Douglas Adams pointed out that any question holds its answer in its DNA – in forming the question, the answer is predefined, by things we already know. The key to circumventing this is to not define a question – to go into deep thought with no question, no preconceptions in mind.
In any normal conscious state, we “know” a lot of things. If our eyes are open we see things around us through the filter of our visual interpretation, built up from instinct and experience. If our eyes are closed we hear sounds, experience sensations, know the position of our body, in similar, related ways.
Spinning out from there, we have beliefs about ourselves and our world that we simply know as “facts”. We each have a set of desires and counter-desires built up over a lifetime – let go in some cases, either through maturity or achievement, but most of us maintain a list of fairly static desires.
Even the words we think in, our language, is full of assumptions and structures we ascribe unthinkingly to our world.
How can we possibly think anything new with all this in place?
So I come back to that concept – to go into deep thought with no question, no preconceptions in mind. It’s an ideal to aim for, I think, rather than a reality to be attained. The traditional idea of meditation is close to it, the place where thoughts stop, where there is nothing.
For me I need to go a step further, and accept that in going into this process, everything I think I know is up for change. Who I think I am, how I think my world works – I need to let those go. My home, my relationships, my work, my calling, my cravings, my body – I need to be willing for any and all of these to alter or fall away entirely.
This is the condition of Discontinuity – the mechanism through which that new thing can come. It’s entirely new – not something designed to fit in with what was there before. If I have rules about what must stay and what can go there is no room for not knowing, for the unconditional acceptance which will be needed to welcome it in.
I have been walking a path – unconventional but approximately comprehensible – now I need to close my eyes before I take another step; I need to wait a beat, or two or three, and let something other guide me. I need to be totally, deliberately unprepared for what will happen next.
Jennifer Manson is the author of Truth, about finding, speaking and living our own personal truth, Easy – Stories from a effortlessly created life and six novels, also on the theme of living our truth. Available from Amazon and all major eBook sites.