“Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.” Lau-tzu, Tao Te Ching
Within the mystery lies wisdom, discernment, and free will. Tapping into the mystery requires removal from all that we desire, if only for a moment at a time, to see and truly understand. All schools of thought in modern psychology would agree about the blinding nature of desire, destining us to repetitive patterns and creating illusions until they become conscious in the heart and expand our attitude toward our human experience and fellow man. As for the existence of the “mystery” or unknowable something beyond what we can observe with our senses…..
Lao-tzu goes on……
“Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source. This source is called darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.”
Arriving into that moment where mystery lies can take a catastrophic event that shatters the legitimacy of our safety nets, plunging us into bleak darkness or a state of mind wherein everything feels unreal, pointless, hollow. It is in this darkness that we need a practice, a foundation, preferably built before the tragedy, that will reveal Truth, a higher knowledge than that which enables social adaptation and re-engages the bondage of desire, dependency, and/or attachment to our safety nets.
As Albert Camus pointed out, “there is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night.” He examined the tragedy of Sisyphus and realized the tragedy was that Sisyphus was conscious of his torment, pondering how many live as Sisyphus without knowing it. As Lao-tzu points to the blinding nature of desire, Camus imagines Sisyphus using tragedy to silence “all the idols” wherein the mystery could be heard. He describes the mystery as “the myriad wondering little voices of the earth ris[ing] up. Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and price of victory. ”
Camus leaves us to ponder:
“Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”