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The Only Miracle I Need

  1. Apr 2, 2003 #1
    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.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2003 #2
    Well, considering that you wouldn't be here without it, I think it goes without saying that it's the only one you can't do without...Nice post though. Did you post this on PF2 as well?
  4. Apr 2, 2003 #3
    *Applauds*. Well put, Wu Li.
  5. Apr 2, 2003 #4
    The only miracle I need is a week without pain. I'd even believe in reincarnation if I could get a few years pain-free. Maybe I'm paying the price for being something rotten in a previous life. But I'd be prepared to come back next time as a weasel or a goat if I could have a few years of pain-free bliss.
  6. Apr 2, 2003 #5
    I didn't say existence is the only miracle I want, just the one I absolutely cannot do without. There are countless miracles I would love to see occur and help to achieve, both for myself personally and for all of humanity. Eliminating suffering is certainly high on the list.

    The only miracle I need is a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, but with a deeply serious personal side as well. Being free to laugh at ourselves and the paradoxical situation we all share, as well as taking ourselves and each other seriously is just healthy enlighted self-interest. Having a way to conceptualize and put this into perspective is very grounding.

    Virtue is its own reward,
    to have a friend you must first be a friend.

    R. W. Emerson
  7. Apr 3, 2003 #6
    You know, I much prefer the use of the word "miracle" to describe existence (as opposed to "paradox"). A "miracle" is inexpiclable and amazing, but it doesn't have the added meaning of being self-contradictory.
  8. Apr 3, 2003 #7
    Yeah, other people hate the supernatural connotations of the word Miracle more than the idea of existence being inexplicable in some respects. Can't please everybody, but I keep trying believe it or not.

    Sorry if it bugs you, but that's the whole point. All of this stuff I've written about the paradox of existence and the only miracle I need is just an attempt to explain shamanistic and Asian thought for the rational western mind which tends to assume a biased rational position on everything. Like the Tao Te Ching, I've written this in such a way as to encourage people to argue with the text.

    Eventually you either throw the book across the room, ignore it, or surrender your biases. I've done all that and more with countless versions of the Tao Te Ching. Still, I kept coming back to the book. Just stubborn I guess. :0)
  9. Apr 3, 2003 #8


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    I'm one of them. Using the word miracle to explain our existance is a default stance for a person who believes one all powerfull being created all that there is. You can associate miracle with existance, because in your imagination, there is no paradox, you've already gotten an answer.
  10. Apr 3, 2003 #9
    For me, life is both a miracle and a paradox, an inexplicable miracle. I've learned to trust myself to use such words as "miracle" wisely, and just see where they take me. Among other things, it is an affirmation that my own intellect is not the only thing that matters in my life. Feelings and attitudes are every bit as important and, given the right context, even more important.

    Existence is one such context. Intellectually it has a great deal of potential as something to explore, but emotionally even more so. In fact, due to the contextual, qualitative, and allegorical nature of the paradox, our emotions become the dominant factor in how we might grow in intellectual understanding of existence. :0)
  11. Apr 4, 2003 #10
    The truth of God is without, the whole material universe. The Essence of God is within. Whereas the truth is discerned, and the essence is to be experienced. So why do we go to such great lengths to uncover the truth, when we don't partake of the experience which gives birth to it? We seek the truth in "its effect," but we don't seek the Life which leads to it?

    The Mystery of Life, is also the mystery of conception and birth.
  12. Apr 4, 2003 #11
    Is this a rhetorical question? Note, whether or not the question, "Is this a rhetorical question" is rhetorical itself is a mystery I leave for the individual to ponder (hehe).

    Truth and essence, birth and death, may be one and the same thing in the final analysis: paradox. What you refer to as partaking of the experience is what most call "surrender" and some call "acceptance".

    For many the idea of going somewhere or doing something without having a detailed and justifiable plan and schedule is intimidating to say the least. That inner voice just never shuts up (i.e. chew your food with mouth closed, clean up your room, be good, be nice, do your homework, use your head, etc.) Just relaxing and allowing ourselves to dance and play isn't always easy.

    As children we all play make-believe, but at some point we start to call our pretense "reality" and act on it in a different way. The religious and spiritual have their God(s) and Divinities to accept and surrender to, but for all of us it is most profoundly ourselves and the paradox of our existence that we must surrender to and accept. An all powerful and loving creator is easy to accept in comparison. :0)
  13. Apr 4, 2003 #12
    So does anything ever get past you? I mean what's the deal here?
  14. Apr 4, 2003 #13
    Not often, but exactly how I do it is a secret. :0)
  15. Apr 4, 2003 #14
    Well, Wu Li, actually, a Miracle is - by definition - inexplicable. This means that you need not call it a paradoxical miracle, as it is inexplicable as it is.
  16. Apr 4, 2003 #15
    Miracles aren't necessarilly inexplicable, they can just be rather remarkable and extraodinary. For example, the miracle of the ninteen year old woman recently saved from the Iraqi torturers. Of course, you can argue that this wasn't a genuine miracle, just a stroke of luck, but I'm sure the young woman and her familly would disagree. :0)
  17. Apr 4, 2003 #16
    You're right, a miracle is basically just an event that is extraordinary. And existence definitely fits this criteria.

    BTW, I don't think that this particular miracle (existence) is unexplainable, merely unexplained, but I do agree that it doesn't matter whether it can or cannot be explained - people should stop and marvel at the miracle itself.
  18. Apr 4, 2003 #17
    I agree, existence might have some kind of rational explanation. But for the life of me I can't begin to imagine what it might be and I can't see how it would matter anyway. As you say, it'd still be a miracle and appreciating and accepting the miracle would still be an important aspect of our humanity. :0)
  19. Apr 5, 2003 #18
    I think the real shame is that a lot of people cannot allow themselves to appreciate the miracle, without first attempting to understand the cause.
  20. Apr 5, 2003 #19
    Testing my Avatar

    If I have a custom Avatar to the left of this posting, that will truly be a MIRACLE.
  21. Apr 7, 2003 #20
    Re: Testing my Avatar

    But not as great a miracle as that of your existence. Without the latter, the former cannot exist. However, the latter (the miracle of your existence) does not depend on the former (the custom avatar "miracle").
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