Two Attitudes To “I Don’t Know”


I’ve been exploring consciousness expansion practices with the key element of remaining open to all possibilities. I set out with the intention of finding out what observing from an open space would be like. A natural progression was wondering what happens when the observing takes place in a closed space.
There were a number of situations that occurred these past few days where I had to make a decision or take some action and I didn’t know what to do and from what I can see they fell into two categories. I’ll give you an example of each.
When I am creating a new workshop or writing teaching materials I often don’t have a starting point. There is stress as I look for inspiration to get started. As the deadline for submission draws near, the stress builds up. But deep inside me I feel that some idea will come and I keep looking. Indeed once the inspiration starts to flow I can hardly type fast enough to capture all the ideas. It feels like I’m carried by a wave as the creative process unfolds. When I look back at materials that came out of this type of experience I still find the materials interesting, they stand the test of time. So I ask myself how could I transfer this experience/ process to when I’m working with challenging patterns of behavior in myself. Because this must be what observing from an open space must be like.
On the other hand when I observe myself and encounter unhelpful emotions or patterns of behavior then sometimes I get very upset with what I see. I can get swept up in negative feelings. I start to feel powerless. I know in the moment that I’m feeling contracted but I find it difficult to change and until this practice of observing process I didn’t have a clue as to how to move forward. I now realize that my attitude is closed. I’m observing from a closed space. In this scenario when I realize I don’t know what to do I see it as an end point. Whereas when I’m writing and I don’t know what to do next I see it as a starting point and that the inspiration will come. This was like a thunderbolt to me; I have two radically different attitudes when I feel “I don’t know”. One attitude leads to new discoveries and the other attitude lands me mired in misery. Can you see the difference in the two “I don’t knows”?
The next step was to try to apply a change in process when feeling contracted by seeing unpleasant patterns of behavior in myself. How could this be the starting instead of the end point? I could focus my attention on the information and tools that I already have about making changes. I could pay attention to the role models around me and draw motivation from them. I could pray for support while keeping alert so that I recognize the help when it comes. There are so many things I can do. I can see how this approach would open up the space.
I have to keep at this longer to see where it will take me. Hope this all makes sense to you. Let me know what you think.

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9 Responses to Two Attitudes To “I Don’t Know”

  1. Alice Murray says:

    Chan,

    I have a lot of crazy “I don’t know” in my life that I try to balance with being open to outcome without being paralyzed!
    Yikes!
    I still meditate 🙂

    It’s been many years since we were together yet you find your way into my life quite often when I recall something you said, or remember lessons learned through your guidance.
    Remembering your meditation classes makes me smile – how you knew what our minds were doing!

    I love that you are still sharing so much of yourself.
    I trust you are well.
    Alice

    • Chan Madhavi says:

      Dear Alice

      How absolutely marvelous to hear from you!

      You are so right this life is so filled with “I don’t knows” I have to constantly remind myself to be open and to move away from negative interpretations.

      I’m so glad to know you have lovely memories of those classes and that you continue to meditate. Those were wonderful days :).

      Do lets keep in touch luv Chan

      PS My spiritual name is Madhavi :)) feel free to use which ever one appeals to you.

  2. Maria Di Giantommaso says:

    You shouls read this blog that Madhavi from Blue star wrote.I found it interesting that I can also apply it to everyday situations not just writing.Enjoy..love you Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2013 16:39:01 +0000 To: mariadigian@hotmail.com

  3. Maria Di Giantommaso says:

    Hi Madhavi This Blog was very interesting. I have to do what you did even if it does not apply to writing butin everyday situations. I can then say “this is the beginning of an experience not the end”. thank you Maria Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2013 16:39:01 +0000 To: mariadigian@hotmail.com

    • Chan Madhavi says:

      Hi Maria

      I’m still practicing this attitude of openness to intuition when I don’t know and it becomes easier. Now I start to see how “I don’t know in this moment” can be pretty exciting.

      I was out in a brief storm, huge winds and snow falling so much that I couldn’t see much beyond each footstep. I asked myself, “Do I need to see more than this step right now?” As I embraced the situation in an open and free way I began to enjoy … the power and beauty of the elements and saying to myself “I too am part of nature.”

      It changed what was stressful to me into a beautiful experience. I wish you joy in your explorations!

      luv madhavi

      On Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 10:25 PM, Chanmadhavi's Blog wrote:

      > > New comment on your post “Two Attitudes To “I Don’t Know”” > Author : Maria Di Giantommaso (IP: 65.54.190.200 , 65.54.190.200) > E-mail : mariadigian@hotmail.com > URL : > Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/65.54.190.200 > Comment: > Hi Madhavi This Blog was very interesting. I have to do what you did even > if it does not apply to writing butin everyday situations. I can then say > “this is the beginning of an experience not the end”. thank you Maria >

  4. Marlene says:

    I really like how you were able to clearly identify the two radically different attitudes you have when experiencing the thought or feeling of “I don’t know” and how you work with each. I found it interesting because just this morning I was witnessing myself in contraction saying “I don’t know” with frustration and a feeling of powerlessness, and I wanted to move forward with more positive thoughts and feelings because I knew maintaining the attitude I had was, as you said, only going to create more misery for me.
    I didn’t see the “I don’t know” as an end point in that moment and I knew that the “I don’t know” could be a starting point to change what I was thinking and feeling, but also knew in that moment that I wasn’t ready to go there yet. I guess the door was mostly closed yet still open a crack. I recognized I wanted to move forward with more positive thoughts and feelings because I didn’t like what I was experiencing, so I must also have recognized that some idea or inspiration would come if I maintained that view.
    I was able to observe myself in the contraction saying “I don’t know”, but due to the negative emotions I was feeling I first gave myself a little space. I knew I needed a little time to deal with these emotions in order to come to a point of feeling less annoyed and more centred.
    The steps that were most helpful to me was to decide I wanted to change my normal process and then, as you stated in this blog post, to try to apply a change in my process. I didn’t know what that change would be yet, but just having that desire for a change in my process helped me to shift. I did pray for support to help me choose a different way of viewing the situation and dealing with it, and I believe that support came because without a great deal of effort I was able to become more positive and feel more empowered. I know there is still plenty of room for more improvement but at least it was a step in the right direction.
    I found that just maintaining the view that the Universe had created this situation for my learning and growth helped me to stay more open, to look for a different approach to the one I habitually would use because I wanted a different outcome. I believed that if I kept the same old approach I would get the same old outcome, which wass not acceptable.
    I agree with you, Madhavi, that it is also helpful to draw inspiration from those around us who might handle the same situation in a better way.
    Lastly, I am pleased to observe that I automatically used some of the suggestions that you shared here, Madhavi, because it makes me feel like I am making some progress on the journey! Now I am inspired by your post to take it another step further so that I actually feel inspired by the possibilities of a change and recognize that feeling of being carried by a wave of inspiration as the creative process unfolds. Sounds exciting!

    • Chan Madhavi says:

      Hurray Marlene! I celebrate your progress with you 🙂

      • kay marshall says:

        Dear Madhavi,

        Perhaps it is the process that makes the difference. In your first example you have a topic, a deadline and research. In your second example there is no deadline and you are examining your topic from inside, The first is objective and the second is subjective. To make the second example work, can you treat the subject in the same way as the first?

        Thank you for your earlier remarks on inner harmony. I concluded that the objective is to achieve that inner harmony irregardless of the effect others may have, either positive or negative. I am still working on that one!

        Namaskar,
        Kay

        • Chan Madhavi says:

          Good idea Kay. I’ll try it out. Thanks.

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