"All these mysteries shape what it means to be alive, to be human. We cannot explain our very existence, our births or our deaths, our capacities to suffer or love or create, our common recognition of the demands of justice, or the gift of mercy. Yet we cannot imagine life without these realities either. The mysteries of life represent the frontier where the sensibility of our lives shades off into areas we cannot control, cannot comprehend, and cannot manage or contain. Faced with the mysteries of life, we become vulnerable, undefended, open to the marvels that can fill us with the liberating uncertainty of wonder. And even though we live in a world that tries to manage or at least contain the mysteries — hiding birth and death away, medicating the suffering, putting creative folks on pedestals, and settling for a legal system that reduces ethics to a conflict between competing interests — despite all our efforts to control every aspect of our lives, the mysteries are never very far away. They crop up when we least expect them — when we meet someone new and fall in love, when an old friend dies suddenly, when a sudden flash of inspiration leads to the creation of an artistic masterpiece. We never know — literally from one moment to the next — when the mysteries will crack our safely constructed lives wide open. And we never know whether they will fill us with joy or with pain. But they always fill us with wonder.

"To mystics, the mysteries of life are our teachers. It's no accident that mysticism and mysteries are such closely related words, both evolving from the same Greek root. What makes something a mystery is that it is hidden from the peering, penetrating efforts of the human mind to analyze, categorize, and understand everything. Mysteries defy any kind of mental classification. They point to an inscrutable reality that is beyond our mental or physical grasp."