Embracing the Uncertainty of Faith

I noticed at the recent retreat that I attended at Plum Village that so many are eager to embrace the comfort of certainty and security despite the fact that there is no such thing. Even in Buddhism where there is a strong emphasis on letting go and awareness of our attachments there exist something habitual in human conditioning that people seem to still crave this. There are so many youths that seem to be searching for a formula so that they might come to understand and deal with the sense of alienation that has arisen from being force-fed conventional norms. It is by virtue of their conditioning that they look for something concrete to grasp onto or perhaps it is that they are drawn to the prospect of bettering themselves. It is the dilemma of our human conditioning.
A more authentic connection with a deeper truth and with our own being can be realized in the embracing of uncertainty. I have included Karen Armstrong’s recent New York Times review of the book “The Norton Anthology of World Religions, Vol. 2″‘ titled the same as my title of this post. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/books/review/the-norton-anthology-of-world-religions-volume-ii.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad
We often look for certainty and security in intellectual explanations taking comfort in feeling that we understand and that there is truth of knowing to be obtained, not realizing that this process often takes us away from the direct experience where the real understanding is to be discovered. There is no growth in this way, only a false and temporary sense of comfort and a fragmented and relative knowing of limited and controversial worth. Intellectual understanding can be a useful tool but it is relative and limited in its scope of use. A fixation at this level can actually prevent us from deeper realisation and from being more fully in this life. Intellectual understanding realised as a tool of a more vast awareness can be a more practical and powerful experience.

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