Life as a Mystery

I would say the driving question of my life is, “Why?” I want to know the reason behind everything and in particular why things are the way they are, or why they happened. Part of it is because I’m a curious person (I am a journalist after all), but another part is because uncertainty and ambiguity freaks me out. I want to know so I can feel safe. The more information I have, the safer and more secure I feel. As you can imagine, this makes me a bit of a control freak. Control though is basically impossible and this week I received a huge lesson in letting go as well as a reminder that even if I think something is certain, it’s not.

I spoke with a friend about all this and he reminded me that the essential nature of our relationship to Higher Power is one of mystery. He likened it to being on a train where only Higher Power knows the destination. I think I know where we’re going as we crest hills and drop into valleys — I formulate an idea, but then the train keeps moving, so no, I don’t have a clue.

Life is like a mystery train with the destination unknown.

Life is like a mystery train with the destination unknown.

What I also took away from our conversation is the more I try to understand, to know, and to control, the rougher my relationship with Higher Power is, and the rougher things are in the external world. The more I can let go and be OK with the mystery of life, the less I’m affected by curveballs and plans going awry. I’m sure you’ve heard the joke, “When we make plans, God laughs,” because the point is we are very much not in control.

Parades get rained on, people trip down the stairs, jobs are eliminated. Instead of working so hard to be in control, to be certain of outcomes, it’s better for me to trust I’ll be able to handle whatever comes my way. It’s also better for me to be OK with the mystery of the universe because for some things I’ll never get an answer and seeking one I only drive myself crazy.

My spiritual teacher says God has been “creating this unique, colorful world with His various powers. Why He is doing so is known to Him alone; no one else knows it. … It is a fact that human beings with their limited intellect can never understand the secrets of why and how [God] has been creating this universe; their wisdom can never fathom this mystery. … You should think, ‘My little intellect cannot fathom all this – rather let me do one thing, let me establish a relation of sweet love with Him. When this relation of love is established, He will be my own, and I will know His inner secret; I will certainly find the answers to all the questions ‘why’.”

I don’t know if I’ll finally know the answers to all my questions, but it certainly beats what I’ve been doing, which is hypothesizing, ruminating, and just generally overthinking. I still want to know why about everything, but what I’m coming to accept is my limited intellect is just that: limited. What helps me with the limitation is realizing life is a mystery and will remain a mystery. People are mysteries. Certain occurrences are mysteries. I can’t know everything the moment I want to, I just can’t, so the best I can do is let go and keep developing a loving relationship with myself and with my Higher Power. And maybe one day I’ll eventually get the answers I seek.

I dream of a world where we realize life is mysterious and we allow it to be so. A world where we’re open to possibilities and uncertainty because we realize we can still be safe in the face of ambiguity. A world where we work on loving ourselves and the universe because that’s all we can do.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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