Interestingly enough September is considered in the Northern hemisphere a new beginning as the new school year starts and most summer vacations are over. Any new beginning is also a completion of the previous which resonates well with the fact that September is the 9th month in the year and number nine is the last single digit marking the completion of this revolution.
Apart from the new school year for education systems, I am very interested to find out what new we are supposed to learn in the school of Life this time around. What is the new bringing us? Is it challenges or opportunities?
In search of clues in the news…
A quick scan reveals four articles. Afghanistan is going through a change of rulership which brings the country to an unknown future. A new discovery in the sky. China is not revealing what it knows about the origins of Covid. A new discovery in the north.
So what is the common ground for all these hints popping up from the media? My aim is to harmonize myself with worldly events as opposed to seeing myself separate from them and hence I am looking for the hidden message to work with.
This time around known vs unknown catches my inner eye. This is especially interesting in the context of the New which we already noted in the intro and it is not difficult to see that all new is always coming from the unknown.
The exciting yet frightening Unknown
You can surely relate to situations where you are walking towards an important negotiation meeting and can sense a fear coming up because you do not know how this meeting will end up. I do not need to go far looking for such an experience, it was yesterday. I went to the city government to negotiate a so-called neighbor's permit for our hub extension project and this time the city is the neighbor. It is the fourth time for me to go into this and although there has been progress, the outcome is still in the unknown.
From the unknown, anything can emerge. Yet our tendency is to expect the worst and hence the fear. Fear is given to us so that we can stay alive. However, this emotion does not have brains and hence it does not know whether it is a real danger to our well-being or it is only an illusion created by our mind. Fear is real on both occasions.
When working with the unknown we must always work with the emotion of fear. This is part of the game, so don’t be disappointed when you recognize it in your body. Instead, become alert if you do not register a sense of fear when approaching situations that can reveal the unknown to you. This is a sure recipe for nasty surprises.
Since the unknown can contain anything then equally potent is the expectation of good things coming towards you. But how often do you expect excellent outcomes from the unknown? Keeping our focus on the positive we can be ready for all sorts of unexpected opportunities that were never there before. If we work with the unknown and are not expecting to find new opportunities then more likely than not we will miss those opportunities. You can miss your fleeting moment of chance.
To be ready means to be alert and again a sense of fear is designed to keep us alert. So taking a sense of fear to keep us wide alert AND looking for opportunities with the assurance that comes from knowing that life is not there to punish us, is the best way to approach anything unforeseeable. This technique is also known as Warrior’s Shield. The (mixed) emotion of excitement is a good signal for us to know that we are fearful and joyful at the same time.
So, how to work with the Unknown?
I wish we could teach children in the school how to work with the unknown as this would make life so much easier and more fun. The problem is that academic education focuses on training our minds. This itself is excellent when we need to work with things that we do know. When you have all the data you need, calculating the outcomes using the mind is the wisest thing one can do.
The problem part is that life is by definition an unfoldment of the unknown. Hence relying on our minds when faced with the unexpected, is not gonna be a pretty sight. Mind is for working with the rational side of life but there is also an irrational side. And again as life is not there to punish us then for that we have also an excellent tool in our beingness. This is called feeling (not emotion). Our gut feeling is designed to comb the shadows of the unknown and be ready for the unexpected.
Using your feelings is good advice but how do you do in practical life? How do I separate what I am thinking and what I am feeling? If we are not used to paying attention to our feelings then it might even be that our feelings are showing us quite a different picture than our mind is. In fact, at many times they are in conflict instead of being aligned.
A good starting point is to check daily if our actions, thoughts, and feelings are in sync. If not then you need to change your thoughts and actions but you cannot change your feelings. Feelings give us the baseline, the foundation upon which the rest of our action plan needs to sit.
The danger of describing the unknown
I want to touch upon quite a challenging topic and that is our natural tendency to describe anything we perceive. Or to be more exact this is what our mind does by default. Why I consider it challenging is that this process is below our awareness and hence it is super difficult to see its impact. We mostly create our world by describing it. If your description changes then so does your perception of your reality change.
This becomes even more important in the context of the unknown. By definition, the unknown is not described until it is made known. Should you make a “bad” description of the unknown then you will end up with a “bent” reality.
When touching the unknown with our feeling we need to keep our mind at bay for being too quick to assess what this unknown is and how it should be described and made part of what we know. Immature description from the mind colors your feeling and further sensing becomes more difficult if not impossible.
The Unknown is tiring
If we relate to the unknown then this must be done with care and in a way by planning. Jumping into it and approaching it helter-skelter can lead to exhaustion and can quickly become even dangerous (especially if you use “jump enhancements” like drugs). The unknown needs to be dosed.
How is your relationship with the unknown? Perhaps these questions can bring some insight into how the unknown is affecting your life as of today:
Do you feel attracted to the unknown or would you rather stay on the safe side?
Are you expecting bad from the unknown or do you believe that some exciting opportunities may arise from there?
What do you trust more in yourself: your mind or your feeling?
Are your feelings, thoughts, and actions in sync?
For how long can you hold back making logical conclusions about the unknown situation you are experiencing?
Are you friends with the sense of fear or would you rather eradicate this emotion and events triggering it from your life?
As a final note remember that if you are feeling too comfy at the moment then you are in your comfort zone looking through the window as the exciting life passes you like the wind outside. Grab your Shield, tune into Feeling and use your fleeting moment of time on this Earth with courage. Unknown messenger, Rein
This is our monthly letter to share our views and understanding of what is happening around us, complemented with photos by Anu Martinson.