Living with Uncertainty

There are very few certainties in life. When I was a kid, my dad was fond of saying, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” I always thought this was incredibly funny at the time. Now, I realize he was right. (Though some people manage to avoid both for quite some time.)

Uncertainty, ambiguity, and change are a big part of life experience. And yet, many of us spend a great deal of time acting as if that is not the case. Working very hard to create a sense of permanence and security which is elusive, illusory, and transitory.

The most that we can really hope to do is to create the illusion of certainty, a false sense of permanence.

Creating the illusion of permanence is like building castles in the sand. It definitely will take up a lot of time and energy. And you might build something very impressive. But ultimately if you get too attached to everything staying like it is, you will be very disappointed.

One major symptom of this type of activity is fear. Lots and lots of fear. I’ve watched people I know create virtual fortresses in their lives, trying to protect themselves from change. What really happens is that their lives get smaller, and smaller, as they try to control each and every aspect.

I’ve seen myself do this too. I think the prescription for this is the realization that the true sense of safety resides inside of us, rather than outside of us, in our external circumstances.

Understanding that concept intellectually is one thing. But living that truth is a lifelong practice.

Photo by Virginia Olson © 2012

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