I’ve mentioned the yoga class I started this week. It is a Fundamentals of Yoga class at a local yoga studio. I am very excited about it. While I’ve been doing yoga off and on for years both at gyms and at home on my own I’ve never been to a progressive class that starts from the very basics and moves on. Also most of the classes I’ve taken are only focused on the asana (physical poses) and barely if at all mention any of the other aspects of yoga.
At the beginning of the class Monday night the teacher had each of us introduce ourselves and say why we were there. Luckily I was halfway around the circle so I didn’t have to go first or last! My first yoga lesson that night was to keep my attention focused on the person speaking and try to not only remember their name but also at least on little bit of information about them instead of sitting there trying to decide what I was going to say when it was my turn. I’m not sure I was totally successful and I’m glad there wasn’t a test! When it was my turn I said the usual; name, family, city, job, etc. For the reason why I was there I just spoke off the top of my head (dangerous!) I said something like I love yoga and wanted to start from the very beginning and find out all the things I didn’t know I didn’t know.
That brings me to a very important thing I’m trying to incorporate into my life more. Being okay with, “I don’t know.” I’ve always been one of those people who is very afraid of admitting I don’t know how to do something and have a difficult time asking for help. In my mind not knowing means I’m stupid and weak. I’m finally discovering that not knowing just means I haven’t learn it but I am completely capable of learning. And sometimes asking someone else who already knows it is a better and faster way of learning something.
I work in sales and customer service and often a customer will ask me a question that I’m not sure about the answer. I’ve found it is always better to say “I don’t know but I’ll find someone who does or make a call and find out the answer for you.” It builds trust and instead of making up some BS answer and later have them find out I was wrong and then they won’t trust anything I tell them and I will look stupid. Integrity is always better than saving face. And if I think I know the answer and then find out I was wrong, it is important to let the person know I made a mistake and get them the correct information.
But then there are the things I think I know but am finding out that I don’t know it all. So I’m starting to find ways to learn the stuff I didn’t know I didn’t know. There is always a different way of doing things and I have to get over the idea that the way I do things is always the best way or worse, the only way, to do things.
I read recently about the “don’t know mind” and I love this idea.
As Socrates taught, “The beginning of wisdom is the acknowledgement of our own ignorance.” We are encouraged to empty ourselves of our posturing, of being the “one who knows,” so that we can fill up with a knew kind of knowing.
~excerpt from Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope