There is perhaps no greater mystery in life or subject of endless speculation than the question of why things happen the way they do. Unlike the other creatures with who share this planet, the human mind does not do well with the simple reality check that bluntly concludes, “it is what it is.” We demand an explanation, to know the cause behind the effect. As the tabloid slogan goes, “Inquiring minds want to know!”
This proclivity to know the why behind the what is both a curse and blessing. The downside is obvious – the questions outstrip the answers by far, so the yearning for an explanation can become a bottomless well of frustration. I imagine that right now there are situations in your life that you struggle to accept, and that a good part of your difficulty in accepting is the inability to understand. Lacking the reason behind a situation we can easily fall into feeling victimized – that life has happened to us. I’ve been there – many times myself. It is the curse perhaps of the rational mind, which is forever trying to figure everything out like a giant jigsaw puzzle – and cannot rest until every piece finds a fit in a pattern of logic.
We find this inquisitive nature in the disciples in their interaction with Jesus, who were constantly peppering him with endless questions that would help them understand why things happened, questioning his words and deeds, and the grand purpose behind it all. Why do you speak to us in parables? When will the kingdom come? Why was this man born blind?
So how and when is our inquisitive demand upon life a blessing? When our need to know takes us beyond the physical and rational and forces into the deeper dimension of life, which is our essential being. When life becomes so difficult or irrational we come to the end of our human capacity to understand and stand at the edge of reason, the spiritual landscape can come into view. This is the grace of not knowing. Quite often, it is only when I reach the end of my surface mind’s ability to understand that I seek a deeper meaning, which has me looking in the sacred reaches of my heart. There, without sensory validation or formulaic explanation, I must surrender human understanding and open to something ineffable. In that rarified state of receptivity, I become a candidate for insight, inspiration, and baseless trust.
When our relentless quest for meaning and our faith in the Divine merge, we reach a place of spiritual understanding. When all our adjectives and concepts of God become our omega point, then that which remains hidden from our ordinary sight become our saving grace. If the Divine is everywhere present in its fullness, then every situation, no matter how difficult, carries the seed of good that can grow in us and bear fruit. Our spiritual eyes must be open to perceive this good – it is the opening of the “single eye” that reveals what we have gained through loss. That paradoxical reversal which illuminates the spiritual gemstone buried in difficulty – disclosing who we truly are against the backdrop of what comes and goes. This is why Jesus spoke in parables, to penetrate the ordinary mind, and reach the soul; the ears that hear Truth. The Kingdom of Heaven is not of this world as Jesus said repeatedly. The satisfaction we seek will never come from getting life to match our preferences, even if we could control every outcome. The satisfaction we’re really after, runs deep, below the tumult of the human experience. Our journey of faith is to deepen our awareness of the Presence of God, that is an abiding river of Love that is unassailable, the dimensionless dimension in which we live and move and have our being.
Why does life happen the way it does? Jesus offered an explanation that works for me. When the disciples asked Jesus why a man was born blind, and they assumed the man had done something to deserve this fate (life had happened to him). Jesus rejected that conclusion and said simply the reason was that God might by glorified through him.
Facing confounding life circumstances, you and I have a choice. We can either suffer in an endless search to know why this has happened, or we can take the path of mastery, that says even in this God can be glorified (realized) through me. And remarkably when the why gives way to surrender and trust, there comes a peace that passes all human understanding. How inexplicable how irrational, how welcome.
Peace and blessings,