“In a way, the certainty of death was easier than this uncertain life.”

You might be surprised to learn that sentence was written by a doctor, a 36-year-old neurosurgeon, eight months after a diagnosis of widely metastatic cancer, in a New York Times Opinion piece.

He knew “widely metastatic” meant inoperable. He knew the statistics, and he knew statistics are numbers out of context: conventional medicine has no way to know what a statistic means for any particular person.

Which means all he knew was that he will die at some point, likely sooner than he had expected to nine months earlier.

The challenge of uncertainty

When the mind is seriously challenged, it gravitates toward certainty, even when it’s certain death. That’s how the mind works.

Given that the only certainty is uncertainty, it’s easy to see how the mind’s craving for certainty can get in the way of happiness and healing.

If we want to be happy and to heal life’s wounds, we need to remain poised amidst the uncertainty that is life, to stay balanced and present in the moment. This moment.

Only by staying aware and happy in the never-ending NOW can we make life-affirming, transformative choices, even when it’s time to let go.

Some people might have a natural ability to stay present in the moment; most of us need training. That’s why we learn a spiritual practice, and then practice it, every day.

Every day.

Pamela Miles shares 50 years of experience with holistic health and spiritual practice.


  1. The past may bring some teachings to your life, but you can’t live constantly in it. The future may bring us hope. However, you don’t exactly what’s going to happen. Hence, the only REAL moment you have is the PRESENT time. You can create your reality in it, so you can honor your past experiences and enter to a brighter future. Thanks for sharing this valuable article!

  2. Cheryl Deal says:

    Thank you for this post. This message has personal meaning for me as my mother was recently diagnosed with widely spread metastatic breast cancer. Thank you for the reminder of being present “NOW” and to ease my own heart as realizing “certainty” in her journey… toward peace. Practicing Reiki is lightening my heart, easing my sadness, and brings peace in this journey of cancer.

    • Pamela Miles says:

      Cheryl, thank you for taking the time to comment. Remember that your daily practice helps not only you, but also your mother. When you are able to stay present, it makes it easier for her to do so also. Many blessings to you both.

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      I have much compassion for you because I understand your suffering as I have experienced the same scenario with my mother. It is a all encompassing time, and we tend to only focus on what we can do to help them and ease their discomfort – which we can do with our Reiki practice. One of the many final gifts I received during that time, was the lesson to take care of your self first as Takata relayed to us. Rely on Reiki for yourself to help you be the best caregiver you can be for her. It is essential you take time for your daily practice to stay balanced, and don’t feel guilty about using that time for yourself. You both will benefit from it. Sending you Reiki blessings

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