wisdom

What follows is very much a sloppy essay. I focused on getting some ideas out. I am about to catch a flight. And I thought what better than to empty my brain. A race of sorts. To let the ideas flow out. Not sure how or what quality they will be. Going for it nonetheless. Got to get the ideas in motion.

The thing I am thinking about right now in this very moment is the idea that you can learn from anyone. I have heard this expression many times throughout my life. I have never quite internalized it. I mean I have nodded along. Like people have told me this mantra and I have like surface level agreed but in my heart, I have always had reservations.

It sounds like one of those mantras that just sounds nice on the surface. Like we are all equal. Though, in our hearts we know we have differences.

And so, this whole “learning from anyone” piece of wisdom has challenged me. Because I find myself — and I have written about this before — often questioning whether or not I should be engaging with any a particular person. Often casually even I find myself quickly judging. And I feel bad about that. Sometimes. Only in hindsight really though.

And so I have spent some time trying to understand not just what I am doing but also why I am doing it. A piece of me thinks it’s a projection of myself. Of being insecure or not comfortable with my own skin. And using that tension to start to project and judge and nit pick others.

Another piece of me, though, thinks it’s just me being highly sensitive. And assessing the world around me. And seeing the details. And getting annoyed by the fluidity of the world.

The above is not an assessment of myself. It’s not advice either. It’s not me saying I should judge more or less or not at all or always. It’s just an observation. An observation of my meta. Of me even trying to peel back the onion one or two degrees and form opinions around what I am doing.

And so, all the above has recently been challenged. Most recently as I have been traveling, I feel that I have picked up bits of wisdom from places I did not expect.

On one hand I feel like that came from the pieces around me. But another part of it feels like it comes from within – around my current openness to learn, to try new things, to not need to impress, to be open, etc.

Finding wisdom in places I did not expect to learn anything has been rewarding.

What does Wisdom mean to you? When I first hear the word, I tend to think about old timey things. Things that have been around for a while. By things I also mean ideas. Lessons. I imagine wisdom comes from old places. The picture I have in my head is some old man in a rocking chair croaking out some ideas. Or perhaps finding a quote in a fortune cookie. Or perhaps hearing a rabbi speak. Or perhaps reading an ancient text.

But that image of wisdom is certainly just one manifestation of this idea of being wise. For the quality of being wise is merely this idea that you can make good judgements. That you can use your experience and knowledge to inform sound decisions. Those decisions can apply at any level of abstraction of this life. From down in the details to up high – wisdom helps you navigate the world.

And anyone can in theory possess this wisdom. They may not even be aware of it, but they may still have lessons to teach.

I met a random person who taught me something powerful about time and presence. I saw his phone — he did not have it set to the right time. I saw his computer, he had no clock on it.

It got me thinking. He explained to me that he does not want this technology to suck energy out of him. He wants to be able to focus. Not get distracted by the systems around him.

I thought that was extremely wise. I thought that was a lesson that so many people myself included have tried and often failed to learn. IT starts with awareness though. And he had the boldness and wisdom really to get ahead of the curve and not let himself and his mind and his soul get infected by artificial constructs around him like time.

He was a seemingly simple person. Honestly. I did not expect to learn anything from him. Until I did. Until I started seeing him as a teacher of sorts. In the most unexpected of places, really.

Perhaps wisdom is everywhere. I have more to chew on, there.


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