the importance of communication and connection in sustaining life

by Milena Braticevic

Communication is often studied as a science of interactions, a way of communicating ideas, and developing listening skills that can help in understanding another’s point of view. Communication as a mainstream science also goes into the study of technology, of exchange of information, and advances made in enabling instant connection over long distances. And yet there is a sense that despite the science and technology available, many individuals do not feel truly connected, and the rates of emotional and mental illnesses are on the rise. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, afflicting 40 million adults, or 18% of the adult population. To understand the potential effect of connection and communication on health and well-being, it is useful to examine the questions: What is communication, what happens in the process, and how can one learn to communicate effectively? Examining these questions can illuminate the power that communication and connection have on life, both incarnate and beyond the mysterious veil of death. Ultimately, mastering aspects of communication and connection can hold the key to a more integrated, vibrant, and meaningful way of life.

The Human Paradox

Mark Buchanan (2007) introduced the idea that society operated as a pattern, and that the very identity of an individual depended on the structure of society as a whole. Buchanan believed that, while much emphasis was put on exploring human individuality, not enough understanding existed regarding the underlying patterns that govern atoms and the natural world. Buchanan (2007) stated:

A lot of what physicists have done over the past century and are still doing today aims at understanding what happens when lots of atoms interact with one another… The most important lesson of modern physics is that it is often not the properties of the parts that matter most, but their organization, their pattern and form… Although we often fail to take note, much of what we see in the world is due to pattern and organization. (p. 10)

The fact that the state of the outside world can affect the human condition cannot be disputed. If a country is affected by a war, or an ecological disaster, each individual is likely influenced by the crisis at a very personal level. Extreme situations can illustrate how dependent individuals can be on the environment. In his book The Year I, Arnold Mindell (1989) described process-work at the global level, explaining that “The problems which hurt you and make you angry belong not only to you, but also to the whole world” (p. 69). It seems that the nature of a human closely resembles the nature of society as a whole. Therefore, there is a paradox – an individual is at the same time alone and part of the group. While trying to exert individual power, he or she is affected by the state of the environment and natural laws. Working within this paradox is one of the great challenges of being human, and communication can be a useful tool in the process.

To explore how communication happens within an individual, it can be informative to understand how living cells exchange information with the environment. Bruce Lipton (2005) examined how cells operate in relation to their surroundings. Lipton (2005) examined the DNA blueprints stored in the nucleus, and conducted experiments that showed that if the nucleus was removed, the cell would continue to live for some time, until the lack of genetic code brought reproduction to a halt. On the other hand, the cell membrane had a key role in keeping the cell alive by facilitating exchange with the environment, receiving nutrients, and excreting waste. Without the membrane, the cell would die very quickly. Lipton (2005) concluded that “the cells operations are primarily molded by its interaction with the environment, not by its genetic code… cell survival depends on the ability to dynamically adjust to an ever-changing environment” (p. 56). Lipton (2005) discovered that cells needed a functioning membrane with both receptor (awareness) and effector (action) proteins, which were the key to “cellular intelligence” (p. 57). Also, cells behaved differently when in an environment full of toxins, compared to an environment full of nutrients. Lipton (2005) explained:

When I was cloning human endothelial cells, they retreated from toxins that I introduced into the culture dish, just as humans retreat from mountain lions… They also gravitated to nutrients, just as humans gravitate towards breakfast, lunch, dinner, and love”. (p. 115)

Lipton (2005) recognized that there was a “growth response” in a cell moving towards nutrients, while there was a contraction or “protection response” in a cell that was in a toxic environment (pp. 115-116). The protection response inhibited the creation of life-sustaining energy, while the growth response supported this energy and gave it a boost. Since humans are composed of cells, and each cell communicates with the environment through the membrane and the mechanism of growth and contraction responses, the human being as a whole also functions according to growth and contraction patterns in relation to the environment. Lipton (2005) believed that it was important for human beings not only to eliminate stressors, but also to continuously search for nutritious, joyous, and loving environments in order to develop and be healthy.

