In the modern world we spend too much time trying to ‘know’ and ‘solve’ everything. We have completely forgotten the importance of mystery in life, of not knowing. We’ve also forgotten that whether we know something or not does not matter.
I have found, over the years, that not knowing is as much a ‘knowing’ as a knowing of things. In fact, in many ways, mystery IS knowing. Any knowledge of facts is subsidiary to this. In mystery there’s no seeking but more of an accepting. In that sense, we could perhaps speak of a ‘knowing by accepting’ form of knowledge.
By knowing things we only deal with ideas and concepts. It only involves a small part of our selves typically. When something is a mystery it hits deeper, into ones soul, and encompasses the whole person. That’s the power of mystery.
By ‘mystery’ I mean the acceptance that we do not know. We can go even further and say that we cannot know. It entails a faith in life and a lack of fear. I’ve found that many people who have to ‘know’ things do that because they have no faith. Also, I’ve found that it hides a fear of life as well. In that sense, ‘knowing’ is really nothing but a delusion, a disguise, something to hide behind. There is much truth in this.
Mystery, by its nature, is wordless and it is really a wordless condition. Words seem to fail. It’s for this reason that it is a mystery, as it cannot be spoken of and so cannot be thought of. This means it cannot be ‘known’.
By accepting mystery we accept life as is. By trying to ‘know’ everything we tend to think we can change everything and so tend to not accept things as is. In this way, knowledge can make people unnecessarily unhappy I think.
When a person accepts mystery, it seems, there is a tendency to not have to control everything. There is a tendency, rather, to ‘flow along with the stream’. Because of this, there is an absence of stress as well. Mystery, it seems, tends to create a calm perspective on life.
When we have to ‘know’ we get as if on some tangent or trail that often leads us off track. My experience is that the quest for knowledge often leads nowhere. I’ve also found that the quest for knowledge, many times, is not that satisfying either. Discovering or knowing something often isn’t the great thing it’s portrayed as. How many times have I said: “so what if I know this or that”. Frankly, how often does knowing something really matter? Think about it . . .
Having the attitude of ‘mystery’ seems to make one as if peer more deeply into life. Knowledge, on the other hand, has a resemblance to jewelry. It is like an external superficial thing. When one emphasizes on knowledge it makes a person only look at things on the surface. Like jewelry it can be dazzling, even mesmorizing, but its all just an image. When one emphasizes on mystery there are no superficial things to look at. As a result, one peers more deeply into things.
In many ways, the attitude of mystery is requiring us to live intuitively. That is to say, it’s requesting us to ‘feel’ our way through life and using our ‘inner sense’ to guide us. This ‘inner sense’, I’ve found, can be quite profound. It can also be quite startling as well, as we all have a reservoir of insight within us. In some sense, this ‘inner sense’, this intuition, is actually an inner eye, allowing us to see life on a different level.
Because of all this, I have always felt that it is good to develop an attitude of mystery in life. Perhaps it’s better to say that we should cultivate mystery in our lives?
(I wrote another article involving mystery that you might find interesting: Some thoughts on “god” – the mystery-symbology relationship and “uninspired religion”).