A friend of mine is living with cancer. He has no idea whether he will survive it’s current onslaught or not. He cannot plan, not even from one day to the next.
This is an extreme example of living with uncertainty, but all of us, to a varying degree, have to live with it. Change is the only inevitable.
A recent survey looking into stress found 18 to 34 years olds mostly worried about money, technology, relationships, jobs and the cost of living. And those 66 and over were predominantly pre-occupied with transportation and the 24/7 nature of modern life.
The specific uncertainties change, but uncertainty doesn’t. What many of us fear is uncertainty itself.
A lot of our dramas are fussing, fretting and freaking out about various aspects of our actual experience right now. Our denial of the reality of our present experience causes us a great deal of suffering.
If only…we had got that promotion, bought that sale dress, got that parking space, made that tube, met that deadline, lost that weight, eaten that salad, everything would be alright. By which we often mean ‘normal’ with certainty and security.
But the actual reality of all experience is it naturally doesn’t match up to our idea of ourselves, or what we believe or want.
Why is that? Living in the UK, we are mostly able to fed, house and cloth ourselves. We believe we have a large degree of control and autonomy over lives. Actually, even the decisions we feel we individually make are influenced by many different external factors: our culture, our beliefs, our education, our families and our daily society.
Ironically, the stress-free ease and happiness we all crave comes from accepting change, particularly allowing discomfort, difficulty and pain to be present our lives, rather than freaking out and fighting to get rid of it. Having care and compassion for ourselves in hard times.
It also comes from connecting with the naturalness of being here, part of this universe. The naturalness of our living, breathing body. The naturalness of our body sensations, thoughts and emotions.
Whatever we experience is natural. There is no wrong experience. This allows us to let go of the feeling we need to control all our experience. That we can control all our experience. We can’t.
Only then can we find our own natural experience of being human. And live freely, happily, spaciously with uncertainty.