Barbara Emrys


It’s no secret that everyone wants to know a secret. We are all trying to make sense of things, as if to deny that we exist in a wide ocean of mystery. We are steeped in mystery, we are made of mystery, and we will dissolve back into mystery as soon as we cease to exist in matter and in our own imaginations. We fight to deny those things we cannot easily define, but our ongoing struggle against mystery can end while we live.
Let’s first admit that we do struggle against it. This struggle acts itself out in our urgent need to know. It’s normal for the human mind to insist on accumulating facts and opinions. It was designed to tell a story about…everything. Mystery, however, has no story to tell. Truth cannot be explained or defined. And try as we will to capture mystery through scientific proof, we cannot. As much as we enjoy chasing mystery through our definitions of gods and angels, there are better ways to worship.
Maybe you’ve noticed how we all appeal to a higher authority in simple and repetitive ways. If we are not conversing with God or to our spirit guides, we are praying to the man behind some cyber curtain, pleading to our computers not to fail and begging our cell phones to keep us connected. Yes, it seems that under pressure we turn to mystery, but then we give it an odd twist. In our devotion, we define mystery as something that displays all of our personal characteristics – something made of whimsical moods and attitudes, something responsive to a similar language and logic… in other words, something born of knowledge.
Knowledge makes us act and speak the way we do. Yet, underneath all our words and practiced attitudes is the absolute and obliterating presence of mystery. You could say that this mystery is the shocking truth of us, but in saying it, we misunderstand it.
Maybe it’s enough to say we are everything – everything we know and don’t know and cannot know. We are pure potential in action, on the precipice of another action. We are the man behind every curtain and the angel that guards and protects us. We are the overwhelming mystery and the best kept secret we ever wanted to know.
And so the only secret left unspoken is our absolute, magical faith…in us.

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