Perhaps, like me, you have found that not knowing (what decision to make or what next step to take) can be a very intense experience. As a result, you might make a precipitous decision—before having enough information to make an informed choice or before your gut indicates what is right for you—merely to escape the discomfort of not knowing. Many of us are challenged by those times because we don't know if any answers will come nor how we will deal with them when they do.
After years of alternating between fretting and distracting myself during those times of not knowing, one day I knew—I suddenly knew—that deep within me, beyond the tumult of my thoughts and feelings, lies a storehouse of limitless possibilities, and it is precisely the not knowing that keeps the contents churning with creative potential. Sometimes those potentialities seem beautiful, often they are quite ordinary—yet every now and then, they are mind-blowingly fabulous. Because of that, I call this place “The Sacred Space of Not-Knowing.”
Along with that title, a vision came to me of a lovely garden area with beautiful blue water—the Pond of Possibilities. This pristine pond is surrounded by lush grass and vibrant-colored flowers. Periodically, the water shoots up, spouting a new idea, an insight, an inspiration, clarity regarding which path to follow or how best to do that—and magic happens! This is indeed a sacred space. What had been an edgy place of not knowing is now offering me a roadmap for a possible future.
Sometimes, I’m not able to evoke the image of that beautiful garden. Sometimes the pond is murky, the grass is dry and brown, puckered petals spatter the ground and any road my mind runs down soon reaches a dead-end. I have found that this is when it is very important to not resist, to simply sit with the feelings, whatever they are.
When I am patient and trusting enough to merely hang out by the Pond of Possibilities, I do not need to look for a path or an answer or “make things happen.” Whatever I need to know seems to find me. At those times, I let the ideas hibernate and percolate until ready to emerge, not trying to push or force a knowing prematurely for danger of damaging the infant idea, preventing its full and healthy development.
I am learning to trust the sacredness of not-knowing, aware that wisdom or creativity can sprout at any moment—and that not-knowing is actually fertile ground for new seeds. When I notice the signs of anxiety, I do my best to don my mantle of quiet confidence and picture the beautiful garden. Breathing deeply and slowly of the garden’s fresh air relaxes my body and mind, and out tumble the judgments, the doubts, and the fears that have crept in.
If you find yourself in a situation where there seems to be no viable answers, you might want to re-mind your mind that Life’s imagination is light years beyond that of our mini-minds and loves to surprise us with avenues we never dreamed of or thought possible.
I would love to hear about your experience with not knowing.