I have begun to wonder
if the secret of living well
is not in having all the answers
but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company
-Rachel Naomi Remen
So much of life is a mystery, no matter how much we try to understand life in general and our lives in particular. Yet it seems to be part of being human to want to understand, to look for answers, to not be content or satisfied with not understanding or knowing.
Although many things can eventually be understood (often in hindsight) there will always be more questions that are unanswerable. They may be questions about the nature of the Universe, the purpose and significance of life, questions about the Soul or spirituality, or questions about our psychology or personalities. Many of us may wonder why so many horrible things happen throughout the world each and every day.
And although scientists, neuroscientists, psychologists, neuropsychologists, cosmologists, astronomers, sociologists and many others are constantly making new discoveries and making sense of things that before were not clear, there will always be Mystery.
Rather than fret that some things don't have answers, or don't have answers for now, or worrying about that which we don't understand, maybe we can take a new approach as the quote above so eloquently states.
Rather than make our goal answering all the questions that occur to us, the things that we question or wonder about, maybe we can instead enjoy the process of sharing these questions, wondering together about the great mysteries of Life. Maybe the process of thinking together, of sharing laughter, wonder, joy, pain and sadness as we contemplate the unanswerable questions, is truly a key to living well.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley