A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.

Meditation on Uncertainty

42b09ace-4c5d-4982-9f0d-621d3dc493d0I think it is a trait of maturity to be able to tolerate uncertainty. It’s a skill I can only glimpse in the distance as a place I’d like to reach, though on occasion I’ve felt its winds. For I still find myself rushing to grab a simple answer when presented with a complex problem. It’s difficult to sit back down and just let a problem be what it is, to sit with the discomfort, to be okay with not knowing the answer. This is hard, but I think it is the wise way.

For example, when I hear a discouraging report on the news, it’s easy to say, “Well, that has obviously happened because of…” Blaming someone or something is a quick way to name a cause for the problem and thus be rid of the anxiety caused by the problem.

It’s much harder, but much wiser, to acknowledge that a problem is complex and cannot be easily solved or explained. For this is the case with many of the modern-day problems we face individually and as a society. If there truly were simple answers for our problems, we wouldn’t have the problems. The reality is that our modern lives are very complex.

Therefore, it is a valuable skill and a mark of maturity to be able to say that a problem is complex and you don’t know the answer. Certainty is a sound made by immaturity. To let difficulties be difficult, to tolerate the uncertainty of not having an easy answer, and to stay open to new information as a result—this, I think, is wisdom.


One comment on “Meditation on Uncertainty

  1. Witness
    October 30, 2013

    Amen, sister.

    For me, there are many downsides to certainty. One of the worst is the energy certainty demands. When I’m living in certainty, every incoming bit of information that doesn’t jibe with my every little dogma provokes me to rise up and defend my position. Reacting to and/or avoiding these stimuli can really eat up a day.

    It also just feels unpleasant, like being constantly a little bit irritated.

    Certainty can be addictive, and I find that hanging out with certainty junkies aggravates my own habit.

    Prodded by a mentor, I once devoted myself for a time to a practice we called “ambiguity tolerance training.” I still struggle with it.


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This entry was posted on October 28, 2013 by in Discoveries from Living and tagged , , , , , , .
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