When something is not known or not decided relative to a circumstance that causes us stress or pain, we feel vulnerable. There is no sense of resolution. This lack of resolve in and of itself adds to the distress you feel. There is no relief. It feels like you are stuck in a powerless place with no sense of control and completely at the mercy of the world. This puts you into a kind of despair and from that despair comes hopeless desperation. The most common secondary feeling to experience as a result of uncertainty is desperation. Desperation feels like an inner panicked clawing against the hopelessness and towards a solution that you do not have yet and can’t seem to get hold of. Uncertainty is one of the most painful emotional states a person can experience. It can come in response to a certain scenario you are in like a relationship or and illness or a loved one being in the ER, or it can be more generalized like the uncertainty we my hold about our future. Either way, uncertainty is something we will all encounter in our lives and so it’s important to know what to do about uncertainty.
It would seem that the obvious solution to being uncertain is to make a decision or to find resolve or to learn all you can, so that you do know whatever it is that you do not know. The problem with this is that when we are struggling with uncertainty, we begin to resist uncertainty and so we get to the point where are not a vibrational match to certainty at all. We quite literally find ourselves in situations where no matter how hard we try we cannot find the solution. No matter how hard we try, we can’t make a decision and no matter how hard we try, we gain no new knowledge. When we reach this point, our one option is to release resistance to uncertainty. How do we do this? We embrace uncertainty.
This may seem like a contradiction to the idea that you create your own reality. Some of you might be asking, “If you know what you want to have happen, why not just focus on that and create that?” The answer is, when you are in uncertainty, you often get confused about what you want. And also, you cannot create what you want if you are full of resistance to what is. Trying to create what you want while being in resistance to what is, is like trying to paddle a canoe forward when your fishing line is stuck on a branch at the bottom of the lake. Embracing uncertainty and adopting the subsequent attitude of curious surrender in this circumstance enables us to metaphorically unhook ourselves from the bottom of the lake and move forward. In other words, embracing what is (including the uncertainty of our current situation) releases our resistance to what is in such a way that it enhances our ability to create our own reality.
So without further ado, I ‘m going to simply jump right into what to do if you are suffering as a result of uncertainty.
1. Instead of trying to feel certain or find solutions or gain knowledge, you need to really dive deep into the painful feelings that have come up as a result of the uncertainty and grace them with your unconditional presence. If we find that we are struggling with uncertainty, it is highly likely that we are being called to integrate the aspect of our emotional selves that was wounded in our childhood by feeling hopeless, out of control, at the mercy of others and desperate. To understand this concept as well as the process to use to do this, watch my video on YouTube titled “How To Heal The Emotional Body”.
2. Live by this truth… “Whatever is happening is obviously supposed to be happening because it is happening, so I remain open to seeing why”. The circumstances you are experiencing are not the cause of your suffering. The cause of your suffering is the thought that what is happening should not be happening or is not supposed to be happening. I am going to remain silent for a few seconds so you can ponder this truth and really see how this is the case for you in your current circumstance. Let it impact you. Even if you are a scientist at heart, you can at least acknowledge that you cannot know 100% if what is happening is supposed to be happening or not. So you must remain open to the possibility that what is happening is supposed to be happening. Do you feel the lightness that comes on the heels of that realization? I am going to ask you to take it a step further and adopt the belief that what is happening is in fact supposed to be happening. Even if you believe you create you own reality, this is in fact the case. This is why… The universe knows the quickest journey between where you are and what you have been asking for and so what may seem like a detour away from what you want, might be the shortest short cut that the universe could lead you on to get to the very thing you want. For example, say you were in the process of creating the perfect relationship because that is what you desire the most. But then, your husband or wife walks through the door and says, “I’m not in love with you, I’m in love with someone else”. At that moment you’d feel like you messed up. When in actuality, what you wanted was the best possible relationship and so as a result of the divorce, you might gain self awareness and self esteem to the degree that you might go on a trip to a foreign country, where you meet a partner who suits you a thousand times better than the spouse who left you. We must surrender to some degree to the fact that while we create our own reality by virtue of our desire and focus, the universe may bring us to what we desire in ways that we do not understand when we are in the midst of the journey. If we adopt the idea that “Whatever is happening is obviously supposed to be happening because it is happening.” We suddenly become open to seeing how our current experience might be leading us towards our desires or giving us powerful gifts instead of leading us away from what we want and causing us to suffer. 3. Realize that we do not fear the unknown. And discover what it is that you actually fear. The saying, “I fear the unknown.” is a popular scapegoat. No one fears the unknown because one would not know what to fear. We only begin to fear what we do not know when we think that we DO in fact know what the unknown contains. For example, I may say that I fear the unknown when I’m talking about my future. But the truth is in fact that I’m afraid that there is a potential that my future could be painful because of accident or failure or any number of things. What painful or scary thing is it that you think the unknown contains? Face those fears, release resistance to those. 4. Let go of your attachment to outcomes. The universe already knows what you want. You already put in your order with the universe the minute you wanted something. Sometimes uncertainty is the most painful when we really know what we want but those things have not come to fruition yet. For example, I may really know I want to go to school at Stanford, but Stanford has not sent an acceptance letter or a rejection letter yet. So I am in a space of uncertainty and in this scenario, what is torturing me is the attachment I have to the outcome I want. I become hyper controlling of everything in my external world when I have an attachment to how things have to turn out. I obsess about how things are supposed to be. This also prevents me from noticing the other gifts, potentials and opportunities around me.
