Sunday, July 09, 2006

Time for Wisdom

I've been a part of a group for a couple of years that I've come to truly enjoy and cherish.

Recently, one among our group bid us goodbye as he moved on to a different place and part of his life. As he left, he made a comment I'm thinking about today.

He said, "Wisdom is knowing what time it is."

For him, it was time to go. Wisely, he knew it.

He made this remark just after he read a quote from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Some of you may recognize it. It was around long before Pete Seeger or the Byrds sang it:
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What advantage has the worker from his toil?

I have considered the task which God has appointed for men to be busied about.

He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life.
As I heard him recite these words, it dawned on me that each of us has been given a life that is large enough and rich enough to incorporate many striking opposites, yet remain one life.

Life seems to be full of contradiction, paradox, and inconsistency.

Right when I'm caught on the horns of a difficult dilemma, I'm sometimes fortunate enough (or wise enough) to see that I still have one integrated life that holds together in a delicate balance of unity.

A wise person sees that a full and complete life is an integration of opposites. The union of opposites is, by the way, the definition of yoga.

Your breath is a good example. A complete breath consists of an inhalation, and it's opposite, an exhalation.

Your heartbeat is comprised of both a contraction and an expansion. It's a union of opposites.

If you review the list that the writer of Ecclesiastes provides above, it's not that difficult to identify the commonly preferred option in each opposing pair.

We like a birth announcement; but we don't like funerals. Laughing is fun; crying, exhausting. Times of peace are comfortable; war is hell.

So, we slavishly pursue what feels good and race to avoid what doesn't.

The old yogis teach that this drive towards the pleasurable and fleeing the painful is the source of all suffering.

Ecclesiastes is attributed to Solomon, wisdom personified. Now is the time, says this very wise man, to do your work, do your duty, and be happy.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., I wrote about integrating opposites in two other Daily Yoga Tips. Read them at these links:

p.p.s., The Sanskrit Word of the Day from my previous Daily Yoga Tip was kurma. Kurma means tortoise, as in kurmasana.

p.p.p.s., Today's Sanskrit Word of the Day is paschima. I'll tell you what it means next time.

p.p.p.p.s., There are only a few weeks left to enroll in our next Experience Sanskrit workshop in Silver Spring, Maryland. Sallie and I will be at Willow Street Yoga on Saturday, August 5 at 1:00 pm. Register here today.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.
Kevin Perry
Mo Yoga LLC
1305 Elmerine Ave
Jefferson City, MO 65101

(573) 680-6737


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