April 24

I heard a quote today that stuck with me.  A wise man is not cowed by knowledge. I wasn’t sure why it stood out for me, but I even wrote it down. And of course, I’ve been thinking about it. Usually stuff like that hits me because it seems pertinent to whatever I have going on, either literally or within. And there is so much I have going on right now. On all fronts. It’s exhausting at a pretty basic level. But that’s life sometimes. It would be great if we could take our lifetime share of ups and downs and place them on our timeline at a nice, manageable pace. Yet I’m sure we all know that’s not how things typically work. We’re hit with a few blows at once and have to stagger along for a while before we get ourselves back together.

Now I’ve never been the type who could sit still for long. I once tried yoga but after a few classes, I dropped out. Not because I couldn’t handle the stretching or the not always lovely views, but because at the end of every class, we were told to lay quietly on our mats without moving or opening our eyes. I couldn’t do it. I literally felt like I was crawling out of my skin at that point. I never went back and haven’t tried it since. I have friends who swear to me that after getting the hang of it, yoga is not only good for the body, but good for the mind. Ok. Maybe at some point I’ll give it another go. In the meantime, I’ve been reading a lot about learning how to be mindful. And present in the moment. Also difficult for me because I’m a worrier, but somehow, I understand it. I think I’ll get there.

So how does this relate to my quote? Well, I guess I’ve known that I’m a knowledge seeker. I loved school because I loved learning. I like figuring stuff out. I like reading mysteries and fitting seemingly pointless pieces of information together. I especially like trying to figure out people. The process doesn’t intimidate me. But sometimes what I learn does. Sometimes I fear finding out what I don’t want to know. Because that may mean I’ll have to change my thinking on a subject, or apologize for being wrong, or make a hard decision. But I’ll always seek to know because I don’t understand the opposite. Some people are too afraid to even seek knowledge. They don’t even try. They don’t strive to understand themselves or others or the events that happen because ignorance really is bliss. You can’t fear/accept/change what you don’t know. And so they don’t grow and their lives don’t really expand. Maybe I sound like I’m judging, but I’m really not trying to. It’s just that early on in my life I knew I’d be the type of person who would rather feel pain than to feel nothing. And to me, learning means growth and sometimes growth is painful.

Now, what is new to me is that, just like my struggle with yoga, I struggle with not doing. Not reacting. Gaining knowledge and feeling like I need to do something with it immediately. And hearing that quote today reminds me that sometimes it’s important to simply sit and let the new information sink in. A knee-jerk reaction isn’t always necessary, just as fear isn’t. Sometimes being wise means knowing and letting it be.

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