Resolving Fear and Discomfort with Uncertainty
There are two different issues regarding uncertainty. One is the fear of uncertainly. The other is a different kind of discomfort with uncertainty. I will explain to you how to debug each of them separately.
This came up because a few days ago I debugged a small group of people for being uncomfortable with uncertainty. As I did this debugging session I explained to them very clearly exactly what was causing the discomfort and I have to say that it was the clearest I’ve ever expressed it before.
Then again just last night this came up for someone and it was the same. She had an important decision to make and as is so typical, she was trying to “figure it out with the mind.” This rarely produces clarity. I took her through the process of debugging as explained here and afterwards she just sat in Pure Awareness for a few moments and then knew exactly what she needed to do. It was beautiful to watch the transformation. So I thought I would explain how to do this debugging but also explain the nature of the conditioning and other factors in order to share it with you and with the HSE community. This way you can also debug people for this discomfort too.
The people I worked with had already resolved the FEAR of uncertainty in previous debugging sessions. So it was not fear that was the problem for them. It was more of a discomfort with uncertainty. As I felt into it and did a little muscle testing I got a very clear sense of what it was. (For how to debug the FEAR of Uncertainty see this brief explanation – Debugging the Fear of Uncertainty)
The key component for debugging the discomfort with uncertainty is resolving our deeply ingrained habit of needing to know things with our intellect. Uncertainty feels uncomfortable because we are highly conditioned to think that we get certainty through intellectually understanding things. In fact for most people they would reply with… “but of course you have to know with your intellect. How else are you going to feel certain?”
But it turns out that we don’t actually “know” things with our intellect. We can gain intellectual understanding but understanding is different than knowing.
Knowing actually doesn’t occur with the intellect. Knowing occurs through direct experience.
What we traditionally call “knowing” has two parts to it but the distinction between these two parts is not commonly understood. The two parts are usually so enmeshed or collapsed that the distinction between them is rarely made.
These two parts could be called experiential knowing and intellectual understanding. Experiential knowing is the first part and we have to have it first in order to truly know anything. Direct experience is the foundation of really knowing anything. You can talk about how a strawberry tastes all day but if you haven’t ever tasted one, no amount of description is going give you the actual taste. You have to take a bite. Then you have the experience and you “know” what it is. It is only then that the intellectual understanding that a strawberry is sweet and sometimes a little bit tart and its juicy… All these things make sense only once you have tasted a strawberry. Attempts at intellectual understanding without the benefit of direct experience can only lead to speculations about what the experience really is.
We get a sense of certainty when there is congruence between what we experience and what we intellectually understand. The intellectual understanding feels grounded in the “reality” of the direct experiences. This actually encourages us to feel that we need to “know” things with our intellect. The intellectual understanding is so closely linked to the direct experience that it feels as if we “know” things with the intellect.
But this is not accurate. It does however create a very deep conditioning that we “need to know” things with our intellect in order to feel a sense of certainty and be able to make decisions with a feeling of confidence.
Let’s go a little deeper into the causes of discomfort with uncertainty.
Thinking is not a physical sensory phenomenon. It is something that happens mainly using what we call the subtle senses. In the case of thinking we mainly use the subtle senses of hearing, sight and touch. Experiences with the subtle senses don’t produce the same sense of certainty and security that physical sensory input provides. There are some details about this that are useful in understanding what to do to debug this discomfort.
The word uncertainty has a kind of negative connotation to it simply because people have so much experience of discomfort with uncertainty. But the uncertainty itself isn’t positive or negative, those are reactions to the experience of being uncertain. The main problem here is having the expectation that you should understand everything with your mind or intellect. There is a kind of comfort that comes with putting experiences into order in our mind. When we finally “get it” then there is a quieting of the mind that feels better than when we are still not yet getting it. However, this is not the same as the deep peace that comes with certainly that is beyond intellectual understanding. And without it, even when the intellect “gets it” you can still have feelings of doubts or vague discomfort.
The foundation of the discomfort with uncertainty comes in part from having two different kinds of thoughts.
One category of thoughts might be appropriated called – “thinking.” Thinking means that the thoughts are things that we are making up in our mind. These kinds of thoughts are produced out of a desire to create certainty and security. They are an attempted antidote for the fear or discomfort of uncertainly. Unfortunately they can only produce a kind of illusory notion of certainly. We are trying to coerce the universe into bringing things about in the way that we want so that we can feel a sense of comfort about that particular circumstance. Typically the universe is non-coerceable and it doesn’t capitulate. You ride along under the merry illusion that things will happen just the way that you want them to but they can’t because the story that you have made up exists only in your mind, not in the “real” world. So things don’t happen the way that you thought they should and you get upset by that.
