The future is not certain for anyone. Whether something good or bad will happen, no one can say with absolute certainty.

“We live in a time of uncertainty.” Who was the first person to say that? Was it someone in the last few years? The last few decades? The last century? The earliest that I could track it to was during the World Wars, but I’m still not sure of the original source. Whoever it was that first spoke those words, though, I’m sure was speaking the truth to the moment they were living in. And the moment after that. And one hundred moments after that. And a thousand moments after that.

There is no such thing as a time of certainty, something that all humans want to reject. We all want to believe that it is possible to control what we put into our bodies and when we do so, that we might be able to fix our given economic, political, and social arenas. But we can’t, can we?

I recently saw a friend’s post on Facebook. In it, he marveled at how, even when everything in the world seems so dark and fraught with misery, one single act of kindness can brighten someone’s day and make a difference, can provide a “certain” sense of hope for the future.

For some reason, his statement resounded with me. Not because I agree or disagree with him, exactly, but because his use of the word certain rejects any true meaning of the word. But isn’t that what we all do, really? We search for things in our lives and the world around us, hoping to grasp onto something solid, unmovable, certain.

The sad thing is, that if most people were true to what they claim to believe, there is absolutely nothing in this world that can be labeled as certain. The world is always changing, evolving, morphing into the next thing and completely disregarding any of the unimportant organisms that might happen to be in existence in that particular universe. Or any universe, for that manner. And that is the only certain thing that these people have to look forward to.

For others, though, is there something that we can be certain about? For all the naysaying about religions, there is something important, bright, and fulfilling about them. Hinduism and Buddhism place more certainty in that, by living a good life (or as good as you are able), you will eventually move on to the next plane of existence. And they are certain in that. Any of the monotheistic religions will say that we can be certain in God, that He has a plan and is doing something in the world.

As a Christian, and someone who struggles with anxiety, there are days when that is the only thing I can cling to in the face of the chaos and uncertainty around me. And, according to my faith, I can be certain and hopeful about the future as stated in the Bible, despite the darkness and death that I see on a daily basis. That being said, my future in this life is uncertain. I am as likely to go into an existential crisis or to be afraid of what’s coming around the corner as anyone else. But because my faith gives me those lifelines, perhaps my friend was right to seek out the positive in the world, instead of focusing on the uncertainty. Maybe, just maybe, I can learn to be more like my friend who saw something positive and decided to make that positivity the certainty in his life. I make no promises, though.

-Wilber

 

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