The words we use to think or speak about our experiences hold so much more power than we generally recognize. Quite often without realizing it, the way we express ourselves can keep us stuck or tripping over the same issues/challenges over and over again.
Like a well worn path on a rug that has become a welt, we stay comfortable in our habits and rarely venture beyond it, and we tend to initially resist anyone or anything that would question our way of perceiving.
One of the most common responses I encounter, in everyday life and through working with people in a healing way is the comment ‘I know’ or ‘I already know that!’. Someone will be describing a challenge or problem they are having, they say they are looking for feedback and an answer to it, and deep down they definitely are, yet there are many layers of resistance, because it will mean being vulnerable. It also necessitates change, which requires stepping out and off of the well trodden carpet that has become the main inner trail through the jungle of life experiences. The resistance is totally subconscious, and is based in the primal need to feel safe.
When suggestions or feedback is given a key phrase that always emerges to reveal that resistance is ‘I Know’. The fact is though, that, if I did know all I needed to, to understand or solve my problem, it would be solved immediately, I would act on that knowing therefore creating the changes needed. So, really, it’s obvious I don’t know. Whatever I may think I know is obviously not complete, otherwise reality would be different. Proof is in the pudding.
It’s an interesting loop we get caught in, which causes us to deflect new insights from emerging by defending ourselves with what we think we already know. Is it any wonder it can sometimes feel like we are chasing our tails trying to come to some answers? There is also a huge difference between what we think we know and putting it into living action. We all know war is bad, yet…. We all know certain things are bad for our health yet…..
If we take a deeper look at what the statement ‘I know’ implies, we come to see that it creates a dead end. If I already know, than where else is there to go and explore other possibilities? It obstructs moving forward. It’s done. That statement also seems to offer the illusion of being in control, so we hold on to our knowing out of fear of the unknown. In our culture as well, there is a strong association with the idea of knowing things. When you do, it means you are strong and intelligent, when not, then you’re stupid or a loser, so to speak. That message is programmed in us over and over again through the school system and society.
One day when I was twenty and living in Ascona Switzerland, a question formed in me that to this day still governs and guides me to expand myself and reach further than I can see. “ How do I know, that I really know, what I think I know?” That question blew my mind open because I realized that that certainty doesn’t exist, because there are so many differing contexts experiences can be perceived from, and if I am indeed an evolving being, that would also imply that knowing changes with experiences.
When I say knowing here, I am referring to the minds definitions and beliefs of things. This is different than the experience of an inner resonance of knowing, which happens in the moment and is evolving. In German there is a beautiful word, ‘wahrnemung’, it translates as ‘ to experience/witness something to be true’. That is a different kind of knowing, it’s permeable, a living energy that floods our awareness and sheds light, whereas the other form of knowing builds walls and is stagnant. The German language is incredibly adept and precise in its expressions/explorations of thought and feeling, whereas English, as we use it today, is really a business language, its short, abrupt and fragmented, and does not lend the depth that older languages do when engaging the processes of thinking and being.
Later in my twenties at a pizza stand in Berlin late at night after a dance class another insight swept me away. ‘That for every thought I have or can create, I will be able to rationalize and find validation and confirmation for it’. Example, life is hard versus life is beautiful. For both of those statements I can argue their truth easily. This is true with everything. So, what’s important to get in touch with, is the ‘wahrnemmung’ experience of light that is always present when we connect to something true. To do that we need to suspend the hardened ideas we carry that disable our ability to fully perceive what is true in the moment. Looking back through history we see how what was once held true changed, revealing that really, what we call knowing is really speculation, our next best guess. Yet every generation claims that they have the answers, and we wage wars over it.
When we are challenged to stretch beyond our ideas, unless we are open to it, an energy charge of adrenaline is released to fight and protect our beliefs. We mistake that energy as reflecting truth. Thoughts of anger, criticism and judgment, for example, are like shots of heroin that give a quick high, make us feel strong and righteous, but blocks any deeper truth or understanding from emerging.
It’s important to recognize that just because a thought and a strong sensation with the thought exists, it doesn’t make it true.
What I am hoping to reveal here, is a humongous blind spot that is created by the idea of ‘knowing’ anything at all. If you compare the feeling in your body when you say, ‘I know’, versus ‘I see’, I am aware,’ or, ‘I experience that as true’, you will find the latter opens you up whereas the former shuts a door. The latter is relating an authentic experience of truth, which carries energy with it, whereas the former is dead energy, and is untrue; it’s a facsimile of a past experience exerting itself in the present, disguised as truth.
The polar opposite of ‘I know’, is ‘I don’t know’, which, in the context of confusion, is also resistance, and is not a true statement. For, if there is a signal coming from within me that creates distress and confusion, it indicates that some aspect of me is aware of what’s ‘wrong’ and also, knows the right action to correct it, I just haven’t tapped into it consciously yet. Someone once made a comment to me that confusion only happens when we are lying to ourselves. How I understand that is that we are unable to meet a truth that is already present in us, and are hesitant to engage it and take action on it because of fear of the unknown, not being able to control the outcome, and sometimes, perhaps the fear that we won’t survive the outcome and changes that will occur. The conflict between our minds ideas and the inner knowing creates the lie; we are not living in what is true.
Change can be scary, or it can be an adventure, sometimes a mix of both. When we drop the statements ‘I know, I don’t know’, we enter the ‘great mystery’ and engage a deeper awareness that expands and opens us to the new possibilities, insights and inspirations that we were otherwise blind to. Sure there is always a risk in any kind of change and stepping out of the familiar, but isn’t that what makes being alive exciting, engaging our creativity and bringing us to life in ways that we could only dream of? This is the very quality of being that enabled the creation of every technology we benefit from, and every person who is living their dreams that inspires us; they did not limit themselves to what was known, they explored beyond it, they took the risk.
The question to ask is, do I want to live in a box of fearful projections, that is stagnant and where no fresh air can enter, or, do I want to live wide open and be touched by the breath of life?
KALA – Possibilities are endless.
PONO – Effectiveness is the measure of truth.
ALOHA – in the presence of the breath of God/Spirit/Love.
When we live in truth, meaning, we are congruent in what we think, say and do and are open to our inner well of authentic knowing and inspiration, then, we are living in ALOHA, generating a movement of energy in us that has no boundaries, only potential. Aloha.