One of the things that I was reminded of while I was on retreat in August was the importance of being rather than knowing.
The man who led the retreat has been a teacher for most of his life and has always inspired me and helped me to continue to develop myself. He is now wheelchair-bound and takes a question and answer session each afternoon.
And in those sessions, what comes clear is that he is still learning, and still wanting to develop. So he will say that he doesn’t know the answer to all the questions, he will accept and acknowledge challenges that stimulate him to think more about some of the topics, and of course sometimes his answers are just perfect, coming from a deep knowing that goes beyond the purely intellectual.
I sit there and realise yet again that being comfortable with not knowing is a vital ability in anybody, and allows others to explore for themselves and find what they know at some level. It may be more valuable than being the expert who keeps people as the ‘children’ who don’t know yet.
- Next time you don’t know the answer when someone asks you something, feel comfortable about saying that you don’t know, and get the group or individual to explore for themselves
- Next time you do think you know the answer, try letting others find it for themselves, and enjoy some of the differences between their version of the answer and yours