Uncertainty the mother of faith

Walking to meeting this morning, we were talking about Bob Dylan, and how it seemed to me that his very best work came with the four or five wonderful albums following his early political certainty, and in the years before the religious certainties of his “Gospel period”.

Uncertainty, it is coming to seem to me, is the mother of faith. Truly. Only in uncertainty can I be open enough to experience, clear enough in my heart about the limitations of language and reason. Only when I am free from convictions can I be convinced, it appears.

In silence, in stillness and openness, comes sometimes what we have to call the Light. I don’t believe that there is much we can do except to be still, to be silent, and to wait. That “expectant waiting” (QFP 1.02) is all we can intend; we cannot be certain what comes next. We must not try to be certain. In unknowing, in uncertainty, the Light can show us our own poverty, and all the places where we turn away. Ideas can be no maps here, and what we encounter in the stillness is not of our intention. The ground of being shows through to the eye that knows not why it was opened.

Long ago, it was written that, “The Tao that can be told is not the true Tao; the name that can be named is not the eternal name.” Words are no more than hints, not guides or definitions; and prayer, as Elfrida Vipont Foulds once said (QFP 2.21), is only a place.

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