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  • D.J. McKay

Life is about the Mystery

Something magical resides just beneath appearances. Something sparkles and tingles within everything we perceive. Do you know what I mean? You have to look for it: otherwise the moment will slide by underneath your awareness with its radiance hidden by a concern, or a to-do, or by some dull fantasy. Even if you do remember to look for it the magic often cannot be seen, as it is reflected only by eyes that are clear, and our eyes so often are begrimed by self-interest and self-consciousness. And yet it is always there, this something that is essential to everything but not accessible to the rational mind. People will call it “God”, but I don’t often use that word because of its historical baggage. There is also the implication in it that some being exists apart from nature, separately and autonomously, in the same way we imagine ourselves to be when we are identified with conditioned mind. All we experience we project, you know, and that includes divinity. It is unknowable and indescribable, this thing, and so any name that presumes we comprehend it falls short. That’s why I like to call it “the Mystery”.

The Mystery is so simple and so clear that even children can see it, and I imagine that all children do see it, though of course they can’t articulate the fact. It was a central aspect of my childhood, at any rate. To see the wind playing with the autumn leaves as they fell to the ground, or the ripples running away in perfect circles from the stone I dropped in the creak behind our house; to hear the birds in spring or the insects in summer, to feel the rain on my face as it fell from the sky—all this and so much more was to study the mysterious force that makes all things possible. I could even see it in the faces of the people that I knew, especially when they weren’t talking. A part of the nostalgia that infuses childhood memories for so many, I suspect, is the loss of the Mystery that followed as they grew older. To “grow up”, unfortunately, is to learn to focus upon other things. We sacrifice the Mystery in order to be “responsible” and “productive”; in order to adapt ourselves to a world in which selfishness is the first priority and in which we can be punished any moment for things we don’t understand. We are made to be numb rather than safe, but this is the best society offers, and so we consider it a good bargain—but it is not good. One who lives without the Mystery cannot live happily or at peace.

Most people, it appears, spend their lives absorbed in their circumstances and dedicated to distraction in their free moments. This is the way the Mystery and also the joy that goes with it is kept at a distance, to be longed for but not experienced. It is the way we are kept dissatisfied. The lucky ones, however, wake up to the Mystery once again some time after their socialization. Ones that are truly blessed are given the tools needed to undo the deception that keeps the Mystery at bay, and wise friends to assist them in that work.

If you are reading these words then you are one of the fortunate few. You have the intelligence, the curiosity, and the opportunity to see through the mirage that is conditioned mind and reconnect with the sweet innocence of childhood, only with experience and understanding added on. You have the opportunity: do you have the will? Please do not neglect the gift you’ve been given. Life is not “about” the Mystery: it IS the Mystery. Our work and our privilege as humans is to experience the Mystery, to be aware of it and to choose it, to let go of the fictional “self” and sink into the compassionate embrace of That which truly IS. That’s what our consciousness is for. Life IS this opportunity. Please, friend, don’t miss it.