Remembering the Mystery in which We Live

“If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,
If you think that the Sun and the Ocean
Can pass through that tiny opening
Called the mouth,

O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly laughing—

~ Hafiz (1325/26–1389/90),
Persian poet and mystic,
in the poem, Some Should Start Laughing

We forget so many of the wonders which surround us.

For example, see those stars to the left? Those aren’t stars.

They’re galaxies within a dime-sized portion of the night sky photographed by NASA.

It’s thought the Universe has more than 100 thousand million (100 billion) galaxies

Just our galactic home alone, the Milky Way, contains perhaps as many as 200 billion stars. And the other galaxies?

In our galaxy and others, there are innumerable planets circling the innumerable stars. We have only begun to discover other planets capable of support life as we know it.

And though a rock will fall to earth, these planets are suspended in the seeming nothing of space.

And while you walk, do you ever recall that you are walking upon the surface of a planet which is whirling through space?

The edges of the Universe are expanding. Have you ever wondered – expanding into what?

And there are the wonders of life, intelligence, and death.

The immensity of this Mystery in which we live and move and have our being is truly wondrous. Yet too often, we grow numb, become jaded to the Mystery.

The thoughtlessness with which we so easily bandy about our concepts about life and the universe belie our ignorance. Still our concepts provide us security, though a false security amid the vast unknown.

The inner din of all we know muffles the silence of the Mystery. And were we to really believe that we understand it, then yes, as Hafiz suggests, someone should start laughing.

It’s not that we shouldn’t think or strive for knowledge. Rather, can we hold such knowledge tentatively in the face of a Mystery that forever will surpass the capacity of our intellect?

When you have a chance, go outside on a starlit night. Maybe sit down in the darkness. Put mind aside. Just look up, and be filled. All this Mystery surrounds and enfolds you; all this is the home in which you have your being.

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4 comments to Remembering the Mystery in which We Live

  • Well written Michael! The Mystery of the reality in which we live is something we can identify with, for we—each of us—are that Mystery revealing itself to itself. You are articulating such a great insight! Bravo! I’m reminded of the writings of Meister Eckhart: he said that “The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” I dare say one “I” as well.

  • Joan Gunness

    I appreciated the thought of “putting the mind aside” to experience both the awe and the incredible gift that this life brings to us. That our embodiment is truly inclusive of the wisdom of the body,mind,heart, and soul. So often we are confused by the noise and high resolution of the activity of the mind, but when I get quiet, the spaciousness and nectar of being comes to me, unbidden.

  • Michael

    Yes, Joan, you point precisely to the key of entry into Being. I recall a spiritual text which said, “The mind is the slayer of the Real; Slay the slayer.”

  • Michael

    Thank you Kelly. Your comment reminds me of an excerpt from the recent movie, “Awake”, about the life of Paramahansa Yogananda. One commentator recalled his own visit to India in search of his own guru. The commentator related that he asked a teacher where he could find his guru. The teacher replied something to the effect that the one who was asking was his guru.

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