Much of my life has been sprinkled with what I will call, mystical ways of discovering and knowing. These are experiences many people have and most of us don’t speak about because in our secular society it can inspire people around you to look at you and wonder. It can be risky to share these alternative ways of knowing. I sense this is because our world likes to dwell in the tangible, palpable, rational way of knowing. When confronted with something that doesn’t compute in this way this world reasons it away and forgets about it. Not doing that; seeking a deeper meaning can often make people uncomfortable. It is navigating somewhat unchartered waters. It is inviting people to move beyond the concrete ways of knowing.
And if one is looking at existence concretely, only through the physical senses, then you are overlooking the mystical that can only be known through what I will call, the ‘secret senses’. The novelist, Amy Tan tells a moving story about these ways of knowing in, The Hundred Secret Senses. This is a story of two half-sisters wrestling with each other in a complex relationship of contrasting realities and ways of knowing as seen in their world perspectives. One of them, is a secular and pragmatic Chinese American. The other of them is traditionally Chinese and very mystically inclined. This Chinese mysticism leads her to look at the world with ‘Yin eyes’. She sees the world of Yin – a thin place between what we know and the great mystery beyond. As the story concludes, the secular sister experiences a shift in her perception – a deepening nurtured by her half-sister’s way of knowing and seeing things. An opening within herself that leads her to expand her way of knowing beyond the concrete. “… the world is not a place but the vastness of the soul. And the soul is nothing more than love, limitless, endless, all that moves us toward knowing what is true….. And believing that love never dies. If people we love die, then they are lost only to our ordinary senses. If we remember, we can find them anytime with our hundred secret senses.” Love never dies…it is held, known, and nurtured in our inner secret senses.
Thank goodness for these secret ways of knowing. Thank goodness for the power of love that eventually opens a willing heart to perceiving all that is. Thank goodness for stories and storytellers who help us open ourselves to possibilities that move beyond where the world tells us we are. Thank goodness for those who see things in other ways and by their presence, lead us deeper into love and being fully alive through our secret senses. Thank goodness for the mystical!