Certainty versus uncertainty.

Recently, I have been writing about the heat wave and other news from the farm. But today I will try to have a few words about our state of mind and dilemma that we have in life. Why dilemma you might ask? It is very simple. We face times in our lives where we don’t know what to do in a particular situation. Making a decision about a situation in life and when we don’t know how to deal with it. How to make “sure” that we have taken or are making the right one?

I think the first thing that we have to remember is what is the instrument that will hinder you from making a move in either direction. We are going to try to deal with our thinking to try to resolve this issue. Of course you might say. What else is there? That is the only thing that will allow me to see what is going on. That is the only instrument that I have and that I know. Ok. Hence my thought process will permit me to deal with it. Will it?

But, have we ever thought about how skewed that is in the first place? Have we ever ask ourselves what is the make up of these thoughts? How are they moulded, how do we organise them and are they adequate to deal with this issue that I am struggling with. Thought is only a tool. Like I said previously, the menu is not the food. Thought is narrow, restricted, reductionist, bigoted, distorted at the best of time, a definition and representational only. It is never the thing/object itself. With that in mind, how can you be sure of anything?

Let’s take an example of how this works. In life we strife for certainty. Yes, we want to be sure that everything is going to plan, nothing will interfere with this plan. In other words we want certainty. The quest for certainty will stifle creativity, certainty does not leave space in the mind ( it is always busy thinking of ways to be sure), certainty will hinder compassion, love, openness, certainty is tyrannical as it wants to control and impose its ideas on others. Has your boss been recently a little too aggressive? Certainty does not allow uncertainty. It allows no space in the mind because we are too busy filling it up with ideas to define ourselves and struggling to always get it right.

The purpose of thoughts is to control our surroundings, our identities, our position, our image, our standing in the community…To a degree, there is nothing wrong with that. On a functional level that is totally necessary. Necessary to drive a car properly or build a house, one has to know the rules and what instrument to use. But on the psychological level it does not happen like this. Thoughts are really weak. Should I go and meet my friend or should I go to Paris? Should I stay with my husband or take a lover? Should I…should I…should I. All these create confusion. Why does it create confusion? We are torn, not being to jump one way or the other. If I jump this way I lose control, if I jump the other way I will also lose something else also. Lose …lose situation. May be my position at work, my lover, my security. Yes, security. So, here we are, we don’t want to lose anything. We want complete certainty. Yes, the mind, my thoughts do not want to let go of that uncertainty. Why? Because thought is the source of uncertainty and does not want to let go in its desire to get rid of it. You will take away its “raison d’être” …reason for being. So it remains in the state of uncertainty in order to search certainty for ever. Like a dog trying to catch it tail. Not realising that it is running after itself in total unconsciousness of its action.

Yes, we are not aware of the battle that is taking place in our mind. Because it is a battle, a dangerous battle that drags on sometimes for the rest of our life. Trapped in the fight and not knowing how to get out of it. Stuck.

Of course, now one may ask: how do you get out of this trap? Ah ah! here comes the question that might elucidate my dilemma. Ask yourself this: Who want to get out of what? Who asks the question? It is a legitimate question of course. Now, how can the mind who is trapped in a dilemma going to answer how to get out of it? My mind is the problem. My thoughts are the problem. So, we are asking the problem to get out of the problem, no? Is this feasible? No, so what am I to do? I am still in a quandary. Maybe I should go and meditate, go and see a master or a guru. I am sure these people have the answer.

So, off I trot in search of certainty starting of course from a state of uncertainty. What if the master is no good, but he might be. S/he is quite reputable and has skills. So, I am sure, yes, I am sure he might give me the answer. If she does that is great, you are liberated. But if he does not where are you? Back to square one.

It is uncertainty that makes search for a place where I can at last rest in peace. I am obsessed trying to find the right solution. This obsession is blurring my love, my openness, my space. And it is in that space that I can see, yes, see the stupidity of my position not before. But again you may ask, how to you get to this space? How do you sense that openness? Of course these are very good questions and legitimate.

