Do not assume you know everything. Do not assume you know nothing. Have truer words ever been spoken?
We continue our series on strength in yoga class, and this statement was shared as part of a larger piece of poetry. I am embracing it this week, not just in my art practice, but at work, at home, in the grocery store, listening to the news. . . catch my drift, everywhere.
It can take a lot of strength, or guts, to admit you don’t know everything, especially say, at home, when your beloved is right about something and it’s taking all your patience to not dump a milkshake on their head (that can’t just be me)? It can also take a lot of strength, or courage, to stand up for yourself and proudly share that you do know what you’re talking about, like say at a work meeting, or a family gathering, when it’s usually easier to just keep quiet. The strength, I think, really comes from knowing that it’s the assuming that gets us in trouble (insert funny donkey saying here). The strength is in the acceptance of a place right in the middle, where you can see that you don’t know everything but you do know a lot of things.
Why would we want to know everything? Isn’t the learning the fun part? Approaching everything with a Beginners mind? We can accept that people know more about some stuff than we do, and that that is totally cool, and maybe we can learn from them. At the same time, why would we want to sell our selves short and pretend we didn’t have the knowledge we do have? We worked hard for that. We spent time researching, reading, experimenting, and failing so that we can share what we know, whatever it might be.
The moment in yoga class when we inevitably get reminded to breathe always cracks me up. We know we should be breathing, because, well, duh. And we also know that the poses we practice are difficult, and holding our breath is not making them any easier. But still, we forget to breathe. We can not assume that we will remember to breathe in those difficult moments. Nor should we assume that we will always have to be reminded. One day, we may surprise ourselves by taking one big, deep breath at just the right moment, without assuming anything.