Opening to the Unknown

“There’s only now
There’s only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path
No other way
No day but today”

– The character of Maureen in Jonathan Larson’s musical “Rent

What do we really know anyway? Life is all about the great mystery. What is the purpose of existence? Humanity is constantly making maps of the universe, but why are we here? Despite all the science, philosophy, religion, and spirituality devoted to these questions, we don’t have any certain answers. So much of what we think we know for a fact rests upon the unknown. 

We pretend we know so we can avoid the tremendous uncertainty of not knowing. In our minds, we think we can work out what is yet to be revealed and experienced. However, the way of the world’s unfolding will always be several steps ahead of anything our mind can pre-conceive. Accessing the unknown through feeling helps us outmaneuver the limits of the mind and thinking. Feelings present the doorway to the unknown.

Actually, it’s more like entering the realm of feeling throws open the door to the unknown. When we feel, it’s like reaching our hand down into the grab bag at Halloween. We don’t know with our mind what’s inside, but we feel for it with our hands. What you feel right now in this very moment is unknown and has never been felt before. When you notice with curiosity and love, you open to these unknown sensations and allow them to flow through your body.  That is when you have life flowing in your body. 

The Modeling Mind

The mind models experience and makes maps. My mind says I’ve known this before. It’s morning and I’m working on the computer on one of my articles. It’s just like any other day in the past few months. When we live in the models in our mind like this, we lose touch with our actual experience of reality as it is right now. This day is new. This moment is new. This day may be like many other days, but this day is unique and special. I’ve never written this new combination of words this way before. My mind model can’t fully grasp this nuance. 

Experiencing Feelings

Experiencing feelings allows us to escape the limits of the modeling mind. Today is a completely different experience from any other day, unknown to me until this moment. This morning, I’ve already experienced what it is like to wake up to the fog and be a little tired from not sleeping as much as my body needs. Right now, I feel excited about digging deeper into this article. 

At this exact moment, I’m noticing how it feels to be typing and to be alive. I have two guests staying at my house. Remembering that feels different from the usual solitude I feel in the morning. Each and every moment is undiscovered in a similar way, when we are really paying attention to our experience. Even now, with my curiosity, something else has shifted. I’ve been feeling the slight pang of losing a website domain I had paid thousands of dollars for because of an administrative error. When I turned into the disagreeable feelings about the loss of this domain and embraced them, this loss loosened its hold over me, and I felt more acceptance and love.

Opening to the Unknown (A 30-Second Game)

  1. Welcome the unknown. Be open to what may come forward in the great mystery here.
  2. Notice how you are experiencing this moment right now is completely new.
  3. Drop out of the mental models saying you know what is happening in this very moment. Actually, you’ve never been here before. Open with curiosity to this moment as a completely new and different experience.
  4. Lovingly embrace this moment just as it is. 

Embrace the Unknown

When we embrace the unknown with our full love, we set in motion a chain reaction bringing love and empathy to everything we experience. This chain reaction engenders love for everything it touches. The deeper we feel, the more we can feel others. The vast unknown of feeling is a wondrous new territory to discover. By opening with loving curiosity to the realm of feeling, we have access to vast new layers of information about our experience. 

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