When the light came
Finally I wondered
and It is I
The mystery of our meetings
MYSTERY OF MEETING
I asked Him once
"What is the mystery?" I asked, "Whenever we meet
"Yes," He said, "There is mystery in meeting
"Ones apart become at one
"Without losing their separateness
"But why is meeting mysterious?," I asked. I have always feared the unknown.
"Meetings of consequence are mysterious," He replied, "because they are always between mysterious ones. Only individuals, apart, can meet in this way. Each one is like a sphere: complete, contained, separate, and mysterious - above all, mysterious.
"As a mysterious one, you can show aspects of yourself, but you cannot finally be known by any other. You can know about an other, but never fully know an other. Always the element of mystery remains. You can be with one, encounter his mystery, but you can never grasp the mystery itself. Bits of information may obscure the fact, but they do not change it.
"Your people seem only willing to meet what they know. They immediately try to name, place, and categorize each new unknown. When they find a person, they first try to pin him down in their mind's eye, with such irrelevant information as, 'What's your name?,) 'where are you from?,' and 'What do you do?.' Once they have him pinned with a label, a location, and an occupation, they act as though they know him.
"Unfortunately such classifying creates a spiritual gulf which is often uncrossable. Once the asker thinks he knows, he has no reason to remain alert. Soon he will be bored. If the answerer falls for the trap, he may become enmeshed in the asker's web, losing his own freedom to remain a mysterious person. The assumed 'knowledge' may obscure the real mystery, killing the encounter.
"Mystery is the basis of the authentic encounter, not a curse on it. When you think to eliminate the risks of meeting by getting to know the other, you unwittingly destroy the one essential requirement. To know anything for sure kills meeting, in proportion to the assumed 'knowledge.'
"Therefore, gather no information about the other. Ask not his name, where he is from, where he has been, or what he does. Risk encountering him as he is and always will be--a mystery. Stand with, but do not lose yourself in seeking to understand the other. Bring your mystery to him; reveal chosen aspects of yourself; and respond to his mystery. Listen for your own name to be called from it, but never try to eliminate the mystery of the other.
"Nor should you destroy the mystery of yourself. Stand with him, revealing what you will,: but never try to make him understand. Let your record always be incidental. Though it may be revealed as you show yourself, never make a show of it. Do not substitute information for revelation.
"So, if you would meet some one--be he stone, moth, or human--you must keep the
element of mystery alive, both in yourself and in the other. Let your fear of the unknown
become excitement in the face of mystery. Worship at its altar rather than attempting to
destroy it. Pin nothing down; take nothing for granted; let nothing be for sure. Never
conclude that you know an other. Explore him, but do not try to figure him out. Remain a
mystery yourself. Reveal your mystery as you choose; encounter the mysterious other; but
never erase the mystery. With it goes the meeting."
(From the Introduction to: I LOVE THE SUN: Conversations on Encounter)