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A poem about living with uncertainty at the leading edge

Let's Nail It Down, Before It Gets Away!

The leading edge exists for each of us
and for all of us
right in front of us
just beyond what we already know.

Like the horizon,
every where is the leading edge
for someone, somewhere.
The leading edge is a moving target.

Each of us
can only know what we know
and work with that,
going beyond
to learn.

How do we know what we know, together
and work with that, together,
going beyond, to learn
at the leading edge

When "going beyond" is where it's at,
what is a "mistake"?
What is "failure"?
Where do we find success?
What are we afraid of?
What is "good enough"
at any given time
when we're together
at the leading edge?

Rumi says that
beyond right and wrong
there is a field,
he'll meet you there.

I say that beyond knowing and unknowing
there is a field.
I sort of know where it is, and sort of don't.
I'd like to look for it with you, exploring
and discovering, over and over again,
that we've been here all along.

Nothing stays the same here
except for the watchingness.
The ground moves and dissolves, steeps and flats and cliffs...
What kind of groundedness is there in this place?
What kind of preparedness for this?
What kind of radical uncertainty
and awakeness?
Can we take it?
On the other hand:
Isn't it here,
in, around and among us,
even when we think it isn't?

In this black hole
everything we think we know
has a different role than it does in everyday life.
In everyday life, what we think we know
gives us a place to stand.
In this black hole, at the leading edge,
everything we think we know
is a place to leap from
which, if we don't leap,
becomes a chain around our legs,
a blindfold on our eyes,
and starts to dissolve below our feet
so we have to leap anyway,
hobbled and blindfolded.
...out of the prison?
...around the field?
...into the abyss?

The wisdom we seek
is to learn to leap together
before the chain, the blindfold, the prison, the abyss
close around us -- and even after that,
out of the chain, the blindfold, the prison, the abyss --
because we can always leap,
pushed, prodded, guided, encouraged, partnered,
by each other
into more than we saw
into more than we knew
moment to moment
in more dimensions than any of us can ever comprehend

There is no preparation for this.
Everything we've ever done is preparation for this.
Perhaps there is something to know
about doing this elegantly.
But no one can teach it
because every teaching is another chain, another blindfold,
unless we leap.

How do we live there, in this constant leaping,
in this in-comprehension, this constant opening,
even for a minute
to say nothing of a weekend or a semester
immersed in fields of expectation about teaching and knowing --
or a lifetime, for that matter, a lifetime
of survival, which demands, over and over, that we KNOW?

Isn't this what I want to explore with you?
Isn't this what we're doing?
Even when we think we're doing everything else?

Tom Atlee
February 1997