When reason tries to formulate a consistent system of thought there’s always a non-rational element that won’t fit the system. This is the nature of human thought. A religious world view makes room for what doesn’t fit. It allows for Mystery. It makes room for a “more.”
The religious world view says there’s more to life than meets the eye. There’s more to life than can be explained with our five senses. Throughout the ages the intuition of our ancestors has acknowledged transcendence. And paradox is the mystics’ ticket to transcendence.
Paradox moves beyond the limitations of reason into the realm of intuition. It is amazing how much we rely on intuition, but how little we acknowledge it. It is often small turns of events based on intuition that most change the course of history. For instance, if a timely book decrying anti-Semitism had come out before Hitler’s rise to power it may have tipped popular sentiment against him. There’s no way of knowing. But, history hinges on relatively insignificant events such as the impulse to write a book.
Intuition isn’t a light bulb that goes off inside our heads. It’s a flickering candle that reason can easily snuff out. The Early Mystics fan the flicker into an enduring flame, then set the flame in the center of the circle.
The age of rationalism discounts intuition. It encourages us to separate everything out—to delineate our thought. The timeline is the classic example. We think historically. We’re always reverting to the past or setting goals for the future. Everything we do is headed somewhere along a trajectory. We miss the ironies under our noses—that out of nothing came something and we’re part of that mystery, which can be found nowhere outside of now! When we drink in the mystery long enough, we come alive, we become like children, we regain our sense of humor, our pulse quickens, our eyes widen.
We’re hardwired for reason and intuition, for science and God, for technical knowledge and sacred wisdom. The two are categorically different, yet complement each other.