Monday, March 20, 2006

Why Living with the Mystery Is Important

We do not understand that it is an unknown Mystery that holds it all together. We do not honor this Mystery as those before us did.

Because their chosen words and names for this Mystery are old-fashioned and based on a level of education that we consider antique, we have mistakenly and foolishly decided if the name is outdated, so is the Mystery. Whether called "God", "Allah", "Krishna", or "Satan", the Mystery IS. It does not depend on a name, nor does any one name really capture the Identity which I am calling "Mystery."

We are addicted to certainty because we have no safety net anymore. Without any belief in a Greater Power, what is there to save us, to catch us as we free-fall when our traditional answers serve us no longer? We prefer certainty to the truth.

In a time of increasing danger and confusion, the black-and-white convictions of religious fundamentalism and mandatory jail sentences, of the political "axis of evil" and the implicit assumption of our role as the force of "good" have great appeal. So do the hard "facts" of our technological world. It is often the outward appearance of certainty that is most attractive. Young people in particular yearn to feel as secure and sure as those they see around them who have the "answers" to life’s questions.

Many philosophers have told us it is not only the answers that matter but the ability to live the questions. And living the question means being unsure, living in ignorance or uncertainty, risking making foolish mistakes and appearing hesitant and insecure. Just like the legendary hidden entry hole into the underworld, this is our entry into the world of the orphan and its innocence.

So the questions constantly being posed by life do not open us up to wonder anymore. We avoid the questions with pat answers that have been spoon fed by the sham of education. It is merely atmospheric conditions that caused the awesome glow in the night sky. It is only your imagination that leads you to envision impending disaster. A recent NASA website displaying the grandeur of a sunset described it: "What's happening over the horizon? Although the scene may appear somehow supernatural, nothing more unusual is occurring than a setting Sun and some well placed clouds."

When something suggests any presence of mysterious depth or "higher" powers, it has to be reduced: feelings reduced to chemicals in the brain, unexplainable phenomena to atmospherics, psychic anomalies to mental illness or "imagination."

But "I wonder…"

Look at ANYTHING. Your big toe, a dust ball, a tree, the sky.

Wonder: Why does it exist? Where did it come from? What is my relationship to it? How much do I need it? Depend on it? What would I do if it were suddenly not here? Where does it go when I can no longer see it?

Interestingly, we do not know where the word "wonder" came from, but one must be innocent to wonder.

Why is it childish to spend time wondering "where did I come from?", "why am I here?" What does it imply to call these core questions that should concern us and once did matter to others, "childish?" It implies that with sophistication, education and experience, somehow these questions become irrelevant.

But do they? Are they no longer important and worth considering?


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