On Tolerating Ambiguity

Day 308 Week 45 Q4  Friday, November 4, 2022

Each of us has more than one point of view we hold simultaneously, or at least I hope we do, for there are at least two of them that have to be held onto at all times. Most of s feel more special than we actually are; at the same time as we are also aware that we are fairly insignificant in the larger scheme of things, where we are one in more than 8 billion alive right now.  

Now if we did not feel special at all but were just crushed by our insignificant, it would be hard to get in the morning and most certainly, very many millions of people do feel this way. In fact, probably a lot more people feel insignificant than significant in the world. But I do not know about the world. I do, however, know about creative outliers, having had the good fortune to be surrounded by them most of my waking hours. As a group, I do not think that creative outliers feel crushed by feelings of insignificance on the other hadn’t; they may feel crushed by feeling like they are not living up to their potential, so they still get to feel crushed. Hey, there are billions of us.

Back to tolerating ambiguity. We all feel special some of the time, especially when we are creating and expressing and emoting. In fact, some of us even get to feel transcendent some of the time when we are not even aware of ourselves at all, neither as epochal nor as insignificant. In fact, we cease to exist at all because we are so immersed in flow that we can vanish. Is this simply an escape? Perhaps but not that likely as this is a different kind of vanishing than getting lost in reading a book or movie. We are the book or the movie, and there is no time to think about ourselves or anything that strongly if we are truly immersed and, yes, embedded within what we are doing in creating our works or enterprises or Whatever we are bringing forth into the world. 

Can you feel badly while creating? Sure you can. Can you also feel ecstatic while creating? Sure. How about both at the same time? Yup. Now do you get all bent out of shape about it or simply tolerate the ambiguity of being both remarkable and insignificant at the same time?

Someone close to me told me many years ago, “you know what your problem is; you think you are more special than you really are.”  Now decades later, I could say back to him, “and you don’t?” It does not matter if we are one in ten or one in ten million, we are still special to ourselves, and yes, we are also not very significant either in the grand scheme of things, but I bet there are some people in your life to whom you are actually very special, and I dare say irreplaceable.

Life is ambiguous, as is the rest of reality. None of us are of great enough dimensions to take it all in, in real-time but sometimes, when we are in a creative flow, and when we literally vanish from ourselves, the ambiguity vanishes as well, and we become one with the universe. It may not last very long or happen that often but I can assure you that with practice, this state can be achieved more frequently and more easily. And in fact, if you do tolerate ambiguity, you may already be in the way to flow. The key is to manage to vanish once in a while and stop trying to figure everything out. Hey, not only are our brains to slow dealing with all of the incoming but has it occurred to you that is why emotions exist? Our emotional responses rapidly outstrip our intellectual responses, which is a good thing, for otherwise, we could not cope with reality.

Can you love and hate at the same time? Sure, I do it all of the time.  Can I feel special and insignificant at the same time? Every single day. And finally, can the world be more screwed up than you have ever known it and also more incredibly wonderful at the same time, right now in the present moment?  You bet, and it has always been thus.

Tolerate Ambiguity, for if you do not, you are likely not going to have a very happy life, and you are ogling to suffer a lot more than you need to.  Or hey, what do I know? Perhaps you do need to suffer? Who am I to say?

I am only trying to remind you that suffering is somewhat optional because you do have the ability to tolerate ambiguity and to vanish from time to time. And you can choose to focus on the specialness when you are feeling too insignificant and also, when you are feeling too significant, cut yourself down a few sizes.  Neither state is the complete truth, but each can be a complete truth.

Make ambiguity your friend, and then you will literally have infinite options. Try to eliminate ambiguity from your life, and you are cruising for a bruising!