Einstein Draws a Circle and I Don’t Know My Ass From a Hole in the Ground
This morning, someone close to me said the two most valuable phrases a person can say are, “I need help” and “I don’t know.”
When I started leading The Inspired Work Program in 1990, I was thrown into an existential crisis. Growing up with a white-male-pissed-off God had given me a series of protective mechanisms that were excruciating in the face of the spiritual transformation happening with our participants. So, I went to a spiritual coach every week for fourteen years. It was a bit like going to a therapist except everything we discussed was done in a spiritual context.
I realized how much I had changed during a radio interview I gave during my first book tour. It was a daily program with two evangelical hosts. They kept bringing me back due to the spiritual themes in that book. One morning, they asked a question. “Mr. Harder, what is your basic spiritual philosophy of life?”
I blurted out, “My basic spiritual philosophy is that I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground.”
The statement was greeted with utter silence.
But, it was a turning point for me. When I was asked to explain myself, I said, “There was a time in my life when I had to have an answer for everything. But, when I committed to developing a living spirituality, the only time that I grew and advanced was when I gave up my best thinking. Telling God, I don’t know what to do. These were the times when higher thought, God, a higher power, spirit (whatever) stepped forward. I had to empty myself out in order to be filled with something better.
Ultimately, I did reach this place where my highest spiritual state is knowing that I don’t know jack.
Einstein summarized his similar feelings when in a class, he drew a circle and said, “Everything within this circle is the known universe. Everything outside the circle is the unknown.” Then, he drew a much larger circle. “So, when we become more aware of the known universe, what happens to our awareness of the unknown?”
That grows as well.
Now I’m no Einstein, but he’s got my vote.
And, I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground. This has become my highest spiritual state, peace.
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