“Either there is a fatal necessity and invincible order, or a kind Providence, or a confusion without a purpose and without a director. If then there is an invincible necessity, why dost thou resist? But if there is a Providence which allows itself to be propitiated, make thyself worthy of the help of the divinity. But if there is a confusion without governor, be content that in such a tempest thou hast in thyself a certain ruling intelligence. And even if the tempest carry thee away, let it carry away the poor flesh, the poor breath, everything else; for the intelligence at least it will not carry away.” Marcus’ Meditations Final Book.
So many of us want a sure bet, a final answer, a dead ringer for the truth. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of my time during my 40-plus years chasing the sure thing and have been disappointed every time.
Some turn to an ideology, latch on, and have faith. Others keep asking and searching because they are unsatisfied with the mystery, and then they remain unsatisfied.
There is a third path, one less traveled, and frankly, it’s a very narrow path indeed. This path is the one alluded to by Marcus Aurelius in the excerpt above. This path requires me to say, “I just don’t know.” I try to apply it to everything, and accept it. In other words, not only should I say, “I just don’t know,” but I then follow it with, “and that’s OK.” I stay on this path often, but I waft to one side occasionally.
This side is the “I have found the answer” side. Many have been there, many have stayed. This side of the path includes the devout religious, the faithful, even the gurus and their followers. I’ve been there, I still go there briefly, but eventually I come back to “I just don’t know, and that’s OK.”
Then, I list the other way. There must be an answer, I must search for it! I search and search, I chase and chase. The answer is in work or money. No, it’s in philosophy. No… make that meditation. This guru has the answer! That leader has the solution! Chase, chase, chase! It always leads to the same place: nowhere. More appropriately stated: nothingness. (Little wonder, the stuff we are made of is mostly empty space). It always leads back to, “I just don’t know.”
The key here is the rest of that self-affirmation: “…and it’s OK.”
I just don’t know, and that is OK.