Just as every living cell is constantly exchanging impulses with the environment through the process of giving and receiving, organisms are continuously changing. David Bohm called the changes that happen in a cell motion, and concluded that this motion was necessary and characteristic of all cells (Nichol, 2003, p. 27). Bohm believed that matter was in a constant process of becoming according to natural laws, stating, “In this process there is no limit to the new kinds of things that can come into being, and no limit to the number of kinds of transformations, both qualitative and quantitative, that can occur” (Nichol, 2003, p. 32). In other words, matter is never fixed, but is determined by the constant exchange of information.

Developing Internal Communication

When viewing an individual as a part of the whole, the patterns that are shaping the state of the environment are at the same time occurring within the individual. Many such processes occur unconsciously and are habitual. Looking into patterns that are deeply ingrained within the emotional and mental states to examine how they may be affecting the individual and the exchange of information with the environment, involves looking into the intentions, motives, and needs that drive human behavior. Thich Nhat Hanh (2013) explained that communication required a true desire to understand, a sense of receptivity that was entirely open and compassionate.

If we haven’t understood our own suffering and our own perceptions, how can we understand the suffering of another person? . . . We have to ask ‘Do I understand myself enough? Do I understand my suffering and its roots? (Hanh, 2013, p. 34)

Habitual, unconscious patterns of thought and emotion can be very powerful. It can feel very natural to continue acting in established ways without understanding the root causes. In his book Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious, Timothy Wilson (2002) explained that the more a concept was used in the past, the more accessible it would be to the mind in the future.

People are creatures of habit, and the more they have used a particular way of judging the world in the past, the more energized the concept will be. Our nonconscious minds develop chronic ways of interpreting information from our environments; in psychological parlance, certain ideas and categories become chronically accessible as a result of frequent use in the past. (p. 37)

In order to break free from unconscious patterns and their potential harmful influences, identifying what brings life-sustaining energy and what takes it away can be helpful. Marshall Rosenberg (2005) explained that giving and receiving messages depends on two important questions: “What is alive in us? and What can we do to make life more wonderful?” (p. 9). Connecting to these two insights can provide guidance towards life-sustaining emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that will positively affect both the individual and the environment. Rosenberg (2005) stated:

For most of us the process of bringing about peaceful change begins with working on our own mind-sets, on the way we view ourselves and others, on the way we get our needs met . . . [This work] requires great honesty and openness, developing a certain literacy of expression, and overcoming deeply ingrained learning that emphasizes judgement, fear, obligation, duty, punishment and reward, and shame. It may not be easy, but the results are worth the effort. (p. 10)

Being able to determine what makes one feel alive involves observation of internal states, and connecting to feelings without evaluation. Rosenberg (2005) quoted Krishnamurti: “The highest form of human intelligence is the ability to observe without evaluating” (p. 30). Rosenberg explained that knowing what is alive in oneself requires the ability to understand one's deepest feelings and needs. He noted that negative feelings do not occur due to another person’s behavior, but because of the lack of identification and fulfillment of deep personal and emotional needs. Once an individual is aware of his or her own needs, it becomes easier to connect to other's needs as well. The ability to see beyond another’s behavior, and address needs directly, allows for real communication, and connection based on understanding. Rosenberg (2005) stated that “when we can connect at the need level, it’s amazing how conflicts that seem unresolvable start to become solvable. We see each other’s humanness at the need level” (p. 38). Becoming aware of personal needs, and the ability to recognize another person’s needs, allows for emphatic connection, which serves to help individuals grow and develop. The needs-based approach to communication addresses the human condition where the well-being of each part affects the well-being of the whole.

Rudolph Steiner also discussed the importance of having knowledge of personal feelings and ideas in order to develop effective communication with the outer world. Steiner (2011) believed that man had the power to fully transform himself on the path to higher knowledge, but that this transformation needed to take place “in his innermost self, his thought-life” (p. 6). Steiner (2011) stated:

We must learn to remain in touch with our own feelings and ideas, if we wish to develop any intimate relationship with the outer world. The outer world, with all its phenomena, is filled with divine splendor, but we must have experienced the divine within ourselves before we can hope to discover it in our environment. (p. 8)

In addition to the knowledge of internal feelings and ideas, Steiner believed that a state of reverence can affect cognition the same way that nutrients affected the body. He believed that veneration and devotion made cognition strong, while disrespect, antipathy and underestimation had a paralyzing effect on cognition. Steiner explained that, “Only what we experience within ourselves unlocks for us the beauties of the outer world” (p. 7).

