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“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.