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Stephen Larson, Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, alchemy, and the mystery of life

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




“A disorienting passage through ‘the cloud of unknowing’

may well be the initial test of our adequacy as individuals.”

Stephen Larson



From this point on we see that the individual who has, through initiation into mystery, been turned into an ‘outsider’, may enter into a reversal and re-turn to become an ‘insider’, for now he or she is not painfully outside of the mystery of life, but is instead within it, and integral to it- a living part of the enigmatic whole.

           The ‘immanence’ of mystery, and the ‘Great Art’ of alchemy, as documented by Rilke and others, will be further discussed in the final chapter, when all the ingredients have been mixed into the cauldron, so to speak.

Leo Tolstoy’s candid statements continue our theme: “Five years ago something very strange began to happen to me. At first I experienced moments of perplexity and arrest of life, as though I did not know how to live or what to do. ...Then these moments of perplexity recurred oftener and oftener. ...I felt that what I had been standing on had broken down, and that I had nothing left under my feet. What I had lived on no longer existed, and I had nothing left to live on.”

Yet Tolstoy would go on to become one of the greatest novelists of history, and would also write a book on his political and psychological thought called, interestingly enough, The Kingdom of God is Within You, which would be read by the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, and would end up influencing the whole subcontinent of India’s non-violent revolution and emancipation.

            Therefore, the experience of having ‘nothing under our feet’- of all that we thought we knew suddenly revealing itself as unknowable- can lead towards two possible outcomes: crisis, or completion.


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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