Ever since humans first climbed out of the caves and headed into the world at large, there has been a part of our psyche that has depended upon knowing what lies ahead. After all, if we come around the corner and end up face to face with some huge beast that is wild and unfriendly, it can end up quite dangerous. We are hard wired to go for certainty. We plan our lives accordingly. We decide what age we want to retire and gear our careers around that. We decide when we want to start having children, or even if we want to, and live our lives accordingly. We look to the future to plan out every detail of an upcoming vacation. Some even make weekly meal plans. But what happens when LIFE happens?
At first it is quite natural to feel like a deer caught in the headlights. We are stunned that it did not quite go as we had expected and spent so much time planning. Yet, here it is, all a mess. After the initial shock wears off we have to get on with the business of life as we now know it. It doesn’t matter if it is a death, or a breakup, or a car accident, or an injury or a diagnosis. It still means change and uncertainty.
We, as humans, like to think we even have it “cased” when it comes to the spiritual aspect of things, thinking that religion will give us all the answers and certitude we require. It doesn’t. We don’t have a clue what came before or what will come after this life….if anything. So we tell ourselves stories, little fairy tales, to help us feel comfortable with the uncertainty of it all. Basically, we lie to ourselves and to others in order to make ourselves and others feel good about not knowing, by making it seem like we do know, when we don’t.
The harsh reality is that none of us know one single thing about life or death or what comes before or after. So we might as well just give that up now and get on with living. One of my favourite teachers once said that the only thing that clouds judgement is certainty. I like that. It really brings home the essence of the human dilemma of dealing with the unknown. Yes, there are some things that we can know to be true, such as gravity. But a lot of life is filled with the unknown.
Getting comfortable with uncertainty is what will give us the edge we need when it comes to exploring the possibilities of what might be out there in the world, or even in here, within ourselves. If we can admit that we do not know, then we can be open to discovering what is possibly there. When our minds are open they receive information really well. When we close our minds with certitude, we develop walls around the mind that does not allow further evidence to enter. We become closed minded and unwilling to even entertain a different perspective or possibility.
So how do we clear our minds of this incessant need for certitude? It begins with opening our hearts. We have to go with what feels that it is of love in order to find any truth. This often means that we have to abandon what “morality” we have been taught and go instead with that morality that exists within ourselves and work with that instead. When we are faced with difficult situations, and our “faith” is jarred to the point of shattering, we are left with how we feel. We are left with whatever will help our hearts to heal and to survive. Change is not an easy thing, and yet it is the only constant thing in our universe. Love helps us to flow with the changes that life requires of us. When we come at a situation from a point of heart-felt integrity nothing will be too big or overwhelming for us to handle. The heart speaks true for each of us. And as such it is our guide. That does not in any way mean going into sentiment or nostalgia. Those are enlightenment traps. They trap us into how things should have been or how they always were, instead of allowing us to truly be in the moment with what is. The heart is our guide. It helps us to see and to empathise with how others are feeling, how we ourselves are feeling, and shows us what we need to do in order to build a bridge between our heads and our hearts, as well as between each other. Yes, it takes a lot of time and requires a lot of patience and energy and hard work, but it is so worth it. It truly is what helps us through all uncertainty.