One of the name speakers at the American Academy of Religion national conference that I attended was author Karen Armstrong. Her list of published books include: The History of God, The Gospel According to Woman, and The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions. Although she is not a religious studies scholar, she has succeeded in bringing many of the issues explored in our field to the public.
Among my notes from Karen Armstrong’s talk is the sentence, “we’ve lost the abilities of slow knowledge.” It resonated with me, as yoga is a type of “slow know.” Karen Armstrong spoke of the high regard we used to have for contemplation and the silence it required. These still do exist in academia, certainly in religious studies, which is probably why I have been drawn to it also.
But we live in the world of sound bites and accelerated blimps of information generated by a world that disdains the slower process as a sign of inferiority and weakness. Certainly true in our businesses, our driving, our eating, our relationships. We want to woof things down with no time for digestion/contemplation.
Perhaps this is why so many people are turning to practices such as yoga where you are allowed to take the foot off the gas pedal for a while. So we can experience a “slow know” again.