At some point in our lives, we find ourselves in periods of uncertainty, in which we do not know which actions to take or which direction to choose. We are unable to continue our life as before. Uncertainty can come in many forms. It could be financial uncertainty, lacking an income, or it could be medical uncertainty, dealing with a disease or simply old age. Or it could be related to unstable relationships. Whatever the nature of uncertainty, in such situations, we fear that we might lose our life as we know it. It is both painful and scary.
In such situations, our emotional state is dominated by confusion. We do not know which actions to take in order to escape from the bad outcomes that we anticipate. Sometimes it feels easier to be in a desperate situation, than in an uncertain one, since there are fewer options to choose from. Having to make a decision can cause greater stress than just accepting a bad outcome.
When we look deeply at the cause of fear and stress that comes from uncertainty, we discover the same mechanism that is part of our daily life: the ability to imagine and predict the future. Moreover, we realize that, in such situations, this idea of prevention, a strategy that normally protects us from harm, can backfire on us. This ability that we have as human beings can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on circumstances. The more we try to avoid certain future outcomes, the more stress and confusion we create to ourselves. This can sometimes become a downward spiral from which we cannot escape.
It seems that our only solution is to temporarily give up our commitment to the future, whichever that is, and simply focus on the present. We can decide to not imagine anything and just observe what we already have in the present moment, without judging or even wanting to change it. We can decide to not use our imagination when it doesn’t help us, while causing us stress, fear and pain. We can decide to not prevent any future outcome and just accept whatever happens to us. When we do this, we discover that our mind becomes clear and quiet, and with that comes new energy and freedom to act.
If we really want to learn how to cope with uncertainty, then we must include it into our own lifestyle. We must not only consider uncertainty, but actually build our entire way of living based on it. Moreover, if we want to really succeed in this direction, we must look at death itself, in all its forms, from the death of our body, to the death of our dreams and desires. If we want to be capable of living with uncertainty, then we must make death an integral part of our life.
The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.
— Eckhart Tolle