Have you ever been lost? I mean really lost in a place you didn’t know with no one to help you find your way? Maybe it was hiking in the mountains after dark due to a miscalculation or sailing on the ocean or Great Lakes in the fog with no GPS. Then there are those times of being lost because of a divorce, loss of income, retirement, life threatening illness, death of a loved one and countless other ‘out of control’ events.
Do you remember the feelings, thoughts, wonderments, disorientation and fear you experienced during these times? How long did you reflect on them? Did you sense that you were in or out of control? How were you able to be present, to process, to progress, persist and even surrender to the situation? What did you learn about yourself during and after the experiences? Were you able to befriend these spaces within yourself and find a new guidance system? What kind of beneficial effects stayed with you?
Every once in awhile I’ll wake up in a dream and for a few seconds not know who I am, where I am or why I am? When the present day reality finally comes into focus I wonder what it means. Do we live in parallel universes, in a dream world? Is the past, present and future just an illusory perception we continue to live in rather than question? Who are we really? Is life simply a series of events randomly strung together or are there life patterns that govern our thoughts, behaviors, hopes and aspirations? Do you know?
Over the many decades of life I’ve become more and more aware of how much I don’t know. I’ve discovered the only way to really know anything is to know I don’t know. Does this sound strange to you? Think about how many times you’ve made a decision to discover later that it was based on partial knowing. Think of all the times you simply guessed or couldn’t admit you didn’t know. These are culturally conditioned responses that actually hinder our knowing. They’re a cover for our ego’s need to be in control.
Over the years I’ve sat in many decision making groups that required discussions on why, when and how to move forward. I’ve always been surprised at how certain people are about their conclusions and the lack of willingness to listen to others. Imagine being in a group where everyone is intently listening to everyone else with a desire to suspend judgement. Imagine people sitting in a place of not knowing to learn something new. This is a practice we can all engage for greater awareness.
Socrates said that the beginning of wisdom is to know you don’t know because it’s the only way you can know. Do you see the wisdom here? How can two microscopic cells come together in the darkness and nine months later be transformed into a seventy trillion celled human being? How can a hundred year old oak tree grow from a seed inside an acorn shell? How is it possible to bring electricity out of the air into a lightbulb or to send messages through an electronic system around the world in a few seconds?
Knowing “there are no signposts in the sea” people learn navigation skills and other necessary knowings before setting out on a voyage. Knowing there are signposts on the land and within our own mental, emotional, physical and spiritual landscapes, we can cultivate our essential operating systems for ongoing learning and expansion of consciousness. I’m continually amazed at how many of us unconsciously shut down our learning systems once we’ve reached some level of supposed knowing.
If we are to transcend our destructive propensities, limitations and judgements while continuing to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and not knowing; we must learn to put more of what we think we know on an inner shelf for further enlightenment. How often do you observe yourself thinking you know or saying you know when you know you don’t know? This practice is the beginning of wisdom, new meaning, understanding, revelation and loving companion presence that transcends and includes the ego.
So, here we are again in a state of cognitive dissonance because our little ego, false self thinks it already knows what it doesn’t know. However, our Inner Being, True Self knows we’re more fully alive, more creative and more complete when we live in not knowing because it allows us to know more and more in our never ending Infinite Life. If you’re confused, give thanks, you’re starting to get what the Essence of Not Knowing is all about. By the way, where were you before your mother was born? Hmmmm. . . . Not Knowing. . . .That’s what we’re talking about. . . . ya know? ? ?
- The next time you have a discussion with another person see if your can put your supposed knowing on a shelf for further enlightenment. Listen more deeply. Be curious. Ask questions. Look for the not knowing inside your supposed knowing.
- Meditate on the flight of a bird. Simply be with the wonder of it without any thought. Spend some time observing young children exploring their environment. Suspend the judgements you have and practice living into a beginners mind again. What do you notice in this open field of discovery?
- When you’re in a conversation with another person or with your ego self, rest in the depths of your Inner Being, your True Self before speaking. Notice what comes when you start from not knowing. Experiment with your silence being more important than your words. Learn what it means to make your Presence your Product. Hmmm….