As kids we ask "why" for just about everything. Why does the sun rise? Because the earth rotates. Why does the earth rotate? Because it has always been spinning. Why has it been spinning? Because about 4.5 billion years ago, gravity pulled swirling gas and dust together into what we now call the Earth.
On and on.
We tend to subdue the overt "why why why" inquisition as we grow older, but we nonetheless desire answers.
So we seek them.
We amass knowledge, study and observe, and grow more advanced and adept in the ways and means of the world. And along the way, we seem to develop a false sense of awareness. We've become quite talented at explaining the "why's" without deeply questioning the foundation upon which our reasoning rests.
John Wheeler, a renowned physicist credited with coining the term blackhole (describing objects that have completely collapsed under their own gravity), shared this wonderful insight:
We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shoreline of our ignorance.
We aren't aware of our shoreline of ignorance because we're so captivated by the growing island. Beauty and treachery cover its sprawling mass, rendering us rapt inhabitants.
Yet there is one question worth exploring. With an open mind and reverential humility. Which is this:
What if I've got it all wrong?
In other words, a willingness to question the "why" of the "why".
If we step back and profoundly ponder our questions, we'll see all are based upon a bedrock of "me." You needn't but observe your thoughts a few minutes to witness such startling certainty.
Knowledge doesn't increase awareness. It only heightens our ignored ignorance. Because what we call knowledge is based on a fundamentally flawed premise: that we are here and this is real.
From Lesson 151 in A Course in Miracles:
[Each belief we hold is] merely an opinion based on ignorance and doubt. Its seeming certainty is but a cloak for the uncertainty it would conceal. It needs irrational defense because it is irrational.
Allowing for the possibility that our suppositions are specious opens rewarding realms of inquiry. Ones that point toward true knowledge. Leading beyond our shorelines of ignorance to the oasis of insight.
Here lies the province of peace, the home to which we wish to return.
Join me in Thursday's class where we'll explore these shorelines of ignorance and how we can transform their influence to experience greater peace. I look forward to seeing you then.