How to Not Know

Today’s Reflection is about that interesting place, on the edge of chaos and order.

I am designing a process and an experience for a class I will be teaching sometime in February of next year. Well, perhaps it is more accurate to say that I am contemplating it, rather than actually “designing.” I really don’t know why am I doing it right now, as the class is still so far away, especially for someone like me who is deadline oriented. This means that I am normally planning the workshop during the introductions and pack on the way to the airport. Yet, while February is still very far away, the thoughts are here, and I am following where they lead me.

“Man knows himself only to the extent that he knows the world; he becomes aware of himself only within the world, and aware of the world only within himself. Every object, well contemplated, opens up a new organ of perception within us.” – Goethe

How does one plan a class, a learning process, and an experience that is oriented around not knowing? Whether we call it some delicious and enlightened terms, like  “beginner’s mind,” being on the edge of chaos and order, or embracing the mystery, the fact remains the same. Being in the space where we don’t know is not a place we visit very often, given that we like to know, like predictability, and like comfort. Such place, of not knowing, is not very conducive to embracing the void, the mystery, and its shadows.

What does “not knowing” really mean and look like, anyway? I am thinking about a state of deep presence and deep listening to what wants to emerge in the moment, moment to moment, without relying on any of the past knowledge and experience one can often bring forward. There is a flavour of innocence in such a state, whereby everything shows up as new, fascinating, and friendly. Trust. Curiousity. Wow!

Not knowing means allowing myself to open up to the experience of the moment.

Not knowing means saying yes to the innocence and the curiousity of a child that is sitting dormant within us.

Not knowing feels freeing and liberating. Scary and vulnerable too.

Not knowing means being open to the gifts the moment has up its sleeve.

Not knowing invites, or perhaps seduces, to love this space of the ever evolving now. Now. Now.

Not knowing nudges me to gently let go of all the layers of my beliefs, thoughts, and judgments, and lovingly feel the spirit that is within and all around me.

Not knowing reminds me that I take for granted way too much too often, as opposed to being grateful for this breath.

Not knowing shows me that at the center of it all, there is a direct, rich, and indescribable experience of love.

“Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be foresighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at a thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome.” – Elif Shafak, “The Forty Rules of Love”

Who knows… perhaps no brilliant ideas will show up, and I will come to class without preparing anything, simply allowing the class to emerge and take its shape and form in the moment. Luckily, I still have time.

A sunny week to you all, inside and out.

Simon Goland