Listening to Pema Chodron

Listening to Pema Chodron, while all around me people are dissing the miracle. What miracle? I only know one miracle for sure, and that is life. I know a lot about life. I know quite a few things about how a cell works. I know that it functions by all those little molecules in there interacting with each other. First are the genes that direct the production of proteins at the right time and place in the cell to do whatever jobs they are perfectly constructed to do. Next are all the other molecules that are already ready to help with whatever they are supposed to do. Then there are the things outside the cell that send molecular messages to help the cell select whatever action it needs to do to stay alive. All this is happening faster than we can decide on anything, and yet – it is us. Without a few billion cells doing this, there would be no me.

People say, in an abstract sort of programmed way, oh yes: “life is a miracle.” But mostly they don’t understand what they are saying. Think about the word miracle. What does it really mean? It does not mean technology. It means, really, that we cannot control it. We can change today, but we cannot control tomorrow. We can’t even understand it. Where did it come from? Where is it going? If we try to stop life – even if we destroy ourselves or our species – to life, it’s “no big deal.” The miracle will just flow around the roadblock and carry on into the unknown. And people keep telling me that technology can stop the reality of the miracle of life and “save us” from it. What nonsense.

We are in principle no different from the molecules that function in the life of a cell. We function in the life of life itself — interacting with other species — and without a few billion different kinds of species there would be no life at all, so far as we know, in the whole universe. Together, we are the flower of the universe – the miracle itself. And yet, as Pema quot ed: “It’s so ironic that so many of us have a deep disrespect and even loathing for ourselves . . .” But for me, whenever I look at a tree or the ground or any other living thing, I do think about cells and tissues and ecosystems and evolution and embryology and actions and reactions and causes and effects, and I do reflect that it is a miracle and it’s an even greater miracle that I can understand that it is a miracle. Next time I look out my window at that tree out there, I will think about xylem and phloem and the color green and oxygen and my beating heart and hemoglobin. All joined together in an enormous miracle. I am it, but without it I am not. Only empty space. “Emptiness.”

Listening to: Nobel Heart, Pema Chodron
Graphic from Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook

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