Not Knowing

Oh how we all would like to know. Everything. We want to know how it will all turn out, what the weather will be like for our family picnic, will our child get well, where will I live, or what is the true nature of God, the Divine Mystery.


Some questions are deeper, more full of fear and anxiety, than others. In some questions, there is an urgency we don’t want to even acknowledge. The past lessons we have learned throughout our lives often teach us that if we play our cards right, do the right thing, live a right and honest life, work hard for our compensation or plan well enough, that somehow we can avoid being disappointed, or experience suffering and pain. Yet, it only takes a casual glance around and a deep conversation with a friend, to find that no one, literally no one, has had a life free of disappointment, pain, hurt, loss or tragedy.


I suspect we human beings will always ask the questions. The questions themselves are a beautiful form of curiosity and invite a deeper, more expansive way of living. Wondering about the essential truths, listening to another’s point of view with genuine openness, curiosity about different faith and wisdom paths, and seeing possibilities in the future, can inspire and motivate each of us in multiple directions.


Suffering seems to be in the clinging to, and fear of losing our preferred answer to the questions. We often feel a right to anger and resentment directed outwards if things don’t go our way, or the way we had imagined. If we are to believe that questions and curiosity might be the source of beauty and light in our lives, then the trick is to let go of certainty and the suffering it brings. What if we were to ask the deepest questions in our hearts with an openness that allows the answers to reveal themselves in ever changing ways? What if wondering was curiosity and not a form of clinging to our prescribed answers.


When we are deeply disappointed and mourning loss and heartbreak, there is an honoring of our emotional beautiful self that is needed and helpful in our healing. And then, somewhere in our healing, we may find an awareness of our genuine lack of power to predict the outcome of our lives. This awareness can lead to deep despair or it might be able to guide us to humility and openness to what is next. It may lead us to a beautiful focus on living our present moment to the best of our ability and finding beauty in the ability to release the need to know the outcome.


In our despair we may find acceptance and curiosity. Letting go of the burden of needing to know the outcome and of grasping too tightly to preferred solutions, makes room for the lightness; both weight and illumination. What if we didn’t need to know all the answers, but allowed grace and openness to guide our way? As Jack Kornfield says, true peace is not indifference or emotional resignation, but it is the dynamic stillness of living in the present moment. I would add, living with curiosity, wonder and gratitude in the present moment.

5 Responses

  1. Your last paragraph makes a strong statement and pulls all your ideas together. Nicely written piece 🙂

  2. Linnea Dietrich

    Love your direction Janet. So well-thought out, well-written and challenging to do with consistence!

    • HealingJourneys

      Thank you Linnea! you are one of my inspirations! I am so honored you keep reading.

  3. Alan R. Zopf

    Hello Jan.
    This reminds me of that Rumi poem: “out beyond the ideas of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field, I’ll meet you there. For when the soul lays down in that place, the world is to big to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense”. so.. I hear you and him hinting at me, to let go of my shames, guilt’s, those judgments. At times I’ve looked away, from heartache, from fears, from myself. Now, slowly turning towards the lights that have been burning there non stop.

    • HealingJourneys

      Oh my, so humbled to have Rumi referred to in reference to any thing I might write. Yes, turn toward the lights – always present.



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