Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 14: The More You Know

The Blue Lotus, symbol
of intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Morning Mysore
6:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Interesting practice this morning, in that my head and eyeballs felt tired from not enough sleep, but my body felt pretty good — surprisingly energetic and strong. A couple other students in the teacher training showed up this morning and we took turns calling out the poses in Sanskrit, to some chuckles (ok, I was the only one giggling, and mostly at myself). Overall, I had fun with things, maybe due to the mental looseness I was feeling from last night's class.


I've been kicking around this little parable for a while as I try to come to terms with the seemingly infinite amount of history and knowledge that's unfolding before me the deeper I delve into "yoga" (you could spend years just trying to understand all of the myriad interpretations of the word itself).

Our story begins with a young woman who has been discovered alone in the mountains, living a primitive life, with no knowledge beyond that of her day to day struggle to survive. She is adopted by an academic researcher and her husband, and slowly they teach this young girl to speak, and eventually, to read.

One day, the young girl wanders into the family's library and discovers a collection of children's books. Over the course of a year she reads through these simple books, learning a little of the world beyond her experience. After she finishes these stories and improves her reading abilities, she opens up the first volume in a collection of encyclopedias. Her understanding of the world starts to unfold and expand, like a blossoming lotus.

A few more years pass, and she has come to the last remaining book in the family library. Inside the back cover of this book she discovers a stamp with the address of the local library branch. On her first visit to the small library, she is overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge still to be discovered. She thinks, "surely this library must contain all of the wisdom and information of the world". Years later, after spending countless hours working her way through the card catalogue, she comes upon a reference to a journal that isn't available at this branch. The librarian tells her that she must go to the university library where the academic journals are kept.

At the university, the young woman finds herself amongst floor upon floor of bookshelves, all containing knowledge previously unknown to her. Through her research, she learns of the great libraries of the world and her journey continues on, and on, and on. The more she learns, the more she discovers there is to learn.

Of course, I'm not alone in feeling like this. We've all heard the expression "the more you learn, the less you know" (although those TV commercials from my youth conveniently left out the second part of that statement), and we've certainly all contemplated the expansiveness of the universe while staring up at the stars and felt a little, well, humbled. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by Yoga's oceanic body of knowledge and history, I'm excited — realizing that I could spend the rest of my life learning and discovering ever-deepening levels of understanding, watching it all unfold before me like the aforementioned lotus flower, bringing more and more beauty and peace into my life.



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