My life used to be so mysterious it everything amazed me. Space confounded me, smoking pot seemed like magic, and women… forget about it.Total mystery on that one.
But then I got older and I started trying to make everything known, to get everything under control and the mystery started fading. And I lost something.
Why are we so obsessed with measuring everything? Why are we so obsessed with making everything known? How would your life be different if you sought the mystery in everything you did?
To live deeply, the secret isn’t to chart the known world. The secret is to stare into the void without blinking.
One Big F*cking Mystery
There was a time in my life when things were mysterious.
I remember the first time I had jasmine tea with a beautiful girl. She was tall, lithe, and incredibly magnetic in her beauty. The tea tasted sweet and slightly bitter and her smile was as mysterious as it was captivating.
I remember the first time I smoked pot. I lay in my bed, my whole body vibrating with waves of pleasure. For the first time I felt untethered from my everyday perceptions. There was no thought of fear or doubt, only the amazement of standing on the edge of a new, mysterious territory.
I remember the first time I wrote something that came from deep inside me. I read the words back to myself and heard a part of myself I never knew existed speaking from bottom of my heart.
I remember the first time I dropped beneath thought in meditation. I felt my breath slide over my mind like a cool sheet. I began to see underneath the first few layers of my mind and was captivated by the mystery of the experience.
By the time I was in my mid-twenties the mystery of women had disappeared into my cynical heart. By my late twenties the mystery of pot seemed to hold little weight. And by my early thirties much of the meditation honeymoon was a distant memory.
One after another these mysteries faded. But really what faded was my curiosity. I stopped looking for the mystery in life, because I convinced myself there were better things to do.
But I was wrong. And it’s taken me a while to see that one essential ingredient to a successful life is in finding the mystery. Not just in the sacred or the awe inspiring, (I’m looking at you Grand Canyon) but rather to find it everywhere. To see your partner as a mystery. To see your work as a mystery. And to see your life as the biggest mystery of all.
As you grow, learn, and find success, you think you’re leaving mystery behind, and you don’t even turn around and watch it go. You run from it hoping to make it disappear in your rearview mirror. You think getting to the known will make you safe, but it never does.
You can stop at thinking you’re smart, good looking, and accomplished, or you can investigate. You can ask the hard questions and reap the rewards.
The worst mistake you can make is to rely too much on the simple lessons that brought you this far. Yes those lessons are important, but you have to look deeper.
When you forget this, you end up thinking that life’s about accumulating a resume and marking time. But that’s the coward’s path.
To be bold and live fully is to dive into the mystery, not in spite of your discomfort but because of it. To be alive in a deep way, you have to face that which is hard to see, not only about your business, your relationship, and the world, but most importantly about yourself.
Photo by i k o – CC Attribution https://www.flickr.com/photos/37182073@N06