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Jigsaw Puzzles

By August 27, 2014Articles, Read

You’re helping a little one with a jigsaw puzzle and they seem stuck; they just can’t fit that troublesome piece. But before allowing them time to figure it out, before offering words of gentle guidance, you just can’t resist the powerful urge to jump in and fix it for them. For that moment of stuckness, of not-knowing, feels deeply uncomfortable; like an unbearable break in the flow of life and in desperate need of putting ‘right’.

Why do we fear uncertainty? Because it leaves us with no frame of reference, no structure to cling to, and our separate sense of self feels dangerously exposed and vulnerable.

But what if there’s wonder in not-knowing, a fascinating mystery to explore, a great adventure to embark on, a chance to find hidden treasure? When we give ‘the answer’ we defraud our little friends of that exhilarating journey of discovery, exchanging it instead for a dull, hollow conclusion, empty of any real understanding. And so gradually we teach them to fear uncertainty like us, not to strive for first-hand knowing but to passively absorb the conclusions of others, of the perceived ‘authority’, and so live a second-hand life.

Having grown up this way ourself is it any wonder that, when we get into spirituality, we do the same? We look to the teacher, the authority, for all the answers; we take on the new information, learn it, and wait for some kind of transformation. But nothing happens and we feel more and more frustrated.

But what if the ‘teacher’ is simply there to give us time, to gently guide us when we’re feeling ‘stuck’, to facilitate and encourage us on our own magical journey of discovery?

When we reconnect with our first-hand experience, free from the dull, hollowness of second-hand conclusions, we rediscover that child like wonder, that natural curiosity, that boundless enthusiasm; we can delight again in the excitement of not-knowing, keep that sense of wonder alive in our children. And in the great adventure that unfolds, come to the astonishing realisation: the ‘X’ that marks the treasure spot is right where we already are.