Finding safety in not knowing

One of the ways our psyche tries to find safety is through knowing.

PRETENDING TO KNOW

It tells itself that a story is true and that it then knows how things are, even if it’s inevitably painful.

It’s painful for several reasons: Somewhere, we know we cannot know for certain. We know it’s very likely not as true as we tell ourselves it is. We need to reinforce the idea that the thought is true. We need to defend it against contrary views and information. We act on something out of alignment with reality, so our actions and life is out of alignment as well. And so on.

NOT KNOWING

Another way to find safety is in not knowing.

This is not finding safety in the story of not knowing. If we hold onto the story of not knowing as true, we can easily negate what we do know in a limited and conventional sense. We can end up pretending we don’t know what we do know.

It’s finding safety in receptivity and recognizing the nature of thoughts.

THE NATURE & FUNCTION OF THOUGHTS

Thoughts are questions about the world. They are pointers and guides. They are more or less accurate in a conventional sense. They are different in kind from what they point to. (Just like a map or menu.) They highlight some things and leave a lot out.

Their function is as practical guides for us in the world, they cannot provide any full, absolute, or final truth. That’s not within what they are capable of.

CURIOSITY AND RECEPTIVITY

For me, there is a kind of safety in knowing I cannot know for certain, and in recognizing the nature of thoughts. It opens for curiosity and receptivity, and for learning more.

That feels safer than telling myself I know when I know I cannot know for certain.

A MORE THOROUGH EXAMINATION

It’s one thing to have seen this in the past or to recognize it in general.

It’s another thing to recognize it when our psyche holds a certain thought as true, out of old habits and in an attempt to stay safe.

Consciously, I may recognize it’s likely not true. And somewhere in me, I feel and perceive and want to act as if it is.

In those cases, it’s good to identify those thoughts and inquire into them more thoroughly.

The image is a nocturne by me and Midjourney


INITIAL DRAFT

FINDING SAFETY IN NOT KNOWING

One of the ways our psyche tries to find safety is through knowing. It tells itself that a story is true, and that it then knows how things are, even if it’s inevitably painful.

Another way to find safety is in not knowing. Not in the story of not knowing, but in receptivity and recognizing the nature of thoughts.

Thoughts are questions about the world. They are pointers and guides. They are more or less accurate in a conventional sense. They are different in kind from what they point to. (Just like a map or menu.) They highlight some things and leave a lot out.

Their function is as practical guides for us in the world, they cannot provide any full, absolute, or final truth. That’s not within what they are capable of.

For me, there is a kind of safety in knowing I cannot know for certain, and in recognizing the nature of thoughts. It opens for curiosity and receptivity, and for learning more.

That feels more safe than telling myself I know when I know I cannot know for certain.

Sometimes, parts of my psyche hold stories as true even if I consciously recognize they are not. In those cases, it’s good to identify those thoughts and inquire into them more thoroughly.

Another way to find safety is in not knowing. This is not finding safety in the story of not knowing since that would be more of the same. It’s finding safety in receptivity and recognizing the nature of thoughts.

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