This post’s roots have been with me since sitting in an airport 2 years ago; at the time I was unable to capture the idea and put it into words. We had just seen some of the most sacred sites in the world and were now returning from our pilgrimage to Peru, Easter Island and Mexico.
In the presence of these amazing marvels, these lands of enchantment I couldn’t help but feel so inspired and in awe of it all—while subsequently realizing that so often this left-brained world convinces us that in our logical comprehension of nature, life and the cosmos we understand that which is still inherently mysterious. Wonder is at times deemed unnecessary, as though we are beyond it.
These are my thoughts…
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
We dive further and further into logic and rise with answers of how nature and life work.
Wonder seems as though it can be replaced: “well, you see—this happens because this does this, and that makes this do this, and then this happens and that explains it! Thank goodness we understand now. ”
We may come to know the components—the way the gears turn, per say, but we, despite the facts, still do not deeply understand. We can’t truly understand, that’s why life is so dang beautiful.
Our discoveries of the how are not a replacement for the why.
The why is the wonder; where the beauty is. In the why is the mystery—yet we tend to forget about it; it’s easy to accept that in our logic, we know it—as if the mystery is solved—as though it could ever be.
Knowing how nature, the cosmos and other phenomena happen in no way answers the deeper idea of this wondering unanswerable why—and it is this which allows the imagination and sacredness in.
Life is not logical—no matter how much of it can, at times, seems to make sense.
There is a driving that underlies each “predictable” step that is filled to the brim with ineffable curiosity. In the willingness to be close to that not-truly-knowing we open ourselves to feeling humbled, at the foot of magic, understanding above all—
that we truly know nothing.
In spite of all that we know, logic will still fall short of a true understanding. All that we can rationally explain lacks the rawness that is wonder.
It’s all a mystery, despite the layers we place on top of it pretending we understand. The air of knowledge makes us feel safe—wrapped in the blanket illusion of security. Knowledge and the belief that it is understanding provides a buffer between us and the inherently un-understandable.
This buffer inevitably constructs a wall between us and the astounding, jaw-dropping experience of it all.
It’s boring not to wonder. It’s boring to think you’re above nature’s cosmic chain. It’s boring to think you know it all, it’s boring to continually break it all down further and further without also opening to the craziness—the astounding nature of it all.
Can there be deep satisfaction in knowing how thing’s move—in being able to draw a diagram of the great, bubbling world’s pieces? Or are we missing out on something more?
It’s not just the drawing, its’ the artist. It’s the force behind the explosive mysteries. Is nature not still above us—of its own right to be feared? So often modern culture pities the wise ones of that past who worshipped nature as gods, who saw in all of earth’s uproars a grand, mysterious, force-a force that was in charge.
How is that anything but true? Yes, we can talk very matter-of-factly about the cold front meeting the warm front and the vortex of wind that begins to spin. We can very easily dissect a tornado.
But in its thundering presence, is that what matters?
Whether you believe this universe is propelled by random energy, consciousness, a great moving hand—anything—look around you and don’t forget to appreciate the art of LIFE, sit and ponder the unknowable beauty of it all—not to dissect, not try to pin down like the wings of a butterfly…
but to admire, receive, open, experience, breathe it in, be in its presence, bow in admiration of the great unknowable that we are blessed to experience.
There may be perceived safety in the illusion of understanding, but the vulnerability of recognizing and witnessing the supreme mystery of it all is the fire which sparks us to more fully live.