The other category of thoughts that we have can be called perceptual thoughts or what I like to call – remembering the future. It also could be called “knowing” because it is the direct experience of something even if that thing isn’t yet proximate to you in time and space. It means that you are experiencing it with the subtle senses rather than the physical senses.
This means that you have some thoughts that are the result of having an intuitive sense about something that is coming. You aren’t proximate to it yet in time and space. It hasn’t happened yet but you do have a sense that it will happen. This kind of thought is a result of “seeing” or sensing something that indeed is coming to you but is just not here yet. These kinds of thoughts include what we call intuitions, premonitions, desires, intentions, etc. These are the “knowing” thoughts.
So there are two kinds of thoughts – thinking and knowing. Most people have a difficult time distinguishing between their “thinking” and their “knowing.”
This lack is the consequence of something very interesting. It has to do with the nature of the senses.
The gross physical senses produce experiences that seem very real. This “realness” is caused by proximity with the objects of sensing. It is necessary to be close enough to something that we can experience it with the physical senses. According to physics we never actually “touch” anything. In other words we get very close to it but the atoms, subatomic particles, etc. never actually collide. Apparently it wouldn’t be a pretty site if they did. It seems that when we become close enough to something to actually experience it with the physical senses that we become close enough to the electro-magnetic field of that thing that we have the sensation of “touching” or sensing it.
You might object to this idea by saying that we can see the light of stars that are thousands of light years away. And that’s true but the light that we are seeing from the star is the light that is just now arriving proximate to our eyes, not the light that is just leaving that star so far away. That probably happened years if not thousands of years ago.
What seems to happen is that when we have sensory experiences of things to which we have proximity the apparent “realness” of the experience has a quality of certainty about it. The sense of certainty is produced by the congruence between the direct experience and the intellect being able to put a description or order to the experience right away. Then it seems real. Then it seems reliable. There is a kind of certainty about that. There’s an apparent reliability of the physical senses to bring us the real experience of the moment. And there’s a kind of comfort in this reliability. The actual feeling of “knowing” is really coming from the direct experience not from the intellectual understanding. The comfort that I am talking about is not in the quality of the specific experiences themselves, but rather in the simple fact of the seeming realness of the experience, positive or negative as it may be.
On the other hand, experiences that we have using the subtle senses have a different quality. Subtle sense experiences are more abstract. Thoughts for example are experiences that occur via the subtle senses. We don’t hear thoughts with our ears. We hear them directly in our consciousness. This is using the subtle sense of hearing.
Because both categories of thoughts are all experienced as thoughts the clear distinction between thinking and knowing is often lacking.
However, remembering the future can be very reliable and clear too if it is not clouded by other “thinking” kinds of thoughts. And because making up stories about what you “think” should happen doesn’t lead to that thing happening, then there is a kind of conflict and confusion that sets in. Most people don’t distinguish between their intuitive thoughts and the stories they are making up. This creates a sense of unreliability of thinking and therefore of life. This is the primary thing responsible for causing a feeling that uncertainty is uncomfortable.
Both expectations and projections are experienced as thoughts. But our perceptions of things that are indeed real (but just not here yet) are also experienced as thoughts. These are the things that are going to happen. We are just not proximate to them yet.
Everyone has these remembering the future types of experiences. We typically call them intuitions. And it is also very common that people don’t trust their intuition. You will recall if you think about it times when you had an intuition, didn’t act on it, only to discover later on that your intuition was spot on and you could kick yourself for not following it. This is exactly the kind of problem that occurs from the dilemma I have described above. You can’t tell the difference between your thinking and your knowing. Not only does this cause you to not trust and act on your intuition but it also creates the feeling of discomfort with uncertainty.
It can also happen that people will attempt to override the feeling of discomfort with the uncertainty by vehemently affirming their decision whatever that might be. But most of the time when they are not trusting and acting on their intuitive knowing no amount of affirming the decision that they have made is going to coerce the universe into having life show up the way that these ego driven, not-useful emotions driven thoughts are trying to make it show up.
We all have lots of both kinds of experiences but the thoughts that are the ones of stories that we are making up can’t come true because they only exist in our mind not in the “real” world. And the “rememberings of the future” while existing in the “real” world, don’t seem real because we are only experiencing them at a distance away from us in time and space. Without the proximity and “realness” of the physical senses we are not sure which thoughts are real and which ones are just stuff we are making up.
Most people don’t have an easy time making this distinction. And when you can’t tell what’s a perception and what’s a story you are making up, this causes the subtle sense experiences to seem not so reliable as our gross physical sensing experiences.
