Not very much. The trick seems to be becoming comfortable with that reality. Am I able to live, not knowing? I want to believe it so.
Day by day it is hard to live in that ignorance. I want to be perceived as one who has knowledge. I have to answer every question put to me. Sometimes, I am even willing to sacrifice accuracy in order to give some answer. My ego can’t brook not knowing even the most mundane fact.
I have done some spiritual and wisdom work. I am a lawyer, well educated. I am widely read. I have published professional works and even a couple of pieces of humor. I am more conversant than the average person with the fields of astronomy; physics; cosmology; wildlife biology, behavior and management; livestock care and management, anthropology and medicine. Though, I am far from a “renaissance man”; I don’t believe that many, who know me, would consider me ignorant.
Of course, that is not the type of ignorance that is relevant here. Though, it is related. My drive to demonstrate that I am not ignorant is, of course, tied up with my ego. It’s the ego that leads me into the trap. It’s not what you don’t know that causes trouble, it’s what you know, that is not so! I can be so determined to demonstrate my knowledge that I forget that much of what I know is not so, in the realm of things that really matter. I fail to remember that I do not know and can never come to know the most important central truth.
Most of the time, I am ignorant of own self, my being. Exploring this profound ignorance requires setting the ego aside. Ego set aside, I am capable of knowing that: “I don’t know! ” That ignorance is held in spiritual tension. That is what makes it so hard for me to live with. Holding such contradiction in tension requires too much. But, in my moments that are blessed by grace, I am able, briefly, to hold the tension long enough to appreciate its elegance and wholeness.
Among other things, my faith is: the willingness, courage, trust or whatever else it is that allows me to briefly hold that tension of knowing that I do not know. Knowing that I do not know liberates me from my own impatience, my judgmental character, my self-imposed debt code for earning my way to worthiness. I need only be what I am, and have always been: a beloved child of little knowledge, part of the great mystery and wholly at the mercy of a tender, loving God! It is so easy. Why do I insist upon making it so nearly impossible? Because, most often, I must know. My ego takes charge, supplanting grace with false knowledge.