Each day we wake up and face the unknown, that vast space of possibilities yet to be experienced. We arise anew, coming face to face with it. Yet it is so easy to miss this magic dance, writing it off as we solidify our impending day dream. As we re-embody we forget that everything we think we know is as much a projection as last nights dream. We forget to sit with that tender moment. That spark of limitless potential and space.
Sitting with the unknown may arouse a variety of experiences. fear and anxiety. Excitement and adventure. It may even evoke a sense of awe, halting our running mind. Whatever the reaction there is one thing for sure, our life is pervaded by it. It lies beneath our thin facade of control. It chips away at our carefully, or not so carefully, crafted personas. The unknown pervades our entire experience, and yet if you are anything like me you may have spent most of your life running from it. But why? What is so scary? Why do many of us find it necessary to seek so much security and assurance in such a volatile and changing world? Of course we can insert a polite Buddhist answer here, but until we sit with the unknown, chew it, rest with it, devote to it, I don’t think polite Buddhist answers will do. Certainty must be a child of experience, and experience comes from familiarizing ourselves with the unknown.
When we sit or rest with the unknown we allow each moment to arise. When we allow each moment to arise without manipulation the unknown can become one of our greatest allies. It offers us a break from our need to control and create each moment. It allows us to have space between one thought and the next. When we have space, we have freedom. So much of our life is spent searching for freedom. But mostly we are bound. We are bound by the impulses of our physical bodies, bound by the whims of our emotions, and bound by a ceaseless stream of repetitive thoughts. But this is the ground we have to work with. This is our palette, our unfinished score, our eventual gift to the world. Where there is bondage there is the possibility for freedom.
Resting in the unknown is our ability to remain with awareness while experiencing the unanswered. Leaving an experience or question unanswered means we are giving it space. We are voluntarily giving our need to figure everything out and label it a break. Not only is there incredible freedom here, but this space also gives us room to grow and feel. Over time we learn to trust the unknown. Within it there is the essential spark of life, the basis for our individual and collective dreams. This takes patience and devotion. Patience to wait and devotion to open up to the present moment. Does this mean that we are remaining apathetic, without action? No. When we remain with the unknown, like an artist sitting with a blank canvas we are actually much more adept at reacting with speed and accuracy. We are not encumbered by our self- imposed limitations and patterns. There is a freshness we can spring off of. This freshness breaks through our limiting concepts of ourself and how we relate to the world. As our limits decrease our own inner potential and possibilities are unleashed. We begin to fit into the world.
All potential and connection originate from the unknown. It is like a dream giving birth to a dream. When we learn to flow with the dream we experience interdependence and connection, that space of belonging and home that we all long for. Some of us spend our whole lives searching for this connection. We take refuge in one temporary fleeting experience after another, all along feeling that something is missing. We go through periods of alienation, loneliness and feeling cut off from others. We retreat further into our shell for comfort and protection, unaware that our shell is closing in on us, choking us. We search high and low for a home not realizing that it has been with us all along. This home of connection is recognized and honored when we let be and rest with the unknown. We become a humble child of the universe willing to serve. We remember that we are bound to each other and the world in the fullest and brightest sense of the word. This is our potential, our ability, our gift.
Gerd Altmann & photo of landscape by UnsplashPhoto of the world by
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