The biggest mystery in the universe is you.
– Adyshanti, May 2019 silent retreat
There are many daily-life and conventional mysteries. How did Earth evolve into a living system? Is there life other places in the universe? How to cure cancer? What is gravity? Is there life after death? Why didn’t she answer my phone call?
There is no end to these mysteries. And we have some answers to some of them. At best, these are pragmatic answers that helps us orient and function in the world, even if they are by no means the final word.
In a sense, everything is a mystery, including the things we tell ourselves we understand or have a practical grasp on. We don’t really know what’s going on.
And there is yet another mystery, the biggest and ultimate and perhaps most baffling mystery: that anything exists at all. Why is there something rather than nothing?
As far as I know, we don’t really have any answers to that one. Not even the beginning of an answer. (Apart from mythological ones which, in my experience, don’t seem to touch it.)
For me, this question stills my mind. It shows my mind what it cannot even begin to grasp.
Image: NASA, Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014
It’s all A mystery and THE mystery.
It’s all a mystery in a conventional sense. Anything in life is something to keep exploring. How we experience it and the stories we tell ourselves (and each other) about it keeps unfolding and changing. There is always more to explore. There are always new stories about it that makes as much or more sense. There are always new contexts (sets of stories) we can see it within that makes as much or more sense to us. In that way, everything is a mystery that keeps unfolding for us.
It’s all also THE mystery. That which cannot be named. (Although we have many names for it – life, Spirit, God, Godhead, void and so on.) We can say it’s all happening within and as consciousness, but that’s a label which makes it look like we understand it more than we do. We can say it’s all untouchable by words and thoughts. We can say it’s all happening within and as that which in itself is nothing but allows and is it all. We can find ourselves in immediacy as all of that. And yet, it’s all a mystery.
Recognizing either of these forms of mystery helps us find a little more of the receptivity, awe, curiosity, and sincerity in ourselves that’s always here.
In a conventional view, we may see some things as known (building a car, the function of the heart) and others things as unknown (dark matter, the fate of the universe). Some things are known, other things are a mystery.
But really, all is a mystery. Our understanding is provisional at best. A guide to help us orient and function in the world. As I often say, there is no final or absolute truth in our ideas and understanding. They are not the final word about anything.
In an ordinary sense, we can always learn more, we can see things in a new context or within a new worldview or paradigm, we can see it from new perspectives.
And in a very real sense, it’s all a mystery. It can’t be touched by thought or our human understanding. This is the context of our human life and that’s why I decided to call this website Mystery of Existence.
The title of this website is a reminder that our understanding is provisional. A question about the world. It opens the door to humility rooted in reality.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.
– Albert Einstein
I have called this blog Mystery of Existence. In what way is existence a mystery, and in what way is it not?
To me, it’s all a mystery. Any image I have of the world is just that, an image. Reality itself is not that. It’s also a profound mystery that anything exists at all, and that I – as awareness, this human self – am.
And some things are – to some extent – less of a mystery. It’s all Spirit (awareness, awareness as form, capacity for all of it). There is identification with an image of me and I, or not. Certain things happens when a thought is taken as true (a sense of separation, fear, contraction etc.), and certain things happens when it’s released from being taken as true (love, kindness is more free to live through this life).
In what way is existence a mystery?
It’s a mystery to me within stories. There is always more to learn. More information, knowledge, insights, experiences. There are always other worldviews, some profoundly different from what I am familiar with, and many that account for the same info equally well or even better than the ones I am familiar with. There are always more inclusive worldviews.
Whatever stories I have, what’s outside of these stories is a mystery. The vast majority of existence is a mystery in this sense.
When I explore something in thought, there is always further to go, always more thoughts generated. More details, viewpoints, another level of transcend and include and so on.
And when I explore in immediacy – for instance how something appears in each sense field – it is a mystery. I can find ways to describe it including in all the Big Mind and conventional ways, but it is an utter mystery.
I bring attention to an emotion (joy, sadness, anger) or pain, notice that it is a sensation and a label, and cannot tell what it is. I bring attention to the doer and observer gestalts, notice them too as sensations and images, and cannot tell what it is. I explore any object, including my own face in the mirror, and cannot tell what it is.
And that is how it is for me as well. Whatever happens is completely baffling.
Fingers move. Letters appear on the screen. They reflect thoughts. Others can read them and understand. There is awareness. This human self funcitons in the world. Choices are made. There is a sense of a separate I here or not. There is something rather than nothing.
I am every bit as baffled as Tommy Cooper.
And all of it is a play… Pretending to be baffled. Being baffled. Covering it up and pretending to not be baffled. The tricks themselves.
It is all play.
The mystery of existence, and not…
What we are is not really a mystery. It is something we can notice for ourselves, here and now. We are this awakeness that everything happens within, to and as. Independent of the particulars of its content, which is no other than awakeness itself.
And some of the conventional things in the world is not that much of a mystery. We understand it well enough for practical purposes. We wake up, eat, go about our days, and generally function pretty well with our conventional understanding of life.
But everything else is pretty much a mystery.
Why is it that anything exists at all, including awakeness? Why is there something rather than nothing? Is there anything more astounding and amazing?
And within the world of form, everything is really a mystery. Our experience and understanding is always limited. There is always more to explore, new perspectives to apply, new maps to help organize the world and parts of the world. There is no end to what we can discover and explore within the world of form. Always new landscapes opening up. Always new aspects of landscapes we thought we were relatively familiar with.