Not-knowing is true knowledge.
Presuming to know is a disease.
First realize that you are sick;
then you can move toward health.
The Master is her own physician.
She has healed herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly whole.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 71, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Not just anyone can be their own physician. You have to have a great deal of humility to admit you are sick in the first place. And then a great deal more to heal yourself. We want to be able to put Lao Tzu’s teachings into practice. But we keep running into difficulty. It was supposed to be easy. Why is it so difficult? We know this. We know this. Why is it so difficult? It is so difficult because we haven’t put first things first. First, we need to realize that we are sick. Then, we can move toward health.
We are sick, I tell you, sick. We think we know. And that is a disease which afflicts the whole human race. Why do we do this? Why is it the almost universal human condition? I think it is fear. We fear the unknown. And because we fear it, we don’t dare encounter it. We don’t dare admit that there is any such thing as the unknown. So, in fear, we presume that we know what we don’t know.
But those who don’t know they are sick, don’t seek out a physician. And they can’t move toward health. If we are ever to truly know, we are going to have to begin with knowing that we don’t know. We need to be healed of all knowing. It is the only way to be truly whole.
So how? Like I said earlier, it takes humility. We have to be humble enough to admit we are sick. But there is more to it than that. There is something more that the Master has realized, beyond knowing that she doesn’t know. It is the origin of our fear. The Master realizes that fear is but a phantom. It isn’t real. It may seem real, but it is nothing but an illusion that arises because we are thinking of ourselves as separate. The Master realizes she is truly whole because she is one with the whole.