Kathleen's Blog

Being At Ease With Not Knowing

‘Not knowing is the secret of wisdom.  ….But most of us don’t have the courage to not know, because we’re too attached to the ego, and the ego is deeply identified with knowing.  We don’t have enough faith, trust, surrender, and abandon to throw everything we think we know over the cliff, and stand alone on the edge, unsupported and undefended, knowing absolutely nothing in the face of everything.  But that is the truly liberated relationship to the human experience.  Ultimately that would become the surrendered place in which we’re always living, perpetually alone on the edge of that cliff, willing to know nothing before we know anything, over and over and over again.’ …. Andrew Cohen

It is simpler Being At Ease when we ‘know’.  When we know, we have already explored and chosen and we can see the impact of the choice we’ve made.  It’s highly likely that we have engaged our circumstances and made our choice using old or past and familiar tactics to come to our conclusion.  Being At Ease in the face of not knowing calls for something different.

The state of not knowing is as valuable and as necessary as its knowing counterpart, and as useful.  Trouble is for the most part, we are less likely to make full use of the condition of not knowing.  In our rush to get on with it and push forward, we aren’t familiar with leaving a gap in our doing so that something new can surface.  In the context of fulfilling desire, Being At Ease is not our general fallback position.  It’s too bad because it is a very useful for both distinguishing and choosing something new.

As a practice, Being At Ease is relaxed.  It does not frenetically seek solution.  This is a peaceful condition that allows the time and space for something to surface – options that may not have been considered and ideas that are new.  The work of Being At Ease is a job of rest such that what’s not being explored can arise and we can initiate choosing from original revelations.

Why is this so difficult for us?  Is it because we are simply a hurried bunch? Or, is it something else?  Is the real challenge our habitual busy brain working out every potential scenario and response?  What would happen if we took a breath, halted our ‘figuring out’ , relaxed into, and trusted that Being At Ease will provide the place for options we do not know to emerge for our choosing?            

4 Responses to “Being At Ease With Not Knowing”

  1. Bobbie says:

    There is no easy answer for why it is so difficult, I think. I know that I try very hard to stop myself from figuring things out all the time, but it is so ingrained as a way of “doing life” that it requires constant vigilence, even that doesn’t always work! Trusting that Being At Ease will have options emerge, hmm, sounds so simple, yet I find myself squirming at the thought. I’m not alone, I’m sure.

  2. So true, Bobbie. It is simple ….and simple doesn’t always make for easy! Still, with respect to desire, we get a sense of what fulfillment can be when we ‘lean in’ to Being At Ease!

  3. Dave F. says:

    “Why is this so difficult for us? Is it because we are simply a hurried bunch?”

    I think it’s the “Something else” that you ask. Look at those we see in leadership positions: CEO’s, politicians, pastors, etc. When we ask them a question, they act as if they must know the answer (in many cases). Why didn’t your company hit it’s profit target? What are all the consequences if we go to war with that country? What am I meant to do with my life?

    People in leadership are often expected – unfairly – to have all of these answers. Many of them talk in that “corporate-speak” language – saying a lot without saying anything useful – when responding. I think this is why some of us do not look at some of these “leaders” AS actual leaders with any real wisdom. (That’s not to say there aren’t some out there who do have it – certainly there are.)

    What it comes down to is the fear of looking stupid. They are afraid of saying, out loud, the words, “I don’t know,” to something that they think they are expected to know. And when we think we might be thought of as stupid, we say something – anything – to avoid that. Fear is a powerful motivator, especially when we fear ridicule.

    No one can possibly know Everything. So when we admit what we do not know, we open ourselves up to the possibility of learning what we did not know before. This increases knowledge, which can, if utilized repeatedly and with careful observation, lead to greater wisdom because we are constantly adding to what we do know, based on the recognition of what we don’t.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Thank You Dave F. for your thoughtful comment and for considering the value of ‘Being At Ease With Not Knowing’ for each and every one of us in our day to day interactions.

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