Apparently our own bodies are small walking planets…or verdant jungles or distinctive arboretums. Really… Newest scientific findings show we have an estimated ten times more microbes than human cells in our own bodies. We are all teaming with unique colonies of microbes living symbiotically.
I learned this from an article in the New York Times Science section. I quote….
“The new surveys are helping scientists understand the many ecosystems our bodies offer microbes. In the mouth alone, Dr. Relman estimates, there are between 500 and 1,000 species. “It hasn’t reached a plateau yet: the more people you look at, the more species you get,” he said. The mouth in turn is divided up into smaller ecosystems, like the tongue, the gums, the teeth. Each tooth—and even each side of each tooth—has a different combination of species.”
The article begins with a story about a woman who was wasting away from a seemingly untreatable gut ailment. The doctor treating her, gastroenterologist Dr. Alexander Khoruts….
“….decided his patient needed a transplant. But he didn’t give her a piece of someone else’s intestines, or a stomach, or any other organ. Instead, he gave her some of her husband’s bacteria.
Dr. Khoruts mixed a small sample of her husband’s stool with saline solution and delivered it into her colon. Writing in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology last month, Dr. Khoruts and his colleagues reported that her diarrhea vanished in a day. Her Clostridium difficile infection disappeared as well and has not returned since.
The procedure — known as bacteriotherapy or fecal transplantation — had been carried out a few times over the past few decades. But Dr. Khoruts and his colleagues were able to do something previous doctors could not: they took a genetic survey of the bacteria in her intestines before and after the transplant.
Before the transplant, they found, her gut flora was in a desperate state. “The normal bacteria just didn’t exist in her,” said Dr. Khoruts. “She was colonized by all sorts of misfits.”
Two weeks after the transplant, the scientists analyzed the microbes again. Her husband’s microbes had taken over. “That community was able to function and cure her disease in a matter of days,” said Janet Jansson, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a co-author of the paper. “I didn’t expect it to work. The project blew me away.”
Symbiosis in community?
Reading the article was an Aha! moment for me, but one that has been blossoming slowly. I’ve learned that insights have many layers of meaning.
You see, I’m clairsentient. It’s a quirky trait, wonderful as a child but for most of my life, more (truly) bothersome on a day to day basis than useful in a world of cultural and linear academic persuasions. A cacophonous parade, there seems to only be peace in nature.
All the clair-somethings run in my family….clairesentience, clairaudience, clairvoyance. My grandmother, aunt and great aunt could all follow a swallowed pill as it transited through their systems, internally feeling the pills effect, so they rarely agreed to taking any kind of medicine. No one talked about it….being clair-whatever. I doubt any of them were familiar with the terms. It just qualified them as being the eccentric ones in the family. We keep these things quiet in our family.
They’ve all passed away now but this “eccentricity” lives on in me and my daughter and most probably my young grandchildren. I’ve come to terms with what it means in my own life and, since I’m intimately involved in the lives of my grandchildren, I have the opportunity of teaching them to not fear the subtleties of being cognizant in their own bodies. The rest, as it is with all of us, is up to them.
For the past 14 years I’ve been maturing with these clair-something traits and so they are becoming, finally, of some use. Becoming more aware has been an arduous endeavor, however, a daily practice, but as I become more at ease with it, my imagination considering the physical possibilities is growing.
Thus my immediate interest in the N.Y. Times article. The macro cosmic aspect of the symbiotic relationship stuns and delights me. I’ve become a flustered hostess.
I am sure we are already communicating with the colonies of microbes that share the same space we do. Why not? We are all most intimately hanging out together. We are probably actively doing this without realizing it…emotionally and mentally with our own persuasions conveying information, hopefully to our health. Why not intentionally, by just being aware and honoring the relationship.
Clairsentience relative to communication, is simply embodying insight. Insight is language. Communication is visceral. The mind is silent when listening.
I’ve learned that the simple act of respectful acknowledgement is the grace filled preliminary to a reciprocal relationship with any other form of life where there is reason for communication. Isn’t this what our species, who depended on their survival in the raw natural world understood?
Considering the fragile shape things are in…can you imagine that the need for this intrinsic protocol of respect has changed?
The link to the article is here:
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