Needing to Know is Suffering

Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.” Eckhart Tolle

Deep down, we all want to know that our life has purpose. Something that lights us up and explains why we’re brought to this earth. Some of us find that purpose early in life and flow through life following that path. That creates confusion and envy in those of us who can’t seem to figure out what it is that we’re supposed to do. Like everyone else, we’ve done the work: gone to school, tried new things – and still, we feel like we just don’t know. It can be incredibly frustrating. Even when we go down the path of doing something that we’re good at, without passion, we still feel like we’re wandering. Unfortunately, too many of us approach our lives with this need to know type hunt. We never relax into the journey and instead treat our life like work – checking off and collecting external victories. At times, we might feel like we’re frozen and our need to know becomes a need to be right. We tell ourselves, “If I try this and it’s wrong, it’s going to hurt too much to be back at this same spot of not knowing.” It becomes a cycle from which we can’t escape. Yet, in reality, we all have the tools to find our answers. If we can only let go and be at ease with the not knowing, our purpose has an opportunity to surface. Most of us are aware of the feelings and things we want – it’s just that don’t trust that if we relax into our journey that we’re actually going to get what we want. Imagine how different things might be if we created a life vision that began from a point of curiosity rather than a point of what we believe we should have. We could fill in the vision board piece by piece – adding parts that fit and removing those we once believed were right for us. When we lean into that not knowing, we recognize that there’s room us to play, experiment and uncover our purpose naturally. Rather than fiercely suffering with the unknown, it becomes a gift and a freedom.

Weekly Path to Peace: Ease into not knowing.

  • If you’ve been struggling for answers about what’s next or grappling with your life’s purpose, begin today by identifying all the ways your desire to know causes you to struggle. Does it cost you your self-esteem? Leave you feel frozen, scared to try new things or put yourself out there? Identify the negative self-dialog that goes along with your need to know.
  • Begin a new vision board or list. Start by only putting things on the list that bring you joy, peace and deep happiness. Each day add one image or one word to the list that represents something you want to achieve, have or experience in life – whether it’s a feeling, a relationship or other goal. Let yourself be comfortable with the unknown future and only put things on it that feel good to you.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.