July 7, 2021

Pema Chödrön on Why Not Knowing can be the Best for Us.


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Summer seems to be nearing its end here in our Southeast Asian tropical archipelago (it’s usually in full swing here in the Philippines from March to May). Days now start out bright and inviting in the mornings, turn sticky, hot, and unforgiving in the middle, and end up wet and brooding in the afternoons. Where did the entire summer season go?! Where was I during most of it?

Maybe it was also difficult for you to savor summer or the current season where you are right now with everything that’s been going on in your own country and the world at large, namely, the deadly second waves of the coronavirus, COVID-19 vaccine stockpiling by richer countries and a devastating lack of them in developing nations, undeniably slow vaccination programs in some parts of the world, personal challenges dealing with family members, and finding new work opportunities, and so on.

But now the changing season is reminding us:

>> Be present; life is happening in and all around you right this very moment!

>> People, things, and situations will come and go. Don’t lose your head over any of them though.

>> Let go more to live more.

>> It’s okay, safe, and healthy to move on after all the losses and disappointments. Proceed even through uncertainties. Learn as you go. Anyway, the only way out is through (even Alanis Morissette sang so).

>> And, yes, this pandemic is the ultimate time warp machine. You feed yourself and your pets when the sun rises, take a walk ’round the village, do a bit of work, cook and eat lunch, nap, wake up, do a few more chores around the house, and then the next thing you know, the sunset’s calling your name already!

Whether you’re also ending or beginning some things or just really don’t know anymore, I too wish you courage and humor to just continue making and finding your way. We might not have wanted this pandemic and all the changes and uncertainties it has brought to us and our lives, but we can’t deny that it is teaching us many important lessons, especially the wisdom of not knowing:

“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But we really just don’t know.” ~ Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

We really just don’t know anything in a very final way. If we’re curious about how the next moment or the rest of the story turns out, though, just like ever-changing life, we carry on, my friends, we carry on.


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