jjsheahan.com
Welcome to the web site of JJ Sheahan
January 30, 2018

In the world of exploration, Certainty is a killer. Knowing that I’m right – ‘Yes, I’m certain!’ – is a one way ticket to nowhere else.
Why? Pretty obvious: you get what you look for – you find what you know. The prejudices you look through pick up corroborations and delete the errants. Nothing new there.
But turn the perspective on the immaterial world and the same applies. Religious certainty is a killer. Nothing more is required of the believer than to adhere. Adherence means living out the consequences of the belief, and maybe defending it. Following the paths, patterns, structures implied in the belief. And this is as it should be because, if you’re going to believe in something, then wholehearted is the way to go. Right?
What if – what if there is merit in the opposite – complete uncertainty – ‘I don’t know but I’m going anyway’ ?
Being right leads to entrenched positions, concreted attitudes, rigid responses to the curlies that life throws up.
Just being – stripped of the accreted filtering layers that shelter me from the unpredictable weather of Uncertainty – is a challenge. I have to trust what I don’t know, who I can’t name, whatever it is that is beyond the reach of my intellect. It means removing control from my beliefs. It means I don’t care about being Right anymore. It is inexplicable and indefensible to anyone else who sees the outcome as Wrong. ‘Why?’ gets a shrug, a smile and a lengthy, open eye-contact.
How did I come to this?
One beginning point was becoming suicidal. For me, there was a quantum jump between the constant, grinding feeling that everyone would be better off if I weren’t here anymore, and actually planning it. The other way out, for me, was ‘Help.’ I am grateful that I was heard. In that space there was Nothing left of the life I had made so much of. My career was over, my ambitions were dead – expiring agonizingly in the desert of indifference – there was no joy anyway, anytime, with anyone. Possessions were meaningless; my collections were just so much rubbish. I am addicted to fags and grog, and off them both. Beautifully patterned fragments of geology were just rocks. Decades of pursuing a spiritual journey had brought me to this point.
There was No Point.
I had No Answers – Nothing.
Someone or Something Else answered my cry. Just about then, there came an opportunity to help create a spiritual training called 7Second.
[Reviewing my situation from where I am now I can see that I was towards the bottom of the pit and I might have taken any hand out offered. I was incredibly vulnerable. Maybe I could have converted to just about any cause or practice or therapy or religion or person or cult that extricated me from the Mess. I acknowledge that.]
7Second, however, is none of the above. There is no right way or right answer involved. It is a step into the unknown and the inexplicable. The focus is on the revealing present moment; the challenge is to be fearless and honest in the experience of the present moment. I don’t know why. I do know that when I look for outcomes, make plans, imagine the logical progression from the present choice-point, I lose it. I lose whatever it is that I have when I am in the moment.
It makes a difference, this Way of Unknowing, this dark, blind way. Certainty and Being Right become narrow, blunted burrows, distractions. Increasingly for me, the comfort and safety found in them is repellent. There is no freedom in there. There is no wind in my hair or vast vistas and very few uninvited, chance meetings that enrich my life. It is rarely cosy Outside and I am seeking what an uncosetted life is bringing me.
This adventurous, inner life is refreshing me. The joy bubbles up at odd moments, for no particular reason. There is no dragging of myself along. Surprises abound. Delight and inner&outer awareness feature constantly. I am Alive in a way that my old way of being in control could only manage in short sprints. The happy, cheeky, wild young’un I once was is alive again.
It’s not always fun – life isn’t. I am constantly uplifted into short spans of gliding, and flapping. I can soar effortlessly. It is what I yearn for.