So one of the best practices is to let go of our need for things to be a certain way. My favorite way to do this is to have people imagine the scenario they really want to have happen in their mind. Create the image of that outcome or thing you want as if it were a scene contained in a balloon. See yourself tied to that balloon in some way (maybe picture it tied to your wrist or around your heart by a ribbon) And then, untie the string or ribbon and watch it float up and away from you to be claimed by the sky. Knowing that the outcome is in the hands of the universe. And also knowing that the universe knows that the way to get you to that outcome the quickest, might be a completely different way than you thought you would get to that outcome. Then, having released that outcome, go about your day in the name of joy, placing your mind on the things that bring you pleasure in real time.
5. Notice the positives around you. This involves some discipline. When we are in uncertainty, we are stuck. If we are stuck somewhere, we have one option and that is to try to appreciate where we are. In uncertainty, our mind is paralyzed by worry. We become so negatively focused towards ‘what is’ that we spend our life trying to get somewhere else. We also spend our time worrying and expecting the worst. It is exhausting and it turns our world completely black. Doom sets in; we can even experience anxiety, anxiety attacks and depression. So what we have to do is to begin to deliberately look for things to enjoy about wherever we are. To get aggressive with you, this is what I call the moonlight in the jail cell exercise. If I am stuck in a jail cell, everything is super crappy. But if there is a sliver of moonlight in the jail cell, I have the power to focus on the moonlight instead of on the jail bars. Scan your reality for what you DO like about it. Especially survey the situation that is causing you pain for what you do like about it. Keep a journal where you list positive aspects. Pull it out any time you feel yourself spiraling negatively. For more ideas about how to counteract the doom and worry inherent in uncertainty, watch my videos titled “How to Raise your Frequency and Increase your Vibration”, “How to Stop Worrying” and “How to Stop Expecting the Worst.” I will tip you off that if you find the gifts inherent in the experience that is causing you to suffer, it minimizes the suffering and can even do away with suffering entirely. 6. Begin the practice of riding the rapids of the current of life. Become curious about where this life is going to take you. If our life journey were a river, most of us spend our lives trying to control the current of the river. We do not consciously know where the river will take us. Some of us only know where we would prefer for it to take us. We can develop practices and take actions and think thoughts that make the trip down the river, a journey of more ease. But in order to embrace uncertainty, let go of the idea that you can control the river itself. This is what we are trying to do when we try to find and hold on to certainty in life. But the only certainty is uncertainty. If you adopt the idea that the only certain thing is uncertainty, you will stop trying to control your life. You will head in the general direction of the things you know you want and instead, let the current of life take you. Instead of fighting against it, you will see what it wants to show you and where it wants you to go. A curiosity develops, a willingness to change course completely. Instead of fighting the ups and downs of life, you just let yourself ride the rapids and because of that lack of resistance to the ups and downs, you do not suffer as a result of them. If you could not know where life would take you and if you could not control the current of the river, all that would be left was curiosity. Instead of certainty, live with curiosity about what will happen. Approach the world with an attitude of I wonder what will happen and then watch the story unfold. 7. See the beauty in not knowing. One form of certainty obsession is the obsession over right and wrong and subsequently the obsession over knowing everything. If we are struggling with uncertainty, we need to embrace the idea that we can never be 100% sure. The ego is obsessed with knowing because it thinks that if it knows, it can prevent unwanted things from happening. But the state of learning is a higher state than the state of knowing because it is a state that is open to all possibilities, including possibilities that will offer much more peace than knowing. Knowing in a way is a state of ended-ness. Questions lead to answers, which lead to more questions, which lead to more answers which lead to more questions and this is the way of it. “Maybe” can be a powerful tool to adopt in this circumstance. If you are obsessed with being right, develop the habit of thinking “Maybe” relative to every one of your truths. Doing this means that you are open to the idea of adopting a different and better truth down the road. Having an open mind is like having a life vest on in the river of life.
