The Power of Uncertainty

I was journaling today and wrote down a realization I had about the way I talk. As we grow, of course, we pick up certain speech patterns and phrases and let others fade away. For a while, my answer to everything was “absolutely”- I attribute it to working in the service industry and showing absolute willingness. But onto the phrase that I noticed coming up more and more in my conversations.

Or at least, that’s what it seems like to me.

I add it to the end of so many statements. Whether I’m being asked about a friend’s relationship troubles, or a certain sentence in the holy word or current events.

I don’t mean to do it and it wasn’t until after reflecting on it this morning that I realized how powerful it was. I feel compelled to say it, like this extra, add-on sentence is just as important as the “meat” of what I just said or the answer to the question I was asked. The first power I saw of it was how it’s an invitation for the person I’m speaking to, to ruminate on it. To take my opinion and use it as just one resource in their quest of discovery. To have them go deeper.

Then, later, I noticed how freeing it was for me. In consultation, you’re supposed to be absolutely honest, each party puts everything on the table and together you build something out of it to share. But I find with having anxiety (social or otherwise) sometime’s it’s scary to let your ideas be heard. This statement is my personal security blanket- it makes clear that I’m not ready to fall or bend over backwards for my interpretation, or that I want someone to concede to my obviously superior understanding. It makes my statement feel softer, more malleable in my mouth.

Afterwards, I did my daily meditation on my Calm app, and after each session it gives you an image of an inspiring quote.

quote BR wise doubts.png

I’m a fan of Bertrand Russell, he was a thoughtful philosopher and an influential mathematician. But more to the point, this quote of his brought my swirling ideas about soft opinions into focus. It is foolish to not question. It’s forbidding yourself to grow. That is why the wise doubt, they’ve been doubting their way into wisdom. Allow yourself to be uncertain, and allow others to be uncertain too.

The fact is that we only get one perspective, everything we see is just from one viewpoint and it’s the tiniest fraction of what’s in God’s eye. If we remember that, we can move with gentleness, act with humbleness, and be better people, or at least that’s what it seems like to me.

A Half-Hollow Reed

Conversations of Grandeur

So last night I met with my community and we read a letter together. I appreciated the letter so much, I found a way to put the whole thing in my journal.

Among the many bits that struck me in this letter, there’s one in particular I wanted to talk about.

How can we engage in “meaningful conversations” with the greatest possible number of our fellow citizens, representing the rich diversity of our nation?

For one, I’m just starting out with this blog and I find myself trying to balance on this idea. I want what I post to be meaningful, but I also want it to be able to speak to a diverse group of people.

But besides a personal, “I’m a blogger now” level, it also made me contemplate the use of the word citizens. Now, I’m sure by citizens, this quote is referring more to inhabitants and not just legal citizens. But I’m also surprised that the word community wasn’t used instead.  So often I hear people within my spiritual group refer to community to mean that spiritual group, but I also hear them use the word to refer to the people who live in the same areas of us- sometimes instead using the term “wider community.” This confusion has been so expected by me that such an elegant solution seemed startling. “Our fellow citizens” captures our relationship to the people we interact with every day. We may think we have no relationship with people we pass at the convenience store or in our cars but, like us, they are a contributing to the society we live in. We’re all on the same team, trying to make things as good as they can get in whatever way we see fit. It may just be my liberal arts background, but I see the word citizen and I think “societal partner.”

And what better way to interact with people in a meaningful way?

We must value the diverse opinions of our fellow citizens, or we will never be able to engage in meaningful conversations. I think that’s part of the “How”. As far as “the greatest possible number”-hopefully blogging helps a little.

I’d love to hear your own answer to this question!

A Half Hollow Reed


On the left is an attempt at the word Grandeur(Azamat) in Farsi, my to-dos, and the reading I shared. The letter on the right was cropped, folded, and then each page is held in with washi tape.