What You Know is Personal

I.7 “Knowledge embraces personal experience, inference, and insights from the wise.”

~ “The Secret Power of Yoga” by Nischala Joy Devi

What you take from your personal experience influences your knowledge, opinions, and ideas of the world. People, events, and places will shape your life and your idea of the truth. Your parents, family, and teachers, also known as the “wise”, will teach you your basic morals and ethics when you are a child. As you grow society and culture will continue to expand your ideas and opinions. You will pick and choose what you believe and what you oppose. You will face challenges and events that will shape you. Those moments may create negative emotions or open your eyes. The way you handle or react to those situations will be affected by your own personal opinion. The opinion that has been growing since you entered this consciousness. You may not even realize what has influenced you or where your opinions and emotions towards something began. It has been growing over years of experience and the people influencing your life. It comes from the way you are treated and what you were told to believe. The truth of the matter is that you cannot truly understand any situation or have any belief without observing something from all points of view. You cannot have hatred towards the opposition without understanding that maybe their truth is different than yours. You can trust your own heart. You can trust your own mind. You must trust your own gut. But be willing to accept someone else as they are. They have their own heart. They have their own mind. They have their own gut. Be willing to see through their eyes and see where they have been. They may have been shaped and molded differently than you. They may have been hurt or damaged. They may have been sheltered, abandoned, or loved too much. Be willing to accept others and their experiences and idea of truth. What you know is personal. What they know is personal.

In sharing and teaching yoga to others, I believe it is important to acknowledge differences. We all come from different backgrounds. We all have faced different obstacles in life. We may not see eye to eye. But when teaching it is important to bring in ideas that any person can understand. Heart break. Loss. Strength. Discomfort. Being nervous. Being excited. Happiness. We can all relate on those basic levels. We can all come together no matter who or what we are and we can create community. We can drop what we know and accept each other as we are and as we are in our practice.

In our practice we can accept every pose as yoga. I believe in giving others and myself space. We cannot look at a person and know what they have faced that day. We cannot judge someone for stepping out of their pose. We cannot say what is and isn’t yoga. We can accept our own practice and accept ourselves as we are. We can also push ourselves to open our minds and seek the truth. We can also see other’s truths. We can practice outside of the studio. We can practice in our everyday lives.

I believe that you can take every lesson you learn in your practice and experience and apply it to the way you treat others. You can apply it to your life. You can choose to listen to someone who may not see eye to eye with you. You can actively listen. You can show people a kind way of being, in hope they will give that same kindness to someone else. Maybe they will give that kindness to someone they disagree with. Maybe they will pass on that acceptance that you gave to them. You can make an attempt to relate their situation or belief to your own. You can embrace differences. You can put aside opinions or differences. You can give love to every person you meet in your life and accept their experience. Everything I have experienced and everything you have experienced has been influenced throughout this life we have led. If you, I, and everyone in this world can put aside our differences and treat each other with kindness we can overcome any point of view and find truth. You can know your personal truth. But don’t let your knowledge block you from seeing someone else’s truth.

Jessica Vultaggio