Sometimes a phrase or an idea sticks with us for years though we don’t know what it means. Then one day an experience trips the switch of comprehension, as if the concept had been pulling us toward its fulfillment all along.
Richard Rohr says that when we get a college education, we feel entitled to understand everything but that there’s a more generous viewpoint from which we can interact with creation. For me, this was one of those un-realize-able ideas until a couple of weeks ago.
As I was staring out over the ocean from my garden at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, the world got a lot bigger all at once. Between one breath and the next, existence became a reality that is rather than a thing to understand.
Suddenly, the world didn’t owe me anything, not even an explanation. It was free to be itself, and I was free to enter into some deeper communion with its vastness.
When I’m attached to understanding everything, those things that I can’t explain have to be rejected because that’s the way the mind works. Paradoxically in letting go of the need to understand, I felt a deeper comprehension than I had before, “comprehension” in the sense of “being in touch with the nature or meaning of, taking in or embracing.”
This shift in perception is not a dive into willful ignorance. It does not mean denying or rejecting the rational mind. Rather, it’s a wider, richer way of experiencing a cosmos that our minds cannot contain. The Infinite is at play in our souls and at the heart of all creation, and joining that dance will yield a joy and peace that “surpass all understanding.”
Grace and God’s love, never content to leave us where we are, will continually reveal what’s been there all along, will usher us into new, deeper, and more expansive relationship with what is.