Chapter 6: Wonder and Awe
You talk so often of wonder and of love. How is being in a state of awe and childlike innocence related to being in a state of love?
Wonder and awe are the greatest spiritual qualities. Wonder means you function from a state of not knowing. The knowledgeable person never feels wonder; he is incapable of feeling wonder because he thinks he already knows. He knows all the stupid answers, he may know the whole Encyclopedia Britannica; hence every question is already answered in his mind. When a question is such that there is no answer to it, that it is unanswerable not only today, but forever; not that it is unknown, but it is unknowable. When one encounters the unknowable, unanswerable, one experiences wonder. One is in a state of awe, as if the heart stops beating, as if you don’t breathe for a moment.
The experience of wonder is such that everything stops. The whole world stops; time stops, mind stops, the ego stops. For a moment you are again a child, wondering about the butterflies and the flowers and the trees and the pebbles on the shore, and the seashells - wondering about everything, you are a child again.
And when you can wonder and can feel the immense beauty of existence which can only be felt in awe, when suddenly you are possessed by existence, overwhelmed, you can dance, you can celebrate that moment, you can say “Aha!” and you don’t know anything else to say, no word, just an exclamation point.!
The knowledgeable person lives with a question mark and the man of awe and wonder lives with an exclamation mark. Everything is so tremendously deep and profound that it is impossible to know it. Knowledge is impossible. When this is experienced then your whole energy takes a jump, a quantum leap, from the mind to the heart, from knowing to feeling. When there is no possibility of knowing, your energy does not move in that direction anymore.
When you have realized that there is no possibility of knowing, that the mystery is going to remain a mystery, that it cannot be demystified, your energy starts moving in a new direction: the direction of the heart. That’s why I say love is related to wonder and awe, to childlike innocence. When you are not obsessed with knowledge you become loving. Knowledgeable people are not loving, heady people are not loving; even if they love, they only think that they love. Their love also comes via their heads. And passing through the head, love loses all its beauty, it becomes ugly. The heady people are calculating; arithmetic is their way.
Love is jumping into a dangerously alive existence with no calculation. The head says, “Think before you jump,” and the heart says, “Jump before you think.” Their ways are diametrically opposite.