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Life is a Mystery to be Lived not a Problem to be Solved

Life is a Mystery to be Lived not a Problem to be Solved

Many years ago, as she observed my frequent struggles with life’s problems, an older and wiser Sister, shared these words of wisdom with me, ‘Life is a Mystery to be lived not a problem to be solved’. Even as I heard the words I sensed the freedom in them, freedom from the constant stream of thoughts that never seemed to solve anything, only create new problems! But old habits are hard to break, and the temptation to treat Life as a problem rather than Mystery is still there.

As Judy Cannato says in her book Radical Amazement:
"Many of us are uncomfortable with mystery. Mystery has to do with befriending darkness. Mystery has to do with not knowing, with unknowing, with living in open awareness in the present moment with nothing to hold us save our trust in what is unseen." (129)

Mystery is not a closed door where we are asked to trust blindly in all that lies behind it. The image which comes to me when I imagine Mystery is that of a beautiful lake. We are invited to sit and be present to the beauty of the lake in the different seasons; to walk slowly around it, alone and with others; to sit and let our feet feel the water; to splash; to play; to wade in a little at a time and enjoy the feel of the water on our skin; we are invited to swim and dive deeper and deeper knowing we can never come to the end; there is always more; and that is alright.

What image comes to you when you hear the word Mystery?