My friend Richard and I were just talking the other day about how great it feels to say “I don’t know” and then the concept came up again last night as I was listening to Wayne Dyer’s “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” on PBS. Although I am not especially one of his fans, I thought he gave a fascinating presentation based on the Tao Te Ching, probably written by Lau Tsu in 6th century BC China. It affected me deeply. There’s a lot I heard that I’m still absorbing.
At another time I may talk more about this book since I plan to spend some time with it, but for today I just want to talk about one of the things Dyer spoke about: the wisdom and freeing nature of “I don’t know.”
The world of blogging is made of of countless people, many of us offering advice or wisdom or elucidation on some point of another. And yet…when it comes down to it, there’s just so much we don’t know. No…let me say so much I don’t know. And it feels good to be able to say that.
How do we save the world? I don’t know.
How do we pick the right Presidential candidate? I don’t know.
How do we work within the corporate structure and still remain true to who we are? I don’t know.
How do we love others without expectations if they spend all their time talking or thinking about themselves? I don’t know.
How do we follow our bliss and still pay the rent? I don’t know.
Man that feels good. Phew!
But what I do know is that no one else knows for sure either. We’re all just making our best guesses in life. And so if they don’t know and I don’t know, then I guess I just have to trust my instincts to guide me to make the best decisions for me – if I can just get out of my habit of needing to know everything and be right about it all.
If I really listen to the voice from deep inside, whatever I come up with will be just as good as any decisions THEY could make for me. So what if it turns out less than great? I’ll learn what I couldn’t have known if I didn’t at least try.
Of course, I can listen and learn from THEM. Listening with a mental state of “I don’t know” can be a powerful thing. Since I don’t know it all, I need to take in ideas from others as well as from my own inner knowledge. And I can honor others for their willingness to share what knowledge they have. And me for my willingness to listen with an open heart and mind.
But in the end, even though I don’t know, I can trust me to figure things out anyway. And I can be comforted by the knowledge that I don’t know, so I don’t have to be right or perfect. And I don’t have to worry about what THEY say, because they don’t really know either.
At this moment, that’s all I know for sure. But what I do know is…that’s ok.