Becoming ready

It doesn't matter what we know; what matters is whether we're willing to give it up to discover every sweet, moving moment.

How ready are you to learn?

If you've spent some time with me, you know I love this question: You ready? You may have noticed that I ask it when you want to make contact: Are you ready to learn?

I don't ask because it's a prerequisite of mine; I'm happy to chat even if you feel unready. Heck, I'm happy to chat even if you think you know everything. In general, I'm happy to chat.

I ask because the question itself is a teacher. Take a moment to reflect on what you believe you know.

You may be college-educated, totally expert in your field. You may have professional qualifications and four black belts. You may know how to make the best banana bread.

But notice something. Every time you make banana bread, circumstances are slightly altered from the last. A skilled baker will know how to adapt to the current conditions. A talented martial artist is at her best when she's responsive to the person before her, not reactive. Most adept professionals know they are always practicing... even decades into their careers.

Our knowledge is a testimony to where we've been. It's a record of the past. It tells us what we've found and how we found it but it has nothing to say about the present. Often, it has so much to say in the form of opinion, judgment, and trauma that we can't see clearly what's happening right now. We only see what we know. When we obscure our perception of reality with a view constrained by what we know, we miss a lot.

In the Isha Upanishad, there is a saying: 'Into blinding darkness enter those who worship ignorance. And those who delight in knowledge enter into still greater darkness."

Our knowledge becomes a barrier to paying attention. It takes up so much space in us that whatever is true and important at this moment can't find a way to enter. When we're content to rely on our knowledge, we don't experience the fluid nature of now. Relying on our knowledge can serve to close the windows and doors to anything new, to the truth of the moment, to the wonder of every beautiful and passing breath.

It doesn't matter what we know; what matters is whether we're willing to give it up to discover every sweet, moving moment.

Take a moment now, if you like, to sit in silence. Maybe you can stare into the infinite sky. Or maybe you can simply listen to the coming and going of every breath. Don't do anything to interfere with whatever is happening. Let it all be. When you find yourself evaluating, comparing, analyzing, kindly remind yourself that this is all based on knowledge of how things once were. And then return your spacious attention to what is happening now.

Let it be.

Be with it.

See what it feels like to realize that this is the truth, and the gateway to the highest experience for us all.

This short relaxation practice may help you become ready.

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