Today, Roderick calls attention to how spring can be representative of newness and beginnings, and asks us to do an exercise that is intended to bring spiritual freshness: not-knowing. This, as he later describes, means setting aside the discursive, analytical mind–that which categorizes and critically thinks–in order to show how our lives often fall into story patterns. The idea is to show that theses stories separate us from the natural world–that our minds makes us lose track of our natural reality.
Practice: Not Knowing
Begin the day by greeting the dawn. As you watch the sunrise, make a vow to yourself that you will live without judgments, categories, or critiques. Whenever you catch yourself relying heavily on classifications, say the word “stop” aloud (or to yourself when appropriate). After saying the word, take a deep breath. Inhale and expand your lungs and belly. Place your focus on these sensations and expansion. Allow your breath to flow out naturally. Try this three or four times, then go on with your day–practicing this technique whenever necessary.
This day couldn’t have been more perfect for this exercise. I only got about a half an hour of sleep the day before, so I crashed really early last night and slept until about 8:30 this morning…which clearly wasn’t part of the exercise. But last night it snowed…and everything was crisp, bright, and sort of made new by the snow. All the world outside was untouched.
I couldn’t devote the whole day to this exercise: my day job involves using my critical thinking skills and teaching others to do the same. However, I did have a nice morning where I allowed myself to be similarly untouched and went through my day and interactions as though I’d never done them before. And I noticed things about my life and my neighbors that I hadn’t noticed before. I found more beauty in the world than I typically see. It was sort of like being a child again.