This delightful, if bittersweet, post from Miriam inspired my post this morning. I suspect this is something programmed into our reptilian brains from the bygone days, before the dawn of Homo sapiens. We fear the unknown. While we can think (with our fancy, modern prefrontal lobes! Yay!) that the unknown may be just as marvelous and exciting as it might be frightening and dangerous, our survival center still knows: danger may lurk around any and every corner, in the shadows, behind the rocks.
So what do we do? We make up the answers before we ask the questions! If we think we know what happens next in our story, we can push fear out of the way. I can put one foot in front of the other when I can see the path. Take away the path, or simply my ability to see it, and suddenly I have no idea where to put my foot. In reflecting on parenting and how very-much-not-like-I-thought-it-would-be it has been, I have often said we humans would be extinct if we knew what we were getting into in advance. (Hm, so perhaps this power of self-deception also contributes to the survival of the species… hmm…)
But peril awaits when we think we know more than we do. In scientific study, this is such a problem that it has a name: “confirmation bias.” In life, when we declare, This is The Way! when we don’t actually know, we may end up at a very different destination than we hoped for, and may lead others astray in the process… especially if we are prone to that type of loud and forceful persuading that sometimes is born from insecurity.
And there is another dilemma. Knowing all the answers leaves us with a preselected path, and has a very powerful door-closing (more like slamming) effect. We fear not knowing, but resting in the not-knowing allows space for magic to happen. The not-knowing is where the Universe flows, where spirit expands, where that which some call God resides. To allow miracles to occur, we can’t always know what happens next.
Today, may we find ourselves not knowing, and settle into it. I’ll meet you there 🙂