The ability to tune into one’s own body and mind, and become connected to oneself, is not taught by traditional healing methods. As a result, most people who have health problems simply follow their doctors’ orders without being able to intuitively feel if a treatment is beneficial for them. In his book Self-Healing: My Life and Vision, Meir Schneider (1987) described his journey from blindness to health by way of deeply tuning into his body’s needs and learning to understand what was happening inside. Schneider took a course at a vocational massage school and was surprised to find that he was not learning how to truly help individuals based on their needs. Schneider (1987) discovered that traditional healing methods were missing key teachings about tuning into the patient’s body and mind:

They taught us a rigid program of techniques – some were quite useful, but most were not. They never mentioned paying attention to what an individual person really needs . . . They never mentioned different types of touch for different bodies or the importance of the therapists own relaxation and presence. (p. 45)

While practicing his techniques, Schneider noticed that sometimes the patients’ bodies showed signs of habitual tension. Healing involved bringing awareness to habitual patterns through body movement. It was often the patient’s attitude and openness to look into the unconscious mechanisms of movement that made the most difference when it came to healing. The ability of the individual to assimilate new ideas, create new exercises, and visualize different outcomes helped their body open up to the possibility of healing. According to Schneider (1987), “A small shift in attitude can make the difference between improvement and deterioration” (p. 61). Once the mind of the individual was tuned into the body and identified negative patterns, it had tremendous power to transform them by introducing life-sustaining movement and action.

Communication between the mind and the body is important for well-being and health. The ancient wisdom of yoga identified perturbations of the mind as the main cause of suffering. The goal of yoga practice was to remove these perturbations, and allow the mind, and the body, to tune into and receive life energy from the environment. In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga was defined as “the stilling of the changing states of the mind” (Bryant, 2009, p. 10). Disturbances such as doubt, idleness, carelessness, sloth, lack of detachment, misapprehension, failure to attain a base of concentration, and instability, were defined as distractions for the mind (p. 118). “Steadiness of the mind is gained when the mind is pain-free and luminous” (p. 133), which could be achieved through focus and meditation. The physical practice of yoga serves as a tool for the mind to focus on the breath and movement sequences, which can ground the mind and provide a vehicle for a deep connection between the internal and external worlds.

In the article Penetrating Postures: The Science of Yoga, Alice Walton (2011) explained that yoga practice can bring about changes in the brain and the body’s sympathetic nervous system, reducing the levels of hormone cortisol activated during fight-or-flight responses at times of stress. Yoga “boosts levels of the feel-good chemicals like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, which are responsible for feelings of relaxation and contentedness” (Walton, 2011, para 3). In addition to suppressing the stress response, yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which directs blood towards digestive organs and endocrine glands, and improves lymphatic circulation.

With the parasympathetic nervous system in gear, our bodies can better extract nutrients from the food we eat, and more effectively eliminate toxins because circulation is enhanced. With parasympathetic activation, the body enters into a state of restoration and healing. (Walton, 2011, para. 4)

Quieting the mind and deepening awareness of the internal state of being can bring about connection with the deepest aspects of oneself. From a place of internal connectedness and peace, it is then possible to have meaningful communication with the environment, and a fruitful exchange of nutrients and information to satisfy human needs.

To work effectively within the paradox of being an individual and being a part of the world at the same time, requires deep communication both within and outside of the self. When this communication is based on higher qualities than personal needs, a more meaningful exchange can be established. Looking into the natural world provides a way of understanding what true connection is all about.

How Communication Works

Communication occurs constantly in the natural world. There is a continuous exchange of information on multiple levels. An individual can use words, or a sense of touch, as well as listen to, and see things around him or herself. But also, beyond the world of the senses, there are modes of communication that are much deeper, quicker, and more powerful in establishing a true connection. This kind of communication is based on innate knowledge and intuitive faculties. Marta Williams (2005) explained that intuitive communication is an inherent quality in all people, although seldom used in the modern world:

Intuition is a useful survival tool, but most people have almost lost touch with it. Logic and reason are valued by modern culture, and we are actively discouraged from using or developing our intuition… Animals recognize the survival value of intuition and they never disconnect from their intuitive sense. They are constantly scanning for data, alert for any changes, such as shift in the emotional states of those around them. (p. 20).

