The Land of I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know

The land of I don't know

In the mid 90’s I did a mind training workshop called The Forum (an outgrowth of EST).  At first I was unimpressed. I went into it with an I know mind. I kept judging what was being said and questioning my judgement for being there. However at some point that first morning, I changed my mind. At that point I became willing to at least entertain the possibility that I could learn something helpful. I had a little willingness and that’s when everything shifted.

What struck me is when they said that our mind was divided into 3 unequal parts. They drew a circle with 2 small slices (don’t remember their exact size but let’s say each was about 5%). One slice represented what we know we know (how to walk, talk, breathe, tie our shoe, cook chicken…whatever) and the other, what we know  we don’t know (perform brain surgery, fly a plane, cook chicken…).  The other 90% or so consisted of: what we don’t know that we don’t know. That’s where the teachings of the Forum where.

This got my attention. If I didn’t know what I didn’t know, then how could I know if it was helpful or not? How did I know if something was true or not if I didn’t know what I didn’t know? I was willing to stick it out and find out what it was I didn’t know, so I made a commitment to stay.

One of the things I learned that weekend is that our word is our commitment. If we say we’re going to do something, then do it. If we change our mind and can’t or don’t want to do it, that’s okay…just make a new commitment, make a new agreement. This advice has stayed with me now for 20 years and it has served me well.

I no longer beat myself up for changing my mind. I don’t feel I have to stay with something because I said yes to it 10 years or 10 minutes ago. I have the power – and the right – to change my mind anytime I want and make another choice. I make a new commitment. I forgive myself if I disappoint someone. I forgive myself if I see things differently now but didn’t then. When I know better I do better. This is my commitment.

The whole point of the teachings of the Spirit is to get us to change our mind; to see things differently; to move from seeing from the view point of our ego self and switch to seeing things as our Divine Self, our Higher Self; to tap into the area of what we know we don’t know; the vast unknown that’s really merely forgotten. This is the area we once knew and loved; the place we used to call Home; where we’ve been trying to find our way back to since the beginning of time…even if we don’t know that we know our way back.

When we come across teachings that bring us into the unknown, such as what we find in A Course in Miracles, our normal response is to resist them. These teachings go against all the ways we’re used to thinking about our lives, our bodies and the world we see. The thinking of the world is upside down and backwards from the thinking of Spirit’s World, so naturally it’s not natural to our way of thinking. Actually it is natural to our Spirit Self, but we, as our ego self, have been practicing the backward thinking of the ego’s deluded thought system for billions of years. It’s only when we begin to question our thoughts and beliefs that a space opens up where we can peer into this vast land that we didn’t know existed.

We don’t want to step foot in this land because it’s dark and unfamiliar. We think it’s scary and too easy to get lost there and we’re right. We can’t find our way around in this I don’t know land by ourselves – we need a guide and we need a commitment because we’re going to want to run and we will, over and over.

We may question why we even want to venture into this land, but deep inside we know that in this place we’ll find the answers, the peace, the purpose, the happiness we’re looking for. And if we make a sincere commitment, our guide will show up to lead us. On the journey our Guide, who is really our Divine Self (Higher Self, Holy Self,  Holy Spirit, Jesus, Buddha..the name matters not) will move us along at a pace we can keep up with; straighten out our thinking in a gentle way; meet us where we are when we get lost; stop and rest with us when we need to. Nothing is ever forced on us against our will. But Spirit will only enter with us at our invitation. Our willingness is the invitation. Our commitment keeps us on course.

A teaching such as A Course in Miracles, comes into our lives when we ask for a better way, but it is not the only way. Many paths lead to Heaven’s door. Only the fact that we’ll all eventually arrive at our destination is set in stone. When we choose to start our journey and how long we decide to stay on the path is entirely up to us.

A Course in Miracles takes a shorter, more scenic route. It’s just one of many non-dualistic teachings that teach the same thing…that we are all one; that oneness is found in this forgotten land of what we don’t know we know. In oneness, there can never be separation, therefore there can never be conflict of any kind. Even an upset that someone didn’t keep their word; didn’t keep their commitment isn’t there.

With 7 billion body minds/ego minds there’s a never ending stream of conflict, as we all know too well from our our own lives and the violent history of mankind. There never will be peace between 7 billion separate minds or 7 or 2. A quick look at how we are with those we say we love the most is all we need to see to know this is true.

If we have a little willingness to believe this foreign land where one Mind lives in peace exists; where only love reigns; we begin a magical mystery tour of epic proportions to the place where what we don’t know we don’t know becomes known…and we can’t possibly know this from where we stand right now. But if you’re like me…I want to know.

