One Plus Seven Billion Equals One

We often find that we cannot easily give up the tendency to hold rigidly to patterns of thought built up over a long time. We are then caught up in what may be called absolute necessity. This kind of thought leaves no room at all intellectually for any other possibility, while emotionally and physically, it means we take a stance in our feelings, in our bodies, and indeed, in our whole culture, of holding back or resisting. This stance implies that under no circumstances whatsoever can we allow ourselves to give up certain things or change them. 

—David Bohm, American-born quantum physicist, philosopher and neuropsychologist.

As I write this, the world population clock on ticks away and we approach 7.35 billion human beings on our beautiful blue planet. For the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of helping Nan Lu, OMD, Grand Master of Wu MingQigong and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, write his most recent book Digesting the Universe, A Revolutionary Framework for Metabolism Function. It’s a major work and a comprehensive look at how our metabolism system works at the body, mind and spirit levels and reflects the greater metabolism function of the Universe.

What did I learn? You might say I didn’t sharpen my math skills. How can one plus seven billion equal one? Ah … what if this is true? If each of us could, for a second, open our minds—as physicist David Bohm advises—and step back for a moment to relinquish certain ways of thinking, if we could understand this simple equation from our heart, the world would change dramatically. We would change dramatically; the way we approach health would change dramatically. We would not be such ardent fans (or should I say slaves?) of fragmentation, separation, distinctions, analyses and reductionism. The beauty of oneness would captivate us. Instead, we would search for commonalities, for similarities not differences. We would come to see oneness as the reality of existence. We would no longer ignore the astonishing fact of our existence—we are all energy beings!

Let me relate this to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) a system that arose out of this consciousness. What many people in the West may not know is TCM is a by-product of a spiritual practice. This time-tested system did not spring from the rational minds of men or women. It did not arise from science. Nor did it come about through long centuries of trial and error. It arose out of as a profound understanding of the nature of reality through the nonconscious voyages of ancient masters in deep meditative states. These states allowed them to travel far beyond third-dimensional reality to a plane where they perceived the laws of the Universe and Nature first hand. Their practice in a time long ago and far away from ours brought them a direct knowing that recognized Qi as the animating life force of all things—the invisible, underlying fabric of our reality. Qi infuses the world with information, force, wisdom and love. In effect, the visible system of traditional Chinese medicine and its Five Element energetic framework (like all objects in our reality) emerged from its invisible source. Thousands of years later, quantum physicists arrived at a similar, but not exactly matching, destination through science. They discovered everything is energy and, in the energy field, everything is connected. Their journey to an understanding of inseparability was sparked by the insights of geniuses like Einstein and his colleagues—pioneers of early twentieth century physics.

What are these laws of the Universe and Nature beyond our manmade ones? Today, most people in modern society have no idea what they are; yet, these laws affect our health and healing in a critical way. Interestingly, whether we believe these laws exist or not, when we try to go against them—the invisible, real rules of this reality—we fall out of balance in minor or major ways. For more than 2,000 years, doctors of traditional Chinese medicine have understood this truth as it’s explained in one of the oldest Chinese medical texts:

The cycle of seasons starts with spring and ends with winter.

The cycle of Yin-Yang begins with Yang and ends with Yin.

Everything must follow this natural law because it rules the life and death of all things.

If you go against this law, then disastrous things will happen.

If you follow this law, then all things will be fine.

Nei Jing (475‒221 BCE)

These laws allow each living thing to emerge into this world—to be born, grow and die, all while being inextricably connected to profound planetary seasonal and celestial changes. It seems a far cry from the way we live our hectic lives today; yet, each of us enters reality imprinted with this “rule book.” We enter in a joyful state of love and creativity. Deep within, our consciousness has a special knowing of our rightful place and spirit’s ultimate purpose. This wisdom stays with us throughout our days. That’s why many religions tell us “the answer is always within.” At a cellular level, we know we are made for good. Every species is encoded with this knowing in a grand cooperative venture.

At the subatomic level of our reality, there is only oneness. Today, modern science confirms this. Thousands of years ago, traditional Chinese medicine acted on this understanding. Ancient masters recognized separation is an illusion. If we are to grow as a species, now is a critical time to transcend this limiting view. How can we use our limited minds to grasp this unlimited concept: as individuals, we are complete in and of ourselves. Though we talk about the body, mind and spirit as separate aspects of the self, the truth is each aspect of being is inseparable. Each influences the other in our journey toward harmony and optimum health. As a human race, we are one—white, brown, red, black. There is only one race, the human one. We are also woven into oneness through a cooperative dance with every other species. We are slowly recognizing our planet and everything in it or on it is a living breathing entity to be cared for and appreciated. The Earth is complete by itself; it partners with its brothers and sisters in a whirling, swirling solar system. It joins its riches to the galaxy that is stitched into the fabric of millions, if not billions, of others like it. Consciousness, purpose and good intent is woven throughout existence. From the subatomic to the supergalatic, there is only oneness. Ancient spiritual masters encountered this oneness or Qi, as they called it. They saw that it was filled with unconditional love, consciousness and purpose. As systems large and small begin to implode around us—environmental, financial, medical, social, political—as they inevitably must, now is a good time to turn our attention toward how things are connected and inseparable and away from differentiation, separation, analysis, reductionism and perspectives that divide us further.

When we open our hearts (and check our crazy-busy minds at the doorstep), we may see that embracing oneness and the inextricable interrelationships that infuse our lives offers a sustainable solution—a way to truly heal and grow. Instead of pursuing a path of differentiation, maybe we will, at last, give up our ideas of separation and begin to think of ourselves as magnificent individuations of the infinite, loving energy field or All That Is. Maybe, one day, we’ll wake from our deep sleep and see one plus seven billion does equal one.

-Ellen Schaplowsky


For more than 20 years, Ellen Schaplowsky has been a Wu Ming Qigong student of Grand Master Nan Lu, OMD (, and co-founder of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) World Foundation. She has co-authored his latest work, Digesting the Universe: A Revolutionary Framework for Healthy Metabolism Function, and his three other TCM books on self-care published by HarperCollins. She writes about the intersection of TCM’s body–mind–spirit framework and modern science. She also serves as conference director for the Foundation’s educational forum, Building Bridges of Integration for TCM, now in its thirteenth year. This year’s focus is “Consciousness, Oneness and Everyday Health.” More information on the Foundation’s work is at and

To read the article as it originally appeared on Contemplative Alliance Blog, click here.