Byron Katie: Not knowing is the way to understanding

Not knowing is the way to understanding.

– Byron Katie

This can be understood in a few different ways.

When we set out to learn something, knowing that we don’t know much or anything about it is a very good start. We are receptive. Have some insight into our own lack of understanding. And from here can seek out learning and get experience and learn. It puts us in the right mindset for learning.

After we have a great deal of experience, understanding, and skill, it’s still this way. Knowing that we don’t know everything about it puts us in the right frame of mind for continued learning. It opens for receptivity, curiosity, and continued exploration.

We may also find that we don’t know anything for certain. This applies to even our most basic assumptions about ourselves, others, and the world, and it opens for an even wider receptivity, curiosity, and exploration.

It also opens for an understanding of the nature of knowing. We don’t know anything for certain. Any thought or map has some validity in it, we just need to find how. Thoughts are questions about the world. They help us orient and function in the world and have a great practical value. And their value is limited to the practical. Their function is not to give us any final or ultimate truth because they can’t.

Finally, it can help us to notice what we are. To the extent we grok that we cannot know anything for certain about anything, including who and what we are and what the world is, this opens up for noticing what we are. It opens up for finding ourselves as capacity for the world, for our experience of this human self and the wider world.

Not knowing is the way to understanding. When we start out learning something, knowing we don’t know puts us in the right frame of mind for learning. Even after we get far more experience and skills, the same applies. Knowing there is a lot we don’t know helps us find the receptivity and curiosity to continue to learn. Knowing we don’t know anything for certain widens this receptivity and curiosity to anything and everything. And getting that thoroughly opens us to notice what we are.

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