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Life exists where there is spirit. We can try to define it biologically, but it is unsatisfying to say ‘physical entities that have biological processes and can reproduce’.

The word life has so many different definitions, at least 36 according to, but on this site the spiritual aspects are emphasized, such as “the force that makes or keeps something alive”, “animation; liveliness; spirit” or “state, existence, or principle of existence conceived of as belonging to the soul”.

Historically life has been viewed as a person, animal or plant that has a spirit, some metaphysical energy that is its life-force. Once that life-force leaves, the matter that is left behind is dead, even though it may still be cryogenic-ally kept as a physical entity. Those who have held a dead body understand this absence of the soul.

It is still a challenge for scientists and philosophers to define life. Life is a process, not a substance. We all know that life as is worth living is quite different to being on life-support. The joy of life is based on choice, creativity, intuition and interaction.

Throughout history, there have been many attempts to define what is meant by “life” such as:

  • the form of a living thing is its soul
  • the Gaia hypothesis, the idea that the Earth itself is alive (we are all part of ‘source’)
  • God or universal soul, exists in every living thing in the form of love
  • vitalism, that living organisms possess a “life force” or “vital spark”.

“You are a self-choosing mind in a universal spirit which permeates everything. You are always in the midst of Life, a Life that lives eternally and lives through you now. There is something within you that remains unmoveable, that always speaks directly to you, saying, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’

Life cannot operate against itself. There is but one Presence in the universe. This presence manifests Itself in and through all forms, all people, all conditions. This Presence is Life Itself. Its nature is love and forgiveness.”

Ernest Holmes


The science and art of traditional Polynesian navigation is holistic. The navigator must process an endless flow of data, intuitions and insights derived from observation and the dynamic rhythms and interactions of wind, waves, clouds, stars, sun, moon, the flight of birds, a bed of kelp, the glow of phosphorescence on a shallow reef –in short, the constantly changing world of weather and the sea. What is even more astonishing is that the entire science of wayfinding is based on dead reckoning, You only know where you are by knowing precisely where you have been and how you got to where you are.
This is a useful analogy for life….
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