Everybody asks this one way or another, at one time or another, and tries to answer it. Life is a rat race, we say, or a bed of roses, or not a bed of roses; or it is a battle to the death, a pain in the neck. This is the language of poetry too. Life is the flight of a bird that swoops out of the darkness of night into the great fire-lit hall of a castle. He wings his way wildly, batting against the walls, the ceiling, until finally he finds a window, then out into the darkness again.
Life is what we would be dead without. Life is what we are. Life is our little portion of Being itself. But that is only to define one mystery in terms of another. You and I and the most distant star and the dragon’s fly wing and the rustle of leaves as they fall-these all have one thing in common, which is that they all are, we all are, part of Being.
What is Being?
Think of this world. Think of the great globe itself, the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, and all the people of this world. Then take it all away…. Think of the universe itself. Then take away all of the planets and the stars, take away space itself and take away time. What is left? All that one might say is left is the absence of all these things. Now take away this absence. Nothing is left. Non-Being. So Being is what we have instead of this. Your Being and mine, the Being of our world and of all the unseen worlds. This is the great miracle. That Being is? It might have not been. Where did it come from? Why?
We are not asking a scientific question now, and if I tried to give a scientific answer, if I started talking in terms of the Big Bang theory… if in other words, I tried to tell in the language of science how everything got started, I would leave you still unsatisfied because even if I could prove my theory to be true, your question would go deeper than my answer. It asks not what the process by which Being came to be, but what is the purpose. Not how was it created, but why was it created. Who created it? Because that is the way in which both poetry and religion finally ask it. Who?
If anyone says that is a pointless question because there is no way of arriving at a definite answer, all one can reply is that, be that as it may, one cannot help asking it even so, if only because life keeps asking it of us.