We humans don’t like uncertainty. In fact, in a way, all our civilisations have been built as an endeavour to reduce uncertainty – from the granaries of ancient times that helped deal with harvest uncertainties, to the modern day cell phone that provides more certainty about people and things you care about; from corporate structures to deal with production uncertainty to social institutions like marriage and family to help deal with relationship uncertainty.
We are suckers for certainty. In a way, most of education is an attempt to teach tips and tricks to deal with uncertain situations – this is what to do when this happens, etc. Right down to every self-help article and every advertisement – most of the time it’s an attempt at assuring a certain outcome. In fact even religion is mostly an attempt to secure something for ourselves, to find some certainty in this uncertain world.
Is all our striving for certainty valid? Up to a point, of course. It is necessary for the survival of the species. If humanity has to grow and progress, we need to at least ensure that basic needs are met with a high level of certainty. But as we move beyond survival, as most people in the world have, our striving for certainty seems to be out of place and even desultory to our aims of wellbeing. As an obvious example, just think of the hatred that’s bred from people wanting to ensure the status quo in the face of change. Whether it is the restrictions on women in a certain culture or xenophobia in another, the root sentiment is a fear of uncertainty. As mentioned before, often even religion is reduced merely to a means of ensuring certainty (mainly after-life security this time).
When we try to stamp out uncertainty, we invariably create boundaries and build walls. We create rules and restrictions. In other words, we become anti-life. Have you ever seen nature building walls around itself? Does a seed prevent itself from sprouting unless all conditions are perfectly met i.e. the rain forecast is ensured and soil is well protected? No, it strives to sprout wherever it can. Most birds don’t even store food – taking each new day as it comes. Do plants strategize for every kind of eventuality in which they might be harmed? No, but we humans do – when we are physically secure, mental and psychological insecurity has us running around in circles. I’m sure if we had it in our capabilities, we would even try to direct the revolution of the planets!
So how to deal with uncertainty? Accept it. Be life.
Do you know why the earth goes around the sun? Do you know what is pumping your heart right now? Then why the striving to know other more mundane things in life when life seems to be carrying itself out just fine without your assistance!
Attempts to crush uncertainty, crush life. And our business is to let life flow. If we get out of the way (by which I mean our over-active minds get out of the way), life has a beauty and harmony to it. And as the spiritual teacher Mooji often says – life takes care of life.
When you are a bundle of thoughts and emotions(1), you will no doubt try to find tips and tricks in those realms so that life happens ‘your way’. But if you give up strategizing about and against life, you give up your inner resistance(2) and become part of the flow of life itself. This doesn’t mean to sit back, relax and not do anything. But even while we’re doing whatever is required of us in our daily life, we must find that place within where we are in harmony with life, not looking at it through a psychological, conditioned filter of our own creation. It’s time to trade our own petty, flawed creations for the infinite and magnificent one of the Creator’s. It’s guaranteed to be a trade without regrets.
(1) Using a favourite phrase of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
(2) Eckhart Tolle talks a lot about this
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yes, but it is difficult to leave the uncertainty, it may take several years to attain this, even after realizing it!.
Thanks for the comment. Yes, I agree given the state of our conditioned minds that it is hard to accept uncertainty but at the same time I don’t think that it is that difficult a thing to achieve and need not necessarily take years. I think even a short time of practising the teachings of masters like Mooji, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev or Eckhart Tolle for instance, can bring one to a state of much peace and acceptance 🙂
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Sure, with the help of spiritual gurus’ teachings we learn to accept uncertainty.
So timely… Resistance to change is a big part of that. We all resist on some levels. Finding the strength to break through is a challenge, as we are creatures of habit. Nice post, thanks for the reminder 🙂
Thanks Scott. Yes, very true. I am finding that I need to keep reminding myself of what I’ve said in this post too! Hope your journey through change is smooth and pleasant! 🙂