The Wisdom of Not Knowing: Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty (Paperback)
2017 NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD FINALIST - CONTEMPORARY JEWISH LIFE AND PRACTICE
A deeply affirming exploration of the challenges and possibilities of the unknown--with meditations and exercises that can help transform the fear and uncertainty of "not knowing" into a sense of openness, curiosity, and bravery.
For most of us the unknown is both friend and foe. At times it can be a source of paralyzing fear and uncertainty, and at other times it can be a starting point for transformation, creativity, and growth. The unknown is a deep current that runs throughout all religions and mystical traditions, and it is also the nexus of contemporary psychotherapeutic thought and practice and a key element in all personal growth and healing. In The Wisdom of Not Knowing, psychotherapist Estelle Frankel shows us that our psychological, emotional, and spiritual health is radically influenced by how comfortable we are at navigating the unknown and uncertain dimensions of our lives.
Drawing on insights from Kabbalah, depth psychology, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and ancient myth, Frankel explores how we can grow our souls by tapping into the wisdom of not knowing. She also includes case studies of individuals who have grappled with their fears of the unknown and, as a result, have come out wiser, stronger, and more resilient. Each chapter includes experiential exercises and/or meditations for befriending the unknown. These exercises help convey how we must be willing to "not know" in order to gain knowledge and be able to bear uncertainty so we can be free to enjoy a healthy sense of adventure and curiosity.
About the Author
ESTELLE FRANKEL is a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist, spiritual advisor, and teacher of Jewish mysticism. Frankel has taught Jewish studies in Israel and throughout the US for over forty years in both academic and religious settings and was ordained as a Rabbinic Pastor and Spiritual Guide by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. She is a popular public speaker and storyteller who has taught workshops and given keynote speeches at numerous conferences and symposia. Frankel offers continuing education courses for therapists in sacred psychology and spirituality and is currently on the teaching faculty and spiritual leadership team of Chochmat Halev Center for Jewish Spirituality and Lehrhaus Judaica in Berkeley, CA. Frankel is the author of numerous essays on Judaism and psychology that have been published by a variety of professional and spiritual journals and literary anthologies including: Tikkun Magazine, Women & Therapy, The Responsive Community, and Parabola Magazine.
“This book inspires as it delights. Estelle Frankel’s graceful and authoritative voice--fluent and informed as it seamlessly weaves together religion, psychoanalytic theory, literature, philosophy and modern science—recasts the ‘unknown’ from, a situation of dread to an invitation to ever more liberating awareness.”—Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
“Drawing on insights from the Jewish mystical tradition, as well as Buddhism and psychoanalysis, Estelle Frankel demonstrates the surprisingly positive value of ‘not knowing.’ This book is profound and clear. It will enable you to become more intimate with your own experience, to overcome fear, and to overcome the mental and emotional challenges of daily life.”—Daniel Matt, author of The Essential Kabbalah, God and the Big Bang, and The Zohar: Pritzker Edition
“This book bristles with depth and insight, practical stories, and humor as Estelle Frankel takes us on a deep and necessary journey into the via negativa, the land of unknowing. She urges us in a time of darkness and uncertainty to learn from the dark and to grow our courage and our creativity in the process.”—Rev Dr. Matthew Fox, author of A Way to God
“Readers seeking help with life’s problems can find it in a broad range of titles . . . In The Wisdom of Not Knowing (Shambhala, out now), Estelle Frankel—a therapist who also teaches Jewish mysticism—proposes that psychological, emotional, and spiritual health depend on accepting how much in life cannot be known, and that it is important to have the courage to face uncertainty and ambiguity.”—Publisher’s Weekly
“As she demonstrated in Sacred Therapy, Frankel is a masterful meaning-maker. She skillfully marshals ideas and values from mystical Judaism and psychotherapy and then launches into astonishing intimations of the spiritual maturity that comes with quests, creativity, darkness, questions, and open-mindedness.”—Spirituality & Practice
“Psychotherapist and spiritual advisor Estelle Frankel, in her book, The Wisdom of Not Knowing, explores the power of the unknown to be friend rather than foe—it is the key to our personal growth.”—Beliefnet
“[Estelle Frankel’s] work is profound, but also accessible and clear, always encouraging us to acknowledge the darkness, but not to dwell there. While she draws from various religious traditions, especially Judaism, the narrative doesn’t push a religious agenda but instead seeks to utilize what insights the religion has to offer. This makes The Wisdom of Not Knowing a suitable read for non-religious readers as well. Overall, The Wisdom of Not Knowing is a great read for the person seeking a thought-provoking read and a little bit of insight into life’s biggest unknowns.”—San Francisco Book Review
“Success or failure . . . becomes almost immaterial when compared with the grounded feeling that comes from confidently welcoming whatever the next moment delivers. After all, the unknown is always just around the corner. Failure to grasp this, Frankel warns, can leave us in a state of constant worry, unable to enjoy what life offers.”—Experience Life magazine
“Using lessons garnered from such diverse sources as Jewish mysticism, Buddhism, psychology, mythic studies, and spiritual alchemy, Frankel offers a new way of looking at the unknown and embracing the chaos of uncertainty. . . . This is a valuable tool for any looking to befriend the unknown and find a valuable ally for living whole and free from fear of life’s uncertainties.”—Manhattan Book Review
“Estelle Frankel, a psychotherapist, rabbinic pastor and teacher of Jewish mysticism through her study of Kabbalah, invites readers to open themselves to the unknown, and even unknowable, through mindfulness, intuition and a willingness to embrace the ‘white space’ of meaningful silence and stillness between worlds.”—Toronto Star
“In The Wisdom of Not Knowing psychotherapist and Jewish educator, Estelle Frankel, describes her quest to understand and befriend the “unknown.” With grace, compassion and unfailing honesty she weaves insights from Judaism, Buddhism and psychoanalysis together with case studies to convey how we grow our souls by continually facing, rather than avoiding, our fears of the unknown. Frankel is a fi ne writer and storyteller with an unusual capacity to present loft y ideas in an accessible fashion. Anyone with an interest in Judaism, spirituality and psychology will find much to reflect on in this compelling book.”—Orange County Jewish Life
“Estelle Frankel, a practicing psychotherapist and teacher of Jewish mysticism, has written a timely new book about daring to not know. Certainty in extreme situations, she says in a passage that resonates today, can lead to bigotry and hatred, which "thrive in environments where people are too certain—when they think they know the truth and consider their version of it to be the only valid perspective.” Too often we allow our fears to shape our imagination; this prevents genuine possibility from emerging in our lives, and holds us back from taking risks and venturing into the unknown. Frankel suggests that we should use our imagination to embrace the possibilities that not knowing can offer us, and as a result, "our lives and our consciousness expand."—Mindful
“For most people, uncertainty holds a negative connotation. It can make us look unprepared, unintelligent, and amateurish. And yet, according to Estelle Frankel, the author of The Wisdom Of Not Knowing: Discovering A Life Of Wonder By Embracing Uncertainty, uncertainty doesn’t just lie at the seat of our faith, it holds space in everything we do — from how we learn to how we love.
Uncertainty, while typically a stopping point, can also be an open door, a door through which our deepest transformations can occur; from fear to courage, from mistrust to love, and from worry to freedom. With powerful stories, rich philosophical insight, and timeless wisdom, The Wisdom of Not Knowing shows us how to step through that door.”—Psych Central