LIFE PROCESS (Life Science)
From a scientific perspective, life can be any of the following …
The course of existence of an individual, The actions and events that occur in living, The condition of living or the state of being alive, A characteristic state or mode of living, The experience of being alive, The course of human events and activities, The period during which something is functional (as between birth and death).
Since birth to death various functions are going on inside the body of all living beings. The maintenance functions of living organisms must go on even when they are resting. Even when we are just meditating or asleep, this maintenance job has to go on. The processes which together perform this maintenance job are called life process. After death, the components of the gross body return to earth and the food cycle, subtle body carried forward to the next life.
The life processes can be defined as the processes that take place in the human body which is needed for the existence of life on Earth - they comprise of the following:
5. GROWTH & REPAIR
RESPIRATION: Respiration is a single complete act of breathing in and out. In other words, breaking down of nutrients to release energy is called respiration. To understand why respiration can be so qualitative & transformative, it helps to know a little bit about the physiology of breath. Physiology refers to the processes and functions of an organism. Even though we consider respiration as a simple part of life and take it for granted, in reality respiration is a complicated process that involves three distinct stages.
1. External Respiration: The first stage moves oxygen into the body, across the membranes of the lungs and in to the blood stream. Simultaneously, the oxygen passes from the alveolar sacs of the lungs into the bloodstream. Carbon dioxide, a waste produced by metabolic processes, moves into the opposite direction and is expelled from the body by exhalation. This first stage, called external respiration, is what we normally refer to as Breathing.
2. Internal Respiration: The red blood cells bear fresh oxygen throughout the circulatory system, preparing the body for second stage of breathing called internal respiration. In this stage the life giving oxygen crosses the membranes from the red blood cells into all other cells of the body. Every cell of our body takes in oxygen and expels carbon dioxide to the blood.
3. Intra cellular Respiration: Subsequent to internal respiration, intracellular respiration happens as the cells make use of the oxygen to produce energy for growth, repair, replication and life function. This use of oxygen in cellular metabolic processes is the third stage, intracellular respiration.
Before the function of breathing that oxygen sparks the transformation of nutrients into fuel could be understood, Harvey would need to have discovered the circulation of blood (1628), the materiality of air element would need to have been demonstrated (by Robert Boyle, who showed in the 1660s that it had weight and compressibility), oxygen would need to be discovered (by Joseph Priestly in 1774) and its properties explicated (Lavoisier, 1780 and 1790s).
Role of Oxygen in metabolic process: Similar to how cooking gas is burnt to produce energy in the kitchen, living organism burns food to release energy. After digestion assimilation takes place, glucose reaches each and every cell of our body. With the help of oxygen, this glucose is converted into energy. This is a continuous process, which we call Metabolism. When glucose gets transformed into energy with the help of oxygen, the outputs are energy, carbon dioxide and water. Our cells have an ability to produce energy in the absence or shortage of oxygen for a very small period of time. When they do so, instead of energy, carbon dioxide and water they only produce energy and lactic acid. Lactic acid will not quit the body like carbon dioxide and accumulates in the tissues. More the lactic acid in the tissues, the more stiffness & pain is experienced. Proper exercise is the only way to improve respiration and ensure supply sufficient oxygen to every cell to remove all toxic waste from them.
NUTRITION: The organic process and functions of nourishing the body or being nourished OR The processes by which an organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and maintenance. When we walk, work, play we are using energy. Even when we do any apparent activity, energy is needed to maintain a state of order/stimuli in our body. We takes nutrients from outside in order to grow, develop, synthesize protein, vitamins, enzymes and other substances needed for the body. This source of energy and materials is the food we eat. The requirement of energy is fulfilled either direct or indirect ways in different organisms. Some organisms like plants and some bacteria (Autotrophs) take simple food material from inorganic sources like carbon dioxide and water. Other organisms including human (Heterotrophs) takes complex substances which have to be broken down into simpler ones before it can be used for growth and energy. Thus heterotrophs depend directly or indirectly on autotrophs. Since the food and the way it s obtained differ, the digestive system is also different in various single and multi cellular organisms.
