If a movie ever is made of my life, this coffee house moment has to be in it. In an intuitive flash, I got a glimpse into what the universe is all about.
Nothing. None of the above. No answer. Nobody home. No way to know.
A bunch of negatives. But the feeling I had was wonderfully positive.
Unfortunately, it didn't last. While it did, though, I felt lighter, more joyful, the weight of a gigantic question mark having been lifted off of my inquiring psyche.
Reading the first few pages of a book, "The Way of Wonder," preceded my mini satori.
I'm not sure which lines led me to stop sipping my Starbucks skinny venti vanilla latte, look up from the book, and gaze upon Salem's Court Street with fresh eyes. It could have been these words:
Life is an unknowable, inexplicable miracle; there is no solution, and … there is not supposed to be a solution. It is all an unsolvable mystery, and is unreachably far beyond the mind's ken. And that includes the self, like it or not.
…'Wonder', then, is the moment when answerless questions of the universe become not only fully obvious, but electrifying; it is the point where the individual is released from the limiting possibility that life is knowable, and the mind is cut free from the cognitive fetters which enclose it.
Those are words. Not the wordless aha! that washed over me.
For a while I simply looked at the street scene with a lot more wonder, and a lot fewer question marks in my mind, than when I walked into the Starbucks.
I knew that there weren't any answers. I knew that ultimate reality always would remain the ultimate mystery. I knew that I'd die not knowing what It Was All About.
And that was OK. In fact, better than OK: perfect. I thought, "The meaning of life is that we can't know what it is; questioning is the only answer we'll ever get."
Later, on page 157, I found that Haas explained what I was feeling in another fashion:
There is a point in life when all theories, ideas, proofs, and arguments fall irrevocably impotent, and the individual, determinedly bent hard upon comprehending his or her life in the implausible cosmos, will suddenly sense that none of what has been told to them about life is true; that Life, in fact, is not about understanding, but about living, and that the more we try to understand … the less we live.
For there is no wisdom in trying to understand what is not understandable. And there is less wisdom in imagining that one understands what one does not understand. And there is less reason still in retreating from the realization that we absolutely 'do not know,' and shrinking back into a secure, limited lie, instead of accepting the confounding Enigma, and thus embracing life's majesty completely, because of the very fact that it is well beyond our limited comprehension.
This is Life. Ours is the choice whether to obscure it with words, or worship it with wonder.