Weekly Food For Thought

Not Knowing

We spend much of our life in pursuit of knowledge. It seems you can never know too much and our families and culture all support this approach to life. As a result most of us find it uncomfortable or even frightening to not know something. It seems difficult to not know what to do, what you want, or what is going to happen.

But what if there is a richness and possibility in the experience of not knowing? What if in our rush to get to the place of knowing and certainty we pass over the empty spaces of uncertainty that may contain even deeper truths? Life is complex and has many dimensions. Some of the more subtle and yet profound elements of our life may not fit so easily into concepts and ideas….our usual type of knowing. Discovering these deeper dimensions may require a slowing down in our thought and action to allow the quieter and deeper aspects of existence to be recognized. Is not knowing really a place of lack or incompleteness, or is there something worthwhile to be found in the silent moments even when we truly do not know anything?

There is nothing wrong with knowing something when you do know it. But it turns out there is also nothing wrong with the experience of not knowing, and not knowing can even lead to surprising new depths of knowing. Becoming familiar and comfortable with not knowing can also allow a more complete and satisfying experience of life as it is. Since what we do not know is often much greater than what we do know, the space of not knowing is where much of life is actually happening.

Right now, do you really know how your heart manages to beat so regularly? Do you really know how electricity works, where your life is going, how to grow and improve as a person, what love really is, who to trust, and why you are here? And yet your heart is beating, electricity does seem to work, your life is going somewhere and you somehow seem to grow as it unfolds, love and trust do happen, and finally you are here, you do exist. All of these experiences are not contained in or dependent on your knowledge and yet they are happening and add tremendously to the richness of your life…

And yet we struggle against not knowing. We strain and strive to know as much as we can. We push ourselves to learn more and more. What if this pushing and striving is a source of our pain and difficulty in life? What if not knowing by itself is a perfectly fine sensation? It is only when we are struggling against that experience that it becomes painful. Again there is also nothing wrong with knowing, or not knowing. It is our striving and efforting to have another experience that is painful.

To simply not know can be a profound relief from the struggle. And it can even open our awareness up fully to allow ourselves to not know. It is when we do not know that we tend to pay attention. In the blank space of not knowing is a natural curiosity and hunger for the truth. This curious hunger is an alive and always changing experience of the richness of all that can be known and all that is beyond our usual ways of knowing.

1 thought on “Weekly Food For Thought”

  1. Our true and intrinsic nature is awareness (in simple terms, the aspect of ‘knowing’). Our mind urges to know everything which is a natural phenomenon as the mind is animated by pure awareness (Self). Fully identifying with the mind makes one desperate to go for gaining knowledge of various aspects of life. Getting many degrees, inventions, discoveries, explorations etc., are borne out of this instinct to know. The root cause of all suffering is because of ‘not knowing one’s reality’. Mostly not knowing THAT is not viewed seriously as man is satisfied with knowing other things and settle with the acquired knowledge and possessions.
    When there is a setback there is vehement efforts to overcome that. Real ignorance is not knowing anything, but it is knowing other things without knowing (realizing the reality I am all knowing -Self). There is no strain in getting this supreme knowledge ( Raja Vidya) as it is inherent. Struggle is felt when getting rid of wrong knowledge (which got accumulated and got crystallized in our system.
    Realizing the lack of right knowledge is the first phase which triggers one to develop deep passion to realize. Realization is not a gain of new knowledge but shedding down wrong conditionings, which would allow the truth to shine brightly!

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