Many of us, myself included, like to be in control; knowing what will happen or understanding a situation makes us feel more in command of our lives. But I’ve come to appreciate the freedom and ease of not-knowing.
Let’s face it. We may be able to schedule our calendar in advance, look up the meaning of the word apoplectic on the internet, and set an alarm clock to wake when we need to. There’s a lot that we know or can find out. But many things in life just aren’t in our control. Even with using the Law of Attraction, a popular spiritual practice of focusing our intent on what we want to create and experience, we can’t control or know our outcomes for certain.
That book we ordered will get here when it does. The weather has a mind of its own, much to the chagrin of forecasters. We want our children to behave properly (according to what we think is proper), but even a well-behaved child still has their moments (especially when they become teenagers!). Our best laid plans for a vacation often don’t turn out exactly the way we envisioned.
Needing to Know Feeds Into Fear
Sometimes, we just don’t know what life has in store for us. That can bring up a lot of fear – to not be in control and to not know what might happen next. But most of the time, it brings me joy.
The only reason we become fearful when we don’t know what’s going on is that we’re projecting something to worry about onto that blank screen. We image the worst. It’s kind of funny when you think about it, that we have this tendency to believe that things are going bad if they aren’t going our way. We don’t like the unknown. In this way, needing to know feeds into our fears, because we believe we should know in order to feel safe.
The Magic of Not-Knowing
But it is in the unknown where the magic happens. Developing trust in the Universe to deliver our highest good turns stepping into the mystery into a joyful, daily revelation.
If you could, would you really want to mail-order your ideal partner? Check all the boxes and just have them sent, and you’re done. Now get married. I don’t know about you, but my energy drops when I think about that. There’s no life in knowing exactly what you are getting. There’s no story that builds the foundation of the relationship – how you both ended up pulling the same number in line at the deli, or when you met at the Mindfulness workshop. Total predictability makes life dull.
The Limits of Knowing
But more than the lifelessness of knowing how everything would unfold, it’s tremendously limiting.
Do we really want to limit what can show up in our lives, so that we can be in control and know? I know I don’t. I have limits to what my imagination can create. But when I open to the boundless, infinite possibilities of the Divine, more than what I personally can imagine or know is possible.
It’s hard when we’re waiting to hear back from a job interview. We want to know the outcome, and either celebrate or move on. But if we can let go of our need to know and trust in the highest good, flowing in our life, then we can enjoy whatever is in the present moment – even while waiting for test results or a response to a pitch for a contract.
The Good We Can’t Imagine
Rather than investing our energies in wanting things to stay within our known realms, it’s freeing to allow the unknown to bring us good we couldn’t have imagined. This attitude can transform how we perceive change. Why focus on what bad or scary thing could happen, when we can envision that something better than we could come up with will show up. Even if we don’t get the job, a better one may be on its way.
This allows us to reframe situations in our lives that are less than perfect. No, I didn’t like it when, over 10 years ago, I pulled open a door and ripped my big toenail off. It was a painful and slow recovery. Had I known it would happen, sure, I’d try to prevent it. But maybe I would have simply caused myself unnecessary suffering, worrying about whether it might happen.
Instead, I got to experience the healing process and model for my daughter, who was just 3 at the time. Things we can’t predict happen in life and we can handle it. It’s not the end of the world. We have strength, resilience, and trust in the healing process. She was quite curious about it when I cleaned it each evening, and wasn’t afraid to look. Perhaps she was a bit less upset the next time she skinned her knee, because she knew I managed when I was hurt. In the end, my toenail regrew, and I saw the hidden gifts in an unpleasant situation.
Freedom: Leaving the Results Up to the Divine
Sure, there are some things that I’d prefer to know about so I can be prepared. And I like envisioning my life, setting intentions, and being creative. But as I set my intent and create my reality with my attitude and perceptions, I leave the results up to the Divine. I relax as I allow a greater wisdom and knowing to steer my life than my own. I trust that it brings me my highest good, rather than just what I had in my control.
That’s freedom in not-knowing. We don’t need to spend our time thinking about it, figuring it out, or worrying about the outcome. All that energy then becomes available to us. We can focus on what we’re creating in this moment, plan for the future, and then let it go, trusting the process.
My heart, mind, and body feel lighter with letting go my attachment to knowing. I have more energy, a sense of adventure, and just plain fun. It’s far more joyful for me to be in the sacred flow of the Great Mystery, allowing unexpected good to show up. How about for you?