Human Digestive System: Human Digestive System is an elaborate and complex mechanism which carries out following functions:
1) Intake of Food
2) Digestion of Food
3) Assimilation of Food and
4) Expulsion of waste products.
Food plays an important role in our life. The food which we eat once, takes 18 hours to digest, assimilate and expel the residue. Food ingested stays 5 to 6 hours in stomach, 6 to 7 hours in small intestine and 5 to 6 hours in large intestine. Blood absorbs the nutrients when the food stays in the small intestine. Remainder waste is pushed to the large intestine where the water contents are absorbed. The residue (stool) comes out of the body after 18 hours. The human body builds up and maintains healthy cells, tissues, glands and organs only with the help of various nutrients. The body cannot perform any of its functions, be metabolic, hormonal, mental, physical or chemical, without specific nutrients.
The Food we eat must serve the nutritional requirements of the body and maintain acid-alkaline balance. The list of nutrients includes oxygen, water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and roughage. All these nutrients are vitally important and they work together. The absence of any of them will result in disease and eventually in death. Hence nutrition is the life process of getting energy from outside sources and breaking them down to release energy.
EXCRETION: Expulsions of harmful substances, which are by-products of life process is called excretion. As you may have noticed that burning fuel causes release of obnoxious fumes out of a car, our body also produces such obnoxious things. They are harmful and need to be expelled out of our body then and there.
In human body, many organs work in excreting harmful substances out of the body. For example Lungs expel carbon dioxide, skin expels some waste products through sweat and rectum expels waste through faeces. But the main excretory organ in the human body is kidney. Kidney filters harmful substances from blood and expels them through urine. After all the metabolic activities, blood gathers by-products from different parts of the body and passes through kidney to filter out harmful products. Only then, the blood goes to the heart for oxygenation. This is the reason a malfunctioning kidney is a life threatening condition.
In normal health great mass of food material and nutrients ingested is converted into carbon dioxide gas, faeces and water after oxidation in the body. Apart from this when unbalanced diet is taken, more toxic acids are formed, and if these toxic wastes are not completely eliminated by the body, they damage various organs of the body. It is by virtue of alkalinity the blood is able to transport the acidic toxins from the tissues to the discharge points. Whenever the alkalinity of the blood is reduced, even slightly, its ability to transport the toxic waste gets reduced. This results in the accumulation of toxic acids in the tissues. Proper respiration and nutrition only can enhance excretion. There is one more way of elimination happening in females in the form of menses. Any delay or hindrance in any of these elimination processes of nature creates disease.
REPRODUCTION or PROCREATION: This is the biological process by which new "offspring" or individual organisms are produced from their "parents" - It is also the sexual activity of conceiving and bearing offspring. But actually procreation is the proper term for human generation and reproduction is the process by which living things replicate to assure the continuity of their species. Reproduction is necessary for the species, but not for the individual. Procreation is the proper term for human generation as it refers to a loving act between spouses which prepares for a possible creation by God of a new person. Procreation points to a collaboration of parents with God as the ultimate source of this new life.
Every cell in our body has life and they reproduce by themselves. This is called cellular reproduction. Each of us began as a single cell which couldn't move, think, see, or do things like laugh and talk. But the one thing it could do, and does very well is to divide and replicate the one cell into two, then four, then eight and so on, in time becoming the amazing person that is you! Just think of how far you've come from that single cell. That first single cell had all the knowledge, energy, and consciousness on how to repair, replicate and grow and where to become the eye, head, hands, legs and so on. Now, our body is a complex and highly sophisticated machine, operating as a single entity, but with a wide array of operational parts that work interdependently.
There is only one difference between us humans and machines - In machines body is made first and then energized whereas in humans energy comes first and then the body. Most human cells are frequently reproduced and replaced during the life span of an individual, the only difference being that the process varies with the kind of cell.
