08 Jan How to Thrive In the Unknown
THE SUN RISES in the morning, although often, it feels like I’m waiting for the next sunrise.
One a hundred days away, when perhaps life will be a bit more clear.
But the answers I assume will change my life are out of my grasp, not readily attainable because maybe, they’re not supposed to be.
We’re all going through this mystery together.
We’re in the mud. It doesn’t make sense.
We have the choice—to navigate the darkness curiously, boldly, and with reverence for what we can’t comprehend, or timidly and discouraged.
In the brilliant book, Mastery, Robert Greene discusses a letter that the poet John Keats wrote to his brother in 1817, explaining what he called negative capability:
The world around us, he wrote, is far more complex than we can possibly imagine. With our limited senses and consciousness, we only glimpse a small portion of reality. The only solution for an enlightened person is to let the mind absorb itself in what it experiences, without having to form a judgement on what it all means.
The mind must be able to feel doubt and uncertainty for as long as possible. As it remains in this state and probes deeply into the mysteries of the universe, ideas will come that are more dimensional and real than if we had jumped to conclusions and formed judgements early on. Truly creative people in all fields can temporarily suspend their ego and simply experience what they are seeing, without the need to assert a judgement, for as long as possible.
Every day when living in the unknown, we create our reality with the decisions we make.
I choose to be happy where I am, with utmost gratitude for what I have—a body that works, love all around me, something to dedicate myself to no matter how the world around nor the sand below my feet shifts—writing, learning, and continually pushing against the boundaries of who I am and what I can be.
I choose to move, however slightly, every day; to feel the sunlight on my skin and feel the worry fade away.
I choose to focus on the simple things, what I can control—my reactions, forgiveness for myself and others, and treating this world as family.
So, if you’re wondering what to do when life feels out of your control, take it from Keats: allow your mind and your body to absorb themselves in this experience, and begin to investigate.
Ask questions without needing an answer. Look at simple things in new ways, like a child who’s never experienced the subtleties of life.
I believe this perspective shift will make life more interesting; I hope it can help you, as it’s helping me, to see this time as anything but a roadblock.
We’re exactly where we’re supposed to be.