I love the Tom Petty song “Into the Great Wide Open.” I love the idea of myself on adventure out in the world of the unknown eyes wide open. There is no contesting that like the protagonist of the song I too embody the rebel without a clue, a contrarian by nature and often times holding a stance on a subject I am truly ignorant about. In Sanskrit this is called avidya and is a state of being in delusion, illusion, and ignorance. More succinctly, it is not understanding the big picture.
Knowing this makes it easy to jump to the conclusion that avidya is bad and must be avoided. However, without avidya there is no room for vidya, which is the state of correct knowledge and clarity. With curiosity and flexibility avidya has the room to transform into great understanding and breadth of knowledge, it becomes the catalyst for learning and skillful refinement. When avidya is held in hard belief and structure it becomes the rut or the samskara of fanaticism, cruelty, extremism, dogma, intolerance, zealotry, etc. It is into the world of the great wide open and out of our comfort zones that we gain the experiences that expand our limited ideas of avidya into a state of awareness, understanding and vidya.
In the sprit of getting out of the comfort zone I have made plans to travel to Thailand next week to take a yoga teacher training. It has been many years since I have traveled internationally and nearly just as many since my last teacher training. Both experiences are mind, body, and heart opening in the most powerful and often times uncomfortable of ways. As I prepare for my journey I invite myself to remember that though this adventure is grand on the scale of into the great wide open, it is no greater an ordeal than allowing myself to fall in love, attempt a handstand, start a new job, or take on the responsibilities of a new pet and so much more. All of these experiences require a willingness to step into the unknown with or without a clue and open myself to the opportunity to gain without expectation of what the boons may be. And the boons always come in tandem with expanded perception, new depths and breadths of knowledge, new ideas of oneself and ones place in the world. The opportunity for learning and gaining experience, wisdom, and understanding is present for all of us, no matter the environment we are in, and unlike the chorus of Tom’s song, the sky is not the limit.
It is my hope for you that this year you find yourself eager to bound into the great wide open, a curious seeker without a clue, and may you gain there the experience that gives you the key to unlock the doors of your avidya. If you find yourself in a state of discomfort you will know you have arrived upon the threshold of your transformation. Step forward with your eyes wide open and enjoy the expanse of the blue sky of the unknown.
With Love, Always, In All Ways, For Giving,