March 30 Meditation - The Myth of Certainty
Updated: May 19
"Keats aspired to what he called Negative Capability, when one is “capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after facts and reason.” Uncertainty is a liquid state where you float, swim, and take in the view."
Tonight I want to say a few words about what I see as the myth of certainty.
This is the idea that we can foresee the future. This is often why people want me to read their Tarot cards or look at their future and tell them what’s going to happen. We want to know. We want to know what’s going to happen, we want to know who’s going to enter or exit our lives, we want to know what we will have and what we won’t have. And we don’t actually get to know any of that. Which is part of the fun of life, although I know it doesn’t always feel fun. But if you knew the ending, you wouldn’t bother reading the book. This is a choose your own adventure story and we make decisions every day that affect where we’re heading, which means there are a lot of variables, and all those variables really call into question the availability of any certainty.
For a lot of people, uncertainty is the core of anxiety. The root of anxiety is what-if thinking, and we torture our selves by flooding our brains with the worst case what-ifs. Often the antidote we use for anxiety is clinging to a plan. Having a plan for the future, and maybe a backup plan that gets us to the same destination, and that security grants us peace. Lots of lists. Lots of right angles. But my message today is that that’s false security. Plans and certainty about the future are generally flimsy at best. And when you put too much stock into the idea that you know where you’re headed, the Universe usually likes to throw you a curve ball.
And here we are with this monumental curveball, right? No one saw THIS coming. So what do we do now?
This is where faith comes in for a lot of people. I’m not here to tell you what to have faith in or what that looks like, you get to explore that for yourselves. But I do want to say that faith is really about trusting yourself. Faith is knowing that in the liquid state of uncertainty, you will know how to float.
So I’m going to invite you to spend a little more time this week letting yourself float than checking off a list. I know productivity is tempting but I think it’s also self-defeating, because we don’t know where we’re going. The course is uncharted and we’re not even sure the vessel is watertight right now. So maybe just float. Take in the view.