Are You In The Process of Getting Wisdom?
Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.
- Thomas Jefferson
"The getting of wisdom is not so easy," the Wise Woman replied. "It is not a matter of learning, but of becoming. A bookworm can eat all the words in a book and not become wise. So too it is with you ... and your desert mouse."
"An ancient wise man wrote that .... 'The student of knowledge adds to it daily. The student of the Way subtracts from it daily. By losing each day over time one achieves doing no-thing.' And he was very wise indeed, as well as words.
I smiled and let the words sink in. I knew there was more to it. There was a play on words and I had to tune my ears to hear everything being said.
"So, the worm eats and eats but does not become more wise. Yes?" I asked.
"Yes," the Wise Woman replied.
"So eating more and more makes you full, but you don't become wise. So eating words of wisdom, ideas about wisdom ... is not the right strategy?" I stumbled and hesitated as I tried to work out what the saying was whispering to me.
I was trying to let the words speak to me, to strike the chord inside to me that she had long ago encouraged me to find. Beginning to listen more deeply to the words was starting to pay off.
"The correct strategy .. .would be to do ... less and less ... until you arrive at doing nothing?" I was not so sure what that meant.
"Yes. Think about it. How often do you see wise men running wildly about, sweating and panting?" she asked.
She caught my grin and had to laugh. "Okay, there are not that many around. But when you do see them .... in movies like Kung Fu Panda ... are they racing around or do they stand out by how little they do. Ever noticed how the wiser someone is how still they are? And how the degree to which people rant and rave and run about is an indication of how much they are panicking?
I remembered her earlier words about the stillness and how clarity and order came with it.
"It is hard to be clear when your mind is a pool of water and it is always being stirred up. Too much action muddies the waters ... and the muddier it is, the harder it is to see what is going on. And you need to know what is really going on to know how to best act."
Her words made sense. "So I was right, my mind is like a pond." I replied.
She nodded her head. "And people are always throwing things into your pool ... to distract you and muddy the waters. Opinions. False beliefs. That is how they manipulate you or stop you. But you are the one throwing the biggest rocks in ... events, longings, desires and fears. Sometimes there is so much floating on the top ... daily distractions, trivia about modern life ... you can not see the surface. And .... mistakes from the past, worries about future events ... keep stirring things up."
"Is that why my mind sometimes races at night and I can't fall asleep?" I asked.
"Yes. It is racing around and around in a circle, like a wheel of fortune that goes nowhere. It is a merry-go-round that often does not make you merry ... but does engage you in endless thought and bind you with a ball and chain to your deepest fears, regrets and desires."
I nodded that I understood the symbols she was using that we had talked about before. "So, losing things .... doing less and less ... refers not only to the physical world, but to ... my mind as well?"
"Yes. You have it."
I smiled. Finally I was talking more and she was doing more of the listening. The balance was starting to swing. "Why had it taken me so long to get here?" I wondered out loud.