The Profound Beauty of Not Knowing
I’m having one of those moments. A moment of complete blankness, at a time when I want to experience an abundant flow of inspired creativity. I could call it writer’s block – which I’ve written about before – yet it feels somehow different. As I set aside the frustration of not being inspired when I think I “should” be inspired, this blankness feels somehow…purifying. Clean. Restorative. Loving.
Setting aside the judgment that I should feel inspired is key to this experience. It calls me more deeply into the present moment and the gifts that await me here. I’m reminded, suddenly yet gently, of an experience I had just a week ago. I was coming out of a period of unexpected challenges and feeling depleted, off-balance and more than a little sad and worried. I wanted so much to feel better. For weeks I had done all I knew to do – all the things I would have coached a client to do – to soothe myself, get the support I needed and nudge my vibration toward one of peace, clarity and optimism. And over that time I was feeling better and better…yet not as good as I wanted to feel. I just didn’t feel like “me.”
I had come to the edge of all that I knew, and did not know what else I could do.
I simply did not know.
And so I sat. I sat still. I sat still in the “not knowing.” I let myself feel how it felt to literally not know what was real or true for me or what to do next. I was aware of how much my identity had been wrapped up for years in being the one who knows things. And for once, that awareness was simply present. In a state of Grace, I didn’t judge myself for not knowing. I didn’t judge myself for thinking I should know, or for thinking that I shouldn’t.
There was no judgment at all.
There was simply – nothing. The nothingness of not knowing.
A simple mantra arose in my mind for just a moment – “I let go of all that I know” – which repeated itself a few times and then faded into the nothingness from which it had arisen. In some impossible way the nothingness became even more pure. I felt nothing, I thought nothing, and there was absolute perfection in that experience. I wanted to stay “there” as long as I could.
At some point the phone rang and I chose to answer it. I returned to the many “somethings” of daily life and went about my day, slowly and mindfully. I was aware of an inner spaciousness that felt deeply calming. And I was aware, too, of how essential my journey to nothingness had been to reclaiming a true sense of self.
Beyond all the mental constructs of who I thought I should be, and what I thought I should know, I sat in what many spiritual traditions call the Void – a non-physical dimension of pure nothingness from which all creation arises. In that state of unlimited potential we have access to levels of awareness that transcend our usual ideas of who we are and what kind of life is possible for us.
Although I’ve had similar experiences of “going to the Void” in past meditations, this one felt different. A wholly new level of surrender had preceded it, and the experience lives with me still. Although I cannot put into words all that I gained from it, I can say that letting go of what I knew was both humbling and completely liberating. To literally not know opens me to exploration and lets me off the hook for having to get things “right.” What a relief.
When I first sat down to write this column, my initial plan was to write about the upcoming season of spring and all of the renewal, growth and promise that it holds. Yet all I confronted was blankness…which led me to share with you the experience I had last week. And I realize now the perfection of allowing this moment to unfold just as it did. May this article be a loving reminder to all of us that our willingness to let go of all that we know, and to sit in the Void of pure being, is a profound act of renewal, growth and promise.
And so as this long winter draws to a close, pause once more to go even more deeply within. Dare to walk naked into the Void, letting go of all you think you are and all you think you know. Let yourself be nourished and expanded into a whole new level of awareness. You are magnificent, and your potential for creativity and fulfillment is unlimited.
In renewal and celebration,