Not Knowing as Knowing with Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy
I’ve started to leave my iPhone at home. The first time it happened by accident. I was in a hurry, rushing to get to yoga. By the time I realized I left it, it was too late to go back. Anxiety gripped me. What if I missed a text or a call? What if I wanted to post something to Facebook? What about having music for the drive? What if I needed to Google something or lookup directions? After a few blocks, my anxiety began to lessen as I settled into the silence. Without my phone there was nothing to attend to. I simply needed only to be with myself. Spacious: that is how my car ride began to feel, a sharp contrast to my usual commutes.
I’m consistently aware of and attending to something outside myself when I have my phone—searching for songs on my playlists, dictating a voice text, talking to someone or using it as a go-to for answers. From looking up the quickest route to random trivia (what year did Jeff Buckley release his cover of Hallelujah?), I’ve become accustomed to having all of this information at my fingertips. A random curiosity seamlessly becomes a mindless quick search on my smart phone for a fast answer. My access to quick information easily becomes a distraction and at times eclipses opportunities to be present to what is happening internally.
Similar to my new intentional times without my phone, I experience a Phoenix Rising session as a capsule for self-exploration. A session offers a carefully designed container to encourage and support me in going inward, connecting with my truest self and accessing my deepest knowing through my body. At times, I have experienced my deepest knowing as a complete surrender to “not knowing”—a radical concept in the information age. To allow myself “not knowing,” feels to be a rare act of bravery. With instant access to information there seems to be little to no excuse to “not know.” Yet knowing I don’t know can be one of the most profound and freeing forms of knowing I’ve experienced.
As one Zen story proclaims: “Not knowing is most intimate.” This resonates with me. For in seeking knowledge, I often get in my own way. It is nearly impossible not to bring my habit energies and preconceptions into my seeking. I distinctly remember the newness and freedom I felt the first time I was guided through a Phoenix Rising Yoga class and never once heard the name of a posture. There was only simple instruction and reflective questioning guiding me into myself as I moved on my mat. The names of asana poses are intentionally absent when offering verbal instruction in Phoenix Rising sessions and classes. The intention behind this offering is for both the physical and internal experience to be exactly how it is and is not in the moment. Not a preconceived idea of what a pose should look like. Not how a particular pose was yesterday or how the yoga teacher demonstrated it. What is my experience like right here, right now and what does it have to offer me? Entering the experience with “don’t know mind,” supports being present, embodied, and ready to receive my own inner knowledge.
True knowing, unlike attainment of information, requires something of us. Knowing requires a relationship with and understanding of that which we want to know. Knowing, particularly knowing through direct experiences, is further elevated by Carl Rogers, the creator of client-centered therapy and a fundamental concept of Phoenix Rising Yoga. “Experience is, for me, the highest authority,” he says. “The touchstone of validity is my own experience. No other person’s ideas, and none of my own ideas, are as authoritative as my experience.”
There is power in our direct experiences that can lend to embracing what we know, as well as give us courage to hold space for “not knowing.” Then, from this place of “not knowing,” our truest “knowing” can appear.
There is a subtle distinction between seeking the answers and providing a space where they can reveal themselves. Phoenix Rising supports being in present moment experience and embracing our deepest knowing, even when that present moment experience is to stand in our “not knowing.” Through our presence to our experience, our truest knowing emerges.
Embodied Insight Yoga Therapy (link title using this web address – http://embodiedyogatherapy.com/)