An odd and rarely-considered thing, is that life is incredibly big, while my actual experience and understanding of life is incredibly small.
Even if I consider only what is going on within me and a few feet around me, the vastness and complexity of that
small bubble of life is infinitely incomprehensible. The more I know, the more I discover how much I don't know.
Imagine then how
that vastness and complexity compounds when looking out further to the neighbourhood, the country, the world, the universe.
add something amusing to the odd, is that I mostly live as if I "know"... as if I have a pretty good handle on what's going on... as if my sense of the whats and wheres and whens and whys and hows of life are valid and accurate.
After all, I've been around for 60 years. This isn't my first rodeo moment, or day, or week. Of course I must know what's going on. I've got a whole shipping container
filled with knowing, and it took a lot of work to collect it!
I sense that all this lifetime collection of "knowing" gives me some
"Knowing" conveniently and readily gives me some answer for any circumstance that arises, especially for the situations that
may be accompanied by fear, or anxiety, or anger, or depression, or hopelessness, or righteous judgment, or any other felt distress.
could I navigate any of those if I didn't "know"?
When I "know", my life appears to be under some level of control. I feel secure.
As well, the great advantage of the phenomena of "knowing" is that it is incredibly innovative... who could not be amazed at it's part in
creating buildings and submarines and dishwashers and cell phones? Knowing can be powerful.
But lately, I've been losing respect for
knowing, whether my own knowing, or that of the rest of humanity.
I've noticed how knowing can be very heavy to carry around, and
I've noticed how much energy it takes to continually reason it, and justify it, and defend it.
I've noticed that with knowing often
comes the compelling need to be correct and right and to organize all the bits of knowing into neat little bento boxes with secure lids, conveniently tossing out whatever doesn't fit.
But all that defining and organizing and protecting can be quite exhausting, and even dangerous. The more that knowing does its inevitable reducing and separating and dividing, the more knowing thrives.
But knowing can often be like a cancer that eventually kills its host.
My own knowing has certainly created its own share of suffering.
When I look around at life and nature, it appears that it was not meant to be so known and controlled and protected. And it appears to have
thrived amazingly well, despite not appearing to "know" at all. How is that?
Could all of life be navigated without the need for knowing?
What if, for me, the mystery of life was more revered than the knowing of it?
Instead of carrying around my heavy shipping container of knowing throughout each day wherever I go, perhaps I could just leave it aside, and float into each new moment on a cloud of wonder?
Wonder is weightless... it has no history, no story, no need, no attachment, no expectation, and no fear.
Wonder still sees, and feels, and ponders, and awes, but wonder never has any need for any enduring surety.
Wonder offers ideas and possibilities, and it tries things out, but it holds it all, oh so very lightly, which leaves wonder open to continue to explore and marvel at the next appearance of life's
infinite complexity and mystery.
Wonder freely accommodates for life's inherent nature of continual change.
Wonder holds no measures.
And wonder never needs to protect or defend
or prove. It knows that any protection or defence or proof that appears solid from one perspective, will always fall completely apart from another perspective.
Wonder just experiences... observing, noting, and responding to whatever temporarily appears.
wholly present. It uses what it needs in each changing moment without needing to hang onto whatever has just been used.
In the complete
absence of knowing, wonder delights.
Despite my growing distrust of knowing and my growing appreciation for wonder, I still have a
very large shipping container stuffed full of knowing.
Whenever I think I need any of that knowing, without even realizing it, I've
already opened its big, heavy, creaky steel doors and found myself busily filtering through all the items inside.
And most everything, at first glance, always appears to be quite significant and important
and solid and true.
But whenever I allow my eyes adjust to the light, and I look beyond first glance and forage, I notice that a growing
% of the knowing may not be as important or valid as I initially thought.
The more I look and reflect, the more discerning my eyes and body become to the significant space and weight that all this knowing
takes up, and the tethered burden it creates.
One day a few years ago, my shipping container completely disappeared. Everything I
"knew" was gone. You might think that that would be scary, but in contrast it was unexpectedly freeing.
I was left with a "knowing",
but it wasn't a knowing of anything that could be stored in a shipping container. It was the knowing that is already fully alive in everything, a knowing that defies capture and description, but oddly explains everything.
A few days after my shipping container had disappeared, it came back again. Hilariously, I didn't even know I had one until it disappeared.
For a while, I tried to get rid of it. But that didn't work out very well.
Since then I've been learning to be OK with my shipping container, and whatever it happens to manifest in any particular moment. I'm sort of learning to make friends with it.
There are even joyful times when I delight at discovering the next item of complete ridiculousness that has been stored in there... much of which, I admit, I don't appear to be
quite ready to drop off at the recycling depot just yet.
In a way, I think my shipping container of knowing is now teaching me something
significant about knowing... the difference between the heavy holding of it (my personal identification with it), versus the light and lovely impersonal wonder of it.
It's certainly mine to explore, but it never has to be mine to hold.
I'll let you know how it
With Love and Laughter,
(Photo by Swapnil Sharma)