"In our society, we all too often label the ignorant as weak. However, those who express their lack of knowledge and then seek instruction find the path to wisdom before anyone else."
- R. Sharma
I used to have a notion that ignorance was okay. One can cure ignorance with study and instruction. Stupidity, however, is incurable. I still feel this way to some degree. Although, I have a notion now that stupidity - as we see it - is quite often just ignorance. So there's hope.
I have written a year-end-wrap for the past several years. I post it to Facebook sometime around the end of each year. I returned to the past few years and noticed one item that kept making the list.
- 2013 - "My mind is capable of so much more than I realize - or ask of it."
- 2014 - "The older I get, the less sure I am."
- 2015 - "Each year brings less certainty."
- 2016 - "No matter how much I know, I can always stand to learn more."
- 2017 - "I have so much more to learn in so many ways."
I read the quote at the top of this post this morning in a book I've been working my way through. It's a "Daily Inspiration" book by Robin Sharma. It hit me this morning that I've been professing my ignorance for a good five years in a row.
It also hit me that I've been seeking instruction and studying more over the past five years. Two pilgrimages across the north of Spain. Paring down the lifestyle to a more thoughtful and mindful scale. Daily yoga practice for the past year and a bit.
The crazy thing is: The more I seek, the more I study, the more I realize I do not know. The crazier thing: I'm more comfortable with that notion than ever before.
I'll keep on searching.
I'll walk pilgrimage. I'll meditate. I'll read. I'll seek instruction.
I will do these things because I'm ignorant. I'll do these things because I want to learn more. I'll do these things because the searching and seeking and walking all seem to make me calmer and more open to new ideas and new adventures.
I undertook my goal of a daily yoga practice with a slightly vain intention. I realized I was overweight and I realized that I was in a mental rut - a long shallow grave, of sorts. I wanted to sit by the pool with our young friends and not be ashamed of my body. I have since changed my intention (You can do that, you know. Change your intention.)
I now approach the yoga practice with an intention of finding an easier route to meditation. Some days I find that path. Other days I do not. But my intention, I feel, is more in line with mindfulness.
I have been a little apologetic for the past year and a bit about what kick started my daily yoga/meditation path. I'm not apologizing any more. Yes, It started as a bit of vanity, but it's shifted to something else. Also, one of the key moments that set me walking this path was a self-help book I picked up in the Liberia airport.
The book is "The Monk who sold his Ferrari" by Robin Sharma. I hesitate to share this because I have historically been loath to dive into self-help as a genre. But there I was. In the airport. Freshly frustrated. Looking for something to occupy my mind on the long flight back to the States.
I read it on the plane - in one sitting.
I read it again the following week - This time with a pen and highlighter.
I read it one more time -slowly over the following month. I studied the book and found a great deal of useful advice.
I read it one more time after a full year away from it. Reviewing the points helped me to refocus my intention and stay the course with my daily practice.
I'm certain that this book is not the answer. It was simply a signpost along the way. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. I was ready. It was on the shelf. I read it. It helped.
If you're looking for a little boost of inspiration, click here and order a copy of The Monk who sold his Ferrari. It may not change your life. You may find it to be a little too ham-fisted for your liking. But you may just find some nuggets of wisdom. You may just find an arrow pointing you in the right direction. Maybe not. But it's an idea.