Mystery is Meaning Enough
To be with uncertainty requires more vulnerability than just about anything else. No wonder we fear it. It requires we surrender, let down our defenses, our illusions of control, our meaning-making, our beliefs, everything we were so sure of, and step into this swirling glimmering darkness, straight into the center of reality. Reality, whose real name we will find, if we really get to know her, is Mystery.
As scary as it sounds, there is profound comfort to be found there in her embrace. Because when we surrender to knowing nothing, even if just for a moment (and sometimes that is all that is needed), we are held in the understanding of everything. Not a logical understanding. Not a causal understanding. Not an understanding you can explain with words of reason. This wordless knowing born from unknowing can only be felt. Felt deep in our bones, in our cells and in our soul. From within and all around us we are wrapped in the most ancient wisdom of all - older than the earth itself - born of a cosmos our intellect can barely comprehend. But our soul can comprehend it. Mystery, after all, is part of what soul is made of.
There in the arms of Mystery we find a belonging that includes this one planet we were born, but goes beyond even that. It is a belonging to time and eternity, the galaxy, the planets we know of and the ones we don't, the stars that have already come and gone and those not here yet. Something that stretches deeper and wider than any of us could ever imagine. It is Mystery we belong to, perhaps more than anything else.
And in allowing ourselves, even if just for a moment, to not know the why or what, the when or how, we might feel into something even more substantial that can support us and hold us: Mystery herself. Meaning is needed for us to thrive, this is well-known, but less known is Mystery's capacity to bear all things. It can contain and carry us through what even meaning cannot, if we can soften into her and lay our troubles at her feet. All the things that meaning cannot or will not touch - the suffering that rationalizations cannot do justice, the lost and the hungry - she welcomes them and takes them up in her arms. She carries what no one else can.
If we allow ourselves, even if just for a moment, to not know exactly why we are here, or what we are meant to do, or why a certain disaster befell us or a loved one or the world at large, or what to make of it all, we step into absolute humility, we surrender to our smallness. And in our smallness, we grow larger. Not by adding more layers to ourselves, but by taking them off. When we step into uncertainty, the ego’s layers are shed. Its seeking and clinging and defending fall away and from there we are free to be and do from the very center of ourselves. With no obstructions, our essence can finally shine through and reach the heights and the depths it was meant for.
From there we simply do what we are meant to do. Without even knowing what for or why. There is no hoopla around it. No frills necessary. As if guided by something bigger than ourselves, we just take the next step needed of us. Like breathing - simple, natural, no analyzation needed, nothing to write home about - but quietly miraculous and vital all the same. Our being and our doing align, no space is left in-between.
But trusting this great Mystery of which we are all a part requires we let go of conditions and stipulations, we cannot demand of it outcomes. It is not that kind of trust, but something deeper and well...more uncertain. To trust in uncertainty is a paradox few venture towards, and understandably so.
Although meaning is as real, as profound and as soulful, it can also at times be a defense against uncertainty. This is nothing to scoff at, for defenses are crucial to our survival. If our boundaries or ego are not strong enough, a dip into this vast mysteriousness can be dangerous. So for some of us, we may only be able to circle around her for awhile, keeping her at arm's length. This is just as worthy.
The point here is not to throw out meaning making, or our beliefs or ego (we need all those things) but to make room for mystery in our lives, to make room for her unique wisdom and the comfort only she can bring, especially in times of uncertainty itself. The hope here is to bring the known and the unknown together into wholeness. To allow mystery to be full of meaning, and meaning full of mystery. And to know too, that sometimes Mystery is meaning enough.
Art by Ana Novaes https://www.instagram.com/ltg.art/