Updated: Feb 20
Enter the world of wonder
Modern people don’t believe in myths about gods, or legends about heroes.
We know Mount Olympus is just a mountain in Greece, not the seat of the gods, and that the anger of Zeus is merely thunder.
To us, Odysseus is a sailor easily distracted from his course, not a superhero, and the existence of the holy grail, that crusaders sacrificed their lives to find, was just a furphy (Australian slang for an improbable story).
Modern people believe in facts.
We know our atmosphere is 96.56 kilometres thick. Lightning strikes our planet eight million times a day. The sun is made of hydrogen and helium. The earth is more than four million years old, weighs 5.9 trillion kilograms, and (like most people) is getting heavier every year. Our bodies are mainly composed of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, and Big Macs.
We pack our brains with scientific and mathematical facts like these about what we see and experience around us, then think we understand everything.
But we don’t.
Just like ancient people, we’ve merely brought everything down to the level of what we can comprehend and explain. In doing so, we drown in an inundation of facts and figures, and fail to perceive and experience the essence of what we think we know.
For example, do we really know why a wild bird sings? Ornithology reduces this magical event to territorial behaviour or mating calls. But I’ve heard kookaburras calling at first light and reed warblers lullabying the setting sun. I suspect some of these calls have very little to do with territorial rights or mates. The sounds come from their souls. We need to forget the facts in our heads and just listen to the birds. When we do this, we enter a space where there is no why.
Sometimes, while out walking, I enter a world of wonder inhabited by Father Sky and Mother Earth. I experience their essence.
Father Sky forms a giant bowl of space above my head. Father Sky sends warmth and light in the day and calming darkness at night. Father Sky holds up the sun, stars, and moon, and lets down rain. Father Sky contains clouds and invisible rivers of wind. Father Sky loves birds and airplanes and kites.
Mother Earth is present beneath my feet as I walk. Mother Earth hums trees and flowers into being. Mother Earth curves valleys and soars mountains. Mother Earth catches the rain sent by Father Sky and holds it in ever-changing rivers and oceans. Mother Earth supports me, even when no one else does. I call that endless love.
Thus I walk, held between Father Sky and Mother Earth, a tiny dot of humanity, living out my days. I don’t worship them, but I refuse to condense these two powerful presences into mere facts in my head.
Living with Mindfulness
Facts may be interesting or important. They can help me understand my world and keep me safe, fed, and employed.
But now and then, as much as possible, I step back from the world of facts, and experience wonder.
I walk between Father Sky and Mother Earth.
With love, Marlane
First published on Medium.com/Illumination