One of my teachers, Shlomo Carlebach, the singing rabbi, used to end his stories with the rhetorical question, “What do I know?” The teaching is God reigns over the chaos. The world is forever out of control in our limited understanding, because we don’t know. We look at the politics of the world today, and it is pretty crazy. Everything is complicated.
In the story of Korach, the earth opened up beneath him and whole families associated with him went into this hole, even babies. Aren’t babies innocent? Maybe, and maybe not. Maybe, depending on past lives, there was something they had done that needed to be rectified through being sucked into the dark hole. The answer is, “What do we know?” We don’t know what karmas are going on for people. We don’t know what past lives they’ve lived and how that’s affecting their present situation. People are oftentimes affected by entities. Are these ancestral entities? Are these entities influencing because a person was taking drugs? We don’t know. There are a few mysteries here. So, while we’d like to have the safety of answers. We’d like something simple. The truth is, simply, “What do I know?”
Where does that leave us? It leaves us in a place of faith. Faith says, “Whatever God does is for the best.” We can’t control everything, and we have to give up the illusion of control. The Taoist teaching says, “The master does what she can and lets go. Knowing the world is forever out of control, she sits in the center.” We need to be comfortable with not knowing. If we think we know, that’s when we get into trouble, because it’s never the way it is, or the way we think it should be. We’re left with faith and the very simple principle – Whatever God does is for the best. If we don’t have that, then the world is a random occurrence and basically very nihilistic. We must have faith that there’s a bigger principle guiding us beyond our understanding. We can become aligned with that bigger principle, and, in that alignment, be at peace. An important part of that alignment is reconnecting to our soul.
Though we don’t know the reason behind all events, the events are happening, and the reason becomes insignificant when we’re rooted in our soul, because our soul is our connection to the Divine. This changes life. If one doesn’t feel aligned or connected to one’s soul, there is an internal chaos and a sense of being out of control. When we repair the connection to the soul, which the Six Foundations help us do, we meditate, and that gives us a way of connecting with the Divine, and, even though we don’t know, we feel part a of the story. We connect with part of the evolution of consciousness.
In the knowingness of not knowing, we can still align with the overall evolutionary flow to return to the One. That makes life simple again. If we understand that everything happening is for our evolution, we hold a different perspective than misperceiving it as a series of random events. The teaching of What do I know? leads us back to the Self. This is essentially the purpose of life, because the Self is the spark of the Divine within us and connects us with the bigger picture. Though we don’t intellectually know, we can be consciously part of the unfolding. The next question is, What is it we can do to connect to our soul? The most powerful ways to connect is through meditation and prayer. This makes it simple.
Meditation and prayer are part of the Six Foundations, but, specifically, you have to go beyond the mind. The soul exists prior to the mind. When we’re in the mind, we’re confined to our thoughts, ideas, and concepts. That’s not who we are. We are not our personality. The personality is a case of mistaken identity. Our personality includes identification with our body, as well as identification with our mind. Today many people today are struggling because they identify with their body, as if that’s who they are. People do all kinds of things and get upset about it if you don’t agree with their identification. However, from a spiritual perspective, we aren’t the body. We aren’t the mind. It really doesn’t matter what you think about your body from a spiritual perspective. What matters is if you are deeply connected to your soul, which is prior to the body and prior to the mind. At that level of understanding and frequency, we become more aligned with the cosmic flow.
We must have the intent to connect with our soul. You can do all of these things as exercises, but without spiritual intention, the connection will remain obscured. One must love oneself enough to heal and to deeply connect with one’s soul. When we have that connection, then it’s safe to say, “What do I know?” I don’t have to know anything, and that’s the beauty. It’s about being, not doing. It’s about simply having that connection to the Divine, and knowing that is the single most important thing. That’s a direct experience that requires no knowing. When we say, “What do I know?”, it is a way of stepping back from the accumulation of information so prevalent today.
When we’re out there looking at our screens, (and at this point the screen addiction is worldwide), our counterbalance is to go inward to the Truth. The Truth is not in your screen. In fact, they screen out the Truth, so to speak. Go in to that Truth, which gives us the only thing we have to know. This is the truth of who we are, beyond personality, beyond body identification, beyond the mind. We are prior to consciousness. This is the only thing we have to know. Once we know that, everything else is irrelevant.
May you be blessed to know the deep truth of who you are and to dance in the joy of that expression.
Amen. Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.