Certainty

How would you act if you didn’t know? If you can’t make a decision or nothing seems right? I don’t know about you, but that’s when I often panic. It hits me like a knife in my belly. My first reaction is to shut down. But that’s not going to help.

I’ve been searching through religion information a lot lately. I’m now to the point of not knowing what my beliefs are. Well I’ve been there actually which is why I was searching. I keep trying on different beliefs to see if they fit. So far none seem right. So I’m at a standoff with my own beliefs. I’m not quite sure what it is I do believe. And somewhere in my head I keep thinking I need to name it something. Doesn’t it need to be categorized? I’ve stopped trying to label it now and am just enjoying the learning experience.

It’s funny how beliefs seem like absolute truth at times. I’ve given up my childhood faith of heaven and hell but I’m not quite certain about life after death. While listening to several atheists such as Christopher Hitchens, Seth Andrews and Richard Dawkins, I felt a sense of loss. They don’t believe in any afterlife at all. After questioning myself I decided I didn’t want to give up my belief in life after death since it felt too disappointing not to believe. This made me laugh. Since when does my belief or their lack of belief make anything so. I could believe in a land of magical clouds and pink butterflies after death and it wouldn’t change what will really happen or not happen.

We spend most of our lives deciding. Big things. Little things. We choose what to eat, what to wear, where to work. Most of us try our best to do what we consider the right thing. We pick out food that’s good for us and for our family. At least we try. We teach our kids what they need to know for their daily lives, well, again we try. Sometimes life gives us a bump or a shove and we find out that what we thought was the best thing for our children or our health was all wrong. There are times that life slams it down on you so hard you don’t know what hit you. For instance, my former mother-in-law died recently. Complications from breast cancer. She had the biopsy. She took the treatments. She rested and she was getting better. Until. Until the cancer came back and she started treatments again. This time the treatments made her weak.. And suddenly you get the call you least expect.  Her kidneys failed. She was better. How did this happen?

What do you do when you don’t know for certain that you are doing the right thing? How do you handle it? Do you slow down and consider it more? Do you just keep going until it hits you in the face?

My recent reevaluation of my childhood faith has me reeling. I feel like I’ve been awakened from a dream. It is a dream, right? How did I believe those untruths? Ironically, my current doubt comes from the fact that I was so certain before. I knew that I knew that I knew. Truth. Absolute certainty.

It shakes us, but we don’t quit. We keep making decisions and we keep getting up. Because we are alive, we dust ourselves off and choose another direction. It’s not always that we make all great choices. Success comes because we keep making choices. We don’t always have the odds in our favor but as one poker player said, it’s about winning enough of the time. 

Are you sure-radiolab

It’s not about winning the hand all the time, but about winning the hand enough of the time. -Annie Duke http://www.radiolab.org/2013/mar/26/dealing-doubt/

There’s an intriguing story about a woman who incorrectly identified her attacker. It convicted and sentenced an innocent man for a crime he never committed. She was certain it was him. In her words, What do I do? I can’t make this right. – Penny Beerntsen http://www.radiolab.org/2013/mar/26/reasonable-doubt/

In the Buddhist mind, it’s not only alright to have doubt, but it’s commended and desired to not have any knowing. In the Quantum physics field it is known that a particle doesn’t become a particle until it is observed. Or so I heard.

I wonder sometimes if it might be better stay uncertain, to not form a fixed belief. And if you do have a belief or a judgement, to keep it not so solid. Let it flow and change as time goes on. So I wonder, is it better to have a religion, a belief? Or is it better to explore the possibilities?

On Having No Head http://www.amazon.com/Having-No-Head-Rediscovery-Obvious/dp/1878019198

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