The Power of I Don't Know
By Sheldon Ginsberg
In our modern world we are taught at a very early age that knowing is much more attractive than not-knowing. When we know we often get respect and praise and feel very good about ourselves. Not knowing is often viewed as a sign of stupidity or some inner personal flaw.
Knowledge flows from those who have the information to those that do not. Those who have the information are considered to have the power. Individuals such as teachers, heads of corporations, doctors, parents and scientists all seem to have a lot of information at their disposal and are therefore attractive for their "brain power".
Another reason to fill our minds with information is that not having this power is viewed as weakness and weakness is undesirable so we work very hard at filling our minds with knowledge to emulate those that know.
However in this quest for knowledge and power have we ever looked at the price of knowledge? It seems that everything in this world contains both a benefit and a price. What price do we pay for seeking to have information fill us?
Knowledge helps us deal with the ever-changing nature of the world. It helps us to view circumstances and organize our thoughts around these circumstances to navigate our lives. However, since the inescapable truth is that whatever knowledge we posses represents only a fraction of all the knowledge that actually exists. What we don't know is considerably bigger than what we truly know.
So, why do most of us walk around in this seeming state of knowing? Because living in the know is much more easy to control than accepting that we don't know. It is control that we like. Control keeps us safe (or so we think). But this control is an illusion and keeps us from seeing other things in our life.
When we come from a place of believing we know things (for the possibility exists that what we think we know in one moment can change in the next as new information is discovered) our brain and nervous systems become editors of reality's information. When we are committed to knowing something our brain tell our senses to only accept the information that conforms to this reality. Then, all we see, hear and sense becomes limited and our experience of life lessens.
When you decide you know something all of what happens in your life must fit within this knowing. For make no mistake about it, each of us creates our own version of reality. What we think and believe we know has been created from our past experiences. Past experience shapes our current experiences and influences our future considerations.
The danger in knowing is the more you know the less you can freely respond to your life. Because the more you know the more you need to remember that "this is the way things should be". When life presents itself to us in ways that do not fit into our neat pattern of thinking we often look at the event, as something is wrong here instead of looking at ourselves and questioning our thinking. Do you want a life that is pre-programmed? Do you want to be stuck in a box that screams you must act and think this way and only this way? Is the price of seemingly safe illusions worth the prison you construct around yourself?
There is an inherent power in not knowing something. Within the space of not knowing anything is possible. It is where life can happen without limitation. Let me illustrate...
Many years ago, people of this world believed (and it was backed up by societies greatest thinkers/media) that the world was flat as a pancake. If you sailed too far you would fall off the earth's edge into oblivion. Many people accepted this as fact and made sure never to sail too far. They changed their behavior as a result of this knowing and thus cut themselves off from other possibilities.
Looking back at this we can see the folly of their ways but the point is not lost. What beliefs about our lives are we currently clinging to in order to feel safe about ourselves that limits our potentialities and possibilities?
Knowing and not knowing is a relationship that we manage. Isn't there a great delight in learning something new? Well, in order to learn something new some part of you has to not know. Learn to say, "I don't know". It gives you tremendous power to be open to other possibilities that you may not have considered before. It does not mean that you forgot all the information that you have learned. It does not mean that you are stupid or incapable. What it does mean is that you are honest. Place knowing to the side and remind yourself that what you know is such a small part of what really exists. When you don't know you are left with the excitement of discovery and adventure!
Newness exists everywhere you turn. If you think you know it all then newness is gone. Buried under the desire to control, limit and appear smart. If we begin to acknowledge and trust that we really don't know and then we say, "I am going to find out for myself" then we have power. For then your experience informs us and experience is the best teacher.
Knowledge is a structure that is built upon assumptions where only certain things can happen. Set yourself free from the bonds of knowing and begin to embrace life moment-to-moment. Allow knowledge to come and go but do not to attach to any one belief. Allow thoughts to flow in your mind without any obstructions or impediments and pay attention to new ideas and thoughts. "I don't know" is a place where anything can happen.