Experience the Mysterious

May 2002

This month, my thoughts have been around mystery and how I view mystery in my life. In my coaching practice, as well as my own life, I am struck by how product-driven we are as a society, and how we want things to be neat, quantifiable, and labeled. Clients generally call on me to help them reduce the amount of disorder and ambiguity and even chaos in their professional lives. It is a fair place to begin.

Albert Einstein said “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” Notice he doesn’t say the mysterious is the most beautiful thing we can read about, or study, or try to avoid. It is something that must be experienced. And, what is this thing called “the mysterious”, anyway? How in the world do you experience the mysterious? 

For me, the first step is just acknowledging that the mysterious exists. It is that place we come to where there is darkness, and ambiguity, and no real shape or form. Sounds scary. The next step is to invite mystery into our lives; it cannot be forced. Mystery seems to be most welcome when I let down my guard, don’t have to have everything answered, am open to ambiguity, and am willing to live consciously (even for a few moments at a time) in the void of not knowing. Also scary.

Once I have allowed the mysterious to come into my life, I know that I need to be quiet, to be in wonder, and to listen deeply. Mystery is the cradle of creativity, and it is often in these moments of embracing the mysterious that our greatest insights, ideas, and inspirations can be found. But I don’t go there searching for that necessarily; I go to the mysterious to remind me that there is much I don’t know; much I am not connected with on a daily basis; and much, much more to this life than what I normally see, hear, touch, and taste. Another part of me seems to reside in the mysterious, and that Sharon is wiser and stronger and more serene. 

What does the mysterious have to do with business, and business coaching? Well, I often find that what clients really want from me is permission to experience the mysterious. It may be the part of them that wants to approach a problem with greater creativity; it may be the tug of an unrealized dream to build a business; it may be a sense that they want to change the way they show up in the professional arena that would be radically different than how they are now. Part of what I do is help clients recognize that the mysterious is to be embraced, and not feared. Thanks for letting me share that experience with you.

Sharon
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