I love mysteries.  And I love to imagine that I am an undercover agent in life, learning things on the sly, nobody watching, not seeing me when I don’t know, but emerging from the dark corners when there is something really important to say.  Trouble is, I not actually invisible. It is a bit of a paradox; I love the mystery, the not-knowing and well, I kind of hate it. I resist it. My main form of resistance is to ask questions. And even, when I don’t have a question, I invent one.  Just to get some relief from the feeling of not-knowing.

In the great non-linear, non-dual, non-theistic traditions of the east, such as Buddhism and Daoism, not knowing is considered the perfect way to both begin and end anything.  Such not knowing is a space in which any and all knowing can occur. This is why sometimes it is said that a true Sage, a true wise one, is just like a child, innocent and unknowing.  In Hexagram 4 - Meng - also called variously “Not Knowing”, “Youthful Folly” “Youthful Inexperience”, you are in a state of of not knowing. You have begun (Hexagram 3), but you don’t yet know what you will become or even where you are going necessarily.  You are, at this point, in some ways immature. You are immature in the way of a young tree, a young animal or a young person, strong, growing and unknowing. Each living thing comes with innate wisdom, inner beauty and inherent liveliness. Yet each living thing also must live through a growth process that includes the dark, the not knowing.  Sometimes it seems unendurable, this darkness, this state of sensation, of feeling, of not yet knowing.

In all the not knowing,  the urge to ask questions is strong.  Here is a bit of advice from Stephen Karcher commenting on Hexagram 4:

“The situation is immature and your awareness of it is dull and clouded. Accept being hidden to nurture what is growing. The beginnings are there. If you keep on questioning you simply muddy the waters. Let the situation you are confronting educate you.”  

How can you do this? Let the situation educate you? You could ask the question without trying to answer it. Yes, just ask.  Just sit and ask. Let the question be in you and your body like a stone resting at the bottom of the river. Give yourself a few moments to  try it. Ask the question. Sit with the question. Let the question fester inside you. Resist answering. Especially if you think you know the answer.  Instead, repeat the question. Just sit with the question as you would sit on the rock in the river. Sit with all the emotions, the thoughts, the feelings, the sensations rushing around you.  Sit still. Sit quiet. Sit alert, aware. Let all the noise of your mind rush on as you sit in the not knowing.

What happens if you let yourself not know for one minute, for two, for even five or ten?
What happens then?


I use questions as the way in to my own knowing and to guide others into their own knowing. This Spring I am offering a special introductory price for mentoring for three months. Check out all the details here.


Josephine SpilkaComment