Jack in the pulpit
Tallman State Park
photograph by the author May 2016
So I'm quite interested this morning in this question of emotional comprehension. I see that I don't know how to rightly form my outward parts; in fact, all of the notes, all of the subordinate octaves that support them, that construct my personality are already firmly in place.
So I'm rigid in many ways. And yet, if a feeling of Being enters me, I see right away that it is a different entity entirely, because with in this feeling of Being I see my place. When I see my place, I see that I need help; and this is something I rarely acknowledge. Acknowledging that I need help is useless if I acknowledge it physically or intellectually; this understanding needs to be born in the marrow of the bones and manifest from the inside out in exactly that way — from the marrow of the bones outward. This expression, the marrow of the bones, is a Zen expression. We can borrow it. But really, one should always use one's own words, and my own impression of it is that it is cellular, molecular. So it is a molecular feeling of Being that I seek. If it isn't molecular, if it doesn't saturate the tiniest parts of me, it isn't real.
It isn't spoken about much, but we are molecular creatures. Atoms are everywhere; by themselves, left to their own devices, they do little. It's only when complex molecules arise that the potential for life exists; even behind this basic arising of complex molecular function, there is a certain intelligence at work. I say certain, because it is certain.
I'd like you to think about this for a minute. The very word molecule denotes a relationship rising between atoms. By themselves, atoms are basically worthless. Hydrogen is hydrogen and carbon is carbon if it's alone. They can never be anything more than themselves unless they form relationships with other atoms. The instant that that happens, molecules arise; and the complex molecules of organic chemistry are what make us Beings in the first place.
Being arises, therefore, from relationship, in the strictest material sense; that is, the Being we are familiar with, which produces consciousness and can comprehend the world around it. What is little understood is that an emotional comprehension of the world — an aspect of Being that appears to be ephemeral in some senses, and is discounted by the sciences as unimportant — is molecular in nature, and, furthermore, has an inherent ability to sense its own molecular nature.
Do you know what I mean by this? If not, work for it.
The presence of the Lord lies in these little details.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.