the value of not knowing


Since March this year I have been studying on a course co-hosted by Schumacher college in Devon about Nature connection and environmental education. I love being a student or an apprentice, yet and again and again I bump into my ignorance... or not knowing. I don't know one plant from the next, or which compass direction I am facing... and I notice along side this not knowing comes a connected feeling.. a murky sense of "it's not ok to not know" or even "you are not ok" . I dig a little deeper and feel a thread that goes way back to school and before perhaps. If this thread had words it would be "you have to know, it's not ok to not know"

We have forgotten how to not know! or you could say we have forgotten how to enjoy not knowing.

So much of our culture is geared around knowing and having an opinion on everything. I was struck recently during the last UK election, that one friend of mine on social media refused to enter the debate about it until he has had more time to think about it. He stated this clearly and without apology. In our ever quickening culture, it seems if we don't have something to say, we will be left behind... or thought of as less articulate perhaps, or uninterested. But perhaps we just don't know yet, and that's ok.

I notice how in my son's education that the emphasis is on answers .. on knowing. He is encouraged to know answers but not have interesting questions. Of course we need to know things to get along in life, but there is a great value being missed... the value of not knowing, the value of holding an unanswered question. or as I like to call it the value of mystery and wonder.

And I am sure you have noticed... not knowing is a big part of Focusing practice. It is just so helpful to just hang out there a little....and wait, and listen.

If we can embrace not knowing as a good thing, then it can be a door way to many other qualities and actions.. curiosity, wonder, awe, investigation, exploration, playfulness and creativity to name a few.

So why not be curious about how it os for you to now know. What happens in that spot? Does something in you get anxious or critical? And if it does take a moment to see if you can welcome that and sit with more ease in the not knowing spot. It's an open doorway...

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