You are on page 1of 2

121688 Into the Unknown January 24, 2011

We are always in a continuous search for meaning. Travelling has been a constant activity of the
human being since the dawn of history starting from nomadic tribes, to the Age of Discovery, and to the
migrating from place to place. When we travel, we meet new people, and see new places. There are
many people that we meet depending on where we travel. If we travel to America, we meet Americans
who posses a distinct identity; If we travel to France, we meet French who posses another distinct
identity. We see unfamiliar places - cobblestone pavements and narrow alleys. When we travel, we have
to get rid of prejudice and welcome the new things that are to come.
These experiences provide meaning into travel. It is not our picture with the Taj Mahal that our
travelling roots into. It is the conversing with locals, learning a few phrases, tasting the local delicacies,
and admiring the beauty that the place offers that our travelling leans on. These experiences prove to be
facets for the meaning that we seek.
Alfred North argues Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are
surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of life is to grasp as much as we can out of
that infinitude.
1
Our relationship with the mystery of life ebbs and flows because as humans, we are a
little less than angels,
2
and our goal is to explore both the spiritual world and the earthly world where each
of our feet is bounded respectively. The exploration of the earthly world is exhaustible and finite while the
exploration of the spiritual world is not. We may travel to a particular place several times, but each time
we go back there we submit ourselves to another experience that is new. We subject ourselves to the
different changes that have occurred over time. The more we explore, the more we realize that we have
only explored very little since the mystery is always inexhaustible. When we are conscious of this inability
to grasp the entirety of the mystery, we feel as if it is hiding from us the ebb in our relationship. And this
hiding evokes our longing and results now in the flow of the mystery once again the mystery showing
itself to us.
3

Travellers are often viewed as people who dont really settle down in one place or another. They keep
on travelling as if each place they find, they leave it as soon as they can, leaving behind many
experiences. However, this does not say that these travellers do not have a home. I believe that to
poetically dwell doesnt mean to construct a mere house for settlement and domestic activities, but to
construct a home. No one truly dwells who lives as if he could move again at any moment. But at the
same time no one truly dwells who lives as if he were going to dwell forever and ever exactly where he
is.
4
It requires stepping out from your comfort zone and making room for the unknown.
5
It is perhaps

1
Justin Badion, Hadnout 1 on Theology 1-9
2
Psalm 8:5
3
John S. Dunne, The Music of Time, in The Music of Time: Words and Music and Spiritual Friendship
(Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1996), 1-7
4
Holger Zaborowski, Towards a Phenomenology of Dwelling, Communio 32 (2005): 492-516
5
Terry Veling, To Dwell Poetically in the World, in Practical Theology: On Earth as It Is in Heaven
(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 2005), 194-214
similar to travelling, wherein you have to get rid of what is familiar to you and immerse yourself in the new
culture in front of you.
Poetic dwelling also entails appreciation and humility. You dwell poetically when you enjoy every step
you take in the journey and appreciating up to the simplest of things. As Einstein echoed Lessings words
the aspiration to the truth is more precious than its assured possession.
6
Even when youre on your way
to a destination, you already begin to enjoy the act of travelling. Maybe perhaps because you are
accompanied by good music from your travel playlist, you see beautiful scenery, or you are in the
company of your friends, or family.
I think that at the very core of the mystery of life is God. Reading, or travelling, for this case, shows to
the world our need for company. We pursue this continuous cycle of ebb and flow; we traverse this road
that goes on and on because we need to know that we are not alone and that something greater than
ourselves is there for us.
7
John S. Dunne argues that there is also ebb and flow in our relationship with
God.
8
There may be times when we feel as if God has withdrawn himself from us, and there are also
times when we feel Gods grace is overflowing within us.
God, being the mystery of life, moves us to continuously search for meaning. It is our eternal purpose
to find a dwelling place and to reconnect ourselves with Him.
9
However, whatever we do, we can never
fully grasp the mystery of life. We can only grab parts of this mystery parts of the infinite whole. For if
the mystery allows itself to be fully grasped and disclosed, it ceases to be a mystery and the purpose of
human life would then be forfeited. As stated in Genesis 2:15, the Law of Life is not to eat from the fruit of
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10
And if we eat it, we acquire knowledge unjustly and
untruthfully that leads to no genuine experience. Hence, we die in the act of closing our doors to the
mystery, destroying the very essence of our humanity which is to continually search for meaning
through experiencing the ebb and flow of the mystery of life.

Word Count (1,030)





6
John S. Dune, The Music of Time, in The Music of Time: Words and Music and Spiritual Friendship
(Notre Dame, IN: Orbis Books, 2005), 194-214

7
Ibid.

8
Ibid.

9
Justin Badion, Handout 4 on Mystic Imagination, 1-22

10
Genesis 8:5