Circadian Rhythms of Life
Life on this earth seems to be calibrated in some mysterious way to the number seven. We as humans operate under the cadence of a seven-day week ... a cycle of human activity that doesn’t even follow the cosmic timing of the stars, the sun, or the moon.
The number seven even governs the music world. Most people think there are eight notes in an octave, just as there are eight sides to an octagon. But no, an octave has only seven. Count them: doe, re, me, fa, so, la, ti—and then we start over again with doe ("ABCDEFG"). That eighth note, the octave, begins a new cycle of seven. There are as many notes in the scale as there are days in a week.
Six Around One
A hexagon (six-sided object) provides the most efficient use of space. Just ask a bee busily building his honeycomb. Mathematicians and architects insist that a hexagonal room (six walls built around a floor - the “six around one” principle) provides the most efficient perimeter to area ratio and requires the least amount of wall material per square foot of floor space.
Like that central circle set in the middle of six workdays, the Sabbath is God/Source Energy's original prescription for allowing people to enjoy optimum health, spirituality, and longevity. “Six days you shall labor,” it says in Exodus 34:21, “but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” (rest the crops every 7 years)
It seems that all life moves in seven-day rhythms. A growing number of scientists have embraced an entirely new field of study known as chronobiology that examines repeating phenomena in living organisms. These cycles are known as "biological rhythms."
Franz Halberg of the University of Minnesota is widely considered the "father of chronobiology." This tall gentleman from Romania works in an office crammed with bookshelves stacked with copies of journals and papers that he’s produced over the years. He insists that we humans don’t just experience circadian rhythms of approximately 24 hours, we also operate under "circaseptan" or weekly rhythms as well. A circaseptan rhythm is a cycle consisting of 7 days in which many biological processes of life resolve.
Halberg first became interested in the subject when, as a high school student, he accompanied a physician friends of his parents in their practice. He began to notice that patients with pneumonia either recovered or died in seven days.
Today, Franz Halberg proposes that body rhythms of that length - far from being passively driven by the social cycle of the calendar week - are innate, self-governing, and perhaps the reason why the calendar week arose in the first place as 7 days.
Research has uncovered many conditions about us humans that seem to rise and fall in seven-day cycles. They include the following: heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels, acid content in blood, red blood cell count, oral temperature, female breast temperature, urine chemistry and volume, the ratio between two important neurotransmitters ... norepinephrine and epinephrine, and the flow of several body chemicals such as the stress-coping hormone cortisol. Even the common cold is circaseptan.
Doctors have long observed that response to malaria infection and pneumonia crisis peaks at seven days. Chicken pox symptoms (a high fever and small red spots) usually appear almost exactly two weeks after exposure to the illness. A person will tend to have an increase in swelling on the seventh and then the fourteenth day after surgery. Organ transplants face similar crises as the body’s immune system attacks the newly introduced foreign object.
In the Blood
In OT scripture, the eighth day was the Hebrew way of saying “one week later”—the eighth day of the Jewish week was the first day of the next week (Leviticus 23:39). The ancient Hebrews used inclusive reckoning when speaking of time, just like we use inclusive reckoning when speaking of the notes of the octave. Doctors tell us that 7 days after a child is born, the prothrombin (coagulation protein) is at maximum. Prothrombin is what causes the blood to clot, preventing endless bleeding. It’s never so high again as it is after the first 7 days of life. This was when male children were ritually circumcised.
The Week in History
Today, we take the seven-day cycle for granted. But in ancient cultures “weeks” varied in length from three to nineteen days. But, in the millennium before the Jesus story, Israel’s seven day week took over the world. And their weekly cycle revolved around something very unique.
It was the Hebrews who preserved one day as a period of rest and reflection; a 'Sabbath' during which to focus on spiritual matters.
As the centuries rolled on, the Hebrew Sabbath became an accepted part of Roman society. According to the ancient historian Josephus, writing in his book Against Apion, "The masses have long since shown a keen desire to adopt our religious observances; and there is not one city, Greek or barbarian, nor a single nation, to which our custom of abstaining from work on the seventh day has not spread." The Hebrews reserved Saturday as the Sabbath. For the Romans, "Saturn-day" was for the Roman God Saturn. Ultimately, it became "Sun-day" as worship practices and religions become altered and revised.
We live in a universe. All of life is a symphony, and we’re each players in this great orchestra. Every song has a cadence, a rhythm. When we’re "in the groove" with our conductor, our lives experience a certain serenity, a familiar flow. Once we get out of step with the cadence of the song of life - the rhythm of time - our lives falter.
Imagine what it would be like if you tried to follow a 30-hour day. You’d soon find yourself completely out of step with society. Human nature is locked into that natural, universally-created 24-hour circadian rhythm.
The same is true of the weekly circaseptan rhythm. That means that if you’re working on the Sabbath, you are breaking yourself. You need that break. You need that rest. Some studies have shown that people who take a 7th day off, tend to live longer than the average citizen. They’re simply in sync with the rhythm of life.
Custom or Creation
How do we know that these rhythms aren’t just social or religious customs? Perhaps, after several thousand years, the weekly cycle has simply been bred into us.
The problem with such a “social convention” explanation is that it can’t explain circaseptan rhythms in algae, Dahl rats, mice, guinea pigs, honeybees, beach beetles, and face flies.
In his writings, author Jeremy Campbell reports that circaseptan rhythms “are of very ancient origin, appearing in primitive one-celled organisms, and are thought to be present even in bacteria, the simplest form of life now existing.”
Here’s something really intriguing: While human teeth are growing, small lines or ridges form on the dental enamel about every seven days. The growing tooth might even be said to exhibit a weekly “rest” as it leaves behind a dark marker (just as trees show darker rings where their growth pauses in the winter). According to scientific researchers A. Mann, J. Monge, and M. Lampl in their book "Investigation Into the Relationship Between Perikymata Counts and Crown Formation Times," these lines - 30 to 40 microns apart - are called striae of Retzius. These stria are found even on the teeth of fossil hominids that lived long before modern culture ever existed.
Why should all living things have an innate seven-day cycle? The point of origin of all things created, what we nay call God, or Source Energy ... established within the design, certain rhythms that flow from the internal logic of our bodies. Much in the same way that creation continues forward based on it's default programming.
Just as we tune our radios to receive our favorite radio stations, so every living cell has embedded in its primal genetic material a resonant frequency—a clock, a beat that puts us in sync with the universe. That powerful, mysterious beat revolves around the number seven.
Are you in tune with your life-song? The Universe is playing your song. Find the frequency, find the Higher-Self guidance system within you. Tune in and ... stay tuned.
Just a thought ...
~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.
My thanks to Vibrant Life.