The Sufi mystic Rumi was once asked by a disciple, “What is fear?” He replied, “Non-acceptance of uncertainty is our fear. If we accept that uncertainty it becomes adventure!”
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Human beings don’t like uncertainty. Uncertainty causes us hours of worry, concern and fear. We’re uncertain about the economy, our relationships, our God, our jobs, our futures, our health… you name it, there is an element of uncertainty in it. So, what do we do? We strive to take the uncertainty out of everything by planning and organizing and scheduling. But the truth is that we can never completely remove the uncertainty of life.
Our option is to accept the uncertainty in life. We call this all sorts of things… go with the flow, relax, chill out, roll with it, be flexible, be spontaneous. With this acceptance come gifts we may not have imagined. Eckert Tolle has said,
“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change. The Roman philosopher Tacitus rightly observed that ‘the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.’ If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into aliveness, alertness and creativity.”
I think there are at least three gifts of uncertainty.
GIFT ONE… life becomes an adventure. When we allow ourselves to be surprised, to enjoy the unexpected twists and turns, to live for the moment instead of worrying overly much about the future or the past, everything becomes a wonderful adventure.
Sometimes my wife, Julie, and I will hop on her Harley and ride just to explore. Sometimes we find the coolest stuff when we just go and see where we end up! Instead we have a tendency to go to the same restaurants, the same vacation spots, and the same church (though, that’s ok). We hang with the same people, listen to the same music, make the same food, and play the same games. I understand that we’re creatures of habit. We like easy and comfortable and secure. However, I think we make it harder for the universe to surprise us, to move us, and to use us when we insist on the certainty of how we spend our days.
Deepak Chopra explains, “In our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.”
GIFT TWO… uncertainty creates excitement for seeking and learning.
If we were certain of everything and had the answers to everything, life would be boring. Because we don’t know everything,and aren’t certain about everything, we are excited to explore, to step forward, to theorize and risk and search.
This is true of all things… including God! Sadly, the great religions of the world have done people a disservice by insisting on the certainty of religion. Eric Elnes has said that,
“Religion does us a disservice when it seeks to remove uncertainty from life. Have you ever noticed how the more certainty a religion claims to deliver, the more frenzied and hysterical are its adherents? The fact of the matter is that life is messy and no amount of doctrine or dogma changes this. Faith built upon certainty is a house of cards that falls apart when the “unshakable foundation” shifts even slightly.”
Without uncertainty there is no faith and no creative exploration of life, the universe, God and everything.
GIFT THREE… we learn to fly
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” ― C. JoyBell C.
Accepting uncertainty means we are willing to risk. Risk stretches us to discover ourselves and what we are truly capable of. If we don’t risk, if we don’t step into the unknown, we don’t give ourselves a chance to solve challenges creatively, to spread our wings and realize that we can fly and the spirit will carry us.
THE KEY: Trust is the key to living with uncertainty, and realizing the gifts of uncertainty in our lives. Trust in oneself and trust in the Divine, and the inherent goodness of the universe.
In Luke 12: 22-26, Jesus tells the people not to worry about life or what they are going to eat. His reasoning? Not that there is going to be a good crop or that Rome will stop oppressing the people. In fact, Jesus doesn’t really give any answers, or offer any security for life. The answer Jesus offers is simply to trust in God.
But how do we do that when most days even God doesn’t feel certain. And if God has some sort of plan, God’s not sharing. So we decide we’ll just take care of things ourselves, thank you very much. Yet, I do find when I relax into trust, even if something doesn’t turn out the way I want, it’s easier to handle.
Trust takes us out of our self-created prison of fear. Trust opens our hearts and minds to the creative power of the universe, to the infinite possibilities that exist. Trust opens us to risk, to step out of the small worlds we create in our heads and lives and broaden them, excited, not scared, about the possibilities of what we might find. With trust, our uncertainty becomes adventure, aliveness, alertness and creativity.
Love & Light!