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Respect the Mysteries

“When we bring mindful awareness to the simple activity of perception, we may notice that what draws our attention to things – what enables our senses to really engage and participate with them – is precisely the open and uncertain character of those things. An entity that captures my gaze is never revealed to me in its totality; it presents some facet of itself to my eyes while always withholding other aspects from my direct apprehension. I never see a ponderosa pine in its entirety – I see one side of this wide trunk with its fissured bark, while the other side remains concealed. When I walk around to view the other side, the first side is obscured. Nonetheless, I now have a fuller sense of this trunk – although its interior structure remains hidden…I can see only sporadic glimmerings of the upper branches; they’re mostly hidden by the spray of needles, as the spreading roots of this pine are concealed beneath the ground. If, seized by an uncontrollable urge to know the whole of this being, I brought over a shovel and began to dig up those roots, I’d be endangering the vitality and beauty of this pine, interrupting the very mystery that draws me back to this huge tree day after day.” – David Abram, Becoming Animal, p. 44

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