We’ve all heard the saying “ignorance is bliss” but in the yoga world, you learn that enlightenment is actually bliss. We practice with the intention to reach higher consciousness and unite with a higher power. The ultimate purpose of yoga is to reach bliss- a state of pure happiness and great joy. How can opposite paths have the same destination? Which path should you take? The approaching celebration of Martin Luther King Jr Day is the perfect time to explore this concept of enlightenment vs ignorance.
Enlightenment refers to greater knowledge or understanding, gained spiritual knowledge or insight. Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Dr. King was an advocate for justice and equality and his impact began with knowledge. Lessons in the classroom, as well as in life, opened his awareness of the brokenness in America during the Civil Rights Era. He concluded that “We cannot have an enlightened democracy with one great group living in ignorance. We cannot have a healthy nation with one-tenth of the people ill-nourished, sick, harboring germs of disease which recognize no color lines… We cannot have a nation orderly and sound with one group so ground down and thwarted that it is almost forced into unsocial attitudes and crime…” In other words, ignorance prohibits humankind from prosperity, unity, peace.
And let’s be honest, for most of us, ignorance is a choice. With information readily available, ignorance is willful and indicates a refusal to learn. Ignorance is the path we choose to avoid responsibility and accountability. If we don’t know about it, it doesn’t concern us. But mostly, I view ignorance as resistance to change. I challenge you to make a change. Like Dr. King, practice yoga to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation and peace.
Here are words of knowledge from Martin Luther King, Jr that could help us move to enlightenment:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
The time is always right to do what is right.
Please join me for a special practice to celebrate the enlightening teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday, January 20 at 5:45pm at Yogaja Yoga, Cricket West. Hope to see you then, Gena