Sunday, May 23, 2010

Walking in Mystery

(Part 8 in the series, Experiences of Mystery and Wonder)
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The very existence of life is grounds for mystery and wonder to me. Consider the fact that life arose on this planet and has evolved in such variety and with such tenacity that every square inch of the planet - land, water, and air - is occupied by some life form. That in itself is a wondrous phenomenon. Even more mysterious and wondrous is the fact that you and I are present to talk about it. We are representative of the arrival of human consciousness. With human awareness, Life became capable of observing and reflecting upon, as well as participating in creation. With 6.8 billion people in the world it is safe to say that not a single sunrise or sunset goes unobserved, and on an increasing basis, hardly a sparrow goes unnoticed.

Why do we have those direct experiences of mystery and wonder? We walk in mystery and wonder every day. For practical reasons, perhaps, it is easy to ignore the wonder or to take the mystery for granted. Then on occasion the curtain is torn for a brief moment and we experience the impact of the vast mystery and wonder that is around us, beneath us and within us.

However and for whatever reason we experience mystery, it seems to be human nature to celebrate it. This is why some television audiences have been enthralled to hear the now familiar French horns followed by the voice-over narration, "Space...the final frontier..." It is why many flock to see the latest horror flick on the big screen. For others it is the eager discussion of UFO's or lost civilizations. Still others prefer the symphony, or a spiritual commitment as a means of celebrating mystery. The examples I have given in this series have been attempts to hint at the essence of mystery and wonder. Early on I talked about a little boy who thought he saw a ghost. Later I related a dream sequence about the creative anima. One illustrates an outer mystery, the other an inner mystery. I have spoken of music and storytelling, seeing lions and watching movies, worship events and natural wonders. All are approximations that are relatively easy to describe. All are illustrations pointing to a greater mystery. Whether we set out to explore the outer world of universe or the inner world of the human heart, we will come up against that awe-inspiring mystery and wonder.

There are a thousand and one ways to culturally and/or religiously celebrate the mystery and wonder about us. We humans are naturally adept at making meaning out of our lives, and doing it in a palatable manner. At some point, or at some level there is the realization that all of our activities and celebrations only hint at the Great Mystery that is beyond words, beyond deeds, even beyond silence, but somehow underlies existence itself.

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