Earth’s most brilliant medical minds don’t yet understand the subtle mysteries of the Covid-19 virus. Will they find some stopgap therapy to arrest its progression into a fatal disease? Will they develop a vaccine to prevent it? We have no definitive answers for these questions. As a result, you’re forced to live in uncertainty. Will you get the virus? If so, will you be hospitalized or die? If you don’t contract it, how long will you be forced to stay inside? If you’ve lost your job, will you get it back? If your business has been hard hit, will it recover?

These are some of the uncertainties we’re forced to live with recently. But then don’t we always live in uncertainty? If you answered “No,” can you tell me with certainty you’ll be here breathing in the next five years, five months, or even five minutes? Nobody can — because nobody can extend their breaths by one when their proverbial time is up. Breath is something literally done for you; the same may be said for the beating of your heart. These biological functions, which are required for life to continue, are done outside our control. It’s not like you’ve consciously delegated it to someone else. Your breath and beating heart are gifts from a higher Power. When these gifts stop…. only God knows. Literally. 

Life itself is an uncertainty 

You suppressed that reality because dwelling on it might freak you out so much it could give you a heart attack, and end the very thing you’re worrying about. Talk about irony!

Even scientists, who pride themselves on predictability, have embraced uncertainty. In 1927, German physicist Werner Heisenberg proposed the Uncertainty Principle, whose complete definition would put you to sleep. In short, it states the more precise you know a particle’s the location, the less you can know with any certainty its momentum. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for “the creation of quantum mechanics.”

Uncertainty and Wisdom

Living without certainty is actually a sign of wisdom. Zen popularizer Alan Watts wrote a book called The Wisdom of Insecurity. Socrates, considered the wisest man in Athens, if not the whole world in his day, said he was considered so because he knew that he didn’t know. Maverick teacher Werner Erhard, who developed est and the Forum, said there are things you know, things you know you don’t know, and things you don’t know you don’t know.

We have so little control on this spaceship we’re on. Another thing you have no control over are the actions you take. You certainly have control over whether you have chicken or pasta tonight. It’s the results you have no control over. Krishna, the teacher in the Bhagavad Gita, the textbook of Yoga, said, “You have control over action alone, never over its fruits.” (chapter 2, v. 47, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi translation) You can give the best new business presentation the world has ever seen, and you might not win the account. As the saying on my desk says, “You want to make God laugh? Talk about your plans.”

On the other side of the world from India, a great mystic in the Middle Ages wrote a magnificent book about the process of becoming spiritually enlightened called The Cloud of Unknowing. The author, whose name is as unknown as the Unknowable Itself, wrote the way to realize the highest Reality is to let go of any specific concepts of that higher Power’s attributes, and let the mind go; surrender to “unknowing” and then you may get a glimpse into the extraordinary nature of that Reality. Indeed it is in letting go—of attachment, of perception, thought, feeling—that the mind can transcend in meditation. As a teacher of Transcendental Meditation for decades and founder of Higher Self Healing Meditation, I can say from the experience it’s in the act of letting go, of not trying to control the process, that I’ve seen hundreds of people experience their higher Self at the transcendental level of their minds. 

So if all of this lack of control freaks you out you might want to take a walk into your kitchen and reach for a pint of ice cream. Just remember, that soon after, your digestive system will take over the digesting of it, will then send the nutrients throughout your bloodstream to the cells of your body. And at some point—maybe in the middle of your deep sleep—you’ll be awakened and will head to the bathroom to excrete the rest of it away.