Life has a way of squeezing out the sense of wonder we had as children. Can you still remember how you became immersed in the storybooks you read – those stories that you could read over and over again because they were so real to you? Or lying on a blanket in the still of the night and watching the stars in awe, without thinking much? The belief that life is good, and that good people and good things triumph over bad people and bad things was natural then. As we age, harsh realities and disillusionment, can easily lead to apathy and cynicism. Apathy and cynicism threatens to smother the sense of wonder in us completely – and with it the belief in, and hope for pure truth, everlasting good, and meaning.
Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.
― Carl Sagan
The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.
― Anaïs Nin
Is it just too bad? Is it the unavoidable price we have to pay for acquiring knowledge, becoming responsible and realistic, and losing innocence? No. Because knowledge can just as well increase our sense of wonder. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed, said Albert Einstein.
If Einstein’s remarkable intellect and hunger for knowledge only made him appreciate the wonder of the universe and life more, then perhaps it is not knowing too much that become a problem, but lack of humility and surrender to God. Perhaps we think that we lose too much face or credibility if we cannot give some kind of logical rather than spiritual answer to our children’s ‘why-questions’. And perhaps we feel we cannot engage in conversation with our colleagues if we cannot defend what we say scientifically. Perhaps we are suffering from bad and hurtful experiences with religion. Still, we remain restless as long as we deny what our spirit is longing for.
On earth, we are homeless wanderers. We can only hope to see relative good in the world, never perfect good. What is perfect is a mystery to us and we are all, even the most cold-hearted, drawn to that mystery. By allowing ourselves to look at life from a spiritual perspective, with knowledge of the heart, we are opening the door to a wonderful reality that is beyond our imagination.
Reverence is fear overcome by love – S.L. Frank
Awe and humility – the twin attitudes necessary for religious or psychological truth – bring new life to each of us, if we can bear them – James Hollis
Yes, we don’t yet find all our questions answered and all our problems solved, but we do sense the stirring in our hearts telling us that life is more than what we can see, hear or feel; more than sleeping, working, eating, drinking, partying and everything else that we do in life.
To stand before mystery, not in frustration or anger but in acknowledgement and submission to what is above or beyond human grasp, is liberating if we know that it is God in his love for us that we are facing. The fear for the unknown makes place for inner peace and deep joy.
How do we regain a sense of wonder in a busy and demanding world? We make time to experience nature, enjoy music, sit with a child, notice the little things of beauty and simplicity, eat and drink mindfully, and calm our minds in meditation … and so living becomes more meaningful, a prelude to perfect and eternal love.