A Tolerance For Uncertainty

David Price
4 min readDec 7, 2023
Elena Ray

Everybody feels a little bit of an itch all the time. There’s a background hum of edginess, boredom, restlessness.

The Buddhist explanation is that we feel this uneasiness because we’re always trying to get ground under our feet and it never quite works. We’re always looking for a permanent reference point, and it doesn’t exist. Everything is impermanent…

This is not actually bad news, but we all seem to be programmed for denial. We have absolutely no tolerance for uncertainty.

~ Pema Chodron

*

Each one of us has different types of delusions that we must overcome, and there are many methods by which we can overcome them.

One of simplest methods is sitting meditation. To do sitting meditation, we don’t have to believe in anything or perform any rituals. We first relax our body and our mind, and we use a particular method, such as breathing. That is the easiest method, because we breathe all the time. And breathing properly is even good for the temperament and the health as well.

So, it’s multi-purpose.

If we practice breathing meditation, these delusions temporarily fall away. It’s like taking off our dark glasses so we see what is there, even if it is only for a short moment as the result of a half-hour of meditation. We see nothing but our ultimate Bodhicitta — some part of it, some aspect of it.

Then, with the proper information, such as the four limitless thoughts, we recognize how to go about it. That might be the easiest way.

But we need proper instruction. You can’t just do it from the information I’ve given. You have to have a teacher to teach the particular method. It will take at least one good session.”

~ Chamgon Kenting Tai Situ Rinpoche

*

I think excessive uncertainty can destabilize us when we’re young, but I also think that we need a mix of certainty and uncertainty in order to create freely. Within a not-too-rigid structure you can invent surprising things. Meditation is structured, it’s a framework where realizations can happen. We don’t grow very well in chaos, but too much certainty stops growth too. I think it’s fine to recognize that uncertainty is a…

--

--

David Price

I write about creativity, loving, language learning and psycho/spirituality. I’m a longtime painter and reader.