I recently discussed the concepts of the “unknown,” or “uncertainty,” with a group of teens at the public high school where I teach yoga and meditation. Admittedly, it’s a rather heavy concept to discuss with youth, but their thoughtful answers never fail to wow me. When asked how they respond to uncertainty in their own lives, several of them spoke about the ability to connect to a “knowingness,” or sense of inner trust, and a willingness to believe that, no matter what, everything is actually okay. One especially bright student offered this wisdom: “I work hard so that the unknown can become known to me.”
Impressive, right? The fact that these teens, with all they face in this vastly uncertain world, can tap into such a deep and intuitive sense of strength gives me hope. And hope, as one of my favorite teachers likes to say, “…is the experience of welcoming the uncertain in your life.” What we know pales in comparison to what we don’t. The unknown surrounds us. It’s in the face of every stranger we pass, it lingers inside every bus, car, train, and plane we ride, and it lies beside us each evening as we drift off to sleep. It’s there when we form a new partnership, start a new job or creative endeavor. It’s certainly there when we start a family, bringing children into this world, as many of my friends are doing.
There’s no getting over on it. It’s a clear and simple fact of human existence. A fact that we can either resist, learn to tolerate, or welcome completely. I vote for the latter. Just like the teens, I want to cultivate a sense of inner trust, and I want to allow the unknown, through perseverance and practice, to become known.