So how can we distinguish better between a thought that is coming from a story and a thought that is the formulation of a perception of something that is indeed coming to us and will become an experience of the gross senses?
One way to do this is to check to see if there’s any “emotional energy” associated with the thought. If there is, the energy will feel like a kind of cloud or aura of energy, radiating out from the body into the space around you. If there is some energy like this then it is very likely that this thought is a story you are making up. When a story has an associated energy field it means that we are having an emotional reaction to the story. If the story is an expectation that life will show up in a certain way, there is a part of us that knows that it is just a story and not a part of reality. So the energy of disappointment or anger or frustration that it won’t happen is already present with the story the moment we make it up.
Similarly, if we feel fearful or anxious it means that the story we are making up is a projection of a possible negative outcome onto the future. The emotional reaction to such a story may be even more obvious than the frustration or disappointment or anger about an unmet expectation, especially if we are still waiting for the expectation to be met.
This is a phenomenon called identification. Identification means getting a part of the sense of who you are from something that is not really who you are… but it feels like it is a part of you. When you have an emotional reaction to a story you are making up in your mind, the cloud of energy that radiates out into the space around you surrounds and engulfs you. You then look at the world “through” this cloud of energy. It’s kind of like having dark glasses on. The energy of the emotional cloud colors everything and this makes the energy and the story seem very “real.” If you do find that there is some energy associated with the thought, you can simply do the SEE Technique on that energy and resolve it.
When you have extracted yourself from the energy of the identification and resolved the story you’ll have access to Pure Awareness and the thought and associated energy field will simply be gone.
Now one of two things will happen, you’ll either have access to clarity now that you didn’t have before and you’ll be ready to take action based on that clarity, or, you’ll be aware that you do not yet have clarity but that being in the uncertainty doesn’t feel uncomfortable anymore. It’s just not time to know yet. This is a form of clarity in itself actually. It is the clarity that you are not clear yet.
There is a Pure Awareness Technique for this situation. It is called WAIT. WAIT is an acronym for Waiting Accesses Intuitive Truth. In some ways this is one of the hardest Pure Awareness Techniques for people to practice. The ego wants to have the understanding NOW! But there’s some reason why it isn’t time for that yet and the mind doesn’t have access to the universe’s reasons.
Typically this means that it is simply not time to know yet. The universe operates based on a natural law called the law of least expenditure of energy, or the law of least effort. This is what causes the planets to move around the sun in an ellipse. An ellipse is the path of the least expenditure of energy. The planets don’t move around the sun in a triangle or rectangle. Taking those sharp corners would be much too much expenditure of energy. This law is operating throughout all of nature.
This law is also operating when it is not time to know yet. If you were to get the message too soon you might move into some action that would be out of sync with what’s going to be needed from you. So you will only get the message when it is the right time for it, not before. Thus waiting in this kind of case is the appropriate technique. If any emotional charge comes up while waiting or about the need to wait using CORE or SEE to resolve will be a very good idea.
So the energy of discomfort with uncertainty is primarily caused by the inability to distinguish between thoughts caused by stories and thoughts that are rememberings of the future. This then causes you to not be able to distinguish which thoughts are “real” and which ones are not.
We are also deeply habituated to falling back on our intellect and when things remain uncertain, the intellect can’t help us. Trying to figure it out just doesn’t work.
The resolution of this situation is to debug the feeling of the need to always be able to understand things with the intellect. There is a shift from needing to understand with the intellect to being able to trust that you simply “know” with your subtle senses. In order to do this we have to access the energy of the habit of the feeling of needing to know with the intellect. For those of you who already know how to do it, you can use the GPS Pure Awareness Technique for that. If you don’t know GPS you can learn it from the audio example here – (GPS Technique).
Once you access the energy of this habit you will typically use the SEE Technique to resolve this energy. Once resolved the feeling of discomfort with uncertainly will be gone and you’ll have access to that quiet, inner knowing place within you that is your own Pure Awareness. Then the clarity can come, in it’s own timing. It might be immediate if all that was blocking it was this habit. Otherwise it will show up when it is time for it to show up and the timing will be perfect.
What happens when you properly debug this habit is that you will make a major shift in your life. You will shift from the state of needing to see the certainty or perfection of things with the intellect to simply feeling the certainty and perfection of everything just as it is, even if the intellect doesn’t get it.
I hope that you enjoyed this explanation. You are welcome to leave blog comments if you wish.
If you’d like to learn how to help people resolve these kinds of issues/problems in their life, consider taking the Free to Succeed Facilitator/Presenter Training. This is exactly the kind of issue that we will be debugging for participants during the training and learning how to do that for others as we go.
Wishing you the full enjoyment of the wonder and delight of uncertainty!