If you looked at one of your cells with a powerful microscope you would discover the cell is made up of many smaller individual beings. They are called organelles.
Billions of years ago organelles were free living bacteria. They learned how to work together to form a community that we recognize as the modern cell.
Organelles reproduce themselves by dividing and making duplicate copies of themselves. In fact, all of the tiny creatures in all of the cells (yours, mine, alnd all living beings) have never died and are all over three billion years old.
All visible creatures - with the exception of some colonial bacteria - are associations of the same basic kinds of proto-bacteria. The organelles include centrioles, mitochondria, cilia, nucleoli, chloroplasts and perhaps the nucleus itself.
Each one of these organisms has its own methods of perceiving the environment, gathering essential elements into its focus, refering to its own genetic memory system and information processing network, its own responses, and its own ability to observe the results of its actions. Each bacterium is an individual doing the best it can to survive in its microscopic community.
Bacteria communicate with all the other individual bacteria making up the cell and their collective communication network results in the form and function of the whole cell.
This is how the thread of awareness works.
Small organisms communicate with each other and their communications result in the form and function of a larger organism.
The communications between the bacteria are not the same and don't have the same meaning as the communications that go on between the cells. Just as the cells don't have a clue about the existence of the whole you, or what you are up to, the bacteria don't have a clue about the existence of the cells they create or the trillions of other cells that interact to create you.
It helps, when considering how these layers depend on each other, to remember that if the communications between the bacteria stop, the cells stop communicating - and neither you, nor the cells, nor the bacteria, will continue to exist.
Each organic (living) molecule is an individual being, too. It sweeps in information and elements from the atomic world around itself, changes these based on established processes, responds as necessary, and monitors its efforts. The molecules are, in fact, so busy swapping atoms in and out that they get hot. Their combined heat would quickly kill us if we did not have an efficient and precise thermoregulation system.
Organic molecules communicate with each other to create the form and functioning of the bacterium.
The communication web of the organic molecules within the bacteria is different from and basic to, the communication web between the bacteria that creates the cell and the communication web between the cells that creates you.
The largest and most complex of these molecules is called DNA.
DNA records the memory component of the bacterium communication web. Biologists call the memory component of the communication web Genetic Material. Genes are focal points of activity on the long strands of DNA. Genes are essentially stored instructions on how the cellular organelles should respond in certain circumstances. They are activated when "read" by the network of organic molecules creating a bacterium. And the same gene can be read (expressed) in different ways depending on the capabilities and circumstances of the molecules reading it.
A single strand of DNA, a complex living individual, is created by the communication web of billions of atoms.
Each atom is an individual entity that is a communication network of sub-atomic particles. And the sub-atomic particles are communication webs of quarks, leptons, strong and weak forces.
Living beings are communication webs of smaller entities.
The communication webs (larger beings) guide and determine the future activities of the smaller entities that generate them.
In this sense, the communication web creates the form and function of the larger and smaller beings at the same time.
The communication web of each "level" has its own method of information transmission. While the language of each is distinct, some signals penetrate the levels.
Information flows through the communication webs and (this is the tricky part) the flow of information modifies the form and function of the communication web.
Individuals, therefore, are focal points in a flow of atoms and energy, and the focus mechanism is the information flowing through the communication webs.