Through schooling, parenting and social exposure, we have been conditioned to resist not-knowing. That’s why, not-knowing feels uncomfortable. So filling the not-knowingness with anything – and I mean anything – is more acceptable to us than the void, the not-knowingness. This might be a good thing for our professional or vocational development, but not for knowing our true-self. Thinking that we have “figured out” the answers shuts us off from real Knowing and keeps us trapped in our mind with the stuff that we have collected.
Questions allow us to open up to the natural state of our Being. That’s why, in inquiring into our true nature, our true identity, a question is enough. There is no need for answers. When we let a question stand on its own and not hanker for answers, we open up our mind to welcome a new thought, a realization, an insight or perhaps even the dissolution of the question itself.
That’s why, “I don’t know” is a good answer to settle into as acceptance of not-knowing is another form of openness.
When we ask a question and settle into not-knowing, the answers that do come are more revealing than the intellectual answers. The answers may come in the form of thoughts, of course, but they may also come in form of events, experiences, feelings or further ease with dissolving into the not-knowingness.
A popular term in the U.S. when we describe a knot-it-all is “s/he is full of it.” Well, we are all full of it, one way or the other. Unless we allow ourselves to settle into not-knowing and the comfort and ease with which we allow that not-knowing to deepen.
This is why the inquiry of “Who Am I?” has such power. The question is asked not to know the answer intellectually, but to open ourselves up to get in touch with the intuitive Knowingness that already knows the answer. The trick is to not frantically search for an answer but letting the question – and the void that follows it – remain. That’s the skill. One way you will know that you are progressing inward is not by how fast the answers come but how long you can wait – BE – without getting an answer and by how much comfort and ease you feel as you sit in that un-knowingness.
This is why faith is so powerful. Not the faith that comes from belief, from the stuff that our mind is filled with, but the faith that Mother Theresa or Gandhi demonstrated. The faith that comes from comfort and ease of not knowing the answers. So much so that that not-knowing has become a deep, relaxed, refreshing, liberating Knowing. The not-knowingness has become so comfortable that it has become a new Knowing, so to speak. Which is why such beings will often be unable to explain their deep, unwavering faith. More precisely, they have no need, nor the desire, to express, verbalize or explain their faith.
When we use intellect, we can’t answer a question without concepts, as language, even thought, is made of concepts. That’s why the best answer to the inquiry into that which is concept-less is an unanswered question. Inquiry into the nature of Real is about receiving concept-less answers. The paradoxical thing is that when we make an inquiry without hankering for answers, they flood in in many forms, events and experiences. In other words, we are given opportunities to live the answers, experience the answers and realize the answers.
A final thought. When answers do come, it’s important not to form concepts around those answers and make an “end” out of it. Of course, we can use them to communicate our finding to others and ourselves. But we can’t let ourselves get bought into the belief that those concepts are the final answers.
Because when we think we have figured out the answers, we stop asking questions. And when we stop asking questions, our learning stops. Our opening into Beingness stops, to be more precise.