Friday, April 24, 2009

80/113 --Spiritual Ignorance

10:30 am with Connease

Class started out really hot.  Connease doesn't mess with the heat, so I pretty much decided that it was a good day to get the crap kicked out of me by the heat.  And that's just the way it was developing.  People were already dropping by Standing Head to Knee.  And I had pretty much convinced myself that I was looking forward to a really tough struggle. 

Then Connease turned the heat down.  She said she almost never messes wtih the heat because its better for people simply to adjust their practices to whatever is thrown at them.  But she said today it was just too hot, so she was making an exception.  The odd thing is that, because I had built up some anticipation over the heat, cooling things off actually threw me off for a little bit.

I had the best balancing series I've had in a while.  I think I fell out of Standing Head to Knee once.  I kept my standing leg locked, and kicked out three of the four sides.  The other time, I missed her calling for the class to kick out.  And I'm getting better at simply following along with what I hear, so not having heard it, I didn't do it.  I don't know whether I missed the cue, or whether she did.

The other difficulty today was simply keeping my mind in the room  For whatever reason, I was thinking about stuff outside of class more than usual.  Recently, I've been pretty good about driving away the stuff that ordinarily flies through my mind.  But not today, and I'm not sure exactly why.  I didn't really settle in until sometime in the middle of the floor series. 

The day 112 meditation introduces spiritual ignorance as the first aversion.  According to the Yoga Sutras, this is the source of all of our pains.  Gates says that all pain can be avoided when we know what we truly are.

It seems so simple.  If ignorance is the problem, then knowledge should be the solution.  But what kind sort of knowledge are we talking about here.  Let's take two different examples of knowledge:  knowing history and knowing how to play the piano.  Most people think ignorance is ignorance of some information or facts.  So a person can be ignorant about history simply because they don't remember the facts.  I don't think ignorance applies in the same way to something like playing the piano.  When a person knows how to play the piano, the knowing involves something deeper than facts.  

So what sort of knowledge are we talking about here?  It's certainly not just an ignorance of facts.  I can read what Gates says about spiritual knowledge, and still not "know" what he's talking about in a way that does me much good.  This may be a part of the knowledge involved, but its not all of it.  Nor yet, do I think its the skill of a technically accomplished pianist. 

In music, its fairly common to draw a distinction between a skilled player and a great musician.  The musician will have the technical skill that passes for "knowing" how to play an instrument.  But he also has a deeper connection to the music.  This sort of knowledge is much deeper than knowledge of facts, or just a mere skill.  It involves a real feeling for, and commitment to, the music itself.

I think that the knowledge Gates is talking about must be something like that, only perhaps even deeper.  

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