October 17, 2013

Embracing Uncertainty

How do you feel about uncertainty? Do you do everything imaginable to try to control what happens in your life? It’s not unusual to desire control after you experience unhappy or traumatic events in life. Desiring control can be an unconscious attempt to ensure that you don’t have to deal with any more negative ‘surprises’ in life. Control is often an attempt at self-protection. Sound familiar?

I knew this feeling well after losing my health through Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at age 23, and when my Dad passed away suddenly one night at the age of 61. The old saying of having the rug pulled out from under you is definitely how I felt. Despite knowing that I couldn’t control what happened in my life - as these two circumstances had clearly shown me - I still tried nevertheless.

Trying to control the uncontrollable, however, is exhausting. By looking out for ‘attacks’ or ‘risks’ that might undermine my current situation, I end up anxious and unhappy. In Deepak Chopra’s book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” in the sixth law, “The Law of Detachment,” he explains that when we seek certainty in life, we are actually reacting to our feelings of insecurity and fear.

Chopra proposes that instead of seeking the ‘elusive’ sense of certainty in life, we should embrace the inherent wisdom of uncertainty.

The Wisdom of Uncertainty

Within uncertainty is the possibility of change. While change can be scary, it can also open up opportunities for new and exciting developments in your life. Change can also provide the opportunity to free yourself from your past, breaking cycles that no longer serve you.

When you resist change and stick with what you know you cease to grow as a person. Chopra writes;

The search for security and certainty is actually an attachment to the known. And what’s the known? The known is the past. The known is nothing other than the prison of past conditioning. There’s no evolution in that – absolutely none at all. And when there is no evolution, there is stagnation, entropy, disorder and decay.

Releasing your need for certainty, and unbinding yourself from your attached ideas about life, your journey will become more exciting, less stressful and more successful.

It’s worth remembering that there are always multiple ways to reach your goals and dreams. By attaching your happiness to one version of how your life should unfold, you limit yourself. ‘...If you have a very clear idea of what’s going to happen and you get rigidly attached to it, then you shut out a whole range of possibilities,” says Chopra.

“With uncertainty factored in, you might change direction in any moment if you find a higher ideal, or if you find something more exciting. You are also less likely to force solutions on problems, which enables you to stay alert to opportunities,” continues Chopra.

When faced with uncertainty most of us fail to remember how adaptable we are as human beings. When I was young my family moved out of the home I had grown up in. I feared that I wouldn’t cope with the change. Within a week of being in our new home, however, I had almost forgotten what it was like to live in our old home.

In times of uncertainty it can help to remind yourself that it is likely you will deal with change more successfully than you give yourself credit for.

“The Law of Detachment” teaches that by embracing uncertainty and detaching from specific outcomes, you can begin to live a life that is driven by adventure and curiosity, and less by fear and insecurity. There are many paths that lead to your hopes and dreams and embracing uncertainty encourages you to be more flexible, accepting and adaptable to the surprising nature of life.

How could you embrace uncertainty in your life at the moment?

Jessica Stead xxx


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