If you are drawn to venturing down this unfamiliar path like I am, it’s because something in you recognizes that truth can be found there, even when you don’t understand or even like it. You’re ready, even if you don’t think you are. The voice of Spirit that guides you on this journey doesn’t ask for your understanding…just your willingness. I have found that whenever I enter foreign ground that I know will be good for me to cover, my willingness, trust and commitment is needed in order to continue to show up. Otherwise, it’s too easy to quit when the going gets tough. We know this.

This journey is an inward one. This is where you’ll find your Guide; the one that knows the way. Take what’s helpful in these words and check within. My purpose in writing this is to offer another opportunity to get off the road we’e been on; to take a new road with eyes fixed on what lies directly in front of us; to read the signposts the ego stalls and diverts us with and view them with discerning eyes, even if they arrive baring with gifts, knowing they are worthless on the new road we now travel.

I write this because I have been on the ego’s lonely, painful, winding road too long, as have you, and I know there’s a better way. I’ve been on that road too. One road is littered with tears, the other with joy. I don’t want to get lost on that lonely road anymore.

As a chef and a longtime seeker of Truth, I see clearly how the body that starts off on this journey is not the same body that travels the whole distance. I see how the body is a barometer for our well being; the messenger of truth or the spokesperson for illusion.

I see the pain people feel in their bodies, about their bodies and how their bodies navigate the world they live in. I see clearly how we’ve taken eating and the foods that come as gifts from the earth and infiltrated them with the fear we hold in our minds and manifests in our bellies. I see the dis-ease this has caused in ourselves and our earthly home; the suffering it stuffs us with and I know there’s a better way. We’ve all tasted the flavor of this better way before. It’s smooth; it’s light and fills you with joy. There’s no bitterness on this road; only a sweet scent that lingers and guides us on the way to love’s door.

With Love,


PS. This post is an excerpt (a draft still really) of a book I’m working on…not the book I thought I’d ever be working on but one that came to me and wouldn’t let me go until I started writing. It’s called, “Food Doesn’t Make You Fat”. I figure that if we can see the food we eat as EFFECT and not CAUSE, then the effects it has on our body image and health will be transformed and fall away like all illusion does. And this will be so helpful to so many with food issues as well as those whose issues lie elsewhere.

Would LOVE to know what you all think. Leave a comment below…or simply hit reply to this email if that’s more comfortable for you. Thank you!

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    10 thoughts on “The Land of I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know

    1. “The voice of Spirit that guides you on this journey doesn’t ask for your understanding…just your willingness.” I love this quote! I have found this to be true so many times, when I don’t understand why, I ask myself if I am willing to understand why. Just asking that question brings me peace. More often then not, the answer soon follows.
      Great article Silvia, can’t wait for the book!

      1. I’m so glad it resonated with you Allison. Sometimes I’m not sure how “out there” I can go without losing one’s willingness to be open. Thank you so much for your comment, your willingness and your enthusiasm about my book.

    2. If this is any indication of the brilliance that your book holds, I can’t wait to learn more about it! It’s funny how much of a shift one can experience with a willingness to learn, right? I’ve been there before, and I know how opening up to new experiences, ideas, and opportunities can lead you on a path that you never thought possible. Thanks, Silvia, for yet another thought-provoking post!

      1. Stacey, Thank you so very much for your comment and encouragement. I’m sure you know how fragile we can be at times…especially when writing about topics and viewpoints that go against the grain of commonly accepted beliefs. It’s like standing firmly in mid-air.Yikes! Your enthusiasm means so much.

    3. silvia – beautiful, thoughtful, insightful. “what we don’t know that we don’t know. ” it boggles my mind when i begin to ponder this perspective. i am currently traveling through europe on a specific mission – and yet i realize each day that i could never prepare myself for the daily surprises (and resultant enlightenment) taking place. so much that i don’t know i don’t know – startling when a smidgen of that is realized.

      1. It does boggle the mind April. And that’s what makes it so very exciting. Oh and what a wonderful mission you’re on! And to do it while traveling the world, that’s gotta be eye opening. Can’t wait to hear about it. And thank you for taking us with you with your posts, if only in our minds. I love it and love that you resonate with my mission. Thank you!

    4. Silvia, you always have such thought-provoking pieces. I can’t wait for your book that I know is going to change lives. If only more people could see things your way and share your openness & perspective on the food from the earth being a gift, not something that causes fear…and suffering.
      Keep going with this book. You’re called to write this one.

      1. Elise, And you always have such kind things to say! Thank you!! Yes, I feel called to write this book and sometimes it scared the heck out of me to go against the grain of accepted beliefs…but I can’t not know what I already know. Ha ha!

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