We live in a society that places a lot of stock in “knowing.” I mean, we have Mother Google to give us answers to most questions at the touch of a button. We don’t even have to type, actually! We can just speak into our phone and the answer appears! Thanks Siri. But what about answers to the kinds of questions Mother Google cannot answer…questions like, “What will my life look like when my partner of two and a half years moves out of our home next month?” or “How do I move forward through my day when my heart aches so badly that I can barely breathe?” or “When will the grief stop?”
For answers to questions like these there is no easy or immediately accessible solution. For questions like these I have to come to my yoga mat and just feel my way through. I have to sit before my altar to pray, to meditate. I have been taught that these practices are designed to increase our capacity for intimacy with what is. So, I have to sit tight with the discomfort of not knowing and do my best to embrace the uncertainty of life as it is unfolding. I do my best to relax with the truth that my current pain is all happening to serve my growth. I open up to the pain because I know that is the first step to healing.
Lately, I have been meditating on the mantra “I don’t have to know now. I am open to the answers I am guided to.” This mantra is working wonders for my sanity. That’s interesting, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I used to understand “sanity” to mean having it “all figured out”. Turns out the danger isn’t in not knowing…the danger is in operating as if I have to know it all, as if I have to be the one in control of everything. It is exhausting to try to operate that way. It is insane.
Fortunately, my practice has taught me that freedom from insanity comes when I surrender and let go of the need to know. Freedom comes when I accept wholeheartedly that I do not know exactly what my life will look like in the future, that I do not know when the grief will stop. My job is not to have all the answers. My job is simply to trust and allow, to give myself full permission to honor and feel this experience of being alive, which includes ALL of it: love, joy, grief, confusion, pain, peace, uncertainty; Pema Chodron calls it: “the fundamental groundlessness of being human”. My job is to relinquish the parameters I want to set around when my grief should be gone, to relinquish the parameters I want to set around what and how I think something should be, and instead just try to keep my eyes, heart, and mind open to the answers that inevitably come through the Flow.
The only thing I need to know for certain is that I have had the experience of not knowing how a situation is going to unfold thousands of times in my life, and not only have I always survived the outcome, but I have grown and become stronger because of it. The Universe, Source, God, the Flow, the Force, whatever you want to call it has always ultimately provided me with what I need. In the past, having to admit that “I don’t know” brought the sensation of shame. Today, acknowledging that “I don’t know” brings peaceful relief. And tomorrow? Who knows! I certainly don’t 😉