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A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to see a supernumerary rainbow. It was spectacular and easily as impressive as any image I have since seen on the Internet. I wanted to know more but found that I was disappointed rather than enlightened when I read the prosaic description of how this special rainbow image is formed.

I also love paradox and I don’t mind ambiguity. Like when when two parts of something seem to contradict each other. For example, when something is gentle but strong, restful but alert, knowable yet mysterious.

I think that Western thinking has done human thought a disservice by taking away our ability to live with ambiguity or accept mystery. We began to investigate our world and found that we could learn about it and comprehend parts of it so we tried to extend that method of “reductionist” enquiry to everything. (Reductionist thinking breaks a system, which we can’t understand, into its component parts, which we may be able to understand). Unfortunately most systems are seldom just the sum of their parts; there are rich interactions between all of the components that defy simple analysis.

There will be those who say that scientific enquiry has brought us so much good and that by seeking to understand we have removed the hold that witch doctors and charlatans had over the masses. I agree fully, but sometimes I think we have gone too far and that we seek to understand that which is meant to be wondered at.

There is an internal conflict for many people as they grapple with living in a “scientific” world where things are all explained by physical processes and yet who hold questions and doubts and fears inside them that cannot be so simply explained. This is the place for spirituality. Not to resolve this conflict but to provide a path where the two sides can remain perhaps unresolved and yet reconciled.

I resolve to spend more time in wonder and more time allowing mystery to hold its place in my thoughts.

I hope you can too.

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