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Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.

October 27, 2013

Yet, who has time to even think about it. We’re all too busy moving from one problem to the next. For example, if we lose our job, do A, B, and C, and we’ll get another one. If we break our leg, just get a cast, and we’ll be on our merry way. If we lose our relationship, hhmmpphh, well, we sure as heck better find another one soon—and they show us how. We learn this from our parents, on television, and on the Internet. They dangle the carrot before us, saying what will happen if we do, and if we don’t.

It’s good advice. You may not get the job as quickly as you like. Your leg may take longer to heal than you want. You may be single for longer than you wish. But stick to the tried and true, and the chances are that you’ll achieve great things and be a real asset to society. You’ll solve your problems then go your merry way, until your next set of problems comes along (and they always do). When things are good, you’re happy, when they aren’t, you’re not. Most of us live out our entire lives somewhere along this continuum; the more open we are the more accepting are we of our circumstances.

But wait. What’s wrong with this picture. You’re not just an iteration of everybody else! You’re  a beautiful individual with your own special plan that’s just waiting to unfold, if only you’d let it. It’s only by embracing the fact that we have limited control over our lives, and that things may happen to us for reasons we may not, or may never understand, and celebrating that—celebrating life’s mystery—can we experience life not as just a series of problems to be solved, with a little fun thrown in along the way, but as a true adventure. 

It would be as if you were starring in your very own play, the director your very best friend, protector, and teacher, where there are always surprises but it is never boring, and you can truly appreciate all that life has to offer—while embracing that you’ll never truly “understand” what’s going on, anyway. Sure, you may find yourself feeling anxious or sad or afraid, like I did the other night. But then you’ll remember that you are participating in a Grand mystery, and suddenly everything will seem all right, and you wouldn’t want it any other way.

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