I have found a way to defeat the nihilism that lurks in the infinite and the infinitesimal. I have come to understand that I can deflect the apparent pointlessness of it all by realizing that I don’t have to seek a point. In any of it. Instead, I can see it as the locus of Mystery.
-The Mystery if why there is anything at all, rather than nothing.
-The Mystery of where the laws of physics came from.
-The Mystery of why the universe seems so strange.
Mystery. Inherently pointless, inherently shrouded in its own absence of category. The clouds passing across the face of the deity in the stained-glass images of Heaven. I think of the ancients ascribing thunder and lightning to godly feuds, and I smile. The need for explanation pulsates in us all. Early humans, bursting with questions about Nature but with limited understanding of its dynamics, explained things in terms of supernatural persons and person-animals who delivered the droughts and floods and plagues, took the dead, and punished or forgave the wicked. Now, with our understanding of Nature arguably better than our understanding of persons, Nature can take its place as a strange but wondrous given. The realization that I needn’t have answers to the Big Questions, needn’t seek answers to the Big Questions, has served as an ephiphany. I lie on my back under the stars and the unseen galaxies and I let their enormity wash over me. I assimilate the vastness of the distances, the impermanence, the fact of it all. I go all the way out and then I go all the way down, to the fact of photons without mass and guage bosons that become massless at high temperatures. I take in the abstractions about forces and symmetries and they caress me, like Gregorian chants, the meaning of the words not mattering because the words are so haunting. Mystery generates wonder, and wonder generates awe. The gasp can terrify or the gasp can emancipate. As I allow myself to experience cosmic and quantum Mystery, I join the saints and the visionaries in their experience of what they called the Divine, and I pulse with the spirit……Ursula Goodenough
we can’t recall when we began to question but we know it to be part of breathing….in nature’s rhythms we take refuge….and in deep time perspective and the sanctuary of a life-weaving mandala of culture and despair….to embody our destiny is to honor our reflections in the world as it is….
Life leads us at a certain moment to step beyond the dualisms to which we have been educated: primitive and civilized, chaos and order, abnormal and normal, private and public, verbal and non-verbal, conventional and far-out, good and bad. To transform our tuitions, as Emerson called our learning, into the body of our intuitions so that we may use this body as in pottery we use our clay. By an act of centering we resolve the oppositions in a single experience. The surrealists of France called it le point supreme and found it also at the center: le foyer central. When the sense of life in the individual is in touch with the life-power in the universe, is turning with it, he senses himself as potentially whole. And he senses all his struggles as efforts toward that wholeness. And he sense that wholeness as implicit in every part. When we are working on the potter’s wheel, we are touching the clay at only one point; and yet as the pot turns through the fingers, the whole is being affected, and we have an experience of this wholeness. ‘The still point of the turning wheel.’….M. C. Richards
Everything you see has its roots
In the unseen world.
The forms may change
Yet the essence remains the same.
Every wondrous sight will vanish,
Every sweet word will fade,
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is Eternal,
Growing, branching out,
Giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep?
That Source is within you
And this whole world
Is springing up from it.
The Source is full,
Its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
Drink your fill!
Don’t think it will ever run dry,
This is the endless Ocean.