Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Two Kinds of "I Don’t Know"

In the last few blogs you may have noticed that people are wrestling with the simple thought, “I don’t know.”
The blogs have actually described two very different types of “I don’t know.”

First, there is the "I don’t know" arising from what Buddhists call conditionings.
Adya describes these thoughts as almost like little computer programs
that just whizz round and round. They may have, at one point in our lives, protected us from being burned.
But, mostly now, they just whirl along.

Here, is Eckhart Tolle’s description of such thinking patterns:

…after two ducks get into a fight, which never lasts long, they will separate and float off in opposite directions. Then each duck will flap its wings vigorously a few times, thus releasing the surplus energy that built up during the fight. After they flap their wings, they float on peacefully, as if nothing had ever happened.

If the duck had a human mind, it would keep the fight alive by thinking, by story-making. This would probably be the duck's story: "I don't believe what he just did. He came to within five inches of me. He thinks he owns this pond. He has no consideration for my private space. I'll never trust him again. Next time he'll try something else just to annoy me. I'm sure he's plotting something already. But I'm not going to stand for this. I'll teach him a lesson he won't forget." And on and on the mind spins its tales, still thinking and talking about it days, months, or years later. As far as the body is concerned, the fight is still continuing, and the energy it generates in response to all those thoughts is emotion, which in turn generates more thinking. This becomes the emotional thinking of the ego. You can see how problematic the duck's life would become if it had a human mind. But this is how most humans live all the time. No situation or event is ever really finished. The mind and the mind-made "me and my story" keep it going.
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth.

It is this whirl of thought found in all the worried, “I don’t know” and
“I am not sure.”
In Tolle’s teachings these thoughts are just the pain body stirring up some drama.
In Maharishi’s teaching it was called “un-stressing.”
Byron Katie calls it “a un-inquired thought”
or the “story” that you’re going to go spouting
as you refuse to accept the reality of
What Is.

She Who is Really Good with Not Knowing
simply called it “Yackety-yack.”
Meaning that she recognized it as story
and could largely witness it as Tolle would suggest.

But… there is a second kind of
“I don’t know.”

Both Adyashanti and Byron Katie have made it very clear:
We don’t really think our thoughts.
Because they come,
unbidden really, from “somewhere deep inside,”
as Maharishi would say.

This is the second kind of thought.
It comes from somewhere deep inside, from Silence, from Truth.
Or, as Adya says,
They come right out of the Nothingness of “I don’t know.”
(If you'd like to read about the wet prayer flags go here.)

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