I arose morning before the sun and passed through a neighboring orchard into a pleasant path which led by the vineyard and along the hills...While walking I prayed...with sincere lifting up of my heart to the Creator of this beautiful Nature whose charms lay spread out before my eyes...I like to contemplate him in his works.
And Goethe speaks to the pastoral soul: "Do you not see God? By every quiet spring, under every blossoming tree he meets me in the warmth of his love."
It is not enough to say that because so much of our current existence is urban we have given up on the mystery of nature. Quite the contrary; urban man is haunted by a nostalgia for that forgotten mystery which, precisely because nature evokes a mystery, cannot be gotten rid of in his consciousness and subconsciousness. How else shall we interpret urban man's attempts to "return to nature" by way of camping and vacations; by way of parks in his cities; by way of zoos; by way of floral shops and plants in the home (with the paradigm of an urban home being one with a garden on a penthouse of an urban home being one with a garden on a penthouse roof); with fountains in his city squares; and by the vicarious means of movies and museums and the study of the biological sciences.
Then, too,the urban dweller experiences nature in that most recently exploited of all nature's mysteries, sexual activity. It is mere coincidence that the sexual liberation on which our society prides itself has paralleled man's movement to the cities and away from nature's everyday presence? Is the human body not the one guarantee city-dweller possesses (especially if he is poor and cannot escape to the country on weekends) that the mystery of nature's rhythms and tones and swelling and rising and rebirths is still within his grasp? It is not, then, a pernicious and deadening act to moralize heavily about sexual activity before sexuality is grasped as an occasion for the appreciation of the mystery of nature for the urban dweller?
Does one who claims to be interested in the spiritual dare to judge as unspiritual those who seek the mystery of life in human communication expressed in sex? Sex is thus not the mere problem to which state so many would reduce it. It is a mystery as nature is a mystery.
It finds a degree of totality and ultimate experience insofar as it is related to an authentic union with another: a common experience to give and share love. "For many persons it is only, or chiefly, in sexual love that one encounters the category of an end in itself, the category of the sacred. It is from the experience for many, that religious language becomes meaningful again," Michael Novak.
The fact that scientists have begun to "penetrate the secrets of the universe" to a significant degree since Galileo first trained his telescope on the sun in no way of itself reduces nature to a problem. If some scientists sell their soul to consider atomic fission only from the point of view of the problem of war tactics and possibilities, this does not belittle the value of all natural research. Nor does the exploration of the planets, even though the billions it costs may be replacing more fundamental human needs of survival back on home planet. Nor does exploration into the functioning of sexuality such as Masters and Johnston have provided. These researches are antimysterious only to people who see life and nature as a problems and not mysteries.
A problem need not be opposed to mystery. On the contrary, scientific discovery very often increases our awareness of mystery by uncovering new depths to our world. Far from spelling an end to an age of mystery, scientific research open our eyes to the constant and almost overpowering presence of the bigger-than-we-are in our universe. These explorations are neither problem nor mystery, but a possible bridge between both realities-if we want them to be. Who could deny that the look on our planet from the moon increased, rather than diminished, our wonder at the uniqueness of our tenuous planetary existence?
On Becoming a Musical, Mystical Bear by Matthew Fox Paulist Press/Deus Book New York/Mahwah pg. 36-38 ISBN # 0-8091-1913-7