The possibilities of becoming in a universe of wonder

‘See ever so far … there is limitless space outside of that,
Count ever so much … there is limitless time around that.’*
(Walt Whitman)

“Without us here to notice, the universe is just pointless physics unfolding.”**
(“Cormac Wallace”)

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ron Weasley has to ask of Hermione when she’s saying it’s fun breaking the rules, “Who are you and what have you done with Hermione Grainger?”

It’s a question about who we think we are and who we are capable of becoming.  And it’s a questions, as Maria helps us to see, that demands our honesty because:

‘the unquestioned confines us to smaller and smaller compartments of ourselves’.^

The best questions enlarge our worlds, connecting us with the wonder both around and within us, and the possibilities for what life can become. Popova quotes John O’Donohue from a conversation he had in 1997 with John Quinn:

“One of the most exciting and energetic forms of thought is the question.  I always think that the question is like a lantern.  It illuminates new landscapes and new areas as it moves.  Therefore, the question always assumes that there are many different dimensions to a thought that you are either blind to or that are not available to you.  bSo a question is really one of the forms in which wonder expresses itself.  One of the reasons that we wonder is because we are limited, and that limitation is one of the great gateways to wonder.”^^

The best questions are capable of opening the mind, the heart and the will – to be nothing less than present:

“Take me down to the spring of my life, and tell me my nature and my name.”*^

But there’re also bad questions, and they can be closing and limiting and destructive, leading to absencing:

“All thinking that is imbued with wonder is graceful and gracious thinking … And thought, if it’s not open to wonder, can be limiting, destructive and very, very dangerous.”^^

Mary Alice Arthur writes about what happens when listening rather than speaking takes the lead:

‘I’ve seen things dramatically shift when participants realised we were moving away from keynote speakers to keynote listeners, and they were being asked to become sensemakers themselves.’^*

We simply have no idea of just how much we are capable of growing and becoming in such a universe as the one we find ourselves in, one in which we are each invited to become more and more present.  Our next move will involve honesty about where we are and where we are moving to; we can only begin here:

‘The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath our feet.’⁺

(*From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.)
(**Daniel Wilson’s protagonist Cormac Wallace in Robogenesis.)
(From Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: A Gentle Corrective for the Epidemic of Politics Turning Us On Each Other and Ourselves.)
(^^John O’Donohue, quoted in Popova’s Brain Pickings: A Gentle Corrective for the Epidemic of Politics Turning Us On Each Other and Ourselves.)
(*^George Appleton, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(^*From Drawn Together Through Visual Practice.)
(⁺From Geoff Nicholson’s The Lost Art of Walking.)

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