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Know When You Don't Know

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4. You're angry. Anger is important. It's an internal barometer, an indicator of how you're responding to your environment, including to people. Sometimes anger is about having information that you don't want, and sometimes it's about sensing something that you don't know. Your emotions might indicate an instinct that someone is withholding something or lying. If you feel anger, stop and question what it's about, if you can muster up the presence of mind. You may discover there is something that you need to know.

5. You're confused. So many people spend so much time confused, they don't even notice when it's happening. It helps to notice when you're confused, which is similar to being mentally lost. Consciously acknowledged confusion can be addressed by choosing to seek information. It helps to keep digging until you feel a sense of resolution.

6. You discover something that makes no sense. We've all had that experience where someone tells us a story and the whole thing fits together except for one little thing. You have the choice to overlook that bit, or to stop and see what it's about. One problem is that so many things seem to make no sense that it hardly seems worth sorting anything out. But if you live willfully with what is senseless, that's a form of ignorance.

7. You discover how little you know. You might think you knew a lot about a subject or a person, then you make a discovery that opens up a whole new realm of existence. Here again, you have the choice to enter that realm, or to pretend it does not exist.

Standing at the Edge

Conscious existence involves a relationship to the unknown. There is so much we don't know that in order to maintain some sanity, we need to either acknowledge this fact or pretend that something else is true.

There is strength in facing the unknown as a willing gesture. There's humility to this, yet there is also an unusual kind of bravery that it calls forth. Some truly brave people get to the place where they want to know anything, no matter what it may be or how it may affect them. They view all of life as an encounter with the unknown. Some of the people society respects the most have lived this way.

It is considered a rare trait. Yet, I think that everyone is capable of embracing the mystery of existence. Sometimes this is a matter of preference. Sometimes, it's a matter of necessity, such as when a struggle for survival is involved.

Respect for the unknown is its own thing, as apart from wanting to enter the unknown. If you can look into that space and see one glimmer of light, know that it's your mind that is perceiving something other than darkness.

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