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A Return To Wonder

Life is a miracle. The fact of our existence here, on this planet, at this time, is truly dumbfounding. Ask any evolutionary biologist this and they will concur. The story of our beginnings astounds. The path of life, rising from the primordial soup four billion years ago, unlocking myriad self-organizing organisms and flowing forever forward in an endless stream of adaptation, refinement and adumbration, is a miracle. Along the way, we've survived numerous mass extinctions and ice ages. We've seen a nearly infinite variance of life forms arise and fall away, leading us now to the earth as we know it today. This is where we find ourselves, human, amidst the incredible mutability of this process as it continuously unfolds both within, and around us. Our bodies are extraordinary machines. The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe, and consciousness  what all of us truly are  remains the mystery of mysteries.

Viewed under the supposedly opposing outlook, the story is no less astonishing. God the Creator cast us from the clay of the earth, infinite in his wisdom and compassion, incomparably compelling in his narrative. Moulded in his image, we are microcosms of the whole, mirrors of the universe itself. We are intimately tied to the planet that birthed us, and so too both privy and party to its unspeakable majesty. It is no less of a miracle.

So what, then, has happened to our sense of this? Where has the wonder gone? A terrible mundanity has infected us somehow. Nowhere is the reverence of life felt any longer, nowhere is the magic of existence, the barbaric beauty that surrounds us in every instance, seen with the naked eye. A terrible and sickly substitute has instead been found in the well-intentioned, yet misguided maneuverings of man and his particular form of make-believe; in the cold and tragic love of things that can't truly please, but tease endlessly, speaking of what we are not-- what we should be-- what we have missed-- what we can never have and will never be.

It is a sorrowful disorder. We are not here to spurn the gift of our time in such a manner. To do so is the greatest blasphemy. Falling for the belief that any of us are any less than what we've dreamed of is the only true failure. Life is a miracle.

Consider for a moment something as simple as a seed. Within it exists the blueprint for an entire organism that will come to be within the flux of time as no other has before it, nor will again. One seed can become a tree that exists in that uniqueness, lasting ten human lifetimes. Beyond this, consider the tree itself: its silence, its majesty, its effortless expression of timeless abundance. Yet the wonder does not stop there. It is ceaseless, everywhere. In all the elements that create and connect the tree to the world, it exists. It is found in the sunlight filtering through the leaves, coloured to rust by the passage of the changing seasons; it exists in the dense soil within which the tree finds its anchoring, that ancient hold of old earth beneath, out of which all life has sprung, and to which all will return again, once fallen.

There is a deep need in our world for the rediscovery of wonder. We have lost it, somehow, and its absence has been busy ploughing a steady path to a grave that awaits us now. We have built endless walls to keep it out, yet its presence remains potent, ploying for our senses to return to it with the gentle and unfailing persistence of the universal impulse itself. We cannot escape it. It will continue unto our death, and ever-after, requesting naught but our noticing, until finally, our surrender. 

We must return to it. There is no other course. We must regain the child-mind if we are to survive. We must re-infect ourselves with the incredible wonder of the world, standing in reverence once again to only that of which true reverence is worthy. Then alone will the secrets to stewardship of this great earth reveal themselves. Then alone will the pathway re-emerge before our eyes, interwoven into the tapestry of time, leading finally to the doorway beyond which our authentic nature lies. 

It starts with wonder. 

Without it, we will not survive.