When you come to the edge of all the light you have, and must take a step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of two things will happen. Either there will be something solid for you to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.
– Patrick Overton
Most of us have experienced times when we have been been unsure of what is going to happen in the future, a time full of doubt and stress which often leads to fear and anxiety. This is what might be called a state of uncertainty. This is a time when we feel uncomfortable because we are not sure of what to expect in that situation. We tend to gravitate toward speculated conclusions and feel uneasy when we can’t find them. We demand answers to everything. In spite of knowing that we cannnot be 100% certain of the outcome of anything we are happier when we can be guaranteed certainty.
The path to higher consciousness demands we let go of certainty.
How can we give up our quest for certainty and learn to rest in the not knowing?
Is it possible to be happy even when one is uncertain of what may happen?
While ancient mystics understood there are questions that can never be answered the conventional scientists expect truth to emerge upon investigation. However, the Uncertainty Principle (A Physics Law) suggests otherwise. We might conclude that since the universe enforces uncertainty, it is inviting us to embrace not-knowing as the path to grace. In fact, if we can learn not only to love but to embrace uncertainty we might be able to enjoy not knowing what lies ahead. Unfortunately, for most of us uncertainty leads to stress, doubt, discord and mental tension; a state of bewilderment, confusion, perplexity,disorientation.We feel lost.
That is because we tend to gravitate towards comfort and safety; we try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability. The truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is part and parcel of our life journey. So if uncertainty is a fact of life then learning to accept it would lead to less suffering. (Divine Will, Hukum).
Uncertainty is the only certainty there is,and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.
John Allen Paulos
A small exercise using two circles (see diagram) may help to focus on what we can control and in turn teach us not to focus on what we cannot.
Write down all the things you can control – for example, what you will wear or eat today – inside the white circle and put everything else, things you cannot control – for example, the weather, and other people’s behavior —in the outside red area. Go back to the things you wrote inside the circle and think to what degree you can control them.
Does the red area (things that are out of your control) contain more or less things? For me, it contained a LOT more.
So if we can only control the limited things that are inside the circle then why not train our thoughts to focus only on them and let go of the rest. They are out of our control. You just pinpointed that. No matter the degree of uncertainty, taking a proactive stance will build confidence in your ability to cope and adapt.
There have been many times in my life when I have felt desperate and pangs of uncertainty have made me sad and unsure. The path in front of me seemed without a destination and I could not be sure of the outcome. However with the blessings of, Gurbani, Sangat and Bauji’s guidance in lekhs i slowly began to comprehend that I had to learn to live with uncertainty. When i let go of the wish to be certain at all times, i discovered that it resulted in a willingness to embrace the uncertainty and that in turn led me to learn acceptance with gratitude. This has led to a much happier state of being.
“Have patience with everything that
remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
If we remember to remember that whatever thoughts we pay attention to becomes our identity, our reality, our destiny (Bauji’s lekh – Power Of Thoughts) then instead of allowing uncertainty and risk to become blocks in our path we can learn to harness their power; they can become engines for both innovation and creation. By being aware, open, and curious we can discover strengths within us by devoting time to introspection. We can create goals aligned with our deepest values and interests and commit effort each day to make progress toward them.
Do your best and then let go. Effort is all we have. Rest is Grace.
Don’t be complacent about what you know. Learning how to tolerate uncertainty might be one of the greatest gifts we give to ourselves and those around us.
Who wants all the answers?
Who wants effortless moments?
Who wants to be given the warm, humble feeling atop Mount Kilimanjaro without the climb?
Who wants great poetry to be implanted instead of delicately absorbed?
Who wants to forgo the surprising smell of honeysuckle during a mid-day bike ride?
Certainly (pun intended) not me:)
I aspire to resist the seduction of certainty. I wish to hold onto ideas gently, be willing to absorb new perspectives, always remembering how much I don’t know, keep chiseling away at important questions, and challenge myself and other people.
“Embrace relational uncertainty. It’s called romance.
Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It’s called mystery.
Embrace occupational uncertainty. It’s called destiny.
Embrace emotional uncertainty. It’s called joy.
Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It’s called revelation.”
With warm Nanak Love
Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak Dhan Guru Nanak