The Real Freedom- Many Benefits of 'Not Knowing'

The Real Freedom- Many Benefits of 'Not Knowing'

There are many benefits of acknowledging our limited understanding of the nature of universe and existence. What are they? Know it from this commentary by one of the most loved and respected global spiritual leaders of our time, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of the International Association For Human Values, that evokes a sense of wonder. It breaks down the last frontier of our understanding of mind and its abilities and gives freedom.

"There are two kinds of minds - an open mind and a closed mind. A closed mind is that which says, ‘‘This is how it is, I know it.” An open mind is, ‘‘ Oh, maybe, Perhaps, I do not know!’’ All problems arise from knowing, not ‘not knowing’. Limited knowledge, and conformity to it, makes a mind very hard.

Whenever you seem to understand a situation and label it, that is the beginning of your problem. You do not label something you do not know. Whenever you think injustice has been done to you, or you are a victim, or you think something bad has happened to you, all this falls in the category of ‘I know it, this is how things are’. Suffering is a product of limited knowledge. But when there is amazement, patience, joy, then you are in a state of ‘I don’t know, may be.’ The whole life is a shift from the limited ‘I know’, to all possibilities.

You think you know the world and this is the biggest problem. This is not just one world, there are many layers in this world. When you are upset, there is some string that is being pulled. When an event happens, there could be many possibilities for that event to be that way, not just in the gross, but some other reason in the subtle as well. Suppose you enter your room and find that someone at home has made a big mess in your room. You are irritated and attach that cause for your anger to that person. But there is something more happening in the subtle, something else is in the air but you could only see that person creating a mess and you attribute all the anger to that person.

This is what limited knowledge does. Even after experiencing that, you don’t see something beyond. There is a proverb in India that says: “You fell in the well in the daytime, which you could see in the night.” You saw the pit in the night, you were careful, you avoided and walked, but in the daytime you fell in the same pit. This means that your eyes are not open, you are not sensitive enough to see and recognize what is going on.

As we attach the events and emotions to individuals, the cycle continues. You will never be free from that. So first detach an event and emotion from that person, space and time. Have the knowledge of oneness of the universe. If a pin is pricked into your hand, your entire body knows and feels it. In the same way everybody is connected to the entire creation, to everybody, as there is only one life at a very subtle level, though it appears to be many in the gross.

If you go deeper and deeper, it is one existence, one divine. The wise person never labels individuals. In fact, in a wise person all individual existence ceases. That is why one should not see any intention behind the other’s mistakes or attribute mistakes to somebody and bear grudges. Then mind drops cravings and aversions and becomes free. So when the mind goes away, only the self remains. You can be at ease with the uncertainty of the world when you realize the certainty of the consciousness. Often people do just the opposite. They rely on something that is not reliable and get upset.

The world is of change, the self is of non-change. You have to rely on the non-change and accept the change. If you are certain that everything is uncertain, then you are liberated. When you are uncertain in ignorance then you become worried and tense. Uncertainty with awareness brings higher states of consciousness and a smile.

Being in uncertainty is letting go. Often your certainty or uncertainty is based on the relative world. To be certain about the uncertainty of the relative makes you certain about the existence of the absolute and brings a ‘certain’ faith in the absolute. Acting in uncertainty makes life a game, a challenge. Often people think that certainty is freedom. If you feel that freedom when you are not certain then that is ‘real’ freedom.