Friday, September 24, 2010

Living with Uncertainty

This has been a decade of uncertainty.

In the past, it seemed like there were solid truths that we could count on--

That we would work for a company for life (and that the company itself would exist beyond that).

That we would retire with a pension and Social Security and health care.

That the stock market would go up about 10 points a year (give or take).

That the United States would lead the world as a force for good.

That, if we lived our lives in the right way, we could be happy.

I'm sure you can add many others. They may or may not have actually been true, but after a decade in which we had September 11, the collapse of several well known companies (and even industries), a couple of wars, and a near meltdown of our global financial system, it seems that the very things that comprised the American Dream, that we clung to as hope and truth, are themselves looking fragile.

This can sound very depressing. When nothing is certain, what do we do? Where do we turn? Where is our happiness now? But at the same time, this uncertainty can be a gift. Because even though we would like to think differently, nothing has ever been certain, and this has been the source of much of our suffering.

The only truth, it seems, is that we don't know what's next. And yet there is something looking through our eyes that is doing this not knowing.  What is this something? What can we say about it? In times of uncertainty, can we find solace, or peace, or even happiness, in the one thing that does not change?

This is our practice. And it has never been more important than it is right now.


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