Are You Open to Vermiculite’s Mystery?

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11Vermiculite is the lightest rock on the planet. In fact, you can easily crush it; it feels like a chick of balsa wood. And because of its spongy consistency, this rock is often added to potting mixes – its honeycomb structure allows the soil to hold moisture.
I know about vermiculite because my father and my father’s father were in the garden supply industry.
My father once asked a scientist he met who was studying vermiculite, “Why are you studying vermiculite?”
The scientist replied, “I don’t know. That’s why I’m studying it.”
Good answer, huh? If he knew what he was going to find, he’d have no reason to search.
Our sense of inquiry, the feeling of “I don’t know,” is what drives us to search for answers in life – whether it’s through the study of rocks or something else. When we’re open to possibilities, we can learn. When we’re closed off, we can’t learn anything.
We don’t learn and grow unless we get out there and take a risk. We can’t grow without being a little uncomfortable and going into things that are new.
Most of the time, we attempt (or pretend) to be content with what we know. We pretend to be certain. (I often quip to my students, “Certainty means you are certain, not that you are right.”) We do this, in part, because living in or through the discomfort of uncertainty is not comfortable. (That’s why we call it dis-comfort.)
As Voltaire wrote: “Uncertainty is an comfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”
William G.T. Shedd is attributed to having said:
“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” We like safety, but that is not what life is about. That’s what prison is about.
Maybe the world is different from how you’ve decided it is? Maybe what you were so “certain” of isn’t actually true?
The above is a BIG maybe. But it’s worth considering – that maybe the world isn’t as fixed as you like to pretend it is?
Rumi wrote
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.”
This week’s spiritual-religious advice:
Take a chance. Open yourself up to new experiences. Search for the answer to a question that intrigues you.
With love,
rabbi_brian_name_written

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