Embracing Uncertainty; Practice During Crisis

Since this pandemic began many clients have contacted me, reporting feeling either depressed and shut down, or in a state of panic, or quiet desperation.

Although it is normal to feel difficult emotions during times of crisis, we discovered together that a driving force of their turmoil was basic resistance to “uncertainty”, to the “unknown”. They were experiencing the angst from wanting but not having answers to questions, like: When will this imposed isolation end? Will things go back to normal? Will my finances recover? Will I be safe or will I get sick? If I get sick, will I survive? Will my loved ones be okay or will they get sick and die?

From a Buddhist practice perspective, we are directed to actually turn towards this uncertainty and fear of the unknown.

Embracing Uncertainty

In your dream state you are thrust from one scene to another
Now you are this character
Now you are yourself, only to become someone anew.
The scenes mix and morph as the faces of one person melds into another
All the while, there is no orchestrator of this inner chaos.

Your eyes flutter open and a sense of relief ensues.
Ah, the bedsheets feel comforting and true.
The room is not moving.
Your feet carry you as expected, one step at a time
To your desired destination.

A constant need for consistency
springs forth from your ancient mind
As it expects people, places, and things
To stay in their respective places
And behave in predictable ways.

You buck and scream like an unbroken horse
To the weight of something new on your back.
How dare unwanted change disrupt you
As you exhaust yourself in your efforts
To resist this new visitor!

Don’t change!
How dare you surprise me this way?
Never take anything away from me
Or I will panic, get angry, or scared
Only to be replaced by hazy confusion.

Stop bearing down on the brakes
When your vehicles spins out of control
Let go of your imaginary steering wheel
And embrace uncertainty
Your constant companion along the way.

Breathe deeply, gently riding the waves of your breath
Embracing the ebb and flow of life’s changes
Opening to and enjoy the constantly changing landscapes
As this journey unfolds mysteriously
According to its own rhythm, its own design.