When you discover one sutra that resonates deeply, memorize it. Then you will, as they say, know it by heart. — Lorne Roche, The Radiance Sutras
Language fascinates me. We can say phrases for years before stopping to consider where they came from, what they mean, and how they fit into other messages we are fed.
In grade school and high school we often had to memorize things. How many times have I said about some poem or passage that “I know it by heart” without pausing to consider what that means.
So coming across this passage in the introduction to The Radiance Sutras gave me pause.
Our inculturation leads us to believe that our value lies in our mind: how we think, what we think, the nature of remembering things. Technology affords us no shortage of apps and tools to help us expand our capacity to remember things.
Yet when we memorize something we don’t say we “know it by mind.” We say we “know it by heart.” What does it mean to know something by heart? It means we don’t have to think about it. It exists in a realm outside of thoughts, outside of our waking consciousness.
This is an embodied knowing.
The nervous system has a mind of its own. Several minds, actually.
The body creates a memory that is stronger than the mind’s memory. We know this by how the body stores and adapts to traumatic experiences and it also applies to positive experiences.
Cognitive understanding and intellectual pursuits certainly have their place, but they are merely starting points. True knowledge comes through experience; it is embodied.
To really know something it must live in your heart.