Psychology tells us that all human neuroses are caused by our intolerance of uncertainty.
Think about that for a minute.
As children, everything is unknown, uncertain, but we don’t know we’re naked so we accept each moment as it presents without question. Everything is as it should be until we get hurt, and when old enough to conceive of tomorrow, we first fear the uncertainty of next time.
When fear is great enough that we can’t tolerate the uncertainties of life, the need to create or at least imagine certainty becomes overwhelming. The strategies we use, mostly unconsciously, are our neuroses—attempts at control that emotionally feel better than uncertainty. Intellectually, we know there are no certainties in life, at least not in the big things: life and death, health, wellness, relationship, spirit. But can’t we carve out little certainties for ourselves in the spaces between the big things that can add some tolerance for the rest?
Think of a child growing up in a home with solid family rituals—times for rising and resting, eating, playing, schooling, birthdays and vacations. Safe, comforting. Holds the world at bay. As adults we create our own rituals built around work and play and families of our own. Society and church build their rituals around a calendar of secular and religious events, while the world provides the clockwork of days, months, years, seasons, the interplay of sun and moon. Small comforts within larger uncertainty.
Repeated cycles imply a conscious creator, someone who set the cycle in motion and cares to keep it going for the sake of those who need a solid place to stand. And that care implies the love from which all else is derived. Once aware of such love, we can make friends with the uncertainty at the core of life and finally begin to let go of our neurotic attempts at control that keep us grounded in fear.
It’s all about the balance.
Celebrating the cycles of sun and moon that make life possible while creating cycles of daily ritual that hold life in place and make learning to love uncertainty possible—trusting the mystery that gives life its ultimate interest and meaning.