I am sitting here thinking about you. Wondering what you are going through, how your day has been, if you know that you are important. Each week, in some small way, we try to share a message that might cheer you, inspire you, or confront you in an effort to awaken your heart to the Goodness that is all around you. I don’t know about you but I have had about enough of the drama and chaos that is this modern life. It is exhausting to me and pulls me toward negativity. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the pace and the demands of today and lose sight of the wonder and beauty right in front of us. We have to train ourselves to see the Good. We also have to allow ourselves to relax our grip on the throat of life or we will be pulled around behind it like a run-away horse.
I was having a conversation with a cherished friend recently and this topic came up: “not knowing.” She immediately reacted to the idea saying “Oh, you should write about that – I hate not knowing!” It’s true most of us feel the need to have the answers, to know what we are talking about, to be sure about it all. I have recently seen a shift where people will aggressively defend their political, spiritual, or social opinion to the death – losing friends and purposefully offending people to stand for what they “KNOW.” I suspect many of these people actually have (like most of us) a rather narrow, naturally biased view (liberal or conservative, spiritual or non) and they cannot possibly know everything there is to know about the topic they are addressing. So how can they be so adamant? How can they be willing to dismiss anyone who disagrees with them? We have become a people who feel too vulnerable to admit to ourselves, “I don’t know everything.”
It takes courage these days to say “I don’t know.” It takes humility to be Ok with the “not knowing.” It requires bravery to release our death grip on life. We want to “know” because it makes us feel like we have control over our world. Not knowing is too risky. It comforts our ego to think we know. But in reality, how much do any of us really know for certain about anything? Think about it. Our political world is so littered with lies, deceit, and exaggeration it is unlikely anyone knows the total truth about any one topic. In our spiritual lives we can only know what is true for us. Another person’s path may be very different than yours. Do you want them judging you? Humility says, “This is what I believe to be true but your journey may be different than mine.” Just because someone thinks or believes differently than you do does not challenge or negate your position. And let’s be honest, how many things have you believed to be true that later you felt differently about?
We have to allow people the freedom to discover the truth about things for themselves, and we have to allow OURSELVES that same freedom. Look deeply into your heart – how many things do you truly know for certain? Probably only a few. The rest is changing and evolving as you grow and deepen. There is a freedom and a beauty in “knowing that you don’t know.” It feels scary to many because being stiff and sure feels safer, but what do we learn from trees? A healthy tree bends with the wind. Its roots grow stronger and it survives because it is willing and able to flex – to not know which way it will be pushed or pulled next. The person who has to know, who has to have it all figured out is like a stiff dead tree that is easily pushed down by heavy winds. It cannot flex and bend to survive.
As parents we want to know what is best for our children, but what a burden to believe we must get it all right. All we can give them is the best we know at any moment. As spouses, we often believe we know better than each other, we think we have some inside knowledge that makes us superior to our spouse, but do we? As employees we feel the pressure to know it all, but there is wisdom in knowing our own limits and acknowledging what we don’t know. It is safe and wise to know that you don’t know. It is humility to admit it. It is very popular right now to have an obnoxious overbearing opinion about things (see Facebook). Everyone seems to have it all figured out. My question is this… How would it be if we just settle down and listened, what if we just give ourselves a break and got comfortable with not having to know what is best for everybody and everything?
You can either be the all-knowing person in a small and limited world that you hold in your hands and you control, knowing what “is and isn’t,” or you can be a humble person in a vast and unknowable universe who accepts that no one person can know all the mysteries of this life… so you let it flow freely in front of you. You stand on the bank of life in awe and wonder – knowing only that it is so intricately marvelous and full of mystery that only a fool would say “I know.”
Goodness says identify the few things that you know absolutely and be Ok with not knowing the rest. It will allow you the freedom to grow and change just as nature does. If you do not know something fully and completely then it is just your opinion. Hold it loosely and you will thrive. Hold it too tight and the life will drain out of you as you become stiff and inflexible. It is Ok to not have all the answers.
Goodness wants to help you get comfortable with not having all the answers. It's a better way to live.