Dwelling in Uncertainty

by meditative - December 20th, 2014

Dwelling in the world of the unknown- filled with uncertainty and the looming presence of helplessness, the body contracts with swelling tension and restlessness- “calls to duty- to action”- as we move to avoid or distract ourselves from the rising discomfort. In our practice, the act of doing nothing only seems to exacerbate the seemingly insecure feelings of dwelling in uncertainty. However, staying close to our feelings with this sense of not knowing, and doing nothing is at the heart of our practice.

In the “space” of perceived helplessness and uncertainty, there often breeds the feelings of ineptness, incompetence, or resignation. Yet to embrace these states of mind without judgment opens our field of awareness to a “space” where the crosscurrents of emotion flow with less disruptive and disquieting power. Can we stay with it? Can we lean into what may be fearful? Are we caring enough to allow these waves of mind to flow through without acting or doing? In the midst of our emotional turbulence, can we allow the right action to arise or unfold on its own accord? Mindfulness helps us to remember- to acknowledge- to actualize our capacity for wakefulness and stability in the face and “space” of our arising fear and uncertainty- to simply be with it.

Holding an honest and genuine relationship with the impulse to avoid, distract, suppress, or repress that which may be both uncomfortable and painful opens us to the workings of our habitual being.  In the “empty space” of uncertainty, we can begin to really work with the raw ingredients of our lives- the “shadow elements” of the “self”- those qualities that keep us rigid and hardened to experiences that don’t present comfortable familiarity and feelings of knowing and grasping potential outcome. Work of this nature can be both humbling and liberating. Into the “shadows” of long-standing habits, we can exercise our capacity to be curious – to loosen fixations and tendencies to impose our experiences to be a certain way.

Mindfulness practice offers us what psychologist term as “higher order responses” for both ordinary and highly charged situations. Plugged directly into the present moment and into the open and free space of our awareness, we see what is actually happening rather than through our states of mind. Sustained, abiding attention helps us to move into the “spaciousness” of the moment behind our thought and emotion to a deep, inner wisdom of discerning awareness. It is in this state of higher order awareness where we gain an intuitive sense of what may be genuinely “right” for the given situation.

Standing “freely” in relation to our states of mind- whatever they may be and as they are- allows our forces of habit to dissolve away in this spaciousness. They lose their solidity and reactive force- like sunlight breaking through the clouds our very essential yet “ordinary” nature shines forth. It is this direct connection- this “fluid” capacity to “see” and to “open” to the spaciousness of our moments that allows for expansion and growth. In this spaciousness, there is room to shift and to transform.

Examining & working with our moments follow and flow from just “being” with an awareness to witness– with purpose, intention, and non-judgment. Embodying and actualizing our mindfulness develops from letting things be- letting them arise and emerge to reveal how we should respond, and not react by imposing our unnatural order on how each and every moment should unfold. When we impose our own order, we limit ourselves in a contracting and confining manner- and in many instances defying the very nature of what may be intended to unfold…