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How comfortable are we with NOT KNOWING?

Over the years we have got used to figuring out everything we want to know, that we don’t know as yet. Google, technology, global connections, easy access to experts, and so much more that we can’t even keep track of, has made `knowing’ available at our fingertips. There is comfort in it, no doubt. There is chaos too in it, no doubt.

200,000 years ago, when humans first appeared on Earth, and for several thousands of years thereafter, life was embedded in the `not knowing’. Not knowing where the next meal came from, not knowing how long or how far we had to travel before we hunted/gathered, not knowing if we slept tonight in the savannahs/forests/in a fragile shelter, whether the next morning we would be alive or not. Not knowing what the weather had in store for us or what the sudden changes could be that can wipe out an entire habitat.

Let us look at what could have happened due to `Not Knowing’:

  • We developed and heightened our five basic senses – touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. This was the GPS, Google map and more, on which everyday life was dependent.
  • We began rejoicing the present moment – we enjoyed what we had in that moment. When the hunters came home with a big catch, the whole community shared and savored it, like it was their last meal together. There was celebration and rejoicing during that meal. It wasn’t stored, it wasn’t kept by one family for themselves. In fact, it is known in indigenous communities, that the person who hunted and looked out for the entire community was revered, from the early years.
  • We entertained and educated one another through storytelling – the hunters (men, generally) told stories of the adventures they had, the gatherers (women, generally) told stories of the experiences they had, and the sum total of it was not only entertainment, but also a way of passing on the intelligence to the next generation. A way of passing on wisdom. Because we didn’t know what tomorrow held, and the everyday stories and learning had to be passed on. We did this together, before wrapping for the night…sitting together.
  • We formed rituals – rituals of birth, rituals for rite of passage into adulthood, rituals for death, rituals to remember ancestors, rituals around seasons (spring, summer, autumn, rain), rituals around elements of the earth (sun, moon, rivers, stars), rituals around hunting (singing for the salmon, singing for what nature provides). What did it do? It brought the community together, it allowed them to value what IS, not worry about what IS NOT. It gave us a feeling of togetherness, safety, security, bonding, support, connectedness, and made us realise we were part of a larger force. Part of THE CIRCLE OF LIFE.
  • We had time to wander, reflect, daydream, experiment, explore – this led to heightened creativity, sustainable ways to innovate and live, gave birth to music, dance, art. We discourage this for ourselves (as being unproductive or unimportant) or discourage this when we see it in children…when they are just sitting and daydreaming, or wandering. Archimedes came up with the theory of buoyancy, his `Eureka’ moment lounging in his bathtub; Isaac Newton sitting under the apple tree led to the law of gravity; and Einstein’s daydreaming is famous, that he was even expelled from school. In other words, creating space to wander-daydream-reflect, is what energizes creativity, as it energizes the spirit. How often today do we gift ourselves this?

In other words, ‘NOT KNOWING’ was a creative, spiritual, emotional, and physical stimulant. But it did one more thing, it built TRUST. It built trust in ourselves, in our bodies, in our community, in our understanding, in our intuitions, in our gut, in our senses, in our creativity, in our ability to survive, in the Higher Intelligence that brought us here, which knows what is good for the collective good; and above all, it built trust in our ability to thrive.

Had we not thrived, none of us would be here. And all this came through two things : In NOT KNOWING, and in DEEP TRUSTING.

This is our opportunity to explore both. Explore the NOT KNOWING and believing that when we stand together as a community, as a humanity, and TRUST every cell in our body and support it by listening to our senses, we have the capacity to survive and thrive.

What more can we learn from our ancestors? What lessons have they left behind that we now need to access? What do we wish to leave behind because one day, we will be the ancestors of the current generation? What rituals, what stories, what heritage, what legacy, what type of creativity?

Much to ponder. What better time than now.

Would love to leave you with these thoughts.

I invite you all to share what you feel about this.

Thank you for reading.

Anjan Prakash

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