Einstein once wrote, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe is as good as dead, his eyes are closed.”
The idea of mystery is probably the most fascinating thing in the universe. The future is the mystery common to all of us. What will we become in the future? Who will we love? Where are we headed? We all have experienced these questions at least at some point in our lives. If everything was known or predictable, nobody would engage in their lives. If a person knows that, something bad was to happen to him tomorrow, he would become hopeless, lose the zest to live today. If a person knows he would become the most successful man tomorrow, he might not work as hard to reach there which he otherwise would have and leave everything on destiny.
Mythology in its own way supports the idea of mystery. Had Kansa not known that his sister, Devaki’s seventh son would be the cause of his doom, he might not have imprisoned Devaki and her husband Vasudeva and not killed her sons. They, in turn, wouldn’t have been forced to move their son Krishna to Nandavrajam to be raised by Yashoda and Nanda. If this wouldn’t have happened then maybe Krishna wouldn’t have killed Kansa after all but only if the aerial voice had not interfered in their lives and relieved them of the mystery.
The magic of not knowing relieves us from the urge to control everything in life. When a person accepts the idea of mystery, there is a tendency to flow with the stream of life without unnecessary tension and stress. Mystery makes us go with our feelings and makes use of our intuitive ability to be directed by our inner guide. Philosophers believe that this inner guide is our hidden insight which allows us to see life with a different perception on a different level.
In our fast-paced lives, we seldom take a moment to stop, wonder about the mysteries of life, and appreciate them for their existence. Instead, we treat mysteries like they are problems in life whose solution we have to find. We are intellectual and curious beings so keep looking for answers to explain everything big and small in the universe. We live in a world which tries to explain everything from, what lies at the bottom of the sea, the composition of the soil of the planet which is not even our own to whether God exists on not, but if we know everything, what would happen to chance meetings, coincidences, ghost stories or Agatha Christie novels?
If we tend to know everything, our lives will be boring, we would lose our sense of wonder and there would be no waiting for tomorrows which bring with them their own set of surprises. Mystery is the ultimate trail of breadcrumbs, which keep us interested in the path of life. Not knowing what happens next, is what motivates us to get up from bed every day, work for a better future and allows us to live in the present happily. This constant quest to become a know-it-all makes us fatigued, and mostly leads to boredom. This is probably why mysteries are so appealing.
Famous movie director, J.J. Abrams, in his TED talk of 2007 said, “There are times where mysteries are more important than knowledge. You really never see the shark Jaws until the near, the very end of the movie? Why? Because it keeps you engaged in the story. If you saw the shark in the opening scene, you’d probably get bored quickly with the story.” This sounds quite right. No one likes spoilers in life. Be it the Bermuda triangle or a Harry Potter book, it is the mystery that keeps us engaged. The very build-up before the climax in a movie is what makes the movie interesting. Similarly, the mysterious journey of life is much more enjoyable than reaching the destination itself. The mystery is the ultimate spice of life. To disclose it and know all the secrets makes life mundane and earthbound.”
Since we have reached as far as mapping every edge and corner of the planet, how do we keep the spark of mystery alive? While we cannot not know things which are already known to us, we can learn to cherish the smaller, everyday mysteries of our daily lives. Here are some ideas to make your day a little more exciting by adding a pinch of mystery to it.
- Make a decision based entirely on your instinct. Select a movie to watch or date totally based on your intuition.
- Talk to strangers, sitting next to you in a café, an airplane or in the park.
- Take note of the coincidences and appreciate them.
- Read mystery novels. You will notice how excited you feel in the middle of the book when the mystery is still unsolved.
- Tell ghost stories or any other stories which are completely out of the box and cannot be predicted.
- Spend days with children. See the world through a child’s eye and share their bafflement when you can’t answer their ‘whys?’.
- Spend a weekend without a fixed routine.
Let’s try to not live to solve life like it is a problem but live it like it is a mystery.