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Of What, Exactly, Can I Be Certain? September 11, 2012

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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For the first time in as long as I can remember, I don’t have my life situation decided for the next year. Many circumstances are up in the air right now: What city I’ll live in, what company I’ll work for, what people I’ll work with, who my friends will be, what my job will be.

A result of this lack of concrete plans is that I am living more in the moment. I’m taking action right now in hopes of a future event taking place, but I have no guarantee that the future event will occur. All I am certain of is what is happening right now.

The lack of a seemingly secured future life situation provides me with some freedom, specifically freedom from planning mind. Oh, planning mind, my dear old friend: How familiar I am with you, as you are such a frequent visitor of mine.

Typically, with a more stable life situation in place, planning mind is off every possible chance, making plans, strategizing, scheduling time, analyzing, comparing scenarios, working hard to secure the Best Possible Outcome. And it will run off days, weeks, and months in the future, reading as far as it can, sometimes even years. It holds me hostage in the meantime, cutting me off from experiencing the present moment and from fully living my life.

In my current unique circumstances, I am experiencing some freedom from this planning mind taking hostage. Notice that I’ve said some freedom, not complete freedom. I can still catch planning mind going off on its typical tangents, into the future (“Oh, wow, this would be a great park to visit in the summer, just a quick bike ride…”). Then it would catch itself once it realizes that the planning is completely unnecessary and non-applicable (Oh, right, I might not even be living in this city, never mind close by. I guess I can scrap that idea then…). Its not planning for a practical, functional purpose–its planning just to plan! Just because that is the habit energy running its course. Its almost amusing how much this is a habit for the mind, and its almost sad how out of control it can get.

Along with a sense of freedom is also a strong sense of constriction or tightness. The planning mind can’t stretch itself fully into the future, instead it is just stuck with right now and the next little while. I feel constricted and claustrophobic. I feel as if I’m wearing clothes that are a few sizes too small, and don’t have a full range of motion. Or as if I’m cramped inside a tiny room and can’t stretch out.

I link this claustrophobic feeling to a strong, unfulfilled desire to plan. I want to jump into the future, I want to build up scenarios and situations towards which I can work, towards which I can look forward.

The freedom from planning mind brings anxiety from insecurity. I don’t know what the future holds, so I feel anxious. If I’m not certain of what my job will end up being (assuming I will get a job) it holds the possibility that I’ll end up with a “bad” job (it also holds the possibility of a “good” job, a point I usually overlook).

I want certainty so I can feel secure and know that my life situation is turning out okay, that things are going well for me. But I’m not supposed to want it because that is being attached and clinging to conditions and situations…

My experience has been a real awakening to open myself up to some deep, fundamental questions I overlook at different times. Specifically, is anything ever certain? Do we ever really have a secure life situation in place? When I ask of what am I certain of, I ask what is real? What is true?

Stability and continuity over time provide an illusion of security. But as interdependent animals with the capability of falling ill or dying at any moment, nothing is secure. The Buddha taught this as a fundamental law of nature. Everything is constantly changing.

Fundamentally, then, what is certain? This moment, my direct experience. Breathing in, breathing out. Being alive right now. This human life. The world unfolding before my eyes. The ground of being I can access at times of deep stillness and know is always there. That is all that is certain. The rest is faith.



1. Brian - September 11, 2012

well said…. I like your thinking style

Living Abundance - September 19, 2012

Thanks, its a good thinking style but unfortunately comes rarely. The rest of the time I am plodding along in delusion…

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