Reclaiming Mystery with Rachel Naomi Remen

If service is the work of the soul, and meaning is the language of the soul, Mystery is the lived presence of the soul—an encounter with the soul in the world and in us. The experience of Mystery strengthens and changes us, and awakens us. When a culture loses its sense of Mystery, it loses its soul.

Mystery has great power—it transforms us, comforts us, even heals us. Our culture doesn't value that power, and rarely recognizes it. We have traded Mystery for mastery and have become a culture of control. By ignoring and even rejecting Mystery, our culture has disconnected us from our strength. Perhaps this culture-wide search for mastery is the shadow of science. But science is only one way of looking at life. Life is larger than science. Things happen that science can't explain. These things aren't replicable or measurable. These things are touching, moving, inspiring, powerful, and profoundly Mysterious. Science will always define life in ways that are too small. When we define life too small, we define ourselves too small as well.

In losing our sense of Mystery, we have become a nation of burned-out people. Reclaiming Mystery allows us to reclaim a sense of aliveness and wonder. Perhaps we may need to know a little less and wonder a little more. People who wonder do not burn out.

Life is Mystery and each of us is a Mystery as well. We are all process, and process has Mystery woven into it. Mystery takes us beyond judgment, and moves us toward a deeper participation in life. It takes us to a place of listening to others and ourselves with a new respect. If everyone has in them a dimension of the unknown, it opens life to possibility at all times. We are not broken—we are unfinished. We are alive.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Rachel Naomi Remen Return to top of page

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen is one of the earliest pioneers of mind/body health. She is Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine and Director of the UCSF course, T...

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