The more familiar I become with not knowing, the more liberated I am from knowing and the more freedom it is to explore. And takes many forms.
Forms of not knowing
The not knowing is at two distinct levels.
:: Conventional not knowing ::
First, there is the conventional not knowing. This conventional not knowing is summarized nicely in this statement: the world is always more than and different from our experiences and maps of it.
Our experiences are filtered in many different ways, through biology, culture, personal experiences and so on. And as a segment of an infinitely larger whole, we cannot possibly have any complete knowledge of this whole. It will always be incomplete, always limited. There is always more.
And when our experiences are expressed, they take the form of abstractions – ideas, thoughts, words, maps, models, theories and so on. All of these are abstractions of the experience. The terrain is always more than and different from the map.
So in all these ways, we see that our conventional knowledge is – obviously – severely limited. We are always only scratching the surface, exploring the world in fragments. There is always more.
The world is always more than and different from our experiences and maps of it.
>From this realization comes conventional humility. We realize that all our experiences and all our maps are tentative. They are temporary guidelines only. And they will always change, as our situation and experiences of the world change. Often, they change only in the details. And sometimes, they change as a whole – turning everything upside down.
:: Transcendent not knowing ::
Then there is the transcendent not knowing. Here, we find ourselves as pure awareness, distinct from abstractions of any form. We are that which abstractions – as any other temporary phenomena – arises within and as.
And since pure awareness is distinct from abstractions, it is another form of not knowing. It is just pure seeing, pure receptivity, a clear mirror for temporary phenomena. It is a sky through which clouds pass, leaving no trace.
And this is the pure awareness seeing everything happening right now – the screen, the patterns on the screen, the letters and words, the tapping on the keyboard – and also seeing that all those descriptions are only interpretations, coming from an added layer of abstractions, itself a temporary phenomenon along with all other temporary phenomena.
Expressions of not knowing
As we become more familiar with these two forms of not knowing, it brings a liberation in several different ways. It brings a liberation from knowing. And this in turn brings freedom to play and engage with various forms of knowing.
The more familiar I am with not knowing, the more free I am to explore knowing – in all its many forms and expression. And I can do this because I don’t take them too seriously. They appear within the context of not knowing, as passing clouds in the sky.
They are seen as temporary phenomena, only of temporary and limited interest and use. And still very valuable in helping me, as a human being, explore, describe, orient and communicate in the world.
It frees me to play with a wide range of different stories – collective and personal, and explore their implications.
To the extent I am familiar with not knowing, it liberates me from beliefs and into a more open, receptive and fluid exploration and engagement.