Starting a new life includes the fog of not-knowing

The fog rolled in yesterday in big swaths of dense white air off the mountains, changing the view that has just begun to feel familiar in these weeks of starting a new life.

In the sunshine last week, I traveled out of my comfort zone of the Waldo Point docks, drove over to the Pacific and took a walk up into the headlands.  There was no GPS coverage behind the hills so I had to rely on the old way to get there – the road signs.  I had no trail map when I left the parking lot so I just wandered along the cliff paths.  My not knowing where to go allowed me to just take in the ocean views, the smells of the sea and the wildflowers, and the gonging of the bell buoy.  My unknowing footsteps led me to discovering a labyrinth on a cliff top promontory.

Given the fog this week, I went a different direction for my foray into the unknown.  I found a sporting goods store and bought hiking sneakers – Florida was really not a place for hiking.  Then I went further north to find sunshine and a wonderful art supply store.

Allowing myself to experience the unknown is challenging, but has its rewards.

In a book I’ve been reading by Frank Osaseski (who coincidently lives on a houseboat two docks away from me) I discovered the concept of  “don’t know mind,” which seems like what we need when experiencing change.

“As we go about our day-to-day lives, we rely on our knowledge.  We have confidence in our ability to think through problems, to figure things out.  We are educated; we have training in specific subjects that permits us to do our jobs well.  We accumulate information through experience, learning as we go.  All this is helpful and necessary in moving through our lives smoothly.

Ignorance is usually thought of as the absence of information, being unaware.  Sadly, it is more than just “not knowing.”  It means we know something, but it is the wrong thing.  Ignorance is misperception.

Don’t know mind represents something else entirely.  It is beyond knowing and not knowing….

Don’t know mind is not limited by agendas, roles, and expectations.  It is free to discover.  When we are filled with knowing, when our minds are made up, it narrows our vision, obscures our ability to see the whole picture, and limits our capacity to act.  We only see what our knowing allows us to see…

This moment right here before us, this problem we are tackling… we have never experienced it before.  When we enter a situation with don’t know mind, we have a pure willingness to do so, without attachment to a particular view or outcome.  We don’t throw our knowledge away – it is always there in the background, ready to come to our aid should we need it – but we let go of fixed ideas.  We let go of control.

Don’t know mind is an invitation to enter life with fresh eyes, to empty our minds and open our hearts.”

The Five Invitations by Frank Ostaseski