File Size: 951 KB
Print Length: 257 pages
Publisher: Shambhala (February 14, 2017)
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Like Simon, she too invokes the wisdom of various ethnicities and traditions outside of her own personal Judaism background and training. The job moves effortlessly from section to chapter, exploring the paradoxical twins of light and dark, sacred and profane, silence and sound, science and spirituality, intuition and predictability, in short, a dozen “verses” that challenge our notions of what it means to know or not know.
In this guide we hear teachings and tales of Zen Masters, Hasidic Rebbes, Sufi poets, Western physicists, philosophers, performers and movie-makers, and yet, Frankel always returns to the “chorus” of her own psychotherapeutic encounters as a healer and her personal Jewish mystical practice without a hint of dogmatism or stridency.
In the core of the book are the woefully misconstrued notions about darkness and lightweight that plague our culture and our world.
This, We believe, is the most misunderstood and dangerous of all paradoxes that nourish fear, projection, racism and violence. Frankel’s work artfully and methodically addresses this fundamental misconception by discovering the many traditions of “non-duality”
with quotes, anecdotes, poems, and stories artfully presented.
The particular book is so filled with such nuggets of wisdom that I’ve started utilizing it as an I Ching in my own counseling practice. I have dared to hand it to clients on the cusp of making bold life changes who then randomly open the work, and there to our shared amazement, we sit together, mouth agape, and the clients imagine I have enacted some therapeutic slight of hand that led to the perfect passage that mirrors their battle, question, or immanent modification.
Yes there are many works that attempt to synthesize the polarities
great and wicked, science and religion, and doing and being, but Frankel’s books (Sacred Therapy being her first) are certainly at or nearby the top of the pile in terms of level, tone and especially, pure humanity. This book is soothing to see a well as informative; you will smile, cry, and be shifted by the writings of a master storyteller.
The particular poet Rumi peaks of the “doorsill where the two worlds touch. ”
Frankel easily welcomes us at that gate, counseling mystery as well as planning, spontaneity as well as ritual observance, white space as well because the printed term, silence as well as speech, and yes, even the value of heartbreak and despair as well as good fortune.
Even Paul Simon might be pleased a half millennium after penning the line: “Hello darkness my old friend” that those words had more essential truth and resonance than he might have intended., Sometimes the journey of how we find a book—or an e book ‘finds’ us—has its own mystery. Years ago, I had been deeply moved by Estelle Frankel’s first guide, Sacred Therapy, by which she deftly blends the phases of the therapeutic trip with core concepts in Jewish myth and mysticism. In that book, Frankel showed how such profound, kabbalistic concepts as the shattering of the boats, or maybe the healing of our world (known as tikun olam) could be followed within the odyssey of our days, and just how adopting a Jewish mystical ‘lens’ in which to view our lives brings a profound sense of living out a timeless myth. I had wondered, for several years, if she would publish another guide. Several weeks ago, We was browsing at an area Barnes and Noble, lamenting that there didn’t seem to be to be any new Jewish books. At the time, We dropped my keys on the ground. Bending to pick them up, We found, on a nook of the bottom corner, in the tiny segment on Jewish mysticism, Frankel’s new book. I was caught by the name, The Wisdom of Not necessarily Knowing. In this guide, Frankel attempts something very subtle: depicting, with graceful precision, the potential connection we will surely have with not knowing, with money mystery, and with divining the ‘white spaces’ of the Torah of Life. The following morning, I was at an area café, writing in my journal. I had left Frankel’s book, with its purple and silvery cover that simply claims, The Wisdom of Not so sure, out on the desk. Suddenly, seeming to seem out of nowhere—out of the ‘white, mystery spaces’ of the Torah, Frankel might say—a lady with a luminous smile requested me if she could look at the guide. As she looked at it, I strongly recommended Frankel’s first book to her. A few instances later, as she was standing in line to get her coffee, she advised me that she had already ordered both publications. A few hours later, as I exited the café, handing her my contact information, I invited Smiling Lady to perhaps let me know someday what she thought of the book. Over the coming weeks, as I continuing to read Frankel’s powerful remedy vignettes, braided with poetic explorations of the place of not knowing, of ‘nothing, ’ and of mystery in relation to Jewish mysticism and other wisdom traditions, We reflected that this encounter with a beautiful unfamiliar person was much like the mystery, the unknowingness that Frankel continuously illuminates throughout this very special text. I’m not sure if I’ll ever see Smiling Lady again—and perhaps it doesn’t, ultimately, matter. This very special book, like our lives, invites us to be acquainted with not knowing, with walking into the heart of a mystery., I was drawn to this book by its title. For a long time, I have been enthusiastic about the Ability to Not Know, first as a psychotherapy research tool and second as an important way to strategy the mystery of dying. I have been disappointed in the past by titles that promise one thing and then deliver something quite different, a fictional bait and switch, as it were. The writer provides the examples and amplifications of the intelligence of not knowing in the form of tales from Jewish mysticism, Zen, and her personal life as well as the lives of her patients. Estelle writes in a simple lyrical style. Studying the book and reflecting on the wisdom it contains is a real pleasure.
Seth Isaiah Rubin, Ph. D
Clinical Psychologist and Jungian Analyst
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