Many of us are fascinated by the conventional mysteries of the universe.
How old is it? Was there an actual “beginning”? Does it have an end? Will it end in heat death or does it pulse? What’s behind the observations we label “black matter” and “black energy”? Is there other life in the universe? Is it intelligent? Has it visited us? What happened to Mary Celeste? Does bigfoot exist? Will we have controlled fusion within the next ten years?
These are entertaining and – for most of us – relatively unthreatening topics.
THE MYSTERY WITHIN WHAT WE THINK WE UNDERSTAND AND KNOW
And yet, the mysteries of the universe go far beyond this.
Anything we collectively think we know are stories with limited and temporary validity.
And anything I personally think I know are stories with limited and temporary validity.
These are stories with a practical function only. They help us orient and navigate in the world. They cannot reflect any complete, final, or absolute truth. Reality is always more than and different from our stories about it.
There is a fundamental mystery even in what’s most familiar to us and what we think we know and understand.
And taking that in is, in some cases, difficult. We may struggle quite a bit before we open to the ultimate mystery within what we think we know and understand.
What are our most cherished stories about ourselves, others, and the world? They may include basic assumptions about the world and ourselves. For instance, the world is knowable. I am a being and object in the world. They may also include politics and ethics. People should be decent and fair. People shouldn’t destroy nature. Greed is bad. And they may include our ideas about our own life and other people. I am a victim. Something terrible happened to me. I am good. She is a bad person. He shouldn’t lie. Or even metaphysics. God is love. God is a being. God is all of existence.
THE MYSTERY OF WHAT WE ARE
There is also the mystery of our own nature, and the nature of reality.
What am I more fundamentally, in my own first-person experience? How is it to allow this human self to reorganize within that noticing? How is it to live from it, here and now?
Is what I find also the nature of existence in general?
ENTERTAINING VS CHALLENGING MYSTERIES
Lisa may enjoy the entertaining and relatively unchallenging mysteries of the universe.
But does she enjoy the ones that challenge her most cherished assumptions about herself, others, life, and the world?
How do we relate to those more fundamental mysteries?