The Beloved Mystery

by Christopher Lovejoy on September 2, 2012

The fulfillment of intention and desire, while feeling pleasure in their fulfillment, and being happy with the outcome (or the results), is what this website is really and truly and ultimately all about.

Where creative, masterful manifesting is concerned, one question above all reigns supreme:

Do I embody a strong, persistent sense that my intentions are positive and meaningful, that I can manifest my desires with relative ease, even as I follow my bliss and go with the flow?

A most curious distinction can be made between desires and intentions: where desires can only ever be conscious, intentions can and do slip below consciousness after they’ve been formed.

In a meditative state at the beginning of my day, I might drop this rather modest intention into the field of infinite possibilities: “as I go about my day today, find me a pretty penny”, while adding this intentional tracer: “appearing on or near a flat, smooth surface.”

No mention is made of how I will do this – just that I allow myself to find a pretty penny as I go about my day – and this rather odd intention is positive and meaningful only because it opens me up to a process of discovery involving subtle, invisible, mysterious influences.

As I release my intention to the field or the universe or the Tao, I do so trusting that my desire will manifest with relative ease, at a time and a place that can only make sense in retrospect.

The egocentric demand, “I want it and I want it now”, is transformed into a declaration, a declaration that is calm, focused, informed, assured, and inspired.

My Childhood Encounter

I remember the living room as warm and somewhat stuffy. I was by myself, sitting on a soft carpet, in the home of my grandparents, on the eve of Christmas Day, after feasting on a traditional dinner.

I couldn’t have been more than five years young.

I inspected a small horseshoe magnet in my hand. I can’t remember where the tiny nails and tacks came from, but there they were, strangely and invisibly attached to the magnet.

I gazed through eyes of boundless fascination at the most mysterious object I had ever seen and I pulled tentatively at nails and tacks that seemed to defy the law of gravity.

In a state of mind that I can only describe as contemplative, I directed this horseshoe magnet at many an object in my vicinity, exhausting all the possibilities, and wondered why … why this object and not that one?

It was my second memorable encounter with The Beloved Mystery.

Experiences in Perplexity

The world is not what you think it is. At least, this is what I was thinking when it happened.

Some years ago, a bunch of us were paddling canoes in the wilderness of Northern Ontario. Clouds threatened rain. To boost our spirits, we broke into song. Days later, after we returned home, my sister informed me she was compelled to sing that same song – a song she hadn’t sung in years.

I was perplexed. The world is not what you think it is, I thought.

I can’t be sure which came first: was it the intention to turn on my stereo or the song that suddenly came to mind? I hesitated, humming a tune that I had heard many times before, and turned on my stereo only to have my body erupt into goosebumps as that same song began to play.

I was perplexed. The world is not what you think it is, I thought.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy ~ Hamlet

Darkness enveloped me when I opened my eyes. I wasn’t sure what time it was; I was still sleepy. I had a sudden impulse to turn on my bed lamp and check the time on my digital radio. Strangely, that same impulse coincided with a red flash in my awareness that read 5:05. I looked at the time: 5:05.

I was perplexed. The world is not what you think it is, I thought.

Walking a leisurely pace, I felt relaxed, at ease, and glanced at the overcast sky. An impulse to run for cover flashed within. I resisted at first, but then yielded as the impulse became an urge. I ran for home, feeling like this was a race against time. Just as I reached the door, the torrential downpour began.

I was perplexed. The world is not what you think it is, I thought.

I realize now that the paranormal is perplexing only because my paradigm of the world was too small to accommodate the rich variety of experience that can’t yet be explained rationally or scientifically.

I’ve since learned that experiences of The Beloved Mystery abound with an open heart and mind.

Lucid Death Experience

I’ve considered more than enough evidence (factual and circumstantial) and I’ve heard more than enough credible testimony to know beyond any reasonable doubt that I will not die when I die.

All of this has informed and inspired my thinking on the subject of personal fulfillment. I explore the relevance of these and other topics in my posts, To The Great Beyond and Who You Really Are.

In all of my reading on these topics, I still can’t shake the one question that keeps coming back for me: given the potential for extreme pain and suffering, what “the hell” are we doing here?

Why here, why us? Why this dense manifest realm? Are we bratty little kosmic children learning to grow up? Or are we intrepid kosmic souls looking for an impossibly difficult challenge?

Suffice it to say there is no further way to experience The Beloved Mystery than to explore life beyond the grave in all of its variety, novelty, and complexity. Just give it a chance. You’ll be glad you did.

And now, without further context, let us immerse ourselves in the Tao.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 1

The following verse comes to you from a sacred interpretation of the Tao Te Ching by Wayne Dyer from his book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao:

The Tao is both
named and nameless.
As nameless it is the
origin of all things;
as named it is the
Mother of 10,000 things.

The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.

Ever desireless, one can
see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees only
the manifestations.
The mystery itself is the doorway
to all understanding.

A compilation of these timeless verses is also available in a later illustrated work by the same author entitled A New Way of Thinking, A New Way of Being: Experiencing the Tao Te Ching.

I found the verses from this book to be more succinct but less complete.

