The Dalai Lama is famous for answering the deep questions people throw at him by saying, “I don’t know,” and then laughing uproariously. He’s completely at ease with his not knowing. Wise fellow.
Recently I had a few dates with someone. It’s the first woman I asked out since the ending of a ten year relationship a year and a half ago, unless I count the few dates I had six months out, which served the mighty purpose of reminding me that I was not remotely ready to date.
I shared the news with a close friend, and he asked me, “What’s your intuition say? Do you have a sense if this could become long term?”
Interesting question. My answer? Three words:
“I don’t know.”
Upon hindsight, I would have liked to laugh uproariously and then add: “It’s really none of my business. When a movie is beginning, I don’t want my intuition to whisper what will happen in the middle or the end of the movie. I want to let let the story unfold. And by the way, I have a wee bit of trouble hearing a still, small voice when gonads and romantic possibilities are at play.”
My ego wants instant soulmate connection, just add water, but instant anything is like junk food thrown in a microwave… it may feel and taste hot and great going down, but when it is digested, assuming it is digestible, is it really good for you in the long run? I think there is something to the art of dating….practicing restraint, practicing holding onto yourself, getting comfortable with the not knowing.
My experience of not knowing was all pervading in college. I did not declare a major. There was a label for people like me. Undecided. I did not like that. It made me squirm. I was feeling so much PRESSURE to decide, pressure from my peers, professors, and especially my parents. Here I was seventeen years of age, and supposedly all set to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and commit to it. After giving it a college try for two years I decided to take a break from school and major in having life experiences, making huge mistakes, and seeing some of the world. Thirty five years later, I’m still doing it, and still getting quite an education!
While I was in college, being UNDECIDED meant I got to take all the cool and interesting courses that popped out at me, from New World Imaginations to The Gospel According to Zen. This was at the University of Buffalo, which was labelled the Berkeley of the East during the Vietnam War, as it was a hub for political and social protest and consciousness expansion. Some of the older professors were still hippies, activists, and meditators. One teacher, who taught Death and Dying, was a new student of A Course in Miracles, as was I. She and I had some fabulous extracurricular conversations about the spiritual path we both were starting out on. The thirty year age difference between us melted away as we connected as fellow students and seekers on a level playing field, thanks to the shared humility of I Don’t Know.
A Course in Miracles first seeks to get us to take out the garbage, empty our minds, and face and embrace our not knowing, which is a pre-requisite for acquiring wisdom. Some of the early lessons include: I Do Not Know What Anything Is For, I Do Not Perceive My Own Best Interests, I Do Not Understand Anything I See, and I Am Never Upset For The Reason I Think. If you are looking for ego confidence, a stronger self-image, or clarity of direction, Miracles is not your course. It will drive you nuts.
Usually at the beginning of a coaching session I ask the client what they want to accomplish by the end of the hour. Clarity is a popular intention. People love clarity. Who doesn’t want to see where you are going? It makes driving so much easier! But sometimes it is not a request, but a demand. Demanding clarity can be fear’s strategy of pushing to make things happen, to feel secure and safe by being in control. And that usually backfires. My goal is learning to release fear and feel safe in the magic of the mist, the beauty of the fog. If I embrace the mystery and don’t rush or push things, the sun will shine on through and bring me what I need. If cultivating a deep trust in the universe is your goal, and it sure is mine, we can skip clarity and go directly to affirming: I Don’t Know, I Don’t Need To Know, and When I Need To Know I Will, in Perfect Divine Timing!
Bob Mandel, in his book Money Mantras, affirms: Since God is the unknown, the more I know I don’t know, the closer I am to God.
I suppose for some hanging out in uncertainty is avoidance of movement, keeping fears at bay, stagnant chi. If that is your case, please stop reading this at once and go make a decision, any decision, and dive into it. Any decision is better than no decision when you are suffering from chronic paralysis caused by over-analysis. Unblock the chi and movement will replace constipation.
For me, being undecided in college was authentic, real, gritty, and opened me to a feast of an education.
And for all of us enrolled here at Earth University, we are practicing making friends with the unknown, and maybe even enjoying it, the way you would enjoy the unfolding of a really good movie, knowing that whatever happens on the projection screen, you will leave the theatre safe and whole, lights on, darkness vanished, and laughing uproariously!
As my friend Jana Stanfield says in one of her songs:
I’m not lost, I am exploring
Life is an adventure worth enjoying
Though I may not know where I’m going
I am not lost, I am exploring
I am not lost, I am exploring
Scott Grace is a life coach who serves worldwide and does sessions via phone or Skype. Read more about his coaching practice at Intuitive Life Coaching Jump Starts & Tune Upsor schedule a free intro session through email at firstname.lastname@example.org