Uncertainty is a Fact


Many of you have been privy to the evolution of these posts over the last year.  Somewhere along the way, I started thinking of it less as advertising and more an honest inquiry and exchange of thought.  My inspiration has been largely fueled by your responses.

That anyone even reads this much less takes a moment to send me a note of appreciation feels like some small triumph of the soul, awash in this sea of zeros and ones we call the internet.  In particular, two recent correspondences have spurred the sentiments I wish to finish this year with and carry into the new.

One pointed me to a physicist named Richard Feynman.  He asserts that uncertainty is a fact.  Anyone who tries to present something as though it were a certainty is deluding themselves and potentially others.  He goes on to say that the purpose of studying physics, and I would add yoga, is not to solve Life's grand riddle but merely to have some greater sense of what is actually happening.  Forever searching for an answer that would provide some hypothetical certainty that does not exist is absurd.

The second led me to a researcher named Brene Brown.  She looked into the concept of "whole-heartedness" and why some people seem to live out their lives with a feeling of fulfillment and others do not.  She determined that the key was vulnerability.  Those who enjoy harmony and meaning embrace sources of fear and shame as the place from which they also derive strength.

For me, the two ideas connect.  Having courage and compassion is what makes it OK that I don't know whats going to happen.  In fact, Life is much more interesting because it remains a continual mystery.

This time last year, as I was anticipating becoming a new dad, the uncertainty of my situation felt overwhelming.  I remember talking about FEAR-TENSION-PAIN cycles and easing them with RITUAL-RHYTHM-RELAXATION.  The things I was worrying about then are now mostly irrelevant and there are all sorts of new things I can worry about if I let myself.

In yoga, teachings suggest that its best to cultivate a state of contentment.  I used to think that meant everything would be perfect and was striving to make it so.  Now, I think its just a matter of being fine with the way things are, perfect or not.

As Feynman says, "Whatever way it comes out, nature is there and she's gonna come out the way she is."

Maybe I can accept that Life is fundamentally uncertain and not be paralyzed by the fear that is inherent in that.  Instead, face the challenge with poise and take wonder in how it all plays out.



J. Brown

J. Brown is a yoga teacher, writer, and founder of Abhyasa Yoga Center in Brooklyn, New York. A teacher for 15 years, he is known for his pragmatic approach to teaching personal, breath-centered therapeutic yoga that adapt to individual needs. His writing has been featured in Yoga Therapy Today, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, Elephant Journal and Yogadork.