April 2    

Today's quotation:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

Albert Einstein

Today's Meditation:

Why does the mysterious scare us so?  Why is something threatening simply because it's unknown?  Many people have spent much of their time and effort trying to explain the mysterious, probably in order to make themselves more comfortable.  After all, we like to be able to explain things-- we feel better when we know explanations for what happens to us and around us.

But what if we were to let the mysterious stay mysterious?  What if we didn't try to explain what's going to happen to us when we die, and just accepted the fact that something will happen, and we'll deal with it then?  What if we didn't worry so much about the processes involved in birth and life and growth and development, and just let them be what they are?  Explanations are important in many cases, but a sense of wonder in the face of the wonderful is important if we're to get the most that we can out of this wonderful life.

When we can experience the mysterious without trying to explain it, we come close to being in touch with the abundant life in this world.  The mysterious piques our imaginations and draws us to it.  It drives us to create and learn and appreciate, and it's a shame when we learn to explain things away with mere words and theory-- the beauty of a rainbow is not contained in the explanation of how the light and water work together to create colors, but in the moment of seeing it stretching across the skies in its glorious majesty.

Look around.  Right now, there are many things within reach at which you can wonder, things that can give you a great sense of appreciation for this world and our places in it.

Questions to consider:

How would you describe the term "mysterious"?  What does it mean to you?

Why do so many people try to explain away anything that's mysterious and wonderful?

What does Albert mean when he says that the mysterious is "the source of all true art and all science"?

For further thought:

I no longer feel that life is ordinary.  Everyday life is filled with mystery.  The things we know are only a small part of the things we cannot know but can only glimpse.  Yet even the smallest of glimpses can sustain us.  Mystery seems to have the power to comfort, to offer hope, and to lend meaning in times of loss and pain.  In surprising ways it is the mysterious that strengthens us in such times.  I used to try to offer people certainty in times which were not at all certain and could not be made certain.  I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder.

Rachel Naomi Remen

more thoughts and ideas on mystery



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