We can waste a lot of our life force trying to figure out what is going to happen next or months or years down the line. I just had a workout with the part of myself that wanted to know. It kept me virtually paralyzed for a week–unable to move, unable to choose an action. I wanted a guarantee and because none of the paths had one, I didn’t choose. Actually I chose to stay in my fear and being stuck rather than bravely picking an action and moving forward. I had a couple of days where I kept myself busy on things that really didn’t matter. I shut down and went in my cave. I felt my life force draining. All because I wanted to be certain.
Thankfully I realized that my energy was circling the drain and was able to track what was the cause of my malaise. We’ve all heard of the Fight/flight response. There is a third option that many of us get stuck in when our fears come up–it is call FREEZE. Like a deer caught in the headlights of an approaching car we get stuck. And in my case, I realized I was frozen because I wanted guarantees. I realized that I needed to accept the not knowing and move forward. I took an action and energy started to move.
If we can accept not knowing and as Rilke says “live the questions,” life becomes a wonderful adventure that constantly surprises us! Most of us don’t want anyone to tell the end of a movie we are about to watch. It spoils the experience for us. And yet, we waste so much energy trying to “know” how everything in our lives is going to work out.
Many spiritual seekers know the phrase “living in the moment” and yet another part of us wants to know how the story ends. Living in the moment is surrendering to and embracing the not knowing and allowing life to unfold before us. In that surrendering we allow ourselves to move out of fight/flight/freeze and into choosing what we can do in this moment and the next moment, and the next moment as they unfold. Our hearts and stomachs unclench and we find freedom to once again enjoy the gift of living.
What’s your experience of not knowing? Where does trying to know shut you down?