Williams called the five modes of intuitive communication “phantoms of the senses” because they were not dependent on time and space, could travel at instant speed, and be perceived without interference (Williams, 2005, p. 21). Receiving clear feelings or clairsentience included being able to tune into another’s emotional state with clarity, and empathize with another’s state of being. Clear hearing, clairaudience, or mental telepathy included being able to send a message to another mentally, as well as receive information telepathically. Clear seeing, clairvoyance, or exchanging information visually included receiving mental pictures across time and space, as well as getting a “clear sense of certainty about something” (Williams, 2005, p. 23). Also, one could mentally experience smell, clairalliance, becoming more aware of odours, as well as clear tasting, clairhambience or clairgustance, which involves a higher awareness of specific flavours. Williams believed that communication was possible with every part of nature, with animals as well as with plants, trees, lakes, the wind, and the land. The quality of communication depends on the development of intuitive qualities in a person, as well as the ability to give and receive information at higher frequencies. The key to experiencing intuitive communication is intention, or the willingness to open up the higher senses, and viscerally experience the world directly. Once this skill was established, one could develop the practice by constantly learning and developing in tune with the universe.

In order to examine how intuitive communication happens at the cellular level, it is useful to look at behaviors inside cells, and how they respond to intuitive signals. Pim van Lommel (2007) presented research that conscious awareness was possible due to the responsiveness of cells to patterns of information:

According to anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff and mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose, microtubules (the tiny structural components of the skeleton of cells that are involved in many cellular processes) inside neutrons may initiate information processes via self-organizing patterns that trigger coherent states, and these might explain our ability to experience consciousness. (p. 234)

Quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger described the mind as a quantum process because it was “only possible to receive a complete thought, a complete feeling, and a definite yes or no” (Lommel, 2007, p. 234). In other words, the mind works in self-organizing ways, forming thoughts, emotions, and states of reality based on the complex process of information exchange.

The capacity for intuitive communication also depends on the ability to experience the world as a whole, and not simply at a personal level. Engaging creatively with the world can happen at every moment, however, an individual may not be able to do so if focused too closely on his or her circumstance. In the book Nikola Tesla: Afterlife Comments on Paraphysical Concepts, Francesca Thoman channeled Nikola Tesla’s thoughts from the after-life. According to Thoman, Tesla believed that there was an infinite number of dimensions in the nature of reality. Tesla contemplated the Zero dimension as “a point that is so tiny that it seems huge, or is so huge that it not only is incalculable and incomprehensible, because perception cannot itself contain it, but it also contains itself and is contained by itself” (Thoman, 2015, p. 3). The Zero dimension was presented as the “door to all dimensions… where the mind begins to function at the higher levels within a unity of opposites” (p. 3). Experiencing the Zero dimension involves having a different sense of self, living within a paradox of individuality and unity, and existing beyond and across all dimensions. Thoman (2015) channeled Tesla as stating the following:

When you begin to identify with both the Zero dimension and with the human perception that is beyond description, you touch the natural state of the mind after physical death. Through the Zero dimension, you can become aware of the mind’s definition and articulation that is engaged when you “aren’t there”, and in deep spiritual and creative states of most kinds . . . Superimposing opposites within experienced perception is the wider mind’s ability that allows the state of a true mystic . . . in short, you both hold, and are held by, the infinite. (p. 4)

It has been stipulated that, the transpersonal aspect of a human being can be experienced after the shedding of the body, when communication and connection with other beings happen much more transparently. Then, one can viscerally experience others’ thoughts, emotions, and clearly see patterns of behavior both in and outside of the self, while better understanding consequences of actions.

Communication Beyond Death

The infinite nature of the soul transcends personality, circumstance, space and time. It is commonly believed that death can provide ‘eternal peace’, however, accounts of near death experiences, out of body experiences, and communications with the deceased, indicate that even in death, the soul is always on an often difficult path of growth and development. Some individuals describe how, after parting from the physical body, they experienced the same reality as before death. The process of transformation of the soul into higher realms involves communication and connection with others for eternity. An individual is never alone in the soul-world.

