Dennis Merritt Jones was the founder and spiritual director of the Center for Spiritual Living in Simi Valley, California, for 23 years. He retired from the pulpit in 2008 to take his message to the world by means of his books, spiritual mentoring, keynote speaking, consulting, and seminars. He is the author of The Art of Being: 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life.
Mystery is one of the most important spiritual practices yet many people have trouble with the idea of "I don't know." They have grown used to the idea that thinking and reason can solve all our problems. But as these economically insecure times have taught us, uncertainty is the path we all must travel. The future we planned has vanished, and we are all forced to compromise and improvise our days and our dreams.
"Learning how to live in the mystery of life, and love it, is the journey of a lifetime," writes Jones. In the 14 chapters of this paperback, he challenges us to explore different dimensions of the mystery of life. Each chapter ends with a mindfulness practice related to the overarching theme of dealing with uncertainty.
How do we open ourselves to the mystery of life? The spiritual practice of wonder is one way; choice, faith, and action are other avenues. Fear and the illusion of control are obstacles to an acceptance of an "I don't know" way of living. Since change and impermanence are givens, it makes good spiritual sense to be wise about timing and letting go. It also helps to develop patience and persistence.
Jones has this to say about a controversial attitude:
"As you deepen your understanding of the principle of abundance and its availability to you, it will make the edge of uncertainty a much more comfortable place to be, especially if you have to live there for any extended time. 'Man was born to be rich, or grow rich by use of his faculties, by the union of thought with nature.' — Ralph Waldo Emerson."
In the final chapters, Jones points out the importance of vision, attention, intention and memory for making the mysterious meaningful. The world is drenched in mystery and no matter what we do, we can never cut through it all and grab hold of the answer, the one explanation. Jones helps us to see this afresh and to make the most of the uncertainties of life.