Monday, October 24, 2005

Exercise - Not Knowing

That which we persist in doing becomes easier.
Not that the nature of the task has changed,
but our ability to do has increased.
~ Emerson ~


This exercise, or "practice" as he calls it, is from Charlie Badenhop, Originator of Seishindo, who developed it from the Zen teaching of Seung Sahn.

I came across it awhile back and thought it would be a nice compliment to the previous post..."The Guys: On Fear Regarding Health"...where they suggest you "not tell yourself what is or isn't the case when you don't know."

Since the Kid wants everything fixed-finished-and-final, not knowing ...well, it's not good. This might help move past some of that.

Let me know if you find it useful...Ava

Only Don't Know
by Charlie Badenhop

This practice is designed to help you dissolve your usual sense of "knowing" about the world you live in and who you are. It can help you to open up to new ways of thinking and perceiving, and assist you in creating the future you want to work towards fulfilling.

You will most likely want to read through all of the instructions at least once before actually doing this practice.

I developed this practice from the Zen teaching of Seung Sahn. You might find this practice to be somewhat the opposite of exercises that you have tried in the past. Please be open to experimenting and discovering. This practice is designed to help us dissolve our usual sense of "knowing" in order to help us open up to the possibilities of learning something new.

Now make some of the following statements (once again, out loud if suitable), feeling free to improvise with whatever YOU are drawn to feel and say:

"I don't know if I am successful or not."
Take a deep breath.

"I don't know if I am good looking or not."
Take a deep breath.

"I don't know exactly where my life is leading me."
Take a deep breath.

"I don't know who I really am."
Take a deep breath.

"I don't know many things that I would like to know."
Take a deep breath.

"I don't know what I don't know.
Take a deep breath.

"I don't know what I do know."
Take a deep breath.

As you feel into the sensations of your breathing as well as all of the sensations in your body, know that "not knowing" and "not fully understanding" is an essential part of the human condition.

Take a few deep breaths and sit calmly for a minute or two, as you feel deeply into your true human self...... .
Really do take this time.
The idea being, to become comfortable with "not knowing" while appreciating yourself fully, and accepting that there is so much that you do not know.

When you are ready, make some notes about what "not knowing" is teaching you.

During the course of the next two weeks repeat this practice numerous times. You might particularly want to do this practice when you are feeling upset, confused, or despondent. It is likely that you will find this exercise to be quite liberating.

Give yourself some time to think about how you can find a sense of calmness amidst all of the ongoing changes in life that you do not fully understand. Rather than attempting to rush into an action or an answer, take a moment to breathe into a sense of feeling yourself fully in the moment.

If for some reason this practice proves a bit more difficult than you were planning on, you can try again later. Sometimes when we are in the process of learning something new, we find that what we have learned in the past impedes us from learning something new in the moment.


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