E027 - It's OK to not knowAug 24, 2020
Welcome to this episode, which is about uncertainty, doubt and not knowing.
Read the blog or watch the episode!
This is all about not getting fixed ideas in your head and what to do with your huge political opinion and your opinion about government and your fear and rage about the people to the left of you who are just too radical and the people to the right of you who are conservative and scary... And... what on earth are we supposed to do with all of this?
Let's take a deep breath together.
I'm going to begin by saying, as I ground into my feet and I invite you to feel your feet wherever they are (whether they're on the floor, or tucked under you on a seat), I'm inviting us to drop into our body and be here. Just be here for a moment. If you've just come from YouTube or come from somewhere else on your computer or your phone, and you've been scrolling a lot and you're a bit unconscious, this is a perfect opportunity to come home.
Let's be here.
Let's stop speeding.
Let's stop consuming.
Let's get present.
So, uncertainty... I am, in advance, completely uncertain what's gonna happen in this episode and what's gonna be said. And so I'm just going to let it flow.
Here's the thing - I don't know about you - but it feels like quite a strange time to be on planet Earth right now. It feels like everyone's certainty and opinions have accelerated and increased in magnitude, and we're seeing polarisation and splitting of people. "Those people are not my people. "These people are my people," and you're probably seeing it in your Facebook feed or your Instagram feed from people that you know and love, who are outing some crazy opinions. There are a lot of belief systems happening out there, "they're going to implant us with a chip" or "they're not going to implant us with a chip," vaccines are good or bad, COVID's good or bad, or "it's a government plot," or... it's just endless! And I want to invite us, just at least for this session, to lean into uncertainty and not knowing.
But I've also got to fess up, I'm (as people more on the right wing of me would call me) - a libtard. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. I support intersectionality and social justice and environmental justice. I'm here for that. So what then happens inside me, and it can happen just walking around my home, is me arguing and persuading other people that they're wrong.
Is this useful? It doesn't feel like it.
And part of what I'd like to explore today is what we're gonna do with all of this rage and certainty and polarization and where is it going to go? And also at the deepest level, how what one might call spiritual truth or realization, is beyond belief.
There's this incredible mystical Christian text from about 1200 called "The Cloud of Unknowing." Like the only way to get to God - whatever God is, if God's even a thing - is through unknowing. It can't be known, it can't be named.
-- Before we go any further, if you're into this content, can you subscribe to this channel? That would give me, as I like to say, a hit of dopamine and it would up a little stat that I track (yes, I'm smiling at myself!).
And so,here we are, not knowing. And in advance, of course I don't really know the truth of what I'm saying either. There are words pouring through me. But I'm just opening up this space for us to talk about this.
As I was saying, 500 years ago, certain people in the Catholic Church for example, sent Spaniards and Portuguese and other righteous Christians who knew, who were filled with piety and the Lord, they essentially sent a papal bull or whatever it's called, they essentially said, "go and grab the New World, go and grab the world out there and convert or kill". Really. And that was the pious, God-fearing, God-loving, spiritual, master of his time, the pope. And God-fearing Christians went out and they just slaughtered and killed and took over much of the known world.
And this is not to poke fingers at Christians, but it's to talk about certainty and the danger of certainty and what people do - what people like you and me do when we're really sure about our opinion. And there's such a paradox in this because when Hitler rose to power, you needed people who were certain that he was wrong and were willing to fight against him. And I think part of the paradox here or rather, the challenge, is to lean into the dissonance of having wide open potentials or positions. Even positions is too hard a word inside us to be able to hold space for other opinions, to be able to hold others in our heart even when they differ from us. And let go of that clenching, "you're wrong," that threatened feeling in the body. But also allow oneself to be an activist and be of service, and speak one's truth.
What a beautiful challenge to hold those both in the body. And this really leads me into the next part of this.
Where I'm coming from is that those pious Catholics rolling around the Earth being brutal, homicidal maniacs, filled with the love of God and self righteousness. For me that level of spirituality and belief system is based a lot in the head and... they were in their heads. That spirituality was in its head. It's a lot of belief systems. And what happened to a lot of Christian mystics through the ages was that they often got burnt as heretics because they were going into a gnostic experience. In other words, a lived experience of their spirituality. It's "throw away the belief systems, and I'm just going to have an experience and that experience can't really be put into words or named."
But there's another part of this. And that's that much of the truth in us, I think lives in our bodies and not in our heads. Deep in our bellies. Trauma lives in our bellies. And I think if you look at many of the colonists who went out from Europe, they were deeply traumatised human beings, who then acted out their trauma. And that's a much longer topic that we'll get to soon. But there's a kind of a truth when one comes home to one's both personal but also intergenerational trauma. And I think humans in general are very traumatised. You only have to read the news to see that or just watch oneself for a bit. And maybe as we see the trauma in the world and see the trauma in our bodies, and opened up to some uncertainty, "what do we not know? "What can I not see?" Loosen some of the tightness and self belief in the mind, in our belief systems, dropping into the body, into the wordless unknown of being.
I sometimes picture us in 30 years or 40 years looking back at you and me now, and our insanity, or how we were a year ago when there were trips and holidays and spending and rampant consumerism while we knew that the Earth was astoundingly precarious and that our behavior was at the root of it. And we just lent into that helplessness and numbness and carried on, kept on keepin' on.
So, I see us in 50 or 40 years time looking back at our own insanity, like we might look back on the Catholics of 500 years ago. It's really easy to point fingers at people on the left or people on the right. But much harder to really, really see ourselves, especially in our blind spots, some of which are completely encultured. We've been brought up in this insanity and so it seems normal. It seems normal that people are starving over there. It seems normal to drive past people who are hungry, in your SUV or car. "It's not my problem."
This is an invitation into the unknown and not knowing, or at least, to play with breaking down some of the belief systems. What would it be like? I really don't have answers about this, but what would it be like to be an activist and speak to power, and speak for the well-being of all beings? And especially to speak towards the well-being of those most vulnerable, and better still, to act towards that too. And at the same time, cultivate compassion and understanding for those with a different opinion.
I had a dream last night where I was almost in the the body and heart of a really conservative person - the kind that my mind would argue with. And in the dream I could feel their essential humanity, and could see all the information that they consume that leads them to have a perfectly reasonable opinion, given where they are. But more than anything else, it was also just in the heart. It was in their heart, in my heart - something like that. How do I act and be of service in the world and speak to injustice, while not making it about them? That kind of act of violence. "Love your neighbor," said Jesus. Every single one of them, right?
Okay so, in "The Cloud of Unknowing," I think I'm gonna wrap up. I'd love your commentary.
What's happening on planet Earth right now - are you seeing this polarization? Are you feeling it? Some people are feeling this is the time of ascension or maybe rapture. I sometimes get scared, I sometimes feel scared. What's happening for you? What do you feel about these two polarities?
Genuinely, I don't even know how to do it. To truly love those with a very different opinion to me. I'm working on it but it's not easy.
That's it for today. Thank you for joining me. Please join in the conversation, I'd love to know what this felt like.
Thanks for sharing.