I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.
-Harry Emerson Fosdick

From "Healing Zen" by Ellen Birx:

There is much that cannot be known by thinking or reasoning. There are other ways of knowing and there are mysteries that cannot be grasped intellectually. Healing often comes through opening to other ways of knowing, to the mystery of life, and to not knowing. In opening to both knowing and not knowing, you come face to face with the wonder of life and its boundless possibilities.

When we are studying difficult subjects like chemistry, physiology, mathematics, or philosophy, and we finally comprehend some principle or process, we say, "Oh, now I get it. Now I grasp the idea." This kind of thinking and knowing is very useful, but it is not enough. We must also be able to release our grip, stop our mental grasping, and open to something larger. This is what we call not knowing. We need the mental flexibility to both know and not know.

Not knowing is important in interpersonal relationships. There is respect and reverence in communicating to other people that you don't know them, their life experiences, and their feelings. When some great loss occurs, you don't say, "I know how you feel." You don't know. All you can say is, "I'm so sorry." In not knowing, you honor their unique experience, their unique expression, and their unique truth. Rather than assuming that you already know them, you are more attentive and open to learn more about them. It is a vital, sensitive, dynamic way of relating.

Charles and I have been married for over thirty years. You may think that after all these year I know Charles. I do know what he likes to eat. Often in a restaurant he looks at the menu and asks me, "What would I like?" I know what size and color shirt he likes and what music he prefers. But there are many things about Charles I do not know. He continues to surprise me. In fact, he amazes me. As the Zen saying goes, "Not knowing is most intimate."

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