Beyond the Fear of the Unknown

The mind is like a traveller in a wood that comes to a choice of left or right. Because it believes itself all powerful, it is unable to allow that regardless of whether it turns left or right, the rain will fall anyway.

One of the first effects of the mind’s reflex to identify with form is the fear of the unknown.

In its natural state, the mind is a clean mirror of multiple dimensions. It receives impressions through the organs of consciousness and as a totality names this experience. The moment experience takes form in the mind, identification begins. The mind, operating according to binary laws, will either accept or reject the input as part of itself. Both are functions of identification. This is “I” is as much a movement of identification as: this is “Not I”.

Irrespective of whether the mind turns left or right, in acceptance or rejection, the experience is imprinted. The rejected part will be stored beneath the layers of conscious memory, where it will brood, and find expression in the identification of the “other”. The acceptable part will go on the top shelf of memory, to be improved, polished and tweaked in order to form conscious identity.

The mind is like a traveller in a wood that comes to a choice of left or right. Because it believes itself all powerful, it is unable to allow that regardless of whether it turns left or right, the rain will fall anyway. The rain is experience – the naked, sentient experience of living – and the mind has no control over that dimension.

The mind is a mere receiver, yet early on, it identifies itself as the great cause of creation.

It sees itself as the actor, the creator, the one on which the whole universe depends. It works hours of diligent overtime to pull it all together. It trips circuits, defies logic and creates more stories in a day than are housed in the greatest libraries. It repeats itself endlessly, as if repetition creates truth. All this, to preserve the identity of itself as supreme. All this, to avoid the fear of not knowing.

Already terrified into bewilderment by the belief that it is all powerful, and driven by a sentient confusion between guilt and responsibility, the mind is ashamed, because it secretly knows it hasn’t got a clue what’s going on here. Shame hurts like hell, it can appear as the enemy threatening to expose the deadly truth of mental impotence. As such, the unknown – that which mind cannot grasp – can be perceived as an existential threat.

How critically weak it can feel for the binary mind to admit it doesn’t know stuff. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is supreme. The unknown cannot exist, the mind can argue, as if the mind doesn’t know it, (and the mind determines reality) then how can the unknown be real?

Reality Check

We know so little, that we don’t even know what knowing is. Knowing itself is unknown.

What do we really know, without a shadow of a doubt to be true? Without using force, without needing to push or assert, what do we know?

We know that 1+1=2. But that is just a relative code. If you look at the creation of a child, 1+1=3.

We know that we are here. But we don’t know who we are and we don’t know where is “here”. In a way, it can never be “known”. We can receive effects of Being and impressions of “Here” through our minds. But these are impressions and effects. They are not absolute.

We know we have a body. But we don’t actually know that we have it. We don’t even know what it is to possess something. The body’s health and functioning is hardly in our conscious control, and its aging and deterioration is far from predictable. We believe we have a body, but sometimes the experience is more that this body follows “us” around. We think we possess it, but often it seems more likely that it possesses us. Nor do we know who “we” are, as we claim to “have” a body. Neither “we” nor the “body” are truly known by the mind.

The vast ocean of living occurs without direct experience: autonomous functions such as breathing or organ function; processing of situations; reflexive movements. We think we know when we are asleep and when we are awake, but could it not be that sleep continues (with all its treasures) both when we are conscious and when we’re not? Who says that sleep stops when we wake up? Could it not be that consciousness and brain activity is simply re-emerging out of the sleep state?

We know so little, that we don’t even know what knowing is. Knowing itself is unknown.

The Nature of Mind

We would not be able to know anything at all, without an openness to the unknown.

Naturally a receiver with the potential to receive information and experience from way beyond the parameters of the separate self, the mind thrives not in knowing but in the great Pacific of the unknown.

Experience itself is utterly dependant on the unknown. It’s even embedded in the word “Ex” perience. It involves stepping out of a frame of reference (expectation, history). Experience is surrender to that which is beyond experience. It’s reception to new stimuli. It can’t be held. It can only be accessed as a living impression. Experience is the source of knowledge, yet experience is over a split second before the mind even knows it begun.

We would not be able to know anything at all, without an openness to the unknown. It’s all reception, reception, reception all the way through the channel of human and out the other side.

Scientific progress, human discovery, learning and feeling all depend on the release of fear of the unknown. When a scientist “discovers” a new phenomenon, he does not discover it in the archives of the ‘known’. Much of science is in fact a process of un-knowing: looking at the ‘known’ with the eyes of wonder, as if it was never known. When the known is perceived with the eyes of the unknown, then the known reveals its deeper nature.

In spirituality, we don’t need to reach far into the heavens or deep into the holy texts to access the unknown. Take any “known” thing and simply let it in, let it in so far that it dies inside. Let it be here in its strangeness, its ongoing resonance, and give up on all knowing. Even the simple sensation of a hand resting on a table can blow the mind out of its tree.


This thrill of living aliveness is a quickening of energy.

