An inner knowing

According to Mary Todd’s sister, the young Mrs. Lincoln as a girl used to say that she was destined to marry a president.

Well, so she was. And while perhaps a good number of young girls thought the same, their being wrong does not make young Mary’s “knowing” meaningless. To say that young Mary’s knowing expressed the fact that she was ambitious is merely to explain it away. It would be as sensible to say that she was ambitious because of that knowing. And maybe the most accurate view is that the two went together. She had a knowing and she was ambitious, and the pattern of her life did not contradict itself.

I compare that knowing to the things I knew as a boy that the boy himself had no means of knowing and almost no excuse for thinking. For instance, as a boy afflicted with asthma, I somehow “knew” that neither pills nor injections nor other medical remedies would be necessary if I could only remember how to maintain health using mental powers alone. It took nearly half a century for me to actually learn how to do it, but nonetheless the boy that I was did know. It is as if a part of me that lives outside of time and space was nudging me, throwing out hints.

And, as with everything else I have experienced, I assume that if it is true for me it is true for others. We may not be destined to marry a president, or to learn how to overcome asthma, but those are only specifics. What we have in common is access to the part of us that knows. Probably it’s worthwhile to listen to it.

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