In her book Angels in My Hair, Lorna Byrne described her experience of communicating with angels. Byrne (2008) explained that angelic beings are always around, trying to guide individuals and help them see the beauty of life. Byrne (2008) stated that angelic beings helped her remove the veil of separation, and experience clairsentience and a feeling of real connection with the environment and nature.

They taught me how to look at things differently from the way others do. I wouldn’t just glance at a cow; I would really look to see everything about it: every line, every little bump. The angels would make each detail glow and stand out more than normal, so that I could really notice it . . . I was being allowed to see things that most people never see. (Byrne, 2008, p. 27)

Angels appeared to Byrne as living entities that operated at higher levels of being. They possessed deep knowledge, and used their powers to guide individuals towards understanding and a true experience of unity. Byrne (2008) learned that through angelic interferences “miracles happen all the time . . . people just fail to notice them” (p. 59). In a sense, seeing something for what it truly is, comprehending its incredible beauty and uniqueness, and feeling deep interrelatedness with it is a miracle in and of itself. Once an individual has this kind of vision, everything changes, and a new reality appears, revealing the tremendous potential of each moment. This opening up of a portal to higher states of consciousness relates to the Zero dimension.

In the afterlife, some individual accounts describe going through a purgatory process, after which the individual is moved further away from earth-bound concepts and limitations, and gradually gets closer to a state of wisdom and light. In her book Testimony of Light, Helen Greaves transmitted the teachings of Francis Banks. Through Greaves (1969), Francis Banks spoke of experiencing light in the afterlife in an entirely new way:

Light! How much I am learning of the meaning of that word here! How deeply I am beginning to realise the depth of those words ‘Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’. How paltry is our conception and understanding of that light! (p. 45).

Francis Banks explained that for individuals who are on a slow vibration of consciousness and too close to the material plane, “progress must always present a dark and a light side” (p. 54). The challenge was to “enlighten the vibrations” (p. 54) so that the light side could prevail. Through different ways of viewing the world, the angle of perception could change, and more light could come in. Francis Banks believed that light was manifested through understanding, wisdom and a clear perception of the world.

The eternal nature of life was also examined by Brian Weiss. Weiss (2004) described cases of regression and progression into past and future lives. He discovered that the soul reincarnated into different bodies in order to experience various circumstances, conditions, and challenges, from which it could learn. Incarnation is a vehicle for the soul to obtain lessons from various experiences, and until the individual learns the lesson, the same kinds of challenges would be presented as learning opportunities. Powerful glimpses into the energies of past or future lives can provide an ability to achieve clarity about them, and transform the energy in the present moment. Speaking about a patient’s experience with progression therapy, Weiss (2004) stated:

I know that her visions of her future lives influenced her in a powerful way because they said to her: If you don’t change, you’re just going to be repeating this destructive cycle of aggressor and victim, but if you do change, you can break the cycle. Her different visions of the future taught her that she had the free will to shape the future and that the time to start exercising that free will was now. (p. 46)

Nature’s way of balancing energies ensures that every generated motion, every thought, feeling, and action, produces an outcome. The communication process that continuously occurs in nature has an inherent complexity, with everything being interrelated, and in a constant state of becoming. Jurgen Ziewe (2015) spoke of the complexity of nature:

We truly are citizens of multiple worlds . . . Everything we do, think or feel is reverberating through multiple dimensional levels and there is little we can do about it. The universe is far more complex than we can ever imagine. (p. 59)

Complexity of the universe is reflected in human nature. Using free will when engaging with the environment to express what is alive inside, and eliminating personal imbalances and internal conflicts, can assist in the recognition of subtle energies and the creation of a true connection with the world.


The human paradox of existing as an individual, and as part of the whole, often makes it difficult to perceive the world in a clear way. Human beings are made up of cells, whose very existence depends on the ability to exchange information with the environment. In a similar way, the natural world is in constant communication. Connecting with what is alive inside allows for the reception of what provides life-sustaining energy. Transparently exchanging information with the environment allows an individual to experience him or her self as a part of the world in connection and communication with animals, plants, elements, and beings from higher dimensions. Communication transcends the material world, and becomes more fluid, clear, and visceral after the death of the body. The journey towards light often involves dealing with darkness directly, and suffering from the limitations of a lack of understanding. But light, and love, have a tremendous power, and are always available to those who seek it.


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