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Pair #98 It's all a mystery to me. Thank goodness.
It's interesting to me that something like 80- 90% percent of people in the world have a religious affiliation. Of that number, the huge majority of people have actually remained with the faith they grew up in and that is, overwhelmingly, the  faith of their parents' parents.

This says a lot about our movement from childhood to adulthood, doesn't it?

While it is probably true that many of us don't actually attend church nowadays, I do see in my work with people that when the going gets rough, and when people do look in the direction of a spiritual solution,  their start point is often a return to the faith of childhood.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Far from.  People I know who've gone back to church when becoming sick or desperate often find comfort and help. In my personal view, any interest in the spiritual nature of life, any inquiry into the nature of who we are, why we are the way we are and how we work as humans - brings us back to something that we are often missing in our modern lives.

Mystery.

We have an odd relationship with mystery these days.  Although we are content with fantasy video games and elaborate 3D mega-productions, and we are not uncomfortable with the serendipitous, we are wildly unfamiliar with the territory of true mystery. 

Yet, despite our will to scientifically know and dissect matter itself, we keep uncovering more mystery. 

Black holes are a mystery.

Why some people overcome cancer and others do not is a mystery.

Where the will to live comes from is a mystery.

Although mystery is quite delicious, I sense that mystery is a bit on the out these days.  And because we've collectively agreed that life can be known, that it can be broken down to the smallest element and contained, we are rarely amazed by life.  We delight not in the unexplainable. 

Since we are not all that friendly with the inexplicable, we are also rarely reflective in that open "I wonder..." kind of way. And that IS a shame.

Deep reflection is something almost no one I know engages in regularly.  The reason, I suspect?  No time.  We are all too busy being busy.  Even busy waiting for the vacation in order to stop and relax.

But I'm not talking about taking time out and resting up.  I'm talking about reflecting on the nature of life.  I'm talking about hearing the inside of us. Openess to a truly new idea, that we had just not thought of before.  When we were too busy.  Take all the classes on 'authenticity' that you want; you'll never be authentically you until you are reflecting on your intimate life and listening for the answers within you.

As we have grown to adulthood and left behind our childish things, we may well have left behind our churches, but we have taken up the form of spiritual practice coupled with the science of knowing, and we have let go of our love of mystery and dislike spending time in the unknown. At the same time, maybe religious forms have attempted to explain too much, replacing true mystery and direct knowing with belief. Belief demands that we chose. Mystery does not.  Mystery asks that we simply be with.

Surely adulthood does not mean finding more and more answers, but rather being more comfortable with not knowing what the hell is going on.


© 2011 Elese Coit
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