Orchids, Calakmul, Mexico
I took this picture on a nature walk in Mexico earlier this month, and wasn't quite sure what I would do with it. I just knew that the plant was beautiful, flowers or no flowers, right here, in its present state.
Now I will see what this plant has to offer us.
All Being ultimately has its roots in the mind of God. This is something which many masters have tried to explain, but there is no way to explain the organic sensation and understanding of this idea. It remains a thought for us.
Yet the thought is in fact a reality, which is forever in expression.
Eckhart puts it thus:
He goes on, helpfully, to advise that those who only have a firm hope and conviction of this may be heartened by its truth, as it is expounded by him.
Let us think of it, today, like this picture of an orchid. It begins from something tiny and invisible; orchid seeds can barely be seen with the naked eye. Yet from this invisible beginning, which is in itself a precise and exact emanation of all that life is, our plant grows— extending into myriad directions, each one manifesting itself specifically in according to the way it feeds off the light, which is emanated from an incredible distance (92,955,807 miles) and higher source.
In its entirety, the plant is one plant; yet it appears to be many different plants. The whole concept and thought of the plant is contained within the seed; everything that it can and will be is contained in its beginnings and its origin, yet as it unfolds itself into life, through time, it becomes something quite different and far more magnificent than the tiny seed where it began.
Even now, the roots of its Being are fully hidden from our view; and we cannot see the sweetness that it will eventually give birth to when it flowers. This does not happen constantly, but only rarely; and it's only then that we see the completeness of the secret and magnificent beauty that was always hidden within the genetic code of the plant. The genetic code, in itself, contains the entire idea and understanding of the flower the plant will eventually produce; yet who could look at a crystalline strand of DNA and predict that this has anything to do with that flower, when it appears? All the science in the world can't explain this mystery, how life, photosynthesis, leaves, roots, flowers, and time itself are folded up into a small set of molecules that are ready to encounter completely alien outside forces and so fully express them, in relationship.
Perhaps it seems a bit of a bridge, too much of a span, to marry a medieval Christian monk's ideas with an orchid in Mexico and the ideas of biology and DNA; and yet here they all fit together seamlessly, because every one of them is born from a wholeness. There is a unity that binds these things at their root, in the same way that the plant's many leaves are bound in their root, even though each one is unique and pursues its own destiny.
The idea of the way that the word gives birth to material truth as it manifests outwardly is very much the same as the idea of the DNA and the plant. Swedenborg said nearly the exact same thing about inward birth of the word and outward expression of truth that Meister Eckhart says here; outwardness is always born from inwardness, and inwardness always begins, originally, with the eternal word, which is a mystery that penetrates everything — even the sciences.