My Impressions of the Verse

This verse is obviously rich with paradox, but the Western mind will likely be taken to wondering: “how can anything possibly be this and that?” To wit: “It’s either this or that; it can’t be both.”

Actually, it can, if you understand the nature of paradox from a holistic point of view.

Unfortunately, the Western tendency to view opposites as exclusive, incompatible, and contradictory begets separation and exclusion, precluding encounters with unity and experiences of harmony.

Perhaps this is why the Western world is mired in so much chaos, conflict, and confusion, and why it carries such a deep dark shadow, which is spreading like cancer across the rest of the world.

The Tao is both named and nameless.
As nameless it is the origin of all things;
as named it is the Mother of 10,000 things.

We are powerful observers, you and I. As witnesses to the world in which we live, we can extend our minds beyond the scope of the 10,000 things that are everywhere manifest through our senses, even as we contemplate their Origins, both ultimate and ongoing, as wholly miraculous and mysterious.

Amazing.

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

What on earth does this mean? It sounds like a riddle.

This portion of the verse does more than merely emphasize The Beloved Mystery. It also points us to the limits of knowledge and language to discern and appreciate the nameless Tao.

Will we ever know and understand and appreciate the nameless Tao in all of its particularity? Possibly. Perhaps one day the full flowering of the named Tao will reveal the nameless Tao.

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
The mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.

With this final portion of the verse, we get to the crux of the matter.

Another unfortunate tendency of the Western mind is to place its greedy, grasping hands around the neck of The Beloved Mystery and strangle it with definitions, classifications, and categorizations.

In reading this portion of the verse, the Western mind will likely interpret it (naively, ignorantly, and stupidly) as a call to give up your desires before you can enter the doorway to understanding.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here’s yet another juicy paradox for the impoverished Western mind to contemplate: “letting go of trying to see The Beloved Mystery will actually allow you to see it.”

More poetically: let go and let be to see the ultimate mystery.

Desiring and allowing are the same – yet different.

Let us explore this essential paradox further.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

The following questions point to the essence of personal fulfillment:

If I allowed everything in my life to come naturally and spontaneously to me, what need would I have for practice or performance? Would unity and harmony not converge and emerge without effort?

If not, why not?

I might be tempted to respond thus: “because in some situations, I’m naive; in others, I’m ignorant; and in yet others, I’m stupid. And because I feel ashamed of being seen as naive, ignorant, or stupid, I’m too preoccupied with hiding my shame to allow everything in my life to arise naturally.”

Which is not to say that I must wholly identify with being naive, ignorant, or stupid. I don’t think that’s necessary, as some would maintain, but being comfortable acknowledging without shame that I could be (or that I am) naive, ignorant, or stupid in some situations could (can) obviously serve me.

Not everyone (hardly anyone, if truth be told) has the luxury of being able to set intentions and have them manifest with effortless ease as and when and where they would have them manifest.

This is a sad fact of life in the early 21st century.

Does this mean that no one should even try? Not at all. In fact, having enough desire to create the conditions necessary to bless and receive all that you desire is the most noble pursuit in life.

Let’s revisit the verse for a moment:

Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
The mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.

This portion of the verse does not answer this question: should I be desireless or desiring?

From a holistic point of view, bypassing the Western mind to embrace juicy paradox, this question is wholly unnecessary. Be one or the other. Be both. Be neither. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you be a witness to your own inner continua of conscious experience, from wanting (which implies lacking) to allowing, from trying (which implies wanting) to flowing.

As I write these words, I don’t want anything in particular; I just allow whatever comes up for me as I write. I don’t try to say anything in particular; I just let the words flow as they do.

It’s the same with anything: getting to sleep, losing or gaining weight, making love, making peace, working on a project, collaborating with someone, creating a work of art, travelling the world.

If I can take note that I want to have something, to be somewhere, to do something, then I can also be present enough to relax into allowing it to show up in my experience as and when it does.

If I can take note that I’m trying to have something, to be somewhere, to do something, then I can also be present enough to relax into having myself follow my bliss and go with the flow.

Where wanting opens me up to the experience of allowing, allowing sets me up for more wanting, and where trying opens me up to the experience of flowing, flowing sets me up for more trying.

Not this or that, but this and that. Paradox.

I live with a needy expectation, but then I don’t. I take something personally, but then I don’t. I judge or criticize someone unfairly, but then I don’t. I assert my need to be right, but then I don’t.

I hide or stuff my feelings, but then I don’t.

As I indulge the experience of wanting (with its implied lacking), I recall the bliss of allowing, replacing motivated trying with inspired flowing so as to bring a modicum of balance back into my life.

I hereby allow myself to be awakened, enlivened, and aware enough to be at choice about everything relevant in my experience as it arises. Knowing what I don’t want allows me to have what I do want.

And if I should ever encounter an obstacle or hit a brick wall in my experience, I’ll have the presence of mind to let it be there, trusting that I can rely on The Beloved Mystery to move me forward.

Permit the paradox: the way to do is to be; do the Tao and be the Way.

Next up: Living the Paradoxical Unity

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This post is one of many in an ongoing series that began here.

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