Can you see the obsession? Can you see the turmoil? Can you see the battle? Can you see the dilemma? Can you see how run down you are? Can see you how tired you are? Yes, you can see all that. These are all the result of your thought process going in circle and trying to resolve the impossible. That is why maybe people are taking so many prescription drugs to calm them down. They have trouble dealing with all this burden. I make it sound so simple. The mind never rest, never stops, never have a moment of silence. When you realise that you will never know, when you stop controlling, when you stop giving way to your thought and roof brain chatter, there is a moment of uncertainty. Are you going to fill it again? or are you going to let it be. Letting it be is the opening that you want. Yes, again how to make the decision? Well, let it go first. Then you will see.

Catch yourself in the act of trying to control an event. Catch yourself yelling at the dog. Catch yourself imposing your opinions on others. Catch yourself obsessed with tiny little things that don’t matter. Catch yourself ever furtively trying to profit from a situation. Catch yourself with your friend competing for a place on the tennis court or in a race. Catch yourself trying to get the best bit in a restaurant . Catch yourself talking…moving… see if these actions arise from a sense of wanting to secure a place or a position. Are you a winner? Are you a great person? All these arise from a sense of wanting to be sure….hence uncertain of yourself. And we do that day in day out.

In life one is never certain of anything. But the struggle is the fight for certainty. When one knows that we can’t be certain of anything then, something happens. That something else is the opening that you are REALLY looking for. Stop wanting to control!

What happens when you become aware of hurt and the dilemma inside you?

These problems are a direct result of thinking trying to achieve certainty …a hopeless battle. Given the premise that it can never be reached, what am I left with…being tyrannical with my partner, abusing other, being obsessed with cleanliness or looks maybe, imposing stiffer rules and regulations on others, beating someone, killing another human being maybe. All these actions are the result of not knowing what to do. Never being able to achieve something in life. Sure, I can be perfect in my job, super organised, super conscientious, being promoted to new heights, but has that resolved my issues?

Also remember one thing, the more you talk about your issue to other people the less you become apt at resolving them. What I am saying is you are leaning on others to find a solution for you because you are not able to do so. Normal you might say, but this will take any initiative that you may have. “Polling” as Brene Brown would say takes away your ability to see through your issues. Of course that is assuming on my part that you are still in good health and do not have any serious mental problems. I am not advocating by any means not to see a counselor or someone who at time might be extremely beneficial in trying to elucidate a few important points that one may have. But that is not polling it is taking steps to understand where you are at.

I am sure there is plenty more to add, I could go on and on but that is all for today.

Till next time

5 thoughts on “Certainty versus uncertainty.

  1. Ah Gigi, you have put on your philosopher’s cap once again! That incessant striving for certainty is nothing more than fear of the unknown. If we can control everything that happens to us, we have the illusion that we will be safe. Our minds go to work on this problem, as you say, with feverish abandon. But our minds always discover new things of which we must be afraid. So, there you have the never-ending struggle.

    Once we realize that we have nothing to fear–indeed even death will not compromise our safety according to those who have had near death experiences–then we can relax and enjoy the dance of life. Whatever we have created in our lives, be it positive or negative, is simply an illusion. When we unattach ourselves and simply observe, we can rise above the need for specific outcomes.

    Our minds are busy but they can be trained to look in other directions. We can focus on the beauty we see around us, ever conscious that we create our experience as we pay attention to the things we prefer. A little quiet time each day will help us to do this more effectively.

    Yes, I agree with your concept of “polling”. There is nobody in this world who understands you better than yourself. A little introspection will eventually help you to be aware of solutions that you had inside yourself all along!


    1. Thanks Carol for your reply as usual.True, the incessant striving for certainty is fear of the unknown. Indeed a never ending struggle to establish a base from which we can finally be certain. How futile! The realisation is the trickiest of them all. Because we use the very same tool to find out which is erroneous in the first place. hence the endless search and striving for BETTER gurus and masters to tell us what to do while along the answer is right here in front of of our nose. But how many of us are aware of that?

      Also many thanks for your input in the Gallery events. And one more thing, your crochet endeveours never stops to amaze me.
      Take care and again thanks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s