I know that I know that I know that I know • 3 October 2009

“The difficulty is to recognize the groundlessness of our believing…. But justification comes to an end.” – Wittgenstein On Certainty 166; 192


What is the impulse inside a person that compels her to reach out and tell someone she’s not doing it right? I don’t care if said correction is fundamentalist or anti-fundamentalist, since the energy in it is the same. Same effect of disturbing someone’s focus and security.

Why do this? Desire to feel right?

Is it possible to practice in a way that subverts this impulse? That makes you more uncertain, not more certain, as you go on?


For me… the more emotional confidence and security I have—the more grounded I get—the more comfortable I can be with radical uncertainty. And when I’m kind of rootless and lonely, then I pretend to know things I don’t… for better or worse, that’s when things become faith-based.


I’ve noticed that people who have gotten some insight as a result of practice hide their views about method—if they even have opinions left. It’s interesting. As a result, they are very sweet company, and they don’t screw over others’ yoga by messing with their minds. If a fellow practitioner (thinks she) knows what she is doing, what’s the problem? Let people focus.


Here’s the joke. The asana is always changing. That’s the point. You can’t pin it down and make an object out of it.  

It feels good to reify and feel certain. Practicing brings that grasping after authority right to the surface, and maybe begins to replace the judging and fear with a sense of humor.


To the idea that current method is perfect… Of course it is! It’s perfect because it’s the object that the collective mind has settled on for now, and thus we can shut up and just do it without insane shuffling between other ways of doing. It’s perfect for focusing.

And at the same time it’s not perfect because it’s a part of the manifest, physical world—a world characterized by specificity and suffering. Look around… the physical world cannot be perfect: it is laced with death and pain.


The practice offers this decoy, this MacGuffin… this Rosebud. And I focus on it for a while so that I can get quiet. So at intervals, it’s actually the best possible thing to just do a set thing and take a break from the background mental insanity of “What do I want to do now?” The mind loves that focus once it settles in to it, even if history and the body do not allow for the physical method to stay the same forever.


If you’re grasping for an ultimatum how about this one? Support others’ peace of mind. Once that becomes the intention, you’ll stop giving a shit what they are doing with their bodies and actually be an encouraging, sweet presence yourself. As long as your vibe is self-prooving, all-knowing, judging, argumentative, and hardcore certain, people around you will feel that discomfort with uncertainty—that rigidity—and as a result they will never really open in your presence.