I of all men know that I know nothing.
"Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing."
~ Helen Keller
You may be wondering whether, in the face of global warming and drastic climate change, we will collectively make it.
You may not see how humanity can possibly overcome these challenges, even though it came through the worst conflict imaginable, ending in the detonation in Japan of two atomic bombs…World War II.
If you are like most of us, you enjoy all your creature comforts and like to keep risk to an absolute minimum.
You might also like to take things on face value, and never question anything. You may also accept the evidence of the senses as absolutely true, even though, as magicians easily demonstrate, they can be highly misleading.
Uncertainty is, indeed, uncomfortable, but also exhilarating.
We are never so much alive as when we continually deal with elements of surprise, such as in a Superbowl championship or a blockbuster movie like the latest Star Wars. Uncertainty is the foundation of discovery in the sciences and the inspiration for creativity in the arts.
To be uncertain is never a reflection on you, but evidence of your humanity.
If we are totally honest with ourselves, we can never be totally certain about anything except for the very next breath we take in. The key is to see uncertainty as an opportunity to grow and learn something new.
If you had everything all figured out all the time, you would be totally bored.
Surprise is the spice of life!
You may have met the local party bore that has a ready-made answer for everything and is constitutionally incapable of probing anything.
Chances are that he is not the life of the party, even if he graduated from Harvard. Mystery moves life forward. The sciences are developed as much by researchers who disprove as prove.
The truth is that know-it-all’s often don’t know that they don’t know.
They are the most vulnerable people on earth. Nothing better sets up a man or woman for a fall as presumption that he is on top of everything. We need only think of recent Presidential candidates who operated off their pretenses, but were quickly brought down by zealous reporters.
To know nothing, as in the case of Socrates, is a revelation. We see that this is, indeed, the case for doctoral and post-doctoral students that spend years learning more and more about less and less.
When they really look at humanity’s accumulated knowledge on the granular level, they find more questions than answers. Only then is the scholar ready to make a major contribution to a particular discipline, such as history. We can think of the recent brilliant interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as a self-portrait.
We may encounter uncertainty in the face of deep personal issues. We have a hard time figuring out if a prospective life partner is right for us. We make endless lists, pro and con—all to no avail. We soon realize that there are far too many variables for us to rationally solve the puzzle it presents.
Often the key is to be willing to NOT KNOW!
For example, if we really knew the answer to global warming, we would most certainly implement it. If we knew for certain just who was to be our life partner, we would propose to her on our very first date. But we don’t know.
At some point, we realize that this is a natural process. What we already know is a barrier to learning anything knew.
It locks us up in a sterile belief system. When we let go, even if just for a moment, exciting new possibilities emerge. Our intuition, like a dormant muscle, springs into action and gives us vital clues as to which way we should move.
When we apply this to the spiritual dimension, we often find that the religion in which we grew up with is strangely unsatisfactory.
We are supplied with doctrines and dogma, a fixed belief system that leaves little or no room for exploring. We were left with a superficial sense of certainty. Deep inside, we were plagued by doubts. We hadn’t yet passed through the crucible of experience to the other side.
As we grow up, we move through an active period of questioning everything, in which we become more fully engaged with life.
We start thinking and acting for ourselves. We revisit old beliefs and convictions, and understand them in a whole new way. This happened to me with Christianity. When I plunged into Eastern religion and philosophy, the hidden truth behind my own childhood faith took center stage.
Living faith is completely different from an arbitrary set of prefabricated beliefs that you accept unconditionally. Living faith is based on actual experience.
Related Article: Your Perception of Life Is Holding You Back
Just like running a scientific experiment in the laboratory, we study phenomena to see what actually works. We eventually learn to trust the Universe, as well as Whom and What we call “God.” As the great reformer, Martin Luther put it, “The just shall live by faith.”
In contemporary urban society, we tend to rely primarily on formal education, including a whole lot of fact gathering isolated from actual experience. We are encouraged to build theories in academia, as well as figure everything out in our personal lives.
We may be completely fooled into being imperturbably rational about everything. Fortunately for most of us, romantic love awakens us and brings us back to life.
As we move our center from head to heart, we begin to listen closely to our feelings, as well as our hunches about people and things. We might vote for the candidate we intuitively trust, despite what the various media pundits or the glitzy political ads coax us to believe.
As we gain experience, we often realize that our heart is more reliable than our head when it comes to making personal decisions.
Finally, we may awaken to the need to move from heart to hands.
For example, we may gain a daring new vision of Supreme Being that deeply inspires us, even transforming the quality of our lives. However, the process will never be complete until we start to share this any way we can.
One need only think of Dr. Deepak Chopra, who was opened up to the inner dimension by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Deepak went on to work harder than his guru, spending as much time in the air traveling place to place as on the ground. Today, he is one of the best known, and most revered, spiritual teachers alive.
Uncertainty is your golden ticket to a thrilling new life once you open up your heart to its full potential. Reach out and trust the Universe.
It has brought you to this place so that you can look and see what needs to be said, and start saying it.