The mind will identify, this is how we presently move through form. We will use the conditioned neural networks to suffer our lives, selecting and rejecting, turning left or right, moving through structures of either/or and pretending that the “And-and” (the very phenomena that made the lower choice possible) never existed.

It’s OK to grasp at things for a moment, but we have to be able to put them down. We need to develop the mental ability to let binary (either-or) structures be relative, just as our left and right hands are relative. Pick them up, experience them, let them go. The more we can do this, the more we gain freedom of mind and the ore we begin to liberate experience.

Just as we picked up this story of a separate self in infancy, and just as we will inevitable put it down when we are in a death process, we can learn release the absolute quality of the field of identification throughout our lives, until it becomes clear that some identities don’t need to be picked up at all.

When we are able to allow the fear of the unknown, the same excitement in the nervous system can become the thrill of discovery.

This thrill of living aliveness is a quickening of energy. It is stronger than the relative quality of experience itself. It is equally excited by destruction as creation, equally curious in pain as in pleasure. It’s a relative thrill. Excitement brings a quickening and a new agility of movement, whereas fear tends to freeze us in a state. This relativity (as the thrill itself is just an experience) relativizes the mind.

The relativity of the mind sets it free.

The Unknown Liberation

Many, many ideas we have about our world, our self, our spiritual practise and the way reality is composed are not ours at all. They are inherited in our genes and adopted from our parents, community and environment. Many of them are reactive, based on the reflex of identification and on trauma.

Many of the beliefs we cling to are engineered by fear to avoid rejection – to navigate away from the “unwanted” box in other people’s minds. We keep each other stupid. It’s a tragic co-dependency. Do we really want to fight life because life might confront us with the life that we are?

Setting Perspective Free

Take meditation as an example of the binary mind’s compulsion to obtain an absolute.

We hear so much about Stillness. The stillness that is ‘there’ beyond the thinking mind. We compose whole teachings based on this knowledge of stillness. But is it truly still? Or is this the way the mind perceives it?

When we look into the infinite sky, it appears to be still, but is it truly still? Or do our eyes fail to see the life that is thriving there – more life than on the whole dry land?

When we merge with the silent ocean, it seems to be silent, but is it truly silent? Or is that our ears cannot hear the frequencies that pass through water?

Does our perspective alone determine the quality of the known, making it absolute?

If we take away the stuff at the sides and the imagined floor and ceiling, would we be falling, or rising, or would we not be perfectly still?

Identification creates an absolute out of experience, and then we ‘know’ it and teach it as a fixed “thing”. But there is nothing known or fixed about it.

When we look at a wheel turning very fast, at a certain stage it appears to be turning in reverse, and then at a greater speed, it appears to be perfectly still, but is it still? Or is it spinning so fast, our eyes perceive stillness?

When we sit in a train and the train next to us advances, we can experience we are moving backwards. Is it true? Is it not both true AND not true, according to perspective?

When we are falling (like plunging downwards in a spiral of meditation), we call it ‘falling’, but could we not be ascending? Who is going up, and who is going down?

When the floor beneath our feet collapses, was it ever really there? Or did we imagine it was?

If we take away the stuff at the sides and the imagined floor and ceiling, would we be falling, or rising, or would we not be perfectly still?

When a slow vibration perceives a higher frequency it sees no movement. Why must we identify with that, and make the perceptive based on the perception of a lower mind absolute?

The Relativity of Time & Frequency

Knowledge habitually denies the unknown – even claiming that the unknown cannot exist.

When the mind becomes one with stillness, when it surrenders to this higher frequency, it perceives itself on the habitual binary level of form. Time seems to slow down. A moment can seem like months. The lower vibration of our regular rhythm can be perceived from the rapid vibration of (so-called) stillness as pure slow motion.

Perhaps some will recognize this experience from times of crisis – such as the moment of a car accident. Time slows down. Time can even seem to stand still. This is the perspective of a higher frequency.

The mind moves very, very slowly down here, through the mid-range of the physical dimension. Knowledge, (the stuff we think we know based on what we remember we experienced), slows us down still further.

Where there was a quite slow rhythm of ‘Now – Now – Now’ in consciousness, knowledge muffles the rhythm altogether. It is known, dead, a closed story, no longer alive. I already know what I’m going to answer before you finished talking.

Knowledge habitually denies the unknown – even claiming that the unknown cannot exist. This is the same whether it is scientific dogma, a political belief or a spiritual teaching. Only from the perspective of the earth, do all the planets of the universe revolve around it. Only from the perspective of human, can we conceive that all forms of life are separate, less evolved and “other” than the life in us.

Life is so much more than knowing. As the greatest healer, life will (sooner or later) tear apart knowledge and liberate it again in sheds of silver into the vast unknown. What is known will be melted, scattered, recycled and reabsorbed. If not now, then in the now of our death. And if not in the now of our death, then in the now of our rebirth

Even the now – as a temporal window flickering in the night – must surrender into not knowing. This is the essence of the surrender that will set us free.