If we are certain about something, we don’t need faith.
Oh, how good it feels to be absolutely certain. Even when we declare that something is as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow—it isn’t certain. We don’t know. We hope. And as we know the sun doesn’t rise at all; we revolve around the sun. And there is no guarantee that it will continue.
So what can we rely on—positively?
The only thing that is certain is that everything changes—often slowly, but perpetually. All that is is in flow. All physical reality is moving and changing.
Nothing stays the same, even for an instant. It just moves so slowly that we often don’t notice or can’t see it.
Quantum physics tells us that the one thing we can depend on is the uncertainty principle. Randomness and uncertainty are built into the very fabric of the universe. That may not give us a very secure feeling, but it is the nature of reality.
How do we feel when we don’t have an answer? Especially when we think we should. Not knowing can cause us to feel weak, dumb, and ill at ease.
I often find it uncomfortable to respond, “I really don’t know.” A voice within me says, “But you should know.” Therefore, I often answer quickly and realize later it wasn’t a helpful answer. I just didn’t want to appear dumb.
Take education for instance. In school we are supposed to learn the answers to receive good grades and honors. It becomes ingrained in us that we must know answers if we are to be regarded as smart!
However Einstein said to question axioms. Here is where healthy doubt fits in. Whatever we know for sure needs to be questioned!
It has been my experience that when I am most certain I usually discover I am farthest from the truth. Thus I am gradually beginning to notice that powerful feeling of being positive is really a red flag telling me to stop and investigate. What makes me so sure and why am I attached to this answer? How much do I want to defend it?
Our greatest suffering is the result of believing we know who and what we are. Our self-image stems from early conditioning—those years when others told us who we were. Being a like a little sponge, we absorbed what the big people said. It must be true. However they labeled us must be so. These assumptions need to be questioned, for no one knows the Truth of our Being. It’s too awesome and mysterious for us to comprehend. So we often settle for other peoples’ opinions of who we are. And we miss our great potential.
The Buddha taught the wisdom of beginners mind, which is the mind that doesn’t know--and is therefore open to all possibilities. It’s not limited.
Things are not what we think they are. For we see through our individual lenses—our old patterns—unless we are on guard and continually remind ourselves that appearances are deceiving.
Jesus said “Do not judge by appearances.” John 7:24
We give things the meaning they have. What we are looking at is layered over by our past experiences. That’s what we see. We need to question its validity, as past experiences are not who we really are.
That was then, this is now.
Sitting quietly we find spring comes and grass grows by itself. We can move into the “not knowing mind” and just be with each breath, accepting things the way they are for now. They will change.
I do my best to practice not knowing on a daily basis. When a thought arises that says, “This does not bode well” accompanied by a feeling of disaster, I try to remember that I really don’t know what this is about. I only know the appearances, and they come from my past experiences. But this is new! Let me open to all that it could be.
Not knowing opens to all possibilities. Knowing something limits us to a small slice of all that could be. Another word for this is faith.
I remind myself that the universe has a pretty good track record of evolving for the past 14 and ½ billion years. This is the most reliable thing I know. There is something within universal energy that knows how to become. I’m going to trust it.
Fear tells us everything is lost. Faith tells us that everything is becoming—and we don’t know what it will become. However history shows that there is more caring about individual rights and concern for people who have been marginalized than ever before. A hundred years ago women were not even allowed to vote in the United States!
Awareness of our inter connectedness is growing day by day. We don’t know what will happen on any day, but we can trust that evolution grows consciousness. Something beautiful is slowly evolving.
“God’s mill grinds slowly but sure.” Proverb by Jacula Prudentum.
For me, I’m going to trust the universal energy that knows how to become. It knows and I don’t.
In trust of the unknown,