Friday, May 18, 2007

A Return To Innocence

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed".-- Albert Einstein

In our culture, knowledge and intelligence are coveted. We live in a nation of experts, where people pride themselves on having mastered various concentrations of knowledge. You can be an expert on anything from medicine, to sports, to religion. And, now with the Internet and the access to endless amounts of information, knowledge that was once only available to the wealthy and elite-- who could afford expensive educations at mostly private institutions, is now available to the masses. At the click of a button on your computer keyboard you can have access to statistics, scientific data, as well as various historical accounts on the lives of everyone from Jesus to Nostradamus.

And in true American cultural fashion, Americans recount these facts, and figures with an arrogance and certainty, quite like the fore-fathers belief in Manifest Destiny. With a culture that has been inundated with "perfect-looking" and "perfect-Speaking" actors, and newscasters who have the benefit of learning scripts and reading teleprompters, many Americans have copied these techniques and speak with an authority and with an assuredness that what they say is true--even is it is a bunch of rubbish.

This form of so called intellect is mesmerizing, as well as it is astonishing. I have met so many people who can rattle off knowledge about various subjects, and have often found myself quite dazzled by their seeming eloquence, and the breadth of their experiences. Many have read all of the books, and journeyed to many places, studied various subjects, taken this course, and sat at the foot of, and studied with this Shaman or that Guru. But I have often found that when it comes to having a deep grasp of who it is that they are, or having developed a strong foundation within the core of their being, most fall short.

Because so much information is so easily accessible, and because education in our culture has come to mean an ability to read, write and regurgitate facts and data that is often times archaic and incorrect; people's heads have become so full of "knowledge." Many can give long discourses on what they think they know, but when a life test or lesson appears, many have not developed the wisdom to be able to really apply what they have learned. And this is assuming that what they have learned is really true. As many of us eventually discover, much of what we have been taught in not true.

One of my favorite quotes is from Erykah Badu's song "On and On" where she sings, "The wise man knows that he knows nothing at all." It has become almost shameful in our society to say "I don't know" or "I am not sure" or "I thought I knew, but I am discovering that what I thought I knew, is not really true." People feel that they have to come off as experts on anything and everything. People even go as far as to say they know what the mind of God thinks.

What happened to the mystery? What happened to the innocence that Christ said it took to enter in to Kingdom? The more knowledge I acquire, the more I realize that most sacred, and important things in life remain mysterious, and cannot be intellectually dissected. The understanding of these things comes in the silence, and to a humble heart and an open mind-- a mind and heart that has to be emptied in order to receive.