Soul Vitamins

ON THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN AND HOW BREAKING SILENCE SHOULD BE EMBRACED

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I don’t know. It’s such a relief to acknowledge that. I don’t ever want to live from a place of certitude, if I can help it. The unknown used to be so scary; I always had to know what will happen next, where life is taking me, what to do. I always had to have a plan, a strategy, because winging it just seemed so flaky to me. But I’ve realized that even as I do have a plan, I’m very much open to the unknown, to interruptions, to uncertainty. I believe this is why learning is very interesting and I try to be curious about everything. One thing that is certain is that we will always continue to dance at the edge of what is left to be known and what will always be unknowable. As a result of this, I believe that this tendency we have to put a full-stop on people and things should be unlearned. What if there’s more? What if you could change your mind? What if you could discover, return to, so you can refine?

Take faith, for instance, religion is built on mystery. Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see, what we don’t often understand and the strength to let go of our fear of the unknown. However, the unconditional faith required by religion is often lost on us because ours is a world where certitudes are stored as the leverage for winning and status. There’s a finiteness to the doctrines we have that stifles faith and because we often lean toward certainty, we don’t want to find out about anything else, since that might diminish the force of our messages and arguments. Knowledge by nature, should lead to new questions because by then our imagination is expanded and our sense of wonder is awakened.  

We should learn to open our minds sometimes, and not be afraid to question some of the things we’ve been taught if we truly want to see different outcomes to the many life issues we are dissatisfied with. Because ultimately, “we made the world we’re living in and we have to make it over” James Baldwin said. One of the ways we can have true change is by breaking silence. Knowledge, they say, comes with responsibility; responsibility to share, to drive action, etc. because there are certain things that one cannot (un)know or keep to oneself. Yet, we live in a society where there’s a certain exclusivity to audibility and credibility which has made the ability to speak up, have credibility, and be heard a kind of wealth. And clearly as this wealth is recently being redistributed, it is often met with a disbelief, an anger that this man or that woman dared to speak up, that people actually believe her, that her voice counts for something, and that her truth matters and can make a difference.

Anybody can be that child, woman, girl, boy, or man who dares. ”By redefining whose voice is valued, we will come to redefine our society and its values” – Rebecca Solnit. We fail to understand that there’s a connectedness to everything, no life or anything created can thrive in isolation. Our humanity is essentially made out of stories or out of imagination when there are no words or medium of expression. And through our ability to imagine, we can identify with another life; we can look at what happened or is happening to someone else and imagine it, care about it as though it happened or is happening to us directly.

“We are our stories, stories that can be both prison and the crowbar to break open the door of that prison; we make stories to save ourselves or to trap ourselves or others, stories that lift us up or smash us against the stone wall of our own limits and fears. Liberation is always in part a storytelling process: breaking stories, breaking silences, making new stories. Sometimes just being able to speak, to be heard, to be believed are crucial parts of membership in a family, a community, a society. Silence and shame are contagious; so are courage and speech. A free person tells her own story. A valued person lives in a society in which her story has a place.” –  Rebecca Solnit 

 

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