The Magic of Life

The true pilgrim does not necessarily seek answers, nor does he try to manufacture them for others. The true pilgrim seeks only to experience something that transcends the monotony, and then seeks to understand the experience. This implies that one will travel through the land of the evil as well as the good. That implies that not all our questions will be answered. But this is a comforting notion to the true pilgrim because life is more about the questions than the answers. And even that’s not fully true. It would be more accurate to say that life is about coming to finally learn that the questions, which are evident on their own anyway, not only don’t need answers, they don’t even need to be asked. We all know the questions. We all know the buffet of answers offered to quell those questions. We also know that none of these offered answers completely satisfies our questions, not really. Health begins in the mind when we rest in that, when we prefer the unanswered question to the synthetic answer.

Still, the pestering, pervasive nature of the questions is such that we can never fully separate ourselves from them. To be human is to constantly wonder what being human means. To be human is to ponder the stars and their size and significance in relation to us. To be human is to relearn, over and over again, the same elementary truth that no one knows anything about anything; that we’re all just here together, slithering our way through evolution not only without a complete image, but with most of the puzzle pieces still missing. To be human is to learn how to reconcile oneself with the disquieting and inconvenient fact that we probably won’t ever have all the puzzle pieces. And yet, to be human also means we will never lose the need for all the puzzle pieces.

We can never shed the power that the questions of life have over us, but maybe that is exactly what keeps us human as opposed to something else, be it better or worse. Perhaps the magic of life is in the wondering. There’s certainly no magic to be found in the answer; the answer is merely a cold, hard fact, a sum, the sealing of an envelope, the crossing out of an item on a list. To receive the answer is to close the issue, and to close the issue of life and all its mysteries is to die. As soon as you learn the science behind your favorite card trick, the trick no longer captivates you. The magic is gone, replaced by inert data.

It is the same with life.


Taken from my book, The Offbeat Rhythms, Vol. 1.

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