8. Let the mud settle. A true master of your physical dimension knows when to embrace movement and when to embrace stillness. There is an old Buddhist philosophy that when we are uncertain and when there is chaos, it is like being in a lake when the mud is kicked up in a cloud by our feet. Everything is murky, we cannot see through the water clearly. We especially cannot see clearly enough to make good decisions. Finding the solution is like thrashing around to try to get the mud to go away. All thus does is stir up more mud. But if we just stand still, the mud will settle and we will see clearly again. Practically this means that if you are in a state of uncertainty, it is a time for stillness. We need to come back to ourselves and not take rash actions and make rash decisions. You see, we don’t know until we know. So by letting the mud settle in our lives (instead of endlessly and frantically searching for the answers and solutions) we allow the answers and solutions to come to us. This also allows our intuition to be heard by us. If we do not let the mud settle, we cannot hear our intuition beyond the loudness of our minds. Quieting your mind through meditation is a very good idea to enhance this phase of stillness. Add meditation to your daily routine, preferably first thing in the morning. 9. Question yourself and question everything. When we are struggling with uncertainty, we are already in a phase of questioning, whether we are conscious of it or not. So, dive right in and become conscious of your questioning. Sometimes involving other people like therapists of friends in this process is beneficial because they can come up with questions and perspectives we have never seen. One of my favorite activities to use when someone is in a space of uncertainty is to have them write the situation they are uncertain about and then to ask people in their lives to look at the situation and write down key questions they would have the person ask themselves or think about relative to that situation. You wouldn’t believe how the right question can lead you to the answer you’ve been looking for. In my opinion, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is: What can I learn from this? Another form of questioning to imply in times of uncertainty involves questioning your own beliefs and painful thoughts. My favorite process for this is Byron Katie’s process called “The Work”. Try all of these ideas to see which one helps you the most.
10. Play a game called “What advice would I give to someone else in my exact same situation?” We know much more than we think we know. Our intuition gives us much more access to a sense of certainty than our questioning mind. We just have to allow it to speak. Often times when we are in 1st person perspective, we feel the pressure and risk of our situation to the degree that we become paralyzed by it. So we can dis identify with ourselves by imagining that we are sitting in a therapist’s chair and that a duplicate of ourselves walks into the room and sits down and shares with us the scenario that they were struggling with (the scenario being of course the exact one that we are struggling with) And then we imagine, what we would tell that person. What advice would we give about the situation? This practice can bring about great clarity. 11. Seek out healthy stress reducers. Uncertainty sends us into fight of flight mode. We need to allow our nervous system the things it needs to come back into a state of ease. This includes eating a diet that calms the nervous system instead of stimulates it. The things that reduce your stress may be different from what reduces someone else’s stress, so stay open to finding your perfect cocktail of stress reduction techniques. Here is a list of some ideas to start with. Go for a walk somewhere in nature, write, take a hot bath with incense and candles, watch funny video clips, get a massage, go camping, do progressive relaxation techniques, take a yoga class, dance, listen to stress reducing music, cook, spend time with animals, drink tea (especially black tea). You get the idea. Also when we are in a space of uncertainty, our stress is greatly amplified if we are isolated. So repeat after me: “It’s ok to get support”. Almost anything is tolerable if we have someone to go through the uncertainty with us; or at least be with us while we are uncertain. So, unless people greatly increase your stress at this point in your life, connect with people. If you have difficulty connecting with people, watch my YouTube video titled “How to Connect With Someone”. We will not win the fight against uncertainty by becoming certain. We will not find our stability by trying to make the unstable, stable. Instead our certainty and stability comes from decidedly embracing uncertainty. Embracing uncertainty, does not mean that we stop wanting. It doesn’t mean that we stop creating our lives and it doesn’t mean that we stop taking action to create what we want in our lives. What it means is we untangle our intention from our attachment so as to let our attachment go. The universe is always carrying us towards our highest good, even if the road to our highest good takes us straight through hell.
The future is not certain. Not for anyone. Even those of us who can see it, will tell you that it changes as you go along. If you change even one perspective, that can alter your entire destiny. Life is like a journey into uncharted waters for all of us. If we become preoccupied with avoiding potential pain, we resist the waves at our own peril. We miss the glory of the sunsets on the ocean of our lives. So I say, embrace the uncertainty of your life, send the universe the message “bring it on” and you will begin to see the sunsets.