“Very little,” is the answer to that question. I used to go around trying to collect knowing things so that I had all sorts of remarkable answers to that question. In fact, no one needed to ask the question. I would bask in interesting tidbits or insider information, or even just the proud egoic teen know-it-all in me that really thought I was acquiring some great stuff.
Now, I’m all about de-quiring. and In-quiring. Not much acquiring or requiring, thankfully. The less of those two, the better I feel. No question.
Brilliant people like Einstein knew more than I could ever hope to know and openly stated they knew a grain of sand of the beach of knowledge.
My favorite pastime was evaluating incoming information and how it stacked up to what I already knew. If it was in opposition, I could throw it out as “stupid,” if it was in alignment, I could pat myself on the back for already basically knowing it. All sorts of games. Mind games. Really wasteful uses of time and attention.
I find that the more open I am to rethinking what I used to “know” my world becomes more vibrant, more supportive, and more exciting. When I stick to the old structures I built, I am often angry and frustrated. Not a tough decision about which strategy I’d like to employ.
I see it with my kids all the time. I make assumptions about what they’ll do based on who they used to be. And they surprise me. And I’m thrilled. They are growing, evolving beings and pigeonholing them is just lazy. Not pigeonholing them makes life an adventure of discovery. Obviously a way better option.
I also find myself wanting things to go a certain way, as if I am the authority who should be obeyed. That doesn’t go so well. I see it with my health. I don’t want to do a certain intervention anymore. And I see conditions going in the direction that requires the intervention and just try to power through, employ other strategies, sing, dance and throw a circus, but in the end, I revert to the intervention. And I feel better. What was with that personal preference decision? Why do I do that? Even 3 years into Surrender as my primary practice, I am making ridiculous proclamations and trying to bend the world to my will. I may be nearing 50, but I am still a silly girl.
I have this fantasy that I will have gotten my “old age” over with in my 40’s. That gives me about 8 months. The fantasy involves Tai Chi and better habits resolving the physical issues, Surrender being such an enveloping practice the stereotypical “I like things the way I like them and that’s just that” mentality can’t get root, and I can reacquaint myself with vigor and energy in a way that’s been unavailable to me, but I can sense the potential.
I have an amazing role model for this in my mother, 81 and bopping around town like the prom queen. No medications, all sorts of interesting hobbies, a remarkable outlook on life and a great openness to adventure. She is absolutely a dynamo, with a positive outlook and open heart.
She developed this out of sheer force of will. When she was in her 40’s – oh the poor woman – 5 kids, dying husband, all kinds of drama. She had a permanent scowl when she was going into her 50’s. Not anymore, baby. When we brought it to her attention, she set herself on a course to change it and change it she did. And she really is one of the happiest people I know (how lucky am I?!). Funny how we emulate our parents even when we don’t recognize it. I am lucky I get to emulate her. That’s one of the few things I really know.