Mitosis takes place within somatic cells (cells that make up the body) that make up muscle, skin, and hair. It happens in all somatic cells of the body and helps to make new cells. The cell division process that produces new cells for growth, repair, and the general replacement of older cells is called mitosis. In this process, a somatic cell divides into two completely new cells that are identical to the original one. It is a simple cell division, with each new cell possessing both pairs of every gene. Human somatic cells go through the 6 phases of mitosis in 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the kind of tissue being duplicated.-
Meiosis takes place within gamete cells (sex cells). Sperm and ova are produced by meiosis (cell division that produces reproductive cells in sexually reproducing organisms) in special tissues of male testes and female ovaries. In meiosis, the number of chromosomes is halved and therefore, it is also known as Haploid Division. It helps in variation in the offspring and sex determination, as half the chromosomes are from the father and half from the mother. Meiosis is primarily for sexual reproduction, it produces haploid cells to fuse with others to form zygotes with a diploid number of chromosomes and variation. Apart from respiration, nutrition, excretion and reproduction, repair & maintenance is also an ongoing process which will come on our way of life.
GROWTH, REPAIR & MAINTENANCE: is caused by Mitosis, providing more identical cells for repair or to replace old, damaged or missing cells or to produce more tissue for growth. As for repair, we all cut ourselves from time to time, and the cells along the edges of the cut undergo mitosis to repair the cut. The same is true of broken bones. The cells along the edges of the break undergo mitosis to repair the break. The main functions of mitosis are growth and repair and maintenance happens mainly during sleep.
Sleep and rest is a part of natural life process. Repair and maintenance happens when the body and mind are at rest. Rest is the process of recuperating energy lost during work. It is natural that one takes rest after a day’s work. Rest is not only of body mind is also given rest. Many people believe that when a person goes to bed after days of hard work that is rest. There is a difference between sleep and rest. Sleep is a compulsory part of natural life process. Even if one does not do hard work he would sleep. On the other hand we can take rest even when we are awake. Rest is needed whether a person is sick or in good health. Body need as much rest as it needs food.
Like every machine needs fuel and rest to remain in working condition all creatures in the world needs rest. Even creation takes rest after the doomsday. During rest all the senses and organs of the body are relaxed, and after rest body and mind are fresh and charged with a new energy. One must rest to regain energy lost during work. Nature gives us mute direction that we take rest after work, as a day is followed by night. By bringing night nature forces us to take rest.
Scientific relaxation rests the body completely and activates the mind. Proper complete relaxation comes only when the body mind and spirit are at ease. Life is a combination of rest and activity. Most of the day we engrossed with our work during the day and we forget how to relax and rest. Heightened state of activity keeps us in dilemma to relax well. The rising incidences of diseases now-a-days would go down if people realized the importance of rest and knew how to take complete rest.
There are two types of relaxation. One is unconscious relaxation- ‘sleep’- puts you on rest which is absolutely essential, and which naturally happens every single night. It is the highest state of relaxation the material world can offer you. In meditation we are relaxing consciously. It is 100 times beneficial than sleep. The conscious meditation or conscious rest is a state that in a short period of time removes stress out of our system. We must practice Meditation regularly few minutes every day. The more we practice meditation, the better it cultures the entire nervous system and the body. Meditation helps in preventing stress from getting in to the system and simultaneously release already accumulated stress.
Meditation has an important function in prayer. Our prayer is more effective if we do so while we are meditating. Then no words are spoken outwardly. The prayer is in the mind when we are meditating. While in meditation our consciousness is focus inside away from the senses. Live alone in silence for some time from worldly pleasures. When we observe silence we are free from all worldly bondages and establish contact with our self. Our physiology undergoes a change and every cell in the body is filled with energy.
The purpose of meditation is to provide complete rest. When an individual is at rest the saved life force can easily work on removing toxins and repairing the damaged cells. The whole energy can concentrate on renovation and repair.
Some cells once fully formed do not undergo cell division, such as nerve cells and brain cells. Since you can never re-grow or repair these types of cells once they are mature, we must take utmost care of the ones we have which is possible only through proper respiration, proper nutrition, proper elimination and proper reproduction!