Mystery


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Parker Palmer, that consummate teacher and humanitarian, in his blog at On Being, offers this treasure by Mary Oliver. I savor the word “reverence,” also, one of the nine rasas of Tantric psychology, adbhuta (अद्भुत), “wonder” or “astonishment,” I might choose “awe.”

“Mysteries, Yes”
by Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

via Choosing to Marvel at Mystery | On Being

For my heart, too is with those who have reverence for mystery, whose regard of what exceeds and astonishes them to bow or kneel or take great delight. As Bruce Cockburn has sung, “Can’t tell me there is no mystery / It overflows my cup.”

You can’t tell me there is no mystery
Mystery
Mystery
You can’t tell me there is no mystery
It’s everywhere I turn

Moon over junk yard where the snow lies bright
Snow lies bright
Snow lies bright
Moon over junk yard where the snow lies bright
Can set my heart to burn

Stood before the shaman, I saw star-strewn space
Star-strewn space
Star-strewn space
Stood before the shaman, I saw star strewn space
Behind the eye holes in his face

Infinity always gives me vertigo
Vertigo
Vertigo
Infinity always gives me vertigo
And fills me up with grace

I was built on a Friday and you can’t fix me
You can’t fix me
You can’t fix me
I was built on a Friday and you can’t fix me
Even so I’ve done okay

So grab that last bottle full of gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline
Grab that last bottle full of gasoline
Light a toast to yesterday

And don’t tell me there is no mystery
Mystery
Mystery
And don’t tell me there is no mystery
It overflows my cup

This feast of beauty can intoxicate
Intoxicate
Intoxicate
This feast of beauty can intoxicate
Just like the finest wine

So all you stumblers who believe love rules
Believe love rules
Believe love rules
Come all you stumblers who believe love rules
Stand up and let it shine
Stand up and let it shine

Cultivating an attitude of reverence, perhaps everything in our lives, our everyday lives, can be “Holy Now,” as in this song by Peter Mayer, which parallels my own journey of spiritual experience.

When I was a boy, each week
On Sunday, we would go to church
And pay attention to the priest
He would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
And everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

When I was in Sunday school
We would learn about the time
Moses split the sea in two
Jesus made the water wine
And I remember feeling sad
That miracles don t happen still
But now I can t keep track
Cause everything s a miracle
Everything, Everything
Everything s a miracle

Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn t one

When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I m swimming in a sea of it
It used to be a world half there
Heaven s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
Cause everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

Read a questioning child s face
And say it s not a testament
That d be very hard to say
See another new morning come
And say it s not a sacrament
I tell you that it can t be done

This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is holy now
It used to be a world half-there
Heaven s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
Cause everything is holy now

Cultivating an attitude that “everything is holy now,” “come all you stumblers who believe love rules, stand up and let it shine.”

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About Richard Hudak

I am Senior Adjunct Faculty in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and I have been a practitioner of Anusara™ yoga. I have completed 200 hours of teacher training within its diaspora community, consistent with its philosophy and alignment principles.
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