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Annie Dillard, Ernest Becker, Alan Watts, meaning, mystery, mind, and wonder

excerpted from THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves, by Jack Haas




“We wake, if ever we wake at all, to mystery.”

Annie Dillard



We wake as mystery.

“For where, indeed, could ‘the Mystery’ be more cleverly hidden”, asked Alan Watts, "than right in the seeking and the seeker...?"

It is not the world which is astounding, it is the ‘I’; the astounding is the astounded; that ‘I am!’, is the wonder of wonders.

Kahn declares, “Man is a mystery in all aspects of his being; not only in mind and soul, but also in that organism which he calls his body. ...And so it is with the man who seeks the mystery of life outside; he will never find it, for the mystery of life is only to be found within.”

Who am I? What am I? Why am I? Are these questions not the very basis of our beings? Are we not, in fact, wholly unanswerable questions? Are we not the mystery, awakening to itself?

            Ernest Becker commented: “Man’s very insides- his self- are foreign to him. He doesn't know who he is, why he was born, what he is doing on the planet, what he is supposed to do, what he can expect. His own existence is incomprehensible to him, a miracle just like the rest of creation, closer to him, right near his pounding heart, but for that reason all the more strange.”

           Indeed, what we must look upon with most catholicity- what we must lose all memory of, what we must perceive with no preconceptions whatsoever- is not the strange and impressive world outside of us, but instead what lies ‘right inside our breast’, which is to say, ourselves, our ‘I’- the Mystery incarnate within, and as, each one of us.

Lispector described this necessary completion in one of her characters, writing: “[He] had fallen so deep into himself that he could not recognize himself. …[And so] accepting was accepting a great and obscure meaning that came from meeting with the unknown creature that he was.”

We see now that wonder is not in the world, it is in mankind. ‘Exasperation’ occurs not as a function of any particular event but as the capability of the individual to be exasperated, to be exasperation. Awe is simply the flagship of perspectives, not that we have but ...that we are; exasperation is not a sense of being, it is being; one is exasperation. The person who is aghast, is aghastness aghast at itself.


excerpted from:


way of wonder, sacred geometry, sri yantra



THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves

by Jack Haas

author Jack Haas, Canadian, American writer, artist, photographer

















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