At the end of the month I’m giving a talk in Pine River, MN for an event called Back to Basics. The title of my talk is “Dreaming a New World . . . Together.” I’ve been working on my ideas for the talk and keep stumbling across an interesting thing. Naturally, I want to dump everything I think I know into a 40 minute talk. The thing wants to become a book, but what I noticed most is the difference in the energy between what I think I know and what I want to know.
It sounds confusing, but I want to explore it. When I’m speaking or writing as somebody who “knows” it can’t help but become some kind of preachy thing that sounds like somebody just stepped up on a soapbox. Pontificating from on high. And then, every once in awhile, I fall into something that I am simply yearning to know. I honestly want to know “who I am” and “why am I here.” I want to understand the brain and how it sends us flying around. I want to know why people make war. This urge to know pushes me forward, it jerks me around, it turns me upside down, it makes me want to go numb and not think anymore. The funny thing is that THAT energy is so much more alive than the energy of “knowing.”
I remember one time while staying at an ashram in the Catskills, we were taking a course on how to deepen our spiritual practices. A wonderful teacher was running a talking circle and asking each one of us why we had come to this particular course. One woman in the group told the instructor that she “wanted to be surrounded in the white spiritual energy . . . blah blah blah.” The instructor asked her again. “Why are you here?” She gave another little speech. He asked a third time, and this time it must have cracked the surface of her thoughts. She stopped and thought—really thought—about the question. Finally, she said, almost haltingly and with such great force, “I came because I wanted to know God!” Something must have hooked up to her very soul when she said that. It raised the hair on my arms. She had cut through the bullshit of her life.
I’m realizing more and more that we know very little—and that’s okay. After having spent two weeks with kids and grandkids, it is so easy to think of all the ways they could be doing things differently. Or on doing my New Year’s inventory, it is so easy to think of all the ways I could be doing things differently. Our urge is always to advise others—tell them what they could or should be doing. In truth, we all come into each new day on our knees begging for understanding, for clarity, for wisdom and truth. And this is the right way to greet each moment. There is no time or need to judge others.
What we have learned is not as important as what we still want to know.
If there was one ongoing and powerful thing you were trying to learn from this life, what would it be? See if you can put it in a single sentence, and then stick it below in the comment box so we can share the journey with each other. Mine may just be the sentence above–or the ongoing pesky question I have of why do people need to separate and divide in order to find their sense of belonging?
Note: If you are local to northern MN, be sure to check out Back to Basics on January 28th. There will be a bunch of cool hands-on workshops and talks—it’s going to be a lot of fun. And as always, be sure to subscribe if you like my posts–and share with your friends.
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