The same is true in sound, like in the example of a tuning fork.

In religion, the more alike to Jesus or God, the more welcome you will be when it comes time to enter heaven or the beyond.

I think back on those first Symbiotes, drying and suffering in the harsh atmospheres and ask myself, what similarities they shared that put them in tune with one another and I can’t help but think it was just their own pure relative agony.

Misery does love company.

But ultimately this union, spurned by whatever alike characteristics, brought us to flourish and survive. The ladder of symbiotic evolution (a term that Merlin Sheldrake likes to turn and say Involution) was captured well by a verse by Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī almost one thousand years ago

I died to the mineral state and became a plant,
 I died to the vegetal state and reached animality,
 I died to the animal state and became a man,
 Then what should I fear? I have never become less from dying.
 At the next charge (forward) I will die to human nature,
 So that I may lift up (my) head and wings (and soar) among the angels,
 And I must (also) jump from the river of (the state of) the angel,
 Everything perishes except His Face,
 Once again I will become sacrificed from (the state of) the angel,
 I will become that which cannot come into the imagination,
 Then I will become non-existent; non-existence says to me (in tones) like an organ,
 Truly, to Him is our return.

What a beautiful piece of poetry. This same creativity has been imbued in all of us, as we are fashioned directly from the prime source, in his image.

Just as we have been blessed with the ability to multiply ourselves. We can watch our sons and daughters grow and express themselves right up through adulthood. Then eventually we set them free into the world to make a life for themselves.

It was quite beautiful watching Rupert and Merlin Sheldrake attend the plant symposium together recently as father and son. It was a Christian gathering in which Rupert spoke on the beauty of flowers. Particularly lilies, as in Matthew 6:28.

It must’ve been a long road for both gentlemen, growing up on the edge of science and physics, during a time when religion had been plucked from the story of the creative world and replaced by the big bang.

For most of their lives, the world was being proven nothing other than mechanistic, run by numbers, broken down into equations and predictabilities.

But between the two and their research apart, they found similarities in their studies and formed again their own symbiosis. This time one that suggested that there must be some creator. Some divine being that not only crafted it all from its own imagination, but can also stop and smell the roses.

Their suggestion was that a God which could see that it was good, could only be a better God if he could also smell it.

I sit back and imagine a relationship between another father and son —

A good father that sends his son out into the world to create. Yet the son learns that creation is as easy as stepping on a flower.

What father would let a destructive adult move back in to the mansion?

Look back at history and you will see, any symbiotic relationship only occurred because both organisms served each other. In fact, symbiosis occurs because both halves need each other for survival. Kinda like, what is serving what? Does the lung process breath for the heart’s benefit, or the does the heart move blood for the function of the lungs? Or on a more personal level, Marriage?

Consider, your body as a temple. If you were a deity, and your worshipers consistently took a pick axe to the inner temple walls, would you honorably reside there?

On the other hand, what if your worshipers spent their time like monks in a Buddhist monastery and cleaned the temple daily with eagerness and vigor?

Now, that sounds like a great wife!

These are only meditations to help you see that when you make a self-defeating sacrifice of body, mind, or spirit, you are only working against the worshipers that God already has in place.

I wrote somewhere in a journal,

Your body is made in God’s image. It is made up of every symbiotic relationship that’s every existed. There are married couples by the trillions inside of you, all working to clean the temple day and night. Astonishingly, misplaced sacrifices are destructive enough, especially when they become habits, to overpower even that!

Sometimes I wonder, as I smell a flower or turn a leaf between my fingers, what may have happened if God would have called himself anything other than good.

Sometimes… I think we should all try calling ourselves good.

After all, symbiotic relationships have been formed on less.

Jay Horne is an author and publisher out of Bradenton, Florida. He is a husband and father of four.
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