The importance of mystery

More and more, I’m convinced of the need to see the world afresh and anew. We are a society that has accumulated millions and billions of data about everything. And somehow, this strange phenomenon has not caused us to wonder about the world but instead has done the exact opposite. We now think that we know this world we live in. Back in the good old days, people didn’t know about the sun, so they wanted to know more about it. They didn’t know about the stars, so they wanted to learn more about it. They didn’t know about this, that, and the other… and in their curiousity, tried to understand the very thing that got them intrigued. I sometimes think we have lost this vivacious curiousity, this desire to ask “why” and “how” when it comes to the things around us or the ideas that are all around us. I mean, why bother, isn’t that what Google and Wikipedia are for?

But it is this craving to ask the questions that others aren’t asking that makes us humble in our understanding. It is in the very not-knowing that we can know things. It’s hard not to come at a situation with pre-conceived notions of how it works, or what it is. And sometimes, it is this very arrogance of know-it-all attitude that closes us to further experiencing this world that God has given us.

There’s an anime show I watched called “Full Metal Alchemist.” The show was about two brothers who lost their mom and wanted to bring her back through alchemy. Of course, this was also forbidden. According to alchemy, every action has a reaction. To create matter, you must first have the ingredients needed to create the very thing you want. The theory is, if all the raw materials are there, they can then resurrect her. They try to do it and of course it fails. The question that hounds them is why? Why is it that even though they had ALL the raw ingredients to make up a person, they could not create a person? Shouldn’t this cause us to wonder at how “fearfully and wonderfully made” we all are?

It is only when we look at the world with wonder that we can experience its beauty. Nature yields its secrets only to those who actually seek to know its secrets. In religious settings, it is the mystic who, in his or her desire to know God, finds God. Doesn’t the Bible itself affirm this when it says “seek and you shall find”? My challenge to you is to go out of the door tomorrow and notice the birds in the air, the trees, the little squirrel scurrying away, the flowers, the grass, the bus, the cars, the elevator, the door, the air… and realize how wonderful all of it really is.

and scene…

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3 thoughts on “The importance of mystery

  1. It’s funny, Sid, I’m just reading an examination of Walt Whitman that comes to the same conclusion as you, but by exactly the opposite path! It mostly asserts that Whitman’s best work, which was along the very lines of your stopping to consider nature, creation, wonder etc, was achieved only because he was able to suspend his questions and live in the moment. Basically, the writer explains that analytical thought and the very act of questioning put up barriers to experiencing creation and surrounding it with faith that these things just ‘are’.

    I value questions and analysis too much to subscribe to that perspective, but it’s an interesting comparison to what you put out here… and, of course, the end message of both is a great one: stop and look up once in a while, the world is pretty amazing!

    1. Steve – that’s amazing! Obviously, I will tell you to never let go of that constant questioning just as long as the end result is wonder =) Different paths can sometimes still lead us to the same conclusion because there is something similar in both journeys. Both ultimately comes to the realization that this is a world that needs to be experienced and marvelled at.

      Now! I want to read his works! What book should I start with?

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