"Perfect love casts out fear." It is not be thinking ourselve sright that we cease to fear. It is simply by loving, and abandoning ourselves to the One whom we love without returning to self. That is what makes death sweet and precious. When we are dead to ourselves, the death of the body is only the consummation of the work of grace.
Early spring blessings, dear friends! Up north our slumbering earth is gradually beginning to shake itself awake, while further south we already see signs of the mystery of growth and transformation. That which has been sleeping awakens, and the mysterious cycle of life begins again. In this age of what has been called "information overload," we are nurtured by the mysteries of life. While reams of information are available to us at any moment and our minds are constantly busy, always expanding our stores of knowledge, at the same time our souls are starving, yearning for time and space to rest in the Great Mystery. We can build bridges between our minds' knowledge and our souls' longing in the deep silence that is always available to hold us in loving embrace.
Mystery is to be embraced, not avoided. It is the place where the great secrets of the universe are told. In the center of mystery there sits, like an ancient treasure chest hidden long ago, wonder and awe. Swirling around the edges of mystery is learning, the kind that leads to wisdom. Mystery is the magic dust that transforms the mundane into a life glittering with significance. Once you have found the courage to enter the mystery, you are less likely to be overwhelmed with fear ever again.
I have a friend who speaks of knowledge as an island in a sea of mystery. . . . We dredge up soil from the bed of mystery and build ourselves room to grow. And still the mystery surrounds us. It laps at our shores. It permeates the land. Scratch the surface of knowledge and mystery bubbles up like a spring.
A sense of Mystery can take us beyond disappointment and judgment to a place of expectancy. It opens in us an attitude of listening and respect. If everyone has in them the dimension of the unknown, possibility is present at all times. . . . Knowing this enables us to listen to life from the place in us that is Mystery also. Mystery requires that we relinquish an endless search for answers and become willing to not understand. . . . Perhaps real wisdom lies in not seeking answers at all. Any answer we find will not be true for long. An answer is a place where we can fall asleep as life moves past us to its next question. After all these years, I have begun to wonder if the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.
from MY GRANDFATHER'S BLESSINGS by Rachel Naomi Remen
It is important to have a secret, a premonition of things unknown. It fills life with something impersonal, a numinosum. One who has never experienced that has missed something important. We must sense that we live in a world which in some respects is mysterious; that things happen and can be experienced which remain inexplicable; that not everything which happens can be anticipated. The unexpected and the incredible belong in this world. Only then is life whole. For me the world has from the beginning been infinite and ungraspable.
Taking on the mystery is yielding to grace, letting go of all explanations, analyses, ideologies, self-images, images of God, agendas, expectations. Taking on the mystery is undergoing the finitude of years, hallowing diminishments, and living into the solitude of our own integrity. Taking on the mystery is undergoing the pain of learning that there are no empires favored by the Holy One: not the Roman, or the British, or the Soviet, or the American. Taking on the mystery is undergoing the grief of understanding that there are no theologies favored by the Holy One: not communism or capitalism, not Islam, Judaism, or Christianity. Taking on the mystery is acknowledging that we cannot name the mystery, though we try; we cannot claim the mystery, though we do. The mystery names and claim us, inviting us to take it upon ourselves as if we were God's spies.
from A TIME TO LIVE: SEVEN TASKS OF CREATIVE AGING by Robert Raines