“Greatness is a road leading towards the unknown.” — Charles De Gaulle
Us humans aren’t really all that good at dealing with the unknown. Though we may think we have complete control over any situation or aspect of our lives, the reality is that we never really do.
We can influence any outcome by how we feel, think, and act, but ultimately, we can’t control anything. What might happen in the next few seconds following this very moment are about as unknown and uncertain as what might happen a thousand years from now (even though it probably doesn’t feel that way).
By working on accepting and even finding joy in what remains unknown, which is practically everything in true reality, we can take a lot of suffering out of our lives. Here are some tips.
Our minds recognize that comfort and familiarity are good for survival, causing us to cling to what we have now and what we want to keep or create for ourselves in the future. The problem with this is that it goes against the nature of impermanence.
Get used to looking for even the subtlest day-to-day changes in your life. Even if you maintain a very regular routine, everything in your life — including you — is constantly changing. The more you recognize this, the easier it is to accept and embrace how all of existence never remains the same.
Look for the Lesson
When we find ourselves in the midst of some serious uncertainty, looking to latch onto anything that reassures us of some positive truth that ideally serves us well, we end up shifting our emotional and mental resources away from what’s really important: understanding the lesson.
Everything that you’re going through in your life right now is teaching you something — especially the most difficult challenges. The more aware you remain of what you learn, the more it will accelerate your growth. After all, you wouldn’t be where you are right now had you not learned from everything you’ve already been through.
Connect With Your Intuition
Modern society doesn’t value intuition as much as logic, which is a shame, because those who are most deeply in touch with their intuition are really the ones who unlock their potential to experience the most intensely valuable bouts of inner growth — regardless of what makes sense or what logically seems like the right thing to do. Our minds may be obsessed with using rationality to help us get what we want or become certain of something, but our intuition comes from something greater that cannot be rationalized.
When you find your mind rationalizing a situation that conflicts with a gut feeling, consider going with your gut (a.k.a. your intuition). While rationality/logic might seem safer because it makes uncertainty feel more certain, consider going with your gut and the uncertain thoughts that follow, because your gut always knows best.
Seek to Flow Rather Than Attach
We all want results. We make a plan to get those results. We keep the idea of those results in our mind to motivate us to stick to our plan. When impermanence and an unpredictable reality throw us off, we struggle, because we’re attached to the idea of getting results.
Going with the flow challenges you to stay grounded in the present. You may not know exactly where you’re going or exactly how you’ll get there, and that’s okay, as long as you flow along with what your intuition is telling you, the lessons you’re currently learning, and of course the impermanence of every present moment that eventually passes into the next moment.