In 5th grade, my honors English class had an assignment to teach something. At that time, I was creating a hooked rug. The process, as I learned from the yarn store lady, required particular steps and specific methods.
During my presentation, I felt confident because I explained everything exactly as I was taught, until another student asked about a different method. I was tongue-tied; the yarn store lady didn’t teach me that. So, I thought the answer was “No.” Surely, I reasoned, if I could do it, she would have told me.
I must have mumbled because Mr. West, our teacher, thanked me, then called on the next student. Later, when he gave me feedback, he taught me something many people still are learning: “It’s OK to say ‘I don’t know.’”
On our life journeys, we sometimes imagine that we’re weak or incompetent if we don’t have answers. Yet, not having an answer is powerful. If we recognize that we don’t know yet, we’re open to new ideas, possibilities, beliefs, or practices. We realize that we can do something differently or learn something new, take other steps forward, or find open windows where once we only saw closed doors.
Within each of us are divine spiritual powers of awareness and understanding. They remind us, often as our still, small voice, that we already know some answers. Here are some ideas for discovering them:
- Continue the spiritual practice of prayer, meditation, contemplation, and reflection. Even when nothing seems to unfold then, we often discover answers later, in a conversation with a colleague, on a billboard, in a song lyric, etc.
- Commit to learning something new about your areas of interest.
- Steer clear of “know-it-alls” who declare that their way is the only way. Avoid those who require money upfront to provide solutions or offer a quick-fix to an ongoing problem. Here, the old adage still applies: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Check credentials, certifications, and education. Just because someone declares themselves an expert doesn’t mean that their advice is sound or reliable.
- Consider the facts and sources, and watch for false news. Take time to do your own research and verify information.
- When you’re considering answers, check in with your body. Do you feel relaxed? Peaceful? Calm? Relieved? Or is your belly tight or in knots? Does your head or neck hurt? Do you suddenly feel insecure or unsafe, or want to run in another direction?
- Follow only those people who continue their own learning and growth, and who also encourage yours, even if it isn’t their path.
- Remember: Many strategies can accomplish the same goal and infinite paths can lead to enlightenment.
Overall, trust your inner wisdom. No matter where you are on your life’s journey, you’ve learned many things. Let those experiences be the guide to your best pathways and all you need to know.
© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.