Life is a mystery.
Some would say a box of chocolates. Others of us might lean more toward a word that sounds like bitstorm. Chocolate or otherwise, sometimes you just don’t know where it is going to splatter.
Not knowing is part of life, and and it is unnerving as heck. Nobody likes it. Trying to cope with the unknown comes in different forms. We can prepare for it, and make contingency plans as best as you can. It is warm and comfy to wrap yourself in if-then logic. If X happens, then I’ll do Y, but if A happens then I’ll do B, if C happens then have mercy….
I don’t blame people who want predictions. Predictions are uncertain in and of themselves, so they only push life’s uncertainty back a step and hold it at arm’s length until facts and reality sets in. Advice and guidance are more effective. Rather than a prediction that still might or might not materialize, guidance adds a degree of information, a tiny bit of knowing that increases both our comfort levels and our ability to make contingency plans.
Imagine driving on a long road trip, and not quite knowing where you are. But ah-ha! A little sign on the side of the road lets you know that you are on highway I 79 going north. If I keep going straight, I’ll get to Erie, as long as I don’t drive into the lake…or get stuck in a surprise snow squall. So watch for where to turn, stop before you hit water, make sure your cell phone is charged and bring a coat. The sign (Tarot reading) doesn’t predict anything about our road trip, but it tells you the direction you are headed – good news if you are headed north, but if you wanted to go south, you have a choice to make about how to turn things around.
But that’s the practical side. What, other than facing our fear of it, is the value of the unknown? Is there one?
I think the mysterious and unknown is our portal to spirituality.
That is how I define spirituality, in fact. Spirituality is how we, as individuals deal with and engage with the inevitable, inexorable mysteries of existence. It is the diametrical opposite of religion. Religion is external, dogmatically seeking to make mysterious knowable even if it is at the cost of authoritarian, exclusionary, judgmental thinking. Spirituality makes the unknowable – not into the knowable – but into our friend.
It is ok not to know everything or have easy answers to everything. If the journey is more important than the destination, then the contemplation of the mysterious is more important than the comprehension of it.
I make meditation beads. I made one for myself recently. I have no idea how many beads are on it. I just strung however many beads were in that loose package. It’s not a size of bead I typically use, so there was no easy guess how many wound up on the strand. I could have counted them, but I chose not to. I could count them now, but I still choose not to. That mala reminds me of the mysterious parts of life. Because it is unknown, but could be, it symbolizes a connection between the known and unknown, the magick and the mundane, the material and the spiritual.
Not knowing is the bridge between the known and unknowable.
It’s OK to not know everything, even if it is a little frightening.
“I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that leads to total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will allow it to flow around me and through me. When the fear has passed, I will turn my minds eye to the path where the fear has gone and only I will remain.”Dune by Frank Herbert
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