At some point in our lives, we all get captivated by something that we could never explain. Someone might seduce our attention so much that in order to alleviate the tension we must capture the seducer. Or perhaps, something might enchant our spirits so much that in order to become dispirited again we must chant to its glory.
There once lived a man whose attention was fully captivated by someone who was also something. This man became fascinated by the smile of Mona Lisa.
The curious man lived his whole life enchanted by the painting of the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. If there was one thing greater than her beauty in this world, it had to be her smile. Lisa’s smile was so dear and mysterious to this curious man that his whole life he sought to find the answers behind the beauty of her smile.
During the day, this man ventured into museums to see the painting that smiled at him. At night, he dreamt about the mystery that hunted him during the day. He saw the painting thousands of times. He consulted with experts who had analyzed the painting, he talked with people that knew the painter, but they all gave him conflicting opinions and no real answers.
His whole life this curious man sought answers to explain the mysterious smile, but answers he found not.
He sought answers his whole life but this was a question that could only be answered through death. On his deathbed, before departing from life, his only dying wish was to resolve the mystery of Lisa’s smile.
What a man couldn’t find in life, he had to find through death. Once the curious man died, he went to the heavens. As an angel, he mingled with other angels, looking for Lisa and her smile. Such an angelic smile had to be in the heavens, he thought.
One day, while causality bathing in the heavenly sunlight, he spotted the white angelic face of Lisa. On her face, he saw the smile that haunted him his whole life. He was delighted to finally see the smiling face that brought joy to his life. This curious man approached the woman that he admired his whole life, and with a tremor in his voice, the man said…
“My beholden angel, I have sought my whole life to see your angelic face. Now that I see it, I can’t believe my own eyes. Your smile is even more beautiful here in heavens than how I remember it down on Earth.”
Lisa smiled gently at the curious man. It wasn’t the first time that she was approached by angels in the heavens. Her smile was her biggest blessing and her biggest curse. It attracted all the angels of the heavens.
“My dear lady,” said the curious man “I wish to know the mystery behind your smile. Could you tell me why you smiled while da Vinci was painting your face? If you answer my quest, my spirit will finally be at peace, and I will be forever beholden to your grace.”
Lisa smiled gracefully at the curious man.
“I wish that I could answer your question”, said Lisa, “but how can I express my feelings with words? Behind my smile lay hidden the totality of my life experiences. Behind my smile are contained feelings that can never be put into words. I smiled because I loved my husband, I loved my life, and I loved thyself. But how could you understand my love, my smile, and my life if you never lived my life?”
The curious man saw the honesty that came out of the mouth of the divine smile that he admired so much. He was so near to getting the answer, but yet he couldn’t grasp the mystery behind the greatest smile.
Lisa saw the desperation on the man’s face. Wishing to help the lost angel, she said…
“Don’t despair my angel. I’ll tell you what – follow the light that goes to the west. There you will meet Leonardo Da Vinci, the man who painted me and my smile. Perhaps he can answer your mystery. He was the genius painter that created my smile, so he surely knows the answer.”
The curious man cheered up. He thanked beautiful Lisa for her directions and continued to seek the answers that troubled him. As he went west, he spotted a man who was painting angels in the sky. Convinced that he had found da Vinci, the curious angel stopped to rest from his long journey. After a few timeless moments, he saw an opportunity to pose a question to the famous painter who always painted white angelic faces.
“Noble artist, I have found great delight in the works of your creation. Your creations have brought much joy to my spirit. But there is one of your creations that has fully captivated my soul. The smile of the Mona Lisa has confined me into captivity my whole life. To escape my confinement, I must learn the mystery behind the smile you have painted. I have come now here, before you, to unravel the mystery of the smile that you created.”
Da Vinci saw the troubled curious man. In sympathy to a fellow angel, he decided to share his wisdom on how and why he created his most famous painting. For the first time in the history of the heavens, he decided to tell another soul the secret behind his masterpiece.
“You have come to the right place,” said da Vinci. “I have created the painting of Lisa. Only he who creates understands the reasons for his creation. I have worked for years on the painting of Mona Lisa because I wanted to show the world the true beauty that exists within it. Everything that I learned about humanity, I wanted to place in a single frame that stands for all eternity.”
“In that single frame, I painted everything I knew about the beauty of human emotions. In a desolate land, I painted a lone beautiful woman that gazes at the viewer. Everything that meant being a human, I placed in that single painting. The greatest part of being a human is the mystery, the mystery that despite all the suffering and misery in the world, a human could still smile.”
“Now you understand the reasons behind the mysterious smile. But even though you understand the reasons for the mystery, my angel, you will never know the full mystery why a human smiles.”
These words crushed the crumbling spirit of the curious man. Angels never cried, but this curious angel felt like crying. Was he forever doomed to live in ignorance of his greatest quest? Was he forever supposed to live in the darkness of not knowing?
Da Vinci saw the disgruntled man and decided to share more of his kindness.
“Tell you what,” said Da Vinci. “Follow the light that goes up above the heavens. There you will find the wise God, the Creator of all that is. He surely knows the mystery behind a human smile.”
The curious man cheered up again. He had a final clue on his path to liberation. This clue seemed most promising. Thus, the curious man ventured upwards to see the all-knowing God. While following the light, eventually he reached the kingdom of God.
The curious angel saw the wise God, sitting on his throne. As he was thinking about how to ask God about Lisa’s smile, he heard the Word of God.
“I know why you are here, my angel. You are seeking to understand the mystery behind the smile of Lisa.”
“That is right, my Almighty God.”
“I am the one that knows everything. I know all the mysteries of the world and all the secrets of the heavens. I know the mystery you seek to demystify.” said God.
“Finally, I have found the One to tell me the answer I have sought my whole life,” said the relieved angel. “Please tell me, my dear God, why did Lisa smile so mysteriously?”
“Mysteries will forever remain a mystery to those who can’t know everything. All mortals live in the mystery of my creation. Only I, the great Creator, know the secrets behind all that is mysterious. The only way to fully understand the mystery, my angel is to become God. Only when you become me, you will know the mystery behind the human smile.”
“My God, you mean that one day I can become a God?” asked the angel.
“Yes, my child. All angels one day become God. One day we all become One.”
The curious angel looked at the light of God which was shining on his being. In the light, he saw his own reflection. In the reflection, for the first time in his life, he saw the smile of Mona Lisa on his own face. For the first time, the curious man smiled the way Lisa smiled. For the last time in his life, he smiled with the smile that da Vinchi painted.
At that moment, the mysterious smile was no longer a mystery and the angel was no longer an angel. In that moment of reflection, the angel realized he was the Word, he himself was the painter that painted the most famous smile in the world, he was the One who smiled at himself in order to understand the mystery of the human smile.
The angel became God and finally understood the greatest mystery in the world. The mystery of Lisa’s smile was his path to becoming God.