Living with the unknown

Originally published as ‘Uncertainty’ on the 23rd of May 2018

I believe that refusing to live with uncertainty is a major cultural disease we are face.

Generally, certainty, or at least the perception of it, is something to strive for.

This is not new. Previously we took solace in religious dogmas about the afterlife and now we take solace in big tech and big data.

Either way, the basic premise is the same. We have no idea what is going to happen today, or tomorrow, or the day after. We have no idea really what the outcome will be of a given course of action.

I am not saying it is wrong to make educated guesses. I am not saying that probability never comes into it.

But really.

When it really comes down to it, a lot of what we perceive as certain is, under some investigation, highly flimsy.

I have a side hustle as a psychic. The kind of questions people ask are, much of the time, to do with predicting the future. I cast the I Ching and tell them what it says, which often isn’t what they want to hear.

The I Ching doesn’t always offer much comfort. It says “this is the energy at work in the universe around the topic you are asking about.” It is in this sense not necessarily predictive, but helps you to see what is going on in the present.

Casting the I Ching can feel more like a cold shower, than a shower of love.

I feel something similar relates to doing bodywork/one-to-one sessions. The whole process is so saturated with uncertainty. It starts with when people ask “What can I expect a session to look like?”

Really, the most honest answer is “I have no idea.”

I don’t follow a standardised procedure or treatment plan: I listen. I follow what arises in the body-mind and in the relational field, and I try to remind the organism of it’s potential and potency.

Sometimes I offer movement suggestions, sometimes touch, sometimes verbal dialogue to this end. But in the end, I don’t know what a session will look like from one session to the next.

There are a few people who have known each other before having sessions – it is a joke when they compare notes they aren’t sure whether I am supposedly doing the same thing with them or not. In each person the inherent treatment plan* is different, along with many other factors – personal histories, expectations and movement/embodiment preferences.

I could tell you instead that having a series of sessions of Bodywork will sort out your back/knee/neck ache – it’s not far fetched and it could well happen.

But that would feel like a half lie – I would rather tell you it is an opportunity for discovery (and the back/knee/neck ache is a good starting point). I don’t know what you will do with that opportunity, but at least I know that is a lot closer to the truth.

I believe we can learn to be more comfortable with uncertainty. I’m not saying we should stop looking for certainty, but to become more comfortable with it’s maya-like nature.

Maybe we can learn to place some more value in the mystery. When you don’t know where you destination is, you have a wonderful opportunity for investigation, for curiosity, and discovery and may even end up somewhere even better than what you would have planned.

Sebastian Bechinger