As Denise says, we are all familiar with the term; ‘Fear of the unknown’… but what does it actually mean in the grand practice of life?
Sitting with uncertainty forces us to face all of the reasons as to why we might need to feel in control of anything in the first place; and that can be extremely painful. It may mean delving into times we have buried when we felt so vulnerable and out-of-control in childhood.
But as Denise shares here, if we are able to sit with, and not fill, the painful ‘void’, then we can embrace the joy and anticipation that presents itself…
Joy In The Unknown
“The door to God is the insecurity of not knowing anything. Bear the grace of that uncertainty and all wisdom will be yours.” Adyashanti
I am sure many of us have heard the term “fear of the unknown,” and/or have experienced it in our lives. Over the years, whilst reading various spiritual texts and being on this self-transformation journey away from fear and towards love, resting more securely deep within the core of me, I have come across the idea that there is nothing to fear in the unknown – with NOTHING being the operative word.
It has taken me a minute to appreciate that the unknown is basically unknown, and as such basically unoccupied. All the fear we associate with the unknown comes from all the fear we project, and/or, dump into it – a bit like what gets done under the label of ‘racism.’ The unknown is an empty space; an empty space of Pure Potential, of Unconditioned Consciousness.
Recently whilst re-reading Deepak Chopra’s ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws to Success,’ what he had to say on the unknown and uncertainty resonated within me more, especially at this present time. For the past year and a half specifically, I have been thrown into the unknown and am being called to have a more trusting and surrendered relationship with it; releasing the need for control.
In my childhood, and right through to now, I have made getting to know more about life, and all subjects relevant to life, my absolute business. During my formative years, having grown up in an atmosphere of the unexpected and the unknown, where I was left mostly alone and to my own devices, I had to figure life out myself and find ways to best be and live within it. Therefore, extricating some kind of control over my life, became the order of the days for me.
In whatever unobtrusive way I was able to gain some elementary illusion of control, and to create some kind of a plan, I took it. This gave me some hope, as well as helped me cope with extremely testing situations I faced back then. During that time, to not have had this control-seeking coping mechanism, would have meant me totally losing touch and track with reality and falling completely into mental illness. Therefore seeking control saved me, psychologically and spiritually.
In school, during adolescence, English, English literature and Sociology were the subjects I truly enjoyed because of my love as a child of reading and writing, and the much-needed escape it afforded me. My love of Sociology came about from this need to KNOW, as much as possible about life, not just for knowings sake, but for the sake of life not so easily coming up behind me and biting me in the butt. I am very much the kind of person who would rather know something, however awful, than be kept in the dark. For me ignorance is far from bliss! So the acquisition of knowledge gave me an understanding on various topics, and in so doing afforded me a sense of further control.
This early need to know, and the fear experienced, (and traumatically lived), of not-knowing, made the unknown – whether a new and exciting situation or a challenging and unexpected one, a very scary concept. Over the years I have come to carefully, and oftentimes painstakingly, dismantle fear after fear, giving up certain behaviours that used to help me manage my fears. For example, an eating disorder, not speaking up for myself, kissing frogs and trying to “make them” love me in the ways that I needed, giving at the expense of myself, to multitudes of vampires waiting in line to happily suck me dry!
Having lived with so much fear in my formative years, no doubt releasing the need for fear will continue to be life’s work for me. For the likes of me – and others who too have lived through Adverse Childhood Experiences – I don’t think there will ever be a point on this life journey when I am totally free of fear; I am now very cool with that. I am a Survivor and I honour, give voice to, and make beautiful those battle scars, especially through the transformative medium of creative writing and living my best life possible. Like an Eagle flying high, I over-came, and will continue to over-come as I journey on. I’m my own Shero! And today I can safely say, that fear no longer drives me: Hope, Faith and Love occupy my driver’s seat.
The great lessons I am experientially learning- and I say experientially because reading a book about a thing is much different than living that situation and gaining the wisdom embedded deep within it; the main lesson for me is to resist the temptation of filling the unknown with a whole bag load of fearful thoughts and imaginings, as in the world I/we have been very well conditioned to do so. Instead, I am cultivating, and holding to, the metaphysical fact of the following;
“All of creation, everything that exists in the physical world, is the result of the un-manifest transforming itself into the manifest. Everything that we behold comes from the unknown. Our physical bodies, the physical universe – anything and everything that we can perceive through our senses – is the transformation of the un-manifest, unknown, and invisible into the manifest, known, and visible” Deepak Chopra
I believe, and can feel, that the empty land of The Unknown is indeed rich and life-giving soil/soul, and when we find ourselves in The Unknown, we must be careful not to fill that deep, dark, vibrant space with seeds of fear and doubt. And if , though more precisely when, fearful thoughts rise up again, don’t allow those divisive thoughts to have the last word. Instead root them out, and cover them over with life-giving affirmations. One of my favourite affirmations that I use quite regularly is:
“I trust in The Process Of Life. I am safe.”
I also keep a number of quotes that resonate with me close to me, acting as reminders constantly, for example;
“When you bring consciousness to the moments in which you feel afraid or challenged, you will see that you can choose love and kindness over reactive emotional patterns.”
So the true and more productive attitude, and personal relationship, we ought to have in regards to uncertainty and the unknown, is one of excitement and joyful anticipation; is one of expectancy, like an excited expectant mother feels toward the bundle of joy that she is carrying, and will soon have to hold;
The Whole World, In Her Hands.
Peace & Love, Light..
Denise is a mother of 2 sons and overjoyed grandmother of 4. She currently works as a Counsellor counselling women who have experienced Domestic and Sexual violence, and has a small Private Practice. She has a huge belief in the transformative power of creativity and learning and growing through the sharing of experiences, of which her life bares testimony.
Read Denise’s blog and find out about her upcoming autobiography, here:
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