People sometimes ask me where the paradox of existence came from and I tell them I can’t say, but I can say with confidence, “Existence is the only miracle I need.” So extraordinary an event is existence that to call it less than miraculous seems silly to say the least. Miraculous not necessarily in the sense of the supernatural or something wonderful, but at least in the sense that existence is indeed an extraordinary, inexplicable, and unparalleled event in everyone’s life. There may be more miracles waiting out there for each of us, but existence is the only one I absolutely cannot do without, here and now, the one miracle we all share as brothers and sisters, and the one miracle that undeniably makes all others possible. The miracle is not something I have had to learn or cultivate an appreciation for. I’ve always known it was miraculous and appreciated it in its splendor. As a child the birds in the trees seemed to sing and play with me just for the sake of expressing their joy at the miracle we shared. By adulthood we all learn how to be more serious and deny the miracle, but the child we once were and the miracle both persist nonetheless. At times it can feel safer for us to think of the paradox of existence as decidedly not miraculous in the sense of wonderful. Some see existence as a bleak struggle they would often rather do without, while others see it as neither wonderful nor bleak, but instead, something neutral and uninspiring. Just as little children quickly learn to avoid touching hot stoves and being ridiculed, we all learn to systematically avoid certain positive and negative associations as a way to protect ourselves from our own feelings which can at times seem to betray us. Inevitably words such as “miraculous”, “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, “I’m angry”, etc. do not come so easy for most of us, any more than deliberately touching a hot stove or inviting scorn and derision does. Like anything else that can present specific context by limiting other contexts, our acquired habits and the contrived feelings that accompany them distract and inhibit us from allowing ourselves to experience the miracle of existence as it presents itself to us anew from one moment to the next and one context to the next. We may lament the loss, but we continue to use our protective habits nonetheless until persuaded otherwise. Both the process of limiting and reclaiming many of these contexts and relationships can be is as personal and unique for each of us as anything else in our lives. It can be as simple and effortless as taking our next breath or more complex and difficult than rocket science. However, it follows a predictable pattern when it is predictable at all. When the Way is lost, There remains harmony; When harmony is lost, there remains love; When love is lost, there remains justice; And when justice is lost, there remains ritual. Ritual is the end of compassion and honesty, The beginning of confusion; Belief is a colorful